Local tree man marks a milestone

Darrel Emel’s Tree Service turns 50.


Staff writer

At the age of 21 or 22, many young people don’t know what to do with their lives.

But in 1958, a young Darrel Emel was working for Seattle City Light during the week and commuting to Kitsap County on the weekends to trim trees.

“All that time I was doing that I was coming back here on the weekends to do this,” Emel said.

Emel started Darrel Emel’s Tree Service in 1958, making this year the business’s 50th anniversary. Emel is pleased his business continues to thrive 50 years after its inception.

“I feel good about it. It’s kind of nice,” he said with a smile.

Emel lived in Seabeck in 1958 and did not have a shop. He started working on trees while attending Olympic College.

“I started topping and trimming trees when I was going to OC and then from there it just turned into a job and business,” Emel said.

Emel acquired his first shop in 1964 in Silverdale. He and his crew built their current shop on Provost Road in Silverdale in 1983.

Emel said things have changed during the past 50 years, not only in the tree service business.

“Well, a nickel candy bar is now $1.79,” he said with a smile.

Now, Emel’s workers have to be licensed to spray pesticides and attend various trimming and pruning conferences throughout the year.

“We educate ourselves through a lot of reading and seminars and some formal education but not a lot,” Emel said.

He said the equipment has drastically changed during the years. Old chippers could only handle trees that were 8 inches in diameter, but things have changed, according to Emel.

“We used to load brush by hand and now it’s all done with machinery,” he said. “Now we have chippers that will chip up to 21-inch trees in diameter.”

Darrel Emel’s Tree Service merged with Peninsula Tree Service in 1987, but is still maintained as a family business.

“It’s a family owned business, but it’s a couple families,” Emel said.

Darrel Emel’s Tree Service specializes in spraying, fertilizing, pruning, tree trimming and tree removal for small and large jobs. Emel said he no longer gets as dirty as he used to, but he worked on a new truck Wednesday, putting a dump truck bed on the new vehicle. The new vehicle is the 12th addition to the tree service’s fleet of vehicles.

“I do a lot of the bidding. I usually don’t get dirty,” he said.

Darrel Emel’s Tree Service serves Kitsap, Mason, Jefferson and Pierce counties.

Emel said the tree service has done several large jobs, but last August Darrel Emel’s Tree Service employee Patrick Haley rescued a 3-month-old eagle from a tree in Illahee. The bird was hanging upside-down from a piece of twine which was wrapped around his leg. The eagle later had to be euthanized because it was in poor health. The American Red Cross is planning to present Haley with an award in March for his heroic rescue more than 100 feet above the ground.

“We’ve had several eagle incidences that we’ve done,” Emel said.

Emel said the business may host an open house in the spring to celebrate their 50th anniversary, but no definite plans have been made.

“We kind of been kicking that around a little, but we are thinking about having an open house,” Emel said.

As for the future, Emel said he hopes Darrel Emel’s Tree Service continues to thrive and sticks around Kitsap County for many years.

“We want to maintain our standards as top-of-the-line,” he said. “We’re trying for 100 (years).”

Darrel Emel’s Tree Service

P.O. Box 765 – 9405 Provost Road


(360) 692-6117