In 2024, Sam Hill Tree Care will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a full-service tree and landscape healthcare company serving the Dallas community. When Sam Hill, founder of the company, first started his business, his primary focus was on providing advanced tree care, but he has since realized that relationships are his company’s greatest strength. As the organization swiftly approaches its 25th anniversary, Hill recalls just how valuable these relationships have been to the company’s success.
“When I reflect on the last 25 years as I drive through Dallas neighborhoods, it’s rewarding to see thriving trees that we have cared for 10, 15, and 20 years,” said Hill. “Trees make a neighborhood.” Hill notes the devastating damage caused by the tornado of October 2019. When he drives down areas like Royal Lane and still sees the astonishing lack of trees, he describes a different feeling in the neighborhood. Where trees once draped and shaded the road, only expansive lawns remain.
Hill vividly remembers his experience after the tornado. People were stunned; they needed someone to mourn their trees with them..
“I found myself walking down the street, walking up to houses we serve, sitting with our clients in their front yards, and listening to their stories,” he said. “Our clients have personal relationships with their trees. People get frustrated when the grass doesn’t grow, but they feel a real loss when they lose a tree.”
His company has served some families for three generations. Hill attributes this longevity to the organization’s diligent efforts to train its team and educate its clients. “Our team has more advanced credentials than any local tree care company,” he said.
Sam Hill Tree Care ensures this exceptional level of training among its staff by recruiting from Urban Forestry Programs like the one at Stephen F. Austin University. The company focuses on instilling good tree care practices by hiring the next generation of arborists when they’re young and teaching them the right way to care for trees. The company conducts presentations for many local Texas colleges and even participates in a few high school programs like the Future Farmers of America.
Hill believes in sustainability and continuity. “It is important for us to train the people that will replace us someday,” he said. “We have learned the importance of passing down our knowledge that took years to learn. Of course, they will build on this knowledge and get even better.”
Hill started his own business because the company he worked for did not seem to care about keeping up with research-based best practices. “It’s a lot of work to grow, evolve, and change.” He enjoys “growing” people and helping them do work that makes them proud.
Sam Hill Tree Care is not a top-down organization. It is more circular. Experienced staff educate new hires, and new hires share their experience. “We are going to do it the right way,” said Hill. “If a client asks my team to do something that is not good for the tree, they will turn around and explain why it is not good practice.” As the company continues to grow, Hill is sometimes unable to visit every job site, but he is confident his team is leading with knowledge. They have become problem solvers.
Since founding Sam Hill Tree Care, Hill has actively participated and served on many committees for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI provides nationwide industry standards for good tree care practices. Currently, he is serving as Chair of the ANSI A300 Committee. He believes national standards are essential because they define a standard quality of care and ensure consistent results are achieved. He emphasizes that sometimes people require regulations to agree on a common goal.
“If we set these standards and cities adopt them, then these municipalities can make them part of the bidding and contract projects,” said Hill. Enacting ANSI standards is a process. While Dallas is not as advanced with tree regulations as cities like Austin, Hill feels the city is moving in the right direction.
Hill is a force of nature. He is a member of the Texas Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and has served as the Educational Track Chair for their annual conference for the last five years. Hill is also a Board Certified Master Arborist through the ISA, a respected educator, and frequent guest speaker at association and industry events.
As Hill thinks back on his career, he is reminded of the excellent work the company has performed—the work they have done as a team. He sees more than the trees themselves; he sees everyone standing behind them. Hill looks forward to guiding his company with strong relationships and industry best practices long into the future.