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Mark Pingenot prunes a young maple; he now works full-time for his tree care business.

Mark Pingenot stood under a maple tree on Friday, with a pair of loppers in his hand, administering what he called "tough love." He was removing one of what tree professionals call "double leaders" -- twin trunks rising from the base of the tree.

Across the street stood a decades old maple, which was damaged by the storm of 2011.

The double leaders of that large tree were significantly damaged by those 100 mph winds.

Pingenot noted that if that maple across the street had received the kind of tough love he was administrating to the younger tree, it may have been able to withstand the storm better.

Many people remember seeing Pingenot in several areas around Vinton, planting trees at schools and parks in his former job with Trees Forever.

But now that Pingenot is no longer working for Trees Forever, he is now focusing his time and efforts on his business, Arbor Care, LLC. While he enjoyed his work with Trees Forever, helping plant seedlings throughout the area, Pingenot said he has always wanted to focus on his business. Now, he has the opportunity to do that.

Winter is the best time to prune trees, said Pingenot, who also offers treatment for diseases and pests such as oak wilt and emerald ash borer.

While many contractors can obtain a license to treat trees, Pingenot urges customers to check out the background of those who offer services. He said he bases his treatment plans on those recommended by the forestry experts of universities, and others with extensive education and experiences in the field.

Pingenot does some contract work for the Iowa DOT, as well as working for private property owners.

Contact Pingenot at 319-560-9079 or by email at

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