A local arborist offers “tree-mendous” advice

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 8:41 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn


You wouldn’t believe some of the items a local arborist has found inside trees.

While that’s an interesting part of his job we’re not going out on a limb to say his passion for wood extends way beyond.

“Every time that I get the chance I like to save the tree,” said International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist Randy Wright.

Wright has a deep-rooted love for trees.

“A lot of trees, even if they’re dead they have character,” said Wright.

Hurricane Michael severely depleted the tree population in Northwest Florida.

“We used to have some beautiful red cedars in Bay County,” said Wright.

Wright found a way to take those once towering timbers and turn them into well just about anything.

“So in our sawmill, we’ve been able to reuse some of them to make our furniture and make our stairs and doors and all of our trim,” said Wright. “Instead of just wasting the wood we were able to repurpose it.”

Wright’s business, Gulf Coast Tree Specialists, also fell victim to the hurricane’s winds.

“Our building was totally destroyed,” said Wright.

The business that had been around for 30 years, had to be rebuilt from the ground up.

But now everywhere you look in the new building there is something made from the wood of trees brought down by the storm.

“I built myself a cedar desk and was able to use the live edge from the tree just to have character,” Wright said.

Wright is also a collector of all things unique and many of those things are found when a tree is cut down.

“We find a lot of things in trees,” said Wright “In one of the larger cedar trees that we cut in Bay County over in Lynn Haven right in the base of it at the very, very bottom we hit something metal. It’s actually a metal arrowhead. It’s about 250 to 300 years old.”

Wright said you don’t find a lot of them but he has a hummingbird nest he found in a dead tree.

“We found a black powder rifle where somebody had laid the rifle against the tree and the tree completely grew around it,” said Wright. We found a tricycle on 11th and east avenue in a sycamore tree one of those old tricycles with the big giant tires. We found an anchor from 1908 from the military in a tree.”

The saws outside the office stay busy.

“Right now we’re making some benches for some of the local parks,” said Wright. “We’re giving them free of charge.”

He also uses what’s called woodturners.

“Several talented people in Panama City that make things and instead of just wasting the wood or it going straight to the paper mill we use it for different things,” said Wright.

Things like bowls, jewelry boxes, clocks, countertops, tables.

“They’ll take a tree in your yard and make something that you can remember it by,” said Wright. “If your parents planted it or if it has some sentimental value.”

But his main message gets to the root of any tree problem you may have.

“It is good to have some selective pruning have them checked out,” said Wright. “Most of the ones (from Hurricane Michael) they will survive and they’ll come back and they’ll be beautiful trees again one day.”

Wright is also a collector of antiques. They fill the entire top floor of his shop.

He has beautiful stained glass windows he wants to donate to a church.

You can find out more about his business and maybe hear a few more of his interesting stories by getting in touch with Wright at gulfcoasttreespecialists.com or calling 850-784-9080.

Copyright 2021 WJHG. All rights reserved.