Jon Lee, ISA Certified Arborist

Territory and Services:

Jon operates out of SavATree’s Afton, Minnesota branch. He provides comprehensive tree, shrub, lawn, tick and deer services to White Bear Lake, Shoreview & North Oaks, MN. Some popular services provided by Jon and the team to clients in White Bear Lake, MN include tree removal, tree pruning, tree and lawn disease management, tree and lawn fertilization, organic lawn care, weed control, lawn seeding, lawn aeration, pest and insect control including mosquito and tick treatments, shrub and hedge trimming, shrub fertilization and disease management and deer repellents. If you are in need of these or any other services to keep your property healthy and thriving, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jon and the team today. At SavATree, not only do we care deeply about the health and beauty of your trees, shrubs and lawn, we also put a strong emphasis on providing exceptional customer service to every client we work with. If you would like an ISA Certified Arborist to come out to your property for a free assessment, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jon today!

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (651) 964-4001


Jon has a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture with an emphasis in Turf Management from South Dakota State University.


Jon has been working in the Green Industry for over 15 years with experience ranging from Golf Course Management, Landscape Development and Management. He has been a practicing ISA Certified Arborist for the last 5 years.

Industry Involvement/Awards/Certifications:

    • ISA Certified Arborist


Jon married his wife, Jennie, in 2010. Together, they have three children – a girl named Madelyn and two boys named Joshua and Ryan. When Jon isn’t at work, his children keep him busy. Being a rural South Dakotan, he enjoys the outdoors in all aspects be it helping on his in-laws’ dairy farm in Wisconsin, hunting, fishing, camping or golfing.

Why He Became an Arborist:

“I have always been enamored with the care of trees, turf and plants in general. I credit my college Arboriculture professor, John Ball, for showing me the passion for sound tree care and safe practices to both protect the plants as well as the environment we live in.

Customer Service Philosophy:

“I am a very hands-on person who enjoys helping throughout the whole client experience from initial meeting to successfully integrating a plan to manage their situation with their desires in the forefront, but also ensure that standards and BPM’s are followed.”

Community Involvement:


Stillwater MN Tree Service

The Stillwater, MN community children had a blast at the Touch-A-Truck event on September 15, 2019. The SavATree team brought a truck so that it could be enjoyed by the children and the whole community. Jon’s two-year-old son, Ryan, had lots of fun “driving” our truck!

Lumberjack Days in Stillwater, MN

stillwater mn tree service

Jon, along with several members of the SavATree team including arborists, office staff and their families. They had a blast thanking the community for their support. There was no shortage of candy and beach balls for the children and all the young at heart!

Observations in the Field:

It’s That Time of Year!

North Oaks, MN Holiday Lighting

November 5, 2019 – When you think tree company, you probably don’t think holiday decor, but doesn’t it make perfect sense that SavATree would provide excellent, professional decorating services? Not only do we have the talented staff and equipment to work in trees, we also utilize that same equipment and talent to brighten our clients’ holiday experience! The possibilities are practically endless when it comes to where you can go with decorating your property for the holidays. I personally have experienced over 10 years of designing and installing holiday décor for private and commercial properties and, each year, I love the spirit of our decorating staff, but, most importantly, the customer experience. I simply cannot get enough of the joy it brings when the decor is first turned on! Please contact your SavATree arborist  for a consult to find out how you can brighten your holiday season!

Protect Your Trees this Winter

Lino Lakes, MN Tree Service

November 5, 2019 – As we enter the cold weather months, it is very important to consider that your evergreen plants will benefit from protection. The common practice of wrapping your trees in burlap can actually harm your arborvitae as they can act as a wick to pull moisture from the plants. SavATree offers a protectant, which is invisible to the eye and very helpful to reduce the moisture loss through the winter months. Our anti-desiccant acts as a protective covering to keep a thin coating over the leaves/needles of the evergreens so they do not dry out and “burn” throughout the cold months. Contact your SavATree arborist to discuss our winter treatments and how they can protect your investment in your landscape!

Big Trees in Close Confines

Circle Pines, MN Tree Pruning

November 2, 2019 – Here at SavATree, we employ several specialized equipment crews to prune trees and remove hazard trees in close confines. The photo above shows our “Spider” pruning an enormous tree in one of our customer’s backyards. Both big and small portable lift “spiders” can help with trouble trees that cannot be climbed or accessed with a bucket truck. Contact your SavATree arborist to review your tree situation!

Winter Pruning Season is Here!

North Oaks, MN Tree Care

November 1, 2019 – It is widely known that it is a no no to prune oak trees (and American elm) during the growing season We hold off until pruning in the dormant season, which usually takes place between November and March. This is actually the perfect time of year to prune any deciduous tree! One of my favorite trees to prune during the winter months is the ever so popular Autumn blaze maple. These trees are literally everywhere and this species requires a significant amount of pruning, which many homeowners are not aware of. In the photo above it is easy to see the heavily clustered canopy where there is no true lead stem. It is imperative to begin training the tree (preferably early in life) to provide it with a long and structurally stable life. The biggest issue with Autumn blaze maples is that if left to its own devices, over time, the tree usually incurs damage from high winds or storms, which can deform it and can cause a domino effect for further branch failures. In addition to shade trees, the later fall and winter months are a great time to prune many of our ornamental trees and shrubs on properties. Consult with a SavATree arborist to find out which of your trees could use some TLC this chilly season!

The Woods Need Our Help!

Tree Service in North Oaks, MN

October 27, 2019 – All the way back in the 1800’s, pioneers and settlers were being offered a “wonderful” plant that grows vigorously, provides great ornamental value, creates wind breaks quickly and other “benefits”. Little did they know that they were introducing a tremendous bane to our native forests. This plant has a few names, but we typically call it Buckthorn. Buckthorn, native to Europe and Asia, was introduced to provide many benefits, but no one really knew how detrimental it would be to our forests and wooded flora/fauna, suffocating nearby plants. The plant bears plentiful berries and animals ingest them and continue the spread of this destructive plant. Buckthorn is most effectively managed in the fall/winter months. Buckthorn holds on to its green leaves much longer than other woody plants, so it is fairly easy to identify this time of year.  These photos show a native plant that has been choked out by the Buckthron. Please contact your SavATree arborist to begin your reclaiming your back yard!

The Grass is Greener…

Lawn Service in North Oaks, MN

October 22, 2019 – Some may think that saying I am a turf minded arborist is contradictory but both turf and trees are a mainstay in every urban or rural home. It is all about finding that balance, whether we have a mature wooded homesite with sporadic turf panels or a newer subdivision with bluegrass turf stands enveloping a juvenile landscape. The lawn is the first impression one obtains when looking at a home. It is proven to provide a significant value to your property whether you are buying, selling, or simply maintaining to sustain that value. With SavATree, no lawn program is the same. Every single property has a custom nutrient and pest management program. Some properties are blessed with spectacular soil profiles where others put us to work. However, all the while, we drive that value with our product and service to ensure the grass is greener on your side of the fence. We are currently working on lawn programs to start 2020 off on the right foot so contact your arborist and find that balance.

Rain Delay Opportunity

North Oaks, MN Tree Service

October 11, 2019 – When it comes to inclement weather, our field team typically presses through knowing a job is to be done, but today, we took the opportunity to sit in from the first blast of freezing, snowy weather to learn more of our craft and why proper pruning cuts are paramount in any General Tree Care project. Field staff leader, Trevor Novacek is pictured here going over proper pruning cuts…where to make them and how to carry out with precision. Doing so will limit the wound impact to the tree or shrub and when performed well, the cuts heal thus minimizing risk of decay. It was a discussion between entry level staff to our most experienced arborists. The amount of knowledge under the roof this morning is staggering and is a privilege to be a part of this expert staff. For the most professional and knowledgeable tree care, contact SavATree today!

So You Have a Project?

Tree Service in North Oaks, MN

October 5, 2019 – Do you have a landscaping project coming yet this fall or planning for next spring? Are there valuable tree(s) on your landscape and, if so, is your project near the tree(s)? If you have answered yes to any of the above, please contact your SavATree arborist to help guide you through the project and tree preservation to avoid a situation as shown in the above photo. Not all landscaping and construction firms understand the importance of tree preservation in landscape or construction projects and you could find yourself in a situation like this. The customer’s White Oak was literally buried in over 12 inches of soil and our team performed Root Flare Excavation around the base of the tree and utilized the “air-spade” equipment to aerate and loosen the soil in the general area around the tree to help alleviate compaction from the equipment and the physicality of additional soil being added to the grade. This tree has an intense treatment regimen on its horizon consisting of soil enriching injections boosting microbial activity, growth regulation to encourage fine root development and bio-stimulant soil treatment(s) to curb the stress and bolster a healthier tree.

Big Trees!

Tree Removal in Circle Pines, MN

September 27, 2019 – Unfortunately, there are instances where trees have to be removed. I typically do my best to preserve and protect the trees in our urban forests, but in instances such as this, trees do you have to be removed out of safety concern. In the photo attached, we have Hal Stewart and his crew taking down a near 6 foot in diameter silver maple tree. The longstanding client became far too concerned in regards to the safety of this tree as recent storms damaged it to the point where it was deemed necessary to take down. If you have a BIG tree on your property and have concern about its structure, stability and safety, do not hesitate to contact your SavATree arborist for an inspection!

Let’s Take a Closer Look, Shall We?

Shoreview MN Tree Care

Tree Service in North Oaks, MN

Little Canada, MN Arborist

September 21, 2019 – Colorado Blue Spruce trees are ubiquitous in today’s landscape. These beautiful trees are utilized for many different reasons throughout our region, but, unfortunately, as striking as they are, they do carry baggage as they often become impacted by foliar diseases. One of the most common diseases is called Rhizosphaera Needlecast. I recently took a tissue sample from a new client property and put the leaves (needles) under the microscope for a closer look. The fungal pathogen forms black globular fruiting bodies along each needle and typically the disease affects the lowest limbs first and progresses from the interior canopy, outward. I have included three photos where the first is a close up of a 3 year old needle that is fully infected with the disease. The second is a two year old needle where there is some infection, but not as populated as the first. The last photo is of this current year’s growth which is disease free and healthy thanks to our first full season of treatment. The disease cannot cure current infection but can be managed rather effectively through disease management treatments for current and future seasonal growth. If you are concerned about your Spruce tree(s) please contact your SavATree ISA Certified Arborist for an inspection.

Storm Alert: We’ll Answer the Call!

emergency tree removal in North Oaks, MN

September 9, 2019 – The one thing we do not like hearing from our clients is when we have a call with storm damaged trees on their property. Living with trees near and around our homes is a wonderful value in many ways, but, when storms strike, this can turn into a safety hazard. Living in the Midwest, we are definitely accustomed to significant storms passing through our communities. Rest assured, our team and our specialized equipment is at the ready if the need shall arise. The safety of you, your home and our team is our top priority! Contact SavATree today to find out how we can help prevent you from losing trees to storms.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) – Am I Still Safe?

emerald ash borer treatment in MN

September 1, 2019 – If you live in the mid-west, it is almost certain you have heard or read about the destructive insect ravaging our ash trees known as Emerald Ash Borer or EAB. Here in the Twin Cities, ash trees are ubiquitous along our streets, on residential and commercial properties and in our forests. When it comes down to it, ash are wonderful trees, but, even though I was not in this world at the time, I do know that history is repeating itself in respect to our highly utilized trees. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, the United States experienced a dark time where we lost countless elm trees due to a disease called Dutch Elm Disease (DED). Even thought DED has no real correlation with EAB, the issue is that so many communities relied upon the ash genera (Fraxinus sp.) to reforest our streets and properties. That was not the best plan, but at the time, no one thought not to do it because ash are a great tree that are incredibly adaptive to poor soils and harsh conditions/exposure much like our treasured American elm. Quick explanation of DED vs. EAB – Elms were affected by a disease vectored (carried) by a beetle where ash are being affected by the feeding of a beetle. Fast forward a few decades and we have our tree lined streets being decimated again by the alien species, EAB. This insect’s larvae feed ferociously and, since Ash are the only food source, damage occurs quickly! The best thing to do is to contact your SavATree arborist and he/she can help determine what plan is best to help your tree(s). It all circles around the situation, value of the tree(s) and both short/long-term goals. Treatments are very effective, but the key is to identify if your tree is a healthy candidate and, in some cases, treatment alone may not be enough where supplemental nutrient or soil enriching treatments are recommended to bolster the health of your tree while injecting to stave off EAB. This is a link from the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture where it will show an interactive map as to where EAB has been reported and quarantined zones – Emerald Ash Borer Status. It is imperative to learn more if you have Ash on your property and contact us today!

Lawn Update: Fall Preparations

red chairs on autumn lawn with fallen leaves

August 21, 2019 – It is so hard to comprehend that we are slowly approaching my favorite season, Fall. As we enter the last leg of summer, this is THE time to look at renovating challenging areas where turf has succumbed to summer stressors or simply looking to bolster the turf stand around your home. One of the best ways to improve turf density is a combined effort of core aeration and overseeding with our custom made seed blends in accordance to exposure, be it full sun or a shady environment. Core aeration is a cultural practice where we use lawn equipment, both walk behind and stand-on, to physically pull “cores” of soil, thatch and organic material from the ground. This practice has a multitude of benefits to improve turf performance but the main objective is to relieve compaction for improved root development which results in providing an overall healthier turf plant. As the weather moderates in September, it is opportune timing for seed development and a byproduct of core aeration is that it creates additional surface area for seed to attach, germinate and establish. Core aeration paired with overseeding is a perfect combination for any lawn this time of year so please contact us for a consultation!

It’s That Time of Year…

Maplewood MN Tree Service

August 12, 2019 – Well, unfortunately, it is that of time year where a major disease really starts showing up in our urban forests. This disease is responsible for countless oak tree failures every year and continues to show up every summer. The oak (Quercus) genera has two groups, red and white where the red oak group typically have pointed lobes on the leaves and where the white oak group have rounded lobes on their leaves. Oak Wilt will affect all oak species, but is most prominent in the red oak group because the vascular system has a larger porosity than the white group, which is why the disease can cause tree failure in a matter of weeks. Conversely, it can take multiple seasons for white oak group trees to decline and fail. Oak Wilt is caused by a fungal pathogen and spreads by way of insect vector and also underground to nearby root grafted trees. Infected red oaks produce a spore “mat” which attract the beetles due to a fruity aroma. When the beetles traverse through the spore mats, spores cling to their bodies and as the beetles visit other trees, spores attach to those trees and proliferate to cause infection. The beetles are attracted to fresh wounds from broken limbs or pruning cuts. That is why we ONLY prune oak trees in the dormant season as the beetles are not active. It is crucial to identify a wilt situation early, which is usually drooping leaves/petioles and progressive browning of the leaves. Management strategies need to be employed immediately to help reduce exposure to nearby trees. In the above photo, the oak on the right has a significant wilt infection which occurred in a matter of weeks. I have already incorporated countermeasures to protect nearby trees. Please contact us to help if you suspect Oak Wilt at your home or property.

Safety Training

tree care forest lake MN

August 3, 2019 – Every week our field operations leader, Trevor Novacek leads discussion to cover different situations that can and/or will be experienced in our multi-hazard profession to ensure a safe execution of projects. Group discussion carries on to review past projects so we can improve our processes by hearing from our talented staff sharing their successes to learning experiences. SavATree is always striving to raise the bar and set the industry benchmark for a safe and successful workplace for our staff and clients!

What About Bob?

tree service north oaks mn

Circle Pines MN Tree Care

July 31, 2019 – As much as I would like to talk about the comedic classic comedy movie, “What About Bob?” with Richard Dreyfus and Bill Murray, unfortunately, I have to push the pause button and talk about a destructive disease that occurs on our native bur oaks called “Bur Oak Blight” or commonly referred to as “BOB”. This affliction originated here in the Mid-West in the 1990’s and is slowly becoming a substantial issue with our bur oaks and, in some rare occurrences, swamp white oaks. BOB is caused by a fungal pathogen and signs include necrotic/dead tissue on leaves, which leads to premature defoliation. This loss of photosynthesis potential slowly deprives the tree of much needed energy in order to sustain itself year to year. If left to its own devices, BOB can slowly degrade the health of the tree where secondary pests such as the two-lined chestnut borer can and will invade the tree and further the decline leading to failure. Although this takes time, it is crucial to address BOB through disease management with technical materials and also supplementing lost nutrients with a fall season fertilization. If you think BOB is visiting oak trees at your home, please contact your area ISA Certified Arborist here at SavATree to arrange a consultation. The earlier it is addressed, the better for your trees and the overall integrity of your property!

Where Are Your Roots?

tree care maplewood mn

new brighton mn tree service

July 29, 2019 – Girdling roots can be an issue with any tree species. However, some of the most common are linden (basswood) and maple trees. The condition usually develops early in t  he plant’s life, but girdling roots can be a concern throughout the entire lifespan of a tree. This issue typically starts at the nursery where soil or other organic materials accumulate against the base of the trees. As the years pass with that material on the trunk, adventitious roots develop and encircle the main stem. When a tree is installed at your home, it is imperative to gently remove the piled up soil in order to expose the main root flare. If that soil remains, the condition worsens and the tree’s conductive tissues become restricted as both the tree and root(s) grow into one another. In many cases, our SavATree team can intervene by performing Root Collar Excavation via Air-Spade and follow up with providing supplemental treatments and soil amendments to improve root development and provide a healthier tree long-term. The first photo shows a visual of canopy decline due to girdling roots and, at that point, the tree cannot be salvaged. The second photo shows a tree that a storm simply blew over! Please contact our team if you believe your tree is at risk and have one of our certified arborists consult with you to see what options you may have!

Lawn Update

lawn service north oaks mn

north oaks mn lawn care

July 28, 2019 – A turf insect that can wreak havoc has been identified in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. It was once thought that Chinch bugs were not a problem this far north, but now these destructive insects are starting to make an appearance. The customer mentioned their lawn has had many issues in years prior to our team beginning services this year and now we know why. Chinch bugs can be quite the challenge to manage and lawns with a history of Chinch bug issues need to be closely monitored so management strategies can be developed. Please contact us if your lawn looks to have “dry looking” areas but no improvement when watered and also those areas are progressively spreading. These insects are tough to manage effectively but we are up to the challenge! Contact us today for free lawn consultation!