Davey Tree Expert Company

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The Davey Tree Expert Company
Employee owned
IndustryGreen Industry
FoundedKent, Ohio, United States
1880 (origins)
1909 (incorporated)
FounderJohn Davey
HeadquartersKent, Ohio, United States
Key people
Karl J. Warnke (Chairman); Patrick M. Covey (CEO)
ServicesArboriculture, Horticulture, Environmental and Consulting Services
RevenueIncreaseUS$915,958,000 (2017)
OwnerEmployee owned
Number of employees
Davey tree trimming operation Superior Township, Michigan
Corporate headquarters in Kent, Ohio.

The Davey Tree Expert Company, also known as Davey Tree, is an American multinational employee owned corporation that provides tree, utility, lawn care, and environmental consulting services in the green industry throughout the United States and Canada.

The company is the largest residential tree care company in North America and was founded in 1880 making it the first tree care company in the United States.[1][2][3] John Davey, its founder, is considered the father of the science of tree surgery and arboriculture.[4][5][6] It has been employee owned since 1979 and is the largest such company in Ohio and 13th largest in the U.S.[7] Also, in May, Forbes named it as one of America's best employers in 2018 (294 out of 500) [8].

Headquarters are in Kent, Ohio and the company was incorporated on February 4, 1909.[9] John Davey was the President, and his son, Martin L. Davey, became the general manager and treasurer.[10] The provides tree services to homeowners, small and large businesses, public utilities, and local, state, and federal agencies through its arboriculture, horticulture, and environmental and consulting services.[11]

It organizes itself in two segments, residential and commercial, and utility.[12] The company's main services are tree, commercial grounds, utility and consulting.


In 1873, John Davey at age 27 traveled from Europe to America and began working at Standing Rock Cemetery in Kent, Ohio. He transformed the cemetery with new plantings of trees, shrubs and flowers.

He planted hundreds of trees along the Kent streets and around homes in the community and performed a modest amount of tree work. He became determined to gain acceptance of his methods for the care of trees, and wrote a book.[13]

In 1901, The Tree Doctor was published, a milestone in the career of Davey and the science of tree preservation.[14]

By 1915, Davey Tree was growing and expanding; during the period from 1915 to 1920, the company expanded more than fivefold.[15] Today, its sales are closer to $1 billion.[16]

Forbes named Davey 294 out of 500 large companies with more than 5,000 U.S. employees in May 2018. [17]

Employee ownership[edit]

The Davey Tree Expert Company has been employee owned since 1979[18] and is the 13th largest employee-owned company in the U.S., according to data from the National Center for Employee Ownership.[19] (The 2015 Employee Ownership 100 list includes the nation's largest companies that are at least 50 percent owned by an employee stock ownership plan or other broad-based employee ownership plan.[20]) The recent list also names Davey as the largest employee-owned company in Ohio.


In 2013, Davey Tree published its first corporate social responsibility report in which its chief executive officer, Karl Warnke, states "We are dedicated to being responsible corporate citizens to ensure today’s business practices are not detriments to tomorrow’s landscape. As environmental stewards, we must be accountable for our actions each day."[21] According to data from the report, the company achieved a 95-percent wood waste recycling rate. It also reduced its water use and electricity use, as well as moved its fleet to energy efficient vehicles and GPS monitoring.

The company has been involved in many projects to help care for the environment with initiatives such as i-Tree,[22] software created by Davey and the USDA Forest Service used to quantify the benefit of trees,[23] as well as helping the National Park Service care for the trees at the Flight 93 National Memorial.[24]

Additionally, the company's emergency storm response crews assist and help clean up from natural disasters, such as Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Katrina.[25][26]

Hurricane Katrina created widespread tree damage prompting the International Society of Arboriculture, Davey Tree, and Urban Forest Strike Teams to deploy certified arborists into at least nine communities along the Mississippi/Louisiana Gulf Coast.[27] Throughout September and October 2017, thousands of federal, state, and private agencies have been deployed to areas that were impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. These first responders are there to help the people in the storm's path. However, there is another group of responders that go into storm-ravaged towns to aid the trees.[28]


Davey operates in two segments, residential and commercial, and utility. It also maintains research, technical support, and laboratory diagnostic facilities.[29]

The residential and commercial segment is involved in the treatment, preservation, maintenance, removal, and planting of trees, shrubs, and other plant life. The segment's services also include landscaping, grounds maintenance, tree surgery, as well as the application of fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides.[30]

The utility services segment engages vegetation management around power lines, rights-of-way, and chemical brush control services; and natural resource management and consulting, forestry research and development, and environmental planning services.[31]

Research and development[edit]

John Davey established the Davey Institute of Tree Surgery in 1908.[32] The training facility was staffed by experts and also provided employees with the skills and tools needed to advance tree science. Today, the company still provides basic tree science as the educational foundation for its employees.[33]

In August 2017, Davey announced it had purchased 170 acres of land across from its corporate headquarters in Kent to primarily "establish a science and learning center," according to its current chairman. He was quoted in Lawn & Landscape saying that "...a major part of our goal is to expand capacity for technical research and specialized training...[the] property will allow teams of plant, soil and insect scientists, computer specialists and horticulture and arboriculture researchers to work together in state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor laboratories.” [34]

According to the company, scientists and technical advisers guide field service teams in diagnosing and prescribing products, application procedure, and pest and disease cultural practices.[35] The company also assists college students in the green industry through its Arbor Day Grants.[36]

Davey has partnered with organizations to promote the benefits of tress, such as American Forests, International Society of Arboriculture and the Tree Care Industry Association, as well programs like the National Register of Big Trees and fundraisers like Tour des Trees.[37][38]


  1. ^ "Lawn & Landscape Top 100" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Abbott, R.E (August 1977). "Commercial Arboricultural Practices in North America". Journal of Arboriculture.
  3. ^ "Ohio Chapter International Society of Arboriculture: Chapter History".
  4. ^ "Davey: Father of Tree Surgery" (PDF). Heartland Science. The Ohio Academy of Science. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  5. ^ Grismer, Karl H. (1932). History of Kent (2001 Revision ed.). Kent, Ohio: Record Publishing (1932), Kent Historical Society (2001). p. 233.
  6. ^ International Society of Arboriculture ISA website Archived 2008-09-16 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "The Employee Ownership 100". NCEO website. The National Center for Employee Ownership. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  8. ^ "America's Best Employers". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  9. ^ "Davey Tree 10K 2013".
  10. ^ "Davey Tree, Detailed History". Kent State University Special Collections and Archives. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  11. ^ "Commercial Services & Supplies Company Overview of The Davey Tree Expert Company, Bloomberg Business".
  12. ^ "SEC Home, EDGAR System, Company Search, 10K".
  14. ^ "The tree doctor: a book on tree culture".
  15. ^ "Ohio History Central'".
  16. ^ "Form 10Q July 2015, The Davey Tree Expert Company".
  17. ^ "America's Best Employers". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  18. ^ "Form 11-K DAVEY TREE CO".
  19. ^ "The Employee Ownership 100: America's Largest Majority Employee-Owned Companies". August 2017.
  20. ^ NCEO website. (2008). "The National Center for Employee Ownership". Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  21. ^ "CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY REPORT 2013, The Davey Tree Co."".
  22. ^ "i-Tree.org Website".
  23. ^ U.S. Forest Service (August 2010). "Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry News Notes" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Honor Flight 93 Our Supporters". Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  25. ^ "Davey Tree workers help clean up from Hurricane Rita ( (Vol. 44 Issue 10, p22))". Landscape Management. Oct 2005.
  26. ^ "Hurricane Aftermath". Arbor Age. Dec 2005.
  27. ^ "Urban and Community Forestry Program". www.fs.fed.us. US Forest Service. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  28. ^ "After the Storm, Who Takes Care of the Trees?". US Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2018-05-07. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  29. ^ "Commercial Services & Supplies Company Overview of The Davey Tree Expert Company, Bloomberg Business".
  30. ^ "SEC Home, EDGAR System, Company Search, 10K".
  31. ^ "Utility Services—Company Website".
  32. ^ Abbott, R.E (August 1977). "Commercial Arboricultural Practices in North America (Vol. 3, No 8)". Journal of Arboriculture.
  33. ^ BAWDEN-DAVIS, JULIE (February 13, 2015). "Parade Online, Tree Training: Nation's Arborists Gather for Intense Program".
  34. ^ "Davey Tree expands property - Lawn & Landscape". Lawn & Landscape. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  35. ^ "About The Davey Institute, Davey Tree Company Website".
  36. ^ "Arbor Grant, University of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Institute of Applied Agriculture".
  37. ^ "Davey Tree Partners, davey.com website".
  38. ^ "TREE Fund welcomes new Crown Partner, The Davey Tree Expert Company, STIHL, Tour Des Trees".

Further reading[edit]