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Recommendations for a Newb

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by kiteboarder, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. kiteboarder

    kiteboarder ArboristSite Lurker

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    Hi,

    My plan is to climb trees on my property to trim and clean small limbs and such. I don't intend to cut off large limbs due to the dangers of it. I will be climbing mostly cedars and oaks. I want to clean the trunks of cedars because as they grow, the lowest limbs dry off but stay on the tree for a long time. I want those off. The oaks could use a bit of cleaning and trimming. I have a couple of firs here and there too.

    My intention is to climb vertically with spikes and a harness. I would be using small axes, machete and 18 inch chainsaw for the work. I don't intent to do very high climbs. Maybe 50 feet and usually for short periods.

    I've been reading on the subject on various sites as well as here. I do have some recommendations that I need and maybe you can help:

    1. I see and have read about the differences between an arborist harness, climbing harness and hunting tree climbing harness. Which would you recommend for the light work I intend to do? Any specific models?

    2. Any recommendations for climbing straps?

    Apart from helmet, spikes, harness and climbing strap... anything else you think I need?

    I know I sound like a newb, which is what I am, but I intend to learn more and read more before I do my first climb. Not to mention, my first few climbs I'll keep to 25 ft at the most.
     
    Wrenchbender16 likes this.
  2. greengreer

    greengreer ArboristSite Operative

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    Please don't use spikes, or a chainsaw, or hatchet or anything but a handsaw. You need an arborist saddle, an arborists climb line, a flipline, a throwline and throw bag, and a copy of tree climbers companion. Oh and a good helmet.
    Spike create wounds in the tree that are pathways to infection and rot, learn how to do it with a rope and saddle.
    Spend $40 on a decent handsaw and it will do everything you need. Tie in twice while cutting. Also do some research on making proper cuts. If you are going to do this, do it right. Not to sound like an a-hole but please dont become another statistic that drives up insurance rates for the people who do this safely for a living.
     
  3. unclemoustache

    unclemoustache My 'stache is bigger than yours.

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    Howdy and welcome.

    First of all, DO NOT climb trees with spurs unless the tree is going to be taken out. The gaff holes do damage to the trees and could cause lots of problems. I've got an oak on my property that is dying just for that reason - it was spiked about 5 years ago. What a shame.

    I recommend you get up into the canopy with a ladder. Now, before I get blasted by others for suggesting you work from a ladder, let me be very clear here. You certainly can work from a ladder, but there are significant dangers. You MUST tie the top of the ladder to the tree in case a swinging or falling branch knocks the ladder from under you. Also, if you rest the ladder against a branch and cut that same branch, the sudden release of weight will cause the remainder of the branch to lift up, possibly over the height of the ladder. And you also want to tie yourself in to the tree as well - not the same rope (and preferably not the same location) as the ladder. You never know when a bee or squirrel might startle you and cause you to lose your grip or footing.

    As for cutting large limbs, they are not much more dangerous than small limbs, especially if you have a clear drop zone (no power lines, fences, houses, cars, children, land mines, etc). Watch a pile of videos online and you'll see a few techniques on how it's done (or done wrong!). Watching people who don't know what they're doing is also a good education in what not to do.

    The principle is that you start about a foot or more from the trunk to make a cut underneath the branch first (about 10% - 20% through the thickness of the branch) then cut from the top the rest of the way through. (If you cut too far through the bottom, the weight of the branch will pinch the saw blade, and you'll not be able to get it out for anything. Have a spare saw on hand!) Once that is done than you can cut the stump back properly. However, bear in mind that it's healthier for the tree if you cut it back to the 'collar' of the branch, and not flush with the trunk. Here's a quick vid of the principle:

    As for tools, I recommend you have a top-handle chainsaw for one-handed work. If that's not affordable, then a pruning saw (as shown in the video) is better than a hatchet and machete. You can't control a hatchet as well as you need for a good clean cut, so use a saw of some kind. You'd be amazed at how much you can get done with just a pruning saw.

    For a harness, I think anything will do - it's a fall-arrest system so that if you fall, it will keep you from splatting on the ground. You can even make your own out of rope, but it may not be very comfortable. I taught my kids to rappel and made harnesses for them out of cheap 1" webbing straps.

    I'd recommend getting a decent rope. Go to your local rock climbing shop and get at least 100' of something that's at least 1/2" thick (12 mm). Learn how to tie a couple knots - the bowline is an excellent all-around knot to know.

    That's all I have time for right now - chili for dinner tonight! Hopefully some others will chime in with more advice.
     
  4. kiteboarder

    kiteboarder ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks to both of you! This is the sort of thing I'm looking for. Straight honest answers. Plus, you just saved me from spending money on the wrong gear. I', reading those two posts again a few times until they really sink in. Hopefully I'll get more on this thread. I'll post more feedback as I continue my research. Thanks again.

    By the way, what do you think about the climbing ladder that you tie in parts to the tree? It's foldable and you tie one section as as you go up you tie more sections.
     
  5. jefflovstrom

    jefflovstrom It was a beautiful day!

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    Oh god,,,,I am speechless,,,,
    Jeff
     
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  6. greengreer

    greengreer ArboristSite Operative

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    So many things wrong with that post that I don't even know where to begin...
    No to ladders. No to buying a top handle saw and no to one handing it. No to "any old saddle will do", arborist saddles aren't fall arrest, they are for work positioning. No to rock climbing rope, very different from what we use and will not be beneficial to your needs.
    Sorry to shoot you down uncle mustache, but I do this for a living. I'm all about diy and I think it's great the op wants to learn but there are too many people out there that just get out a ladder and a chainsaw and trim their trees, often resulting in the tree or the individual getting mutilated for no good reason. Not sure yet which is worse...
     
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  7. kiteboarder

    kiteboarder ArboristSite Lurker

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    Ok, fair enough. Let's see. Let's simplify this a bit....

    1. I'm one of those DIYers, but the type that won't even start until I'm 100% sure I'm safe. I think things through very well and learn things well before I even start. Safety first, second and third.

    2. I don't intend to get in over my head. I'm happy trimming the first 25 feet of tree trunk. If I need to go higher than that, I'm happy to hire a pro.

    3. I just need to be able to work the first 25 feet of tree safely. I have about 15-30 trees I need to work on on the low level. If I do that, I'm happy with the progress and the difference it will make. If I need to do more than that next year, I can hire a pro.

    So, having said all that, I need the advice and recommendations to do that "easy" low-level work safely. I'm happy to use a hand saw. I have a chainsaw and pole chainsaw that I can keep for just ground work. Been using a chain saw since I was like 14, I'm approaching 40 now. I'm not new to hands-on work.
     
  8. ksvanbrunt

    ksvanbrunt ArboristSite Member

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  9. ksvanbrunt

    ksvanbrunt ArboristSite Member

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    If you are after 25 ft, order a nice telescoping polesaw online. You can get them that extend over 20 ft. Have a small step ladder to get the last few feet if needed or stand on the bed of a truck. This would be your cheapest and most safe way.
     
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  10. domonick

    domonick ArboristSite Lurker

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    Goodluck be safe and have a goodtime o and make some $$$.
     
  11. kiteboarder

    kiteboarder ArboristSite Lurker

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    ^^^ Thanks. But, I'm not making any money. I know this is mostly a pro site, but what I'm doing is strictly for maintenance on my property.

    I'm going to see how far up I can go with a pole saw and maybe a ladder (or one like this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032X015Q/ref=ox_sc_act_title_7?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A19XE0CFLN81HP which ties to the tree), for the cedar. Since those barely have limbs I just don't see how the heck I would climb one without spikes. The oaks look at a lot easier as there are plenty of strong limbs to attached harness lines too. Again, not climbing very high, but I can at least see how those can be done more safely. I think after that I'll be pretty much set.
     
  12. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Cedars can be climbed, but getting your rope set can be a giant pain, especially if they have sloping branches.

    Regardless of what others have said, I would recommend a ladder with the following provisos to make it safe. Use an extension ladder and wear a climbing saddle and lanyard/climbing line. When you have climbed to the top of the ladder, before you do anything else, tie yourself into the tree by either the lanyard or climbing line. Many cedars around here, the lower branches slope heavily, so wrap the line around the tree. Once you are tied in, you can either enter the canopy and have someone on the ground take the ladder away, or use the ladder as a place to stand.

    The danger in using a ladder comes when you are not tied in. Large limbs are known to come down and knock out the bottom of the ladder. If you are tied in when this happens, you obviously will not fall. It would be same as standing on a branch when you are tied in and having the branch break.

    Using a ladder to climb into the canopy is something we do commonly as a significant amount of our work is conifers and isolating a throwline around a secure branch can be a challenging exercise in patience, if you can throw into the tree in the first place.
     
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  13. kiteboarder

    kiteboarder ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks for the advice. That makes a lot of sense. I was just out looking at the tree and I can clearly see how I could tie a line around some of them. Some of them look more challenging, but I can start with the easy ones first.

    By the way, I'll post some pics of some of the trees soon when I get a chance...
     
  14. ksvanbrunt

    ksvanbrunt ArboristSite Member

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    I would definitely not recommend using an ext. ladder strappeto the tree. Even if you are "strapped" in to the tree with a positioning ladder and a limb takes out the ladder, then what? Just hang out until someone sees you?

    Seriously, a pole saw will reach everything it sounds like you need, it will be the cheapest and the most useful tool for your property. PLEASE don't try to climb without professional training. As someone already stated, we do not need people thinking that this line of work is "so easy" that they end up getting hurt. That translates to an "arboricultural" accident and makes us look like a bunch of punks which raises our workers comp rates.
     
  15. jefflovstrom

    jefflovstrom It was a beautiful day!

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  16. kiteboarder

    kiteboarder ArboristSite Lurker

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    By the way, I would not do this alone. My son would help reposition the ladder if necessary. Again, I'm also not doing this professional for work, just on my property. Secondly, I've seeing the videos of people taking out branches that are took big and they swinging down and taking out ladders. I'm not going to do that. I would tie the limb with a secondary rope if necessary. I think a lot of this is common sense too. A lot of people don't have it.
     
  17. unclemoustache

    unclemoustache My 'stache is bigger than yours.

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    You must be union.....:p


    So, do you have any practical advice or do you just want to sound like an OSHA commercial? ("No to this, no to that, no to this, no to that....")

    What's the deal with a top handle saw? Every pro uses them.

    And why not use them one-handed? Tell me, what is the purpose for putting the handle on the top?

    So what kind of saddle should he get?

    What's the major difference between a rock climbing rope and an arborist climbing rope?


    You say you're concerned about people and trees getting hurt, but you gave no practical advice at all, nor any reasons why my advice was bad. If you do this for a living, than you should be a veritable wealth of information, so out with it.

    This OP is obviously ignorant about tree work, but he's also smart enough to bone up significantly on his knowledge before tackling it. I don't see any reason why we can't all chip in and give him practical advice suitable to his needs
     
  18. jefflovstrom

    jefflovstrom It was a beautiful day!

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    Dude, you are killing me!
    If we can not talk you out of it,
    please video it and post it from the hospital room,,
    have your son get out of the way before you start cutting and tell him when to press 'Record',,
    tell him to take the ladder with him,,
    Jeff
     
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  19. ksvanbrunt

    ksvanbrunt ArboristSite Member

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    Thanks Jeff.I wanted to say this but I'm too nice of a guy. Good on you sir!
     
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  20. greengreer

    greengreer ArboristSite Operative

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    Did you ever think there is a reason why we use some of the things we do? The tools created for arborist are engineered and tested to safely and efficiently climb trees.

    Rock climbing rope is meant to absorb huge amounts of energy when a climber falls and would essentially be like climbing on a rubber band. Not to mention it really doesnt knot very well and will be difficult to make a basic hitch run well.

    You said it about top handle saws. "Pro's use them all the time". It's critical to gain some experience and comfort just being in a tree before making any cuts, especially with a chainsaw. The op said he wanted to trim smaller branches so why spend $300+ on a specialty tool and then advocate cheaping out on the stuff that is life support. I.e. any old harness or webbing sling homebrew bs. A decent work positioning saddle isnt terribly expensive. A decent 16strand climbing line isn't any more than a decent rock climbing rope. I'm not advocating this guy buy everything a modern pro would use.
    One handing is such muddy waters I am cautious to step into it here. In this situation let's just say pro's do it from time to time but it should be avoided whenever possible. No doubt there are more injuries from reckless one handing.

    I am glad he came here for advice on a diy project he wants to handle. Unfortunately he, along with alot of others, have taken the name of this site too literally. Most people on here are not arborists. Most people on here are chainsaw geeks. Nothing wrong with that until they start giving out misinformation that could potentially be life threatening.
    I definitely don't want to see the op hurt, or anyone for that matter, not because it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to offer safety tips, but because everytime harry-homeowner drops a tree on someone or falls off a ladder whilst hacking away at his trees and my girlfriend sees it on the news I have to explain why what I do is safe and how they are morons.


    Kiteboarder
    I guess I could have taken the safe route and just said "don't do it, call a pro", or the easy route and not posted at all. What I am offering is advice to be able to access a tree with a good level of safety. Who knows, you may really enjoy climbing and do it for fun. It's really cool to explore and experience a world that most people do not get to see.
     

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