Tom Anderson remembers that, when he got into the tree-clearing business more than 25 years ago, it was hard to find any specialized tree care equipment. "We just bought what we could find around town." Consequently, he said, "I've owned one of everything."
After trying just about every brand on the market, Holland, Ohio-based T&J Excavating and Tree Clearing LLC has settled on Morbark chippers as the best product available, hands-down. "Morbark equipment is around for the long haul," Anderson said. "Our workhorse is a Morbark 30/36 whole tree drum chipper purchased new in 1995. I can't imagine how many hours are on it. It has been an animal," he noted.
Anderson and his brother John started their business in 1985 as a trucking and hauling firm. A few years later, their hometown experienced a building boom and the brothers had an opportunity to clear some lots. "We got a few pieces of equipment and learned how to clear," Anderson said. They started doing work for Cavalier, which was building homes in the area, and that brought in more business.
In the early 1990s, T&J opened a yard where they compost and process mulch. Today they do clearing for developments and highways, working for customers ranging from local homebuilders to Norfolk Southern, and recycle the wood into mulch.
"We have been using Morbark since 1995," Anderson said. "In my experience, Morbark's durability stands out compared to Bandit … the craftsmanship wasn't quality. And Vermeer didn't have the metal. It's not something you can put 40 hours a week on."
His 30/36 "has a second motor, but it's still up and going. We have had great luck with Morbark." T&J also owns three Morbark 2400XL Hurricane chippers, one with a grapple, an 18-inch Morbark Beever M18R chipper, a track-propelled Morbark stump grinder, and a Morbark 3000P mulch-coloring machine.
Aside from the 3000P, the Morbark equipment is used in the field, where trees are chipped before being hauled to the yard for recycling. Once a year, T&J rents a large horizontal grinder to regrind everything as mulch. Mulch accounts for about a quarter of the company's revenues.
"Morbark makes tough machines that are easy to run," Anderson said. He also finds Morbark equipment is easy to work on and change parts. Parts availability is good too. "If Columbus Equipment doesn't have the parts in Toledo, they have them in Columbus and we get them the next morning," he said. In an emergency, "Morbark will pull a part off the assembly line if they have to for a customer."
T&J has been a Columbus Equipment Company customer for a long time, and Anderson is happy the dealership is a one-stop source for all the tree care products he needs. In addition to Morbark equipment, he has purchased a McCloskey screener for his mulch operation, an American Pride log splitter, FAE mowing heads and a CMI machine.
"Service at the Toledo store is excellent," he added. "The guys at the parts counter are Grade A fast and courteous, and I like all the salesmen. They get it done."
In the last two decades, T&J has become the "go-to company" for land clearing around Holland. Thanks to the easy availability of durable tree care equipment from Morbark and Columbus Equipment, "everything gets recycled and put back into a workable landscape product," Anderson said. "Nothing gets wasted, nothing gets burned. We're taking the products people used to discard, and recycling them."