Now that we have a basic level of understanding about tree climbing, access, and work positioning, we can begin to focus on the actual tree work to be done. Tree work at height generally focuses on a few basic types of jobs to be done, using a few basic types of tools and equipment.
1. Tree trimming/pruning, i.e. working on trees with the goal of maintaining and preserving them. This type of work usually involves one or more of the following operations:
- selective removal of dead / dying branches, or weak branches that may pose a hazard.
- removal of specific branches or sections of tree to achieve certain objectives e.g. clearance away from a building or roadway.
- end-weight reduction of long branches or leaders to discourage breakage from wind or snow-load.
- thinning or removal of unnecessary, crossing, or interfering branches.
- trimming to improve structure and aesthetics.
2. Tree removal, i.e. taking an entire tree down, usually for one or more of the following reasons:
- The tree is dead, dying, hazardous, or damaged.
- It is the wrong tree in the wrong place.
- The tree is causing an obstruction that is impossible to correct through pruning.
- The tree is crowding and causing harm to other trees.
- The tree needs to be removed to allow for new construction.
3. Tree Preservation i.e. mitigation efforts, usually combined with pruning, to extend the life of the tree and to improve safety factors. These may include:
- Installing cables high in the canopy of trees to limit sway and chances of breakage in high winds.
- Installing bracing through damaged or compromised branches or unions, i.e. metal rods for reinforcement.
4. Emergency Work, i.e. entire trees or sections of trees can come down in high winds and storms. In these situations, tree work may be necessary to remove trees and brush from buildings, cars, roadways, etc. Broken trees can also become lodged in other trees and come down at any time, making for hazardous working conditions. All emergency tree work is considered extremely dangerous, even for experienced professionals.
Going forward, we will be breaking down the majority of tree work tasks into 2 main categories: a. Cutting and b. Rigging, but first, let’s go back to our Trivium framework and explore the basic concepts of tree work.
Axioms (First Principles) of Tree Work:
A. We aim to complete all tree work in a safe manner.
Our goal as tree people is to have long and fulfilling careers. To do this, we strive each and every day to make wise decisions that will allow us to return home to our families in one piece, so that the next day we can go back out and do it all over again. No one cares more about your own personal safety than you do.
B. We strive for efficiency and simplicity in our work.
For every tree job, there are always multiple ways to get it done, but the number of inefficient and overly complicated ways will always vastly outnumber the efficient and simple solutions. This is true for both technique and gear. Keep it simple, when appropriate, and get more done with less.
C. We get tree work done without damaging anything.
This most basic premise is true for all tree work, but especially true for those of us who operate in the urban environment. We deal with big trees in tight spots, working around buildings and concrete and rhododendrons and annoying little garden ornaments. Getting the work done without damaging any of that stuff is literally what it means to be a professional, and is the entire reason that the customer called us in the first place, instead of just calling half-price Harry with a ladder and chainsaw.
Terminology: Tree Work
These are the must-know terms and phrases in tree work. Do Not skip over these terms!
*** This page is currently under construction. In the meantime, here are some videos of real tree work: