by Dawna | Published December 1, 2021

TreeHugger Complete Tree Care




Our greatest compliment comes from our customers and we are so pleased that you voted for Our TreeHugger Crew

The most valuable thing about being named the Metro’s Best Tree Service is that it is given to us by our customers. Your opinion of us is golden to both our crew and our future customers. With nearly 150 Google Reviews, our customers believe TreeHugger Complete Tree Care is the Des Moines Best Tree Service.

We are the highest-rated and most reviewed tree service in Des Moines and surrounding areas, because of our crew.

Every year we have goals. Safety, Service, Professionalism, Respect are a few of our core values.

And every year, we add to our list to help us pursue a bigger vision for ourselves and our company, and this practice has never disappointed us. In January, I added The Metro’s Best Tree Service Award as a goal for 2021, and in November, we received our award. To say we are pleased would be an understatement. It was a lofty goal in our mind mostly because we are a small crew, but we are committed to doing big things and we will happily claim this title.

Our TreeHugger Crew is uniquely equipped to handle tree removals in tight and tricky places, and our procedures on tree pruning and trimming techniques respect homeowners’ property and the health and wellness of our trees. Our ISA-certified arborists have years of experience in tree care and educate themselves yearly in Tree Care Industry standards and ISA requirements for our customers’ proper tree care and maintenance. In Addition, each of our Certified Crane Operators has steady hands and calm dispositions. It is entertaining to watch as they remove backyard trees over houses and land them quickly and quietly on the road to be processed by our ground crew members.

One thing that sets us apart is that we are your people from start to finish. From the first call to final cleanup, our guys are on the job every step of the way.

If you meet with Denny for a quote for tree trimming or pruning, you will meet with him again when he arrives on the job to complete the work. He is our original TreeHugger, a master of less is more when shaping a tree to look balanced and organic, nature’s design is always best when possible, as much as necessary and as little as possible. Denny is the roots of our TreeHugger Crew, deep, strong, and slow to grow which gives us strength when the winds of trouble blow.

Sean will be on the controls for removals when the TreeMec is on the job; he is our master operator with a millennial vision of working smarter, not harder. With both grit and grace, he has embraced a future for our tree company that makes keeping a small crew possible and operating at a level that serves the areas near us with quality tree care. He is our dreamer who moves us into new places, has a never-quit attitude, and is our visionary. He keeps his eyes on the horizon and his boots on the ground.

We are proud to be your choice as Des Moines Best Tree Service, and we will continue to grow our company and crew to serve you with the professional tree care you deserve. It has been a pleasure serving you, and we will continue to do our best to be the Best Tree Service in Des Moines, Iowa.

Brandon gets the big trucks to the job and is our ground crew operations guy, regardless of whether we are working on removal or trimming. He is a forward thinker, versatile, and makes life easier for our crew. Groundwork and clean-up may seem like small tasks, and yet we make them a high priority. Each of our crew is dependable to make sure you only notice the tree is removed or your tree care is complete. Brandon is steady and reliable and willing. A cornerstone to our crew.

Dawna, (that’s me!) is our day-to-day operations, keeping the wheels on the TreeHugger bus. I am your main point of contact from the customer to the crew. My favorite part of my job is that I get to make the crew look good and I believe they deserve it! I love hearing from our customers, how they are pleased with the way the crew respects them and their property, and how they make tree care look easy. On occasion, you will see me on a job site but my place is in the office. I am the Mother TreeHugger and consider it a great joy to work alongside this crew.



From Quote to Clean-Up

by Dawna | Published March 9, 2021

If we had to pick one thing that we most appreciate about Denny without a doubt, it would be his work ethic.

Denny is the founder, owner, and arborist of our TreeHugger Crew and his hands have been on every piece of the puzzle that built this tree service company. He began working on his dream of owning his own tree service in his late 40’s with nothing more than an old green Dodge truck, a few solid chainsaws, years of experience, and the grit and determination, no less than that of a workhorse.

Because necessity is the mother of invention, Denny has figured out how to figure it out. There is no tree removal too big or complicated, nor any obstacle too challenging that can make this arborist turn away from his passion for professional tree care. He is as dependable and determined as you will find, and if you ask us those are two of his best attributes. You can count on the fact that he will find the answer to the issue at hand, which makes him worth his weight in gold.

Every challenge allows us the opportunity to climb higher, and we do just that.

He is famous for saying, “We still have all our fingers and toes,” which is about as complicated as he gets.
He’s a simple guy with a sophisticated position and he leads us well thru the challenges we face as a family-owned and operated tree care service in the Ankeny and Des Moines area.
We are thankful for his watchful eye that gets our crew home safely from each day spent working on tree services we provide. Rather it is tree removal, tree trimming, or tree pruning we appreciate his relentless grit that brings our tree service company to a new level of success and standard of professionalism with each new season.

Denny has been blessed to see his vision for our tree service grow far beyond what he had envisioned when he started this company and he is proud of the work we do. We are a family of arborists and if you ask Denny he would tell you that he is living his version of the American dream. Working and doing life alongside his family while caring for and working to maintain the beauty of trees is very much his dream come true. We are thankful for this TreeHugger at heart and not one of us would want to operate this tree care service without him. 

You are in good hands with our TreeHugger Crew

We Cut Because We Care




by Dawna | Published January 19, 2021

This mild month of January has me already dreaming of spring and my to-do list that will need to be addressed soon. As with many things in 2020, our residential trees suffered greatly at the hands of Mother Nature and will reveal stress and damage in the coming spring that may have gone unnoticed.

Let’s do our best to help them heal and grow strong once again




Trees have a remarkable way of managing themselves when they are in their natural environment and this is not always the case for residential tree care.
Trees outgrow their space, encroach on structures, and can pose a threat to homes and families.
These situations need to be addressed and sometimes just managed.
Choose wisely.


It is within your right and responsibility to request proof of liability insurance, and we recommend that you do.
Multiple scenarios are possible in a day of tree removal and tree trimming services; it is an impressive art to watch that can be dangerous for the crew and your property. Take the day and enjoy watching them work with confidence, knowing that you will be taken care of if there is any property damage.


Do your due diligence, search for and read reviews, visit websites and social media. Do they represent an image of safety and respect for their customers, crew equipment, and homeowners’ property? Observe how you are contacted, responded to, and respected. Your property depends on your opinion of us. Trust the advice of those that have gone before you.


We recommend for homeowners to meet with at least three tree service companies near you. We understand that it takes time and effort, but tree care is not a tree repair situation. You are better equipped to decide with more information than you wanted rather than a lack of professional advice. Cost is always a factor, but cheaper isn’t always better.


When you choose your tree care service, do so with the intent that you will keep them as long as you keep your trees. Hiring the same arborist for your tree trimming or tree removal ensures that your tree retains its shape and beauty for years to come. It is nice to trust that a day of tree care in your yard will leave no evidence behind, and you will come home to your property in better condition than when you left.

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoy the season, for it will soon change.


Never Easy…Always Worth It

by Dawna | Published December 24, 2020

The year 2020 was for sure a year of change and growth, and we accepted it as best we could. 

Stepping away from my full-time career of 19 years from massage therapy due to Covid was happening, so I volunteered to work with our TreeHugger crew for the summer. Why Not? I had some previous experience working with Denny 30+ years ago. But, I quickly realized things were much different back then, in many ways. I wasn’t 48, 30 years ago and I wasn’t married to my boss or the mother of my coworker. A new groundsman under the watchful eye and often spicy, spirited, and specific instructions for my safety and theirs, my husband and son trained this middle-aged woman to be a part of the crew. 

I once again learned to run the ropes with big wood and land limbs in tight backyards, and it was exciting, invaluable to our crew, and impressive to our customers. How can a woman handle such heavy wood? Thank you, GRCs!

Over the summer, that crazy cool lowering device and I become great companions and coworkers. With my husband in the bucket truck and our son on the mini skid feeding the chipper, we became a solid three-member crew—a team.



It wasn’t long before my newfound confidence in doing hard things had me ready to embrace the learning curve of operating the mini skid and feeding the chipper which is so much better than dragging brush, so I learned. I felt empowered and encouraged by these new skills I now had. I also wrestled with my emotions somedays as I watched women in their pretty summer dresses, walking their Labradoodles in the neighborhoods we were working. I did not feel pretty as I was dragging or limbing up brush to run thru the chipper. I was trapped on the struggle bus of my Lil baby identity crisis some days, and I was grateful that my helmet protected my face every day and other days, my identity.  

The perfume of saw gas and bar oil was my new summer scent and it was just part of the job. Denny helped me to embrace it with a hint of spring Lilac fresh from the Lilac bush.

I love it when he brings me flowers.

 We worked thru the Derecho storm together safely, serving many homeowners that were so grateful and championed us when we pulled up on their home to deal with the damage left by the storm. They were impressed that a family could accomplish what we were doing, it was clear that our crew was a family operation. We removed tree after tree from houses for weeks so homeowners could have power restored, tarp the holes in their roof and once again feel safe in their home. We did all the things. We ran the everyday grind of job site operations. We handled the masses of incoming calls, texts, and emails from the likes that no tree service was prepared for. Estimates, maintenance, insurance billing, bookwork, and lived without power for eight days ourselves in August in Iowa, translating to 90+ degrees.

 Every. Damn. Day. 

I was proud to be a part of the crew that helped so many during our Midwest Natural Disaster, Derecho storm.

It was exciting, challenging, frustrating, scary, and ultimately fulfilling in a way I did not expect. My summer with the TreeHugger Crew was worthy of my volunteer time. It was worthy of the tears I cried, and I will unashamedly confess that I threw a few short tantrums and shed a couple of tears. Mostly only on Mondays. 

It was worthy of the moments where we all may have believed that this was just too hard, it was too much to live, work, and do life together all day, every day. Only then to wake up and do it again the next day. 

It was worth watching Sean do things that would riddle most mothers with fear, not sure if I should be terrified for him or appreciate the feeling of pride as you watch your child rise and do hard things.

It was worthy of the lunch we shared every day under the shade of a tree as we talked about more tree things. That was cool. 

It was worthy of the long, hot, Iowa summer days. The sweat, the sunburns and the gigantic spider that crawled up my cheek.

It was worth my time to be on the job where the Thorny Locust trees had the biggest thorns I have ever seen and just happened to be covered in poison ivy as well; I coined that day as “Danger Day.”  Everyone survived..

Our 29-anniversary picture was just another day on the job. The work was hard in many ways but when we work together we are always winning.

It was worthy of all the times I crawled into the chip truck, otherwise known as the “potty truck,” and I was grateful to have that truck on nearly every job with the newly installed curtain just for my benefit.

It was worth my time to be present. To watch my husband and son work together, communicate, solve problems, fix everything, argue and apologize and work thru the hills and valleys of life and business together.

It was worth my time to observe what they face every day, to help me be more tuned into helping them. 

It was worthy of the toll that a job like this can take on marriage and family.

 It is a challenge deserving of an award. I would like my sticker now, thank you.)

And… I would like one for Denny and Sean too.

The fact that they took me, a middle-aged wife and mother with soft hands, literally I was a Massage Therapist and trained me to be a good groundsman. Equipted with the skills and thick skin required for the daily grind of this industry is an accomplishment that speaks to their passion and grit to get the job done. Safely and professionally. 

I still have all my fingers and toes.

Working in the tree industry is not for the weak of heart; partnering with family in business is a whole other beast. I will tell you that it is more satisfying than you can imagine if you can make it work 


In return, I found my courage again. And I realized that it may have been waiting for a summer just like this.

As we leaned into each day, we trusted that all the wheels on the bus would go round and round if we were willing to do the work and work as a team. And it did.

We had our most successful year ever, safely, financially and professionally. We grew in many ways.

We hired Brandon, a solid groundsman to replace my position and bought our first TreeMec. 

I am still a woman in Arborculture, and I look forward to my position with soft hands and pretty nails. And I still make them lunch, every day.

Never Easy Is Always Worth It



A New Season is Coming

by Dawna | Published November 18, 2020

“Every new season of your life will be an opportunity for you to learn and grow. Don’t celebrate the good without celebrating the bad because they both work together to prepare you for the next season of your life.” “You can’t reach your potential by remaining in a past due season.

It is a complicated situation. We are in the midst of a family-owned and operated tree company’s ” changing of the guard” per se and although everyone is on board for this new season, it has everyone on board out of sorts as well. Our well-oiled and efficient tree removal crew is learning the curve of the TreeMec, and she has our heads spinning. 

The Tremec is the bee’s knees in the tree care industry and has long been on our dream list. Dreams with vision become reality and so it is. We have been blessed to be able to be in this moment and we are excited to see this girl make our crew more efficient with removals. 

And so the lessons begin. There are a thousand things to keep watch for and the pressure of performance to run this girl steady and smooth is real for the operator. There are a ton of moving parts, hoses, positioning, levers, up, down, in, out, steady, hold it, cut it, lower it, move over just a little, watch that limb and that limb and that branch. All the while, be brave enough to fail just a little with your new and very expensive tool. And, the ground crew is waiting while the cold of an Iowa winter settles in on them, and while they wait I see them practicing patience, attitude, and teamwork with an encouraging word to ease the pressure on one of their own, as he learns to operate all the levers, positions, load balancing to make this girl a part of their team. 


I wonder if the general assumption is that, once you get a TreeMec the life of your tree company will get easier and better.

The reality is…it just gets different. Tree service will always be a labor of love.

What to Look for When Hiring a Tree Removal Company

by Dawna | Published August 7, 2020

Having a tree removed from your property can be a seamless experience when you hire a professional, but can be a daunting task if you don’t. For most people, the largest investment you ever make will be your home so taking care of your property is critical. There are several things you can do to make sure you hire someone who will take care of and treat your property the same way you would.

The first step is to check for proper licensing and insurance, you want to make sure you hire a professional tree care company. Once you receive proof of insurance you can call the insurance provider to make sure that the insurance is up to date and includes working at height. A company that has liability insurance will be held liable to cover all damage to your home or property.

The second step is to do your homework on the company. The internet holds a lot of information which can come in handy when you’re trying to learn about a prospect company. Go through the reviews the company has and read several to understand how the company operates and treats its customers. If they have a social media this is a great way to get a look into their daily operations and see how they work. Remember they are going to be working on YOUR property so spend some time making sure you are hiring the right company.

Denny still enjoys the occasional climbing job and we appreciate that he is willing to go up a tree the old fashioned way.

The third step would be to ask about the equipment that will be used and how they plan to complete the work. A well-established tree service will be able to walk you through step by step while getting your free estimate on how they plan to complete the work at hand. They also will explain how each piece of equipment will be used to help speed up the process, make it safer for the employees and make sure they do the work with no damage to your property. A bucket truck is used to lift a person into the tree so they can gain access to the entire canopy allowing them to maneuver and remove the tree in a precise order. Once pieces are lowered to the ground a mini skid will come in, grab the branches and drag them to the chipper and feel them in. If your tree has little to no access or is overhanging your home a crane may be brought in to safely lift the pieces up and away from your house. You may be thinking this sounds like a lot of equipment which will increase the price of my tree removal. A tree service invests in this equipment to keep their employees safe and greatly increase their production which in turn makes the tree removal more affordable for the homeowner.

Tree removal is not a process that is taken lightly, it takes years of experience paired with the right equipment to get it done correctly. Taking these few steps will help to make sure that your tree removal process goes seamlessly and will restore your property to a safe and beautiful state!

Our smooth operator Sean.
He makes it a priority to leave no damage to your lawn because even though we arent exactly in lawn service. your tree in is your yard so we treat it as if it was our own.


by Dawna | Published November 13, 2019
It’s a common question from people who follow Our TreeHugger Crew.
What do we do in the winter?
We work.
Around 6 am I heard Sean say, ” 20 degrees today, that’s not bad.” and he dug out his winter wear and headed out in the dark to a job in Ankeny, then Des Moines, then Maxwell.
From dusk to dawn on cold days with hot coffee in hand, as long the crew is willing the trees are happy to have them. They will prune, remove, trim and access trees year-round in the Greater Des Moines area, as well as Urbandale, Bondurant, Huxley, and Altoona.
Healthy, damaged, weak or weary they are here to help your tree live to see another spring.

A few TreeHugger Tips for Winter Tree Care
It is easier to evaluate your tree after the leaves have fallen.
Denny will talk with you and discuss any damaged, broken or weak limbs that could potentially do damage to surrounding structures, like your home or the threat to your electric service being disrupted due to a fallen limb or tree.

Winter pruning helps to better manage the spread of disease caused by parasites, fungi, and insects, such as Emerald Ash Boar, Dutch Elm Disease, and Oak wilt.

It’s time to take a look at those beautiful Mighty Oaks because they will not tolerate any work done to them while they are awake, only when they are asleep for the winter. These strong and magnificent girls are not interested in being bothered at any other time of year and that is a deal-breaker for the Mighty Iowa Oak.

The frozen ground makes it nearly impossible to leave any ground damage and you don’t have to worry about your green grass.
Your tree will look fresh in the spring and she will be ready to push all her energy to new buds and healthy growth.

The days are shorter now and the trees are falling asleep, this is their favorite time to get some maintenance because it is much easier on them. They won’t need to expend energy to heal a wound that is caused when we for her greater good, prune away what doesn’t serve her any longer. When she is asleep, she won’t even know it happened.
Our TreeHugger crew works to lighten the load on those long limbs that get heavy with snow and ice so, when that cold Central Iowa wind blows, as it surely will, your tree will stand a better chance of bending and slowly swaying with the wind, as she should, rather than snapping and cracking under the pressure and weight of the weather.

Enjoy the season.

Storm Damage Ankeny, Iowa

by Dawna | Published August 10, 2020

Today’s storm was very serious and far too many trees took a lethal hit. Now is the time to reach out to Tree Service Professional to manage your storm damaged trees a safe and controlled manner.

Fallen trees can pose a serious risk to your safety in many ways and so we urge you, as you are cleaning up from today’s storm do only as much as necessary and as little as possible.

We will be working as quickly ansd as safely as possible in the Ankeny, Des Moines Johnston. Urbandale, West Des Moines, Altoona, and many other surrounding communities to help you with your tree storm damage. With the enormous amount of widespread damage this will be a long process for Tree Care Professions who are working with you thru this process.

A few tips to help you choose when hiring your tree service professional to remove your storm damaged tree.

Ask to see copy of their insurance.

Do a Google search looking for a highly reviewed company.

Ask your next door neighbors if they have a tip on a tree service company they have a personal or professional connection to.

Remember, it is not always the best choice to hire the cheapest tree service company.

Contact at least 3 companies for estimates.

Keep an eye out in your neighborhoods for us, were in this with you till all the damage has been cleaned up.

We cut because we care.

A Little Tree Care in Urbandale. Iowa

by Dawna | Published August 5, 2020

Our homeowner thought this little one was worth saving, so we did just that.

There was a lot of jicky jockeying around for this little pine tree as we set up for a removal in an already tight backyard in Urbandale, and we agreed it was worth our effort.

We also agree that, a Nifty lift is pretty darn nifty.

All the right tools make the difference between a job done and a job done well.  Attitude, appreciate and respect for our homeowners as well as the urban forest are is priority with our TreeHugger Crew.

This little green machine made the removal of the damaged Mulberry tree quick and easy for everyone. No yard damage is something we take great pride in and is always a topic of conversation with our homeowners before we leave their property.

This backyard was as perfect of a balance of an urban forest as we have seen this summer. There was a great compliment as to what was planted by humans and what was planted by nature, all growing together in harmony just as it should be. This little slice of Iowa will weather many a storm well due to the diversity of the wooded area this homeowner call his backyard.

Time spent amongst trees is never time wasted and there is always something beautiful waiting to be seen, if we take the time to look.


by Dawna | Published July 6, 2020

Communication is crucial for our tree care crew and I have identified a few keywords that are effective and appreciated.

I am a good groundsman.

I am a woman in arboriculture.

Time spent amongst trees is never time wasted.

It has been claimed previously that women speak about 20,000 words a day – some 13,000 more than the average man. A hard lesson to learn for this lady groundsman that loves to use a lot of words. There have been a thousand things to learn and being direct is for my safety and the rest of our crew as well.

Be specific. Clear is kind.

I have been in good hands with Denny and Sean and have learned all things necessary to be a part of this tree care company and feel a sense of great accomplishment and pride in the work we do. We are your people from start to finish when you call on us for your tree care, and we do our best to be the best at what we do.

I will keep you in the loop with all the new things that are coming our way as we learn to navigate the narrow road of a family-owned and operated company. And we will always be working on your behalf to serve the Des Moines and Ankeny, Iowa, residential communities with the tree care services they deserve.

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