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Caring for Trees, One at a Time, is Liz Pang’s Business

Liz Pang and Eduardo Tobar discuss last minute details before taking down trees at a client’s house in West Hartford. Pang owns Luna Tree Care and Tobar has been her right arm since they started the business in 2012. Courtesy photo

West Hartford resident Liz Pang is one of few women business owners in the tree care business.

Liz Pang is a licensed arborist with a master’s in landscape architecture and loves to do designs and plantings. As part of the design of a client’s pool area, she created this area full of plants, shown here getting ready to plant. Courtesy photo

By Tracey Weiss

Liz Pang always goes out on a limb for her clients. While she leaves the literal climbing to her working partner Eduardo Tobar, every client, every job, and every tree gets the very best treatment from Luna Tree Care.

For homeowners, trees can elicit a passionate response. “There’s an emotional attachment to trees,” she said. “If you’ve had a tree for 30 years, you’ve been the steward of that tree and maybe you’ve had a lot of firsts. It’s hard to cut it down. But if you have a plan (such as planting new trees), you’re creating a space for all of those firsts for someone else, for them to have some first over the next 30 years.”

Will Dominello and family have been using Luna Tree Care at their West Hartford home and property since they moved in in 2017. They are gradually removing some of the large pine trees that are diseased and compromised on the property to make way for new trees and shrubs, and Liz is also helping them to re-landscape certain areas.

Liz Pang’s love of plants and trees is always incorporated into her sculpture. “In my art I always used trees or sticks as subject matter,” she said. Courtesy photo

“We have two maple trees in front of our house that I asked Liz to prune for us when we first moved here,” Dominello said. “I had the desire to bring them up and prune them. Liz has a great eye for it and she sat in front and pointed out to Eduardo which branches to take down and which to not take down. She didn’t just leave it to someone else. She cares a lot about the work she does and takes pride in it. She wants things done right.

“She’s honest and up front. I never worry about her price. She’s always fair and reasonable and I trust her.”

She’s also responsive. “If I call her, she’ll be out as soon as she can,” he said. “I wouldn’t even consider going to anyone else for this type of work.”

Taking down trees is the biggest part of the business, but Pang is also an arborist and also has a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Connecticut. She loves helping clients with the designs and implementation of new landscaping.

These days, she’s busier than she ever imagined she could be. Most of her work is in West Hartford and its surrounding towns, such as Avon and Farmington.

“Last year was the busiest year, despite COVID,” she said. “Then we had all of those storms. Most people don’t even notice a tree was dying until a storm hits.”

Luna Tree Care’s main business is taking down trees, and they do it efficiently. Client Eddie Binder said, “I can’t get over how quickly they do things. When they clean up you would never even know they were there.” Courtesy photo

Native growth

Pang was born and raised in town – her maiden name is Sanders. “I went to Duffy, Sedgwick and Conard,” she said.

She married Lan Pang in 1998. He’s owned Butterfly Restaurant on Farmington Avenue since 1996. The two met there when they were both working at Butterfly. The Pangs have a son, Christopher.

Prior to that, Pang said she “wound up at RISD” (Rhode Island School of Design) after high school. “I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” she said. “I loved art but it just wasn’t for me,” though she did earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the school.

She also fell in love with Asian culture, after taking a trip with her mother in her senior year of high school, to Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

After graduating from RISD, she said, “I wound up at Ocean University of China at Qingdao,” where she taught from 1990-91 before returning home.

While working at Butterfly, she got her master’s degree in East Central Asian Studies at Central Connecticut State University. “I guess I just wanted to learn more about what I had experienced” overseas, she added.

She dug into her love of plants after that, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in landscape architecture at the University of Connecticut. Growing up, she was always in her parents’ garden. “I had the plant bug; I loved digging in dirt,” she said.

Before the planting: Liz Pang is a licensed arborist with a master’s in landscape architecture and loves to do designs and plantings. As part of the design of a client’s pool area, she created this area full of plants, shown here before any work. Courtesy photo

Branching out

In 2006, Pang was diagnosed with leukemia, but was declared cancer free in 2011.

After that, she made the decision that she wanted to do what she loved: working with plants.

“I got a job at a tree company,” she said, and that was where she met Tobar. “I worked with Eduardo there,” and even though the company wasn’t a good fit for either one of them, it motivated Pang to try her hand at owning her own business. Luna Tree Care was born in 2012.

Liz Pang’s love of plants and trees is always incorporated into her sculpture. “In my art I always used trees or sticks as subject matter,” she said. Courtesy photo

“I had the background, thanks to my UConn degree,” she said. “Starting out was hard in the beginning. I was knocking on doors and leaving my cards everywhere.”

She and Eduardo have a good working relationship, she said. She goes out and meets with customers and sets up jobs for her six employees.

“Eduardo is the star tree climber,” she said. “He gets in the buckets and uses the crane and he loves it. He has no fear of heights.”

Despite the hassles that come with owning a business, she said, “I love it. It’s fun to go to a job site and hear the noise. You’re helping people. I love hearing, ‘You guys are the best.’”

And does being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated business have an effect on her work? “When I go to conferences I’m usually one of five women there,” she said.

Here in town, the answer is no. “People are so nice and supportive.”

That includes Eddie Binder, whose family has been a client since Pang started. “Liz was out and about, putting her flyers in mailboxes,” Binder said. “We needed work done and we happen to have a dog named Luna so that was as good a reason as any to call her. We loved her work and have been using her ever since.

“It’s easy to work with her. She is straightforward and the work is very fairly priced for what she does.”

Professionalism counts too, Binder added. “I can’t get over how quickly they do things. When they clean up you would never even know they were there.”

Luna Tree Care is can be reached at 860-729-5444 or email them at [email protected].

Liz Pang’s love of plants and trees is always incorporated into her sculpture. “In my art I always used trees or sticks as subject matter,” she said. Courtesy photo

A version of this story originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of West Hartford LIFE.

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