It is likely that in these very sunny winter days, you may have observed men, tied to some ropes, dangling from imposing specimens of trees in city parks or private gardens. The possibilities are 2: either a new circus with tightrope walkers has arrived in the city, or you have witnessed a tree climbing pruning operation.
Tree climbing is a tree climbing technique used to perform pruning interventions, with the advantage that the operator can reach any point of the plant without the use of mechanical platforms by means of slings, ropes and telescopic jigsaws.
Why operate in tree climbing?
This pruning technique represented a real revolution in the field of arboriculture. Man has always had the propensity to climb trees for fruit picking and head cleaning; with the discovery of new high-performance materials and the evolution of climbing techniques, today climbing a tree is almost "a walk".
The main advantage lies in the possibility of reaching trees in positions that are closed to mechanical means; it is also possible to cut down whole specimens by checking the fall of the individual pieces of the tree, which is literally sliced.
The basic equipment needed consists of climbing ropes, harnesses, different small pieces of rope, carabiners and other equipment typical of mountaineering.
The operator throws a cord with a weight on the end and must be able to reach a large branch that allows the first ascent. Afterwards, a thicker string is slid halfway along its length on the branch and with particular knots such as Belluno or Prusik (self-locking knots) the ascent begins.
It is also possible to sling whole branches to control their fall to the ground.
Work inside the foliage
Those who love trees also know that they have often been powerless victims of aggressive pruning, such as topping, which have had the sole effect of weakening the plant itself.
Modern arboriculture has different theories on how to raise trees and pruning is now more thoughtful and precise.
Climbing the tree gives an important advantage: the operator has a more complete vision of the plant. Working inside the hair helps to better understand the architecture of the tree itself; in diametral contrast with the classical approach that forces us first to cut the outside, to then observe the inside (with tree climbing we have an extra point of view).
Can I also work in tree climbing?
The answer is simple. NO!
Tree climbing is a very dangerous work technique. Who practices tree climbing
must be an expert. Professionals who can use these techniques must follow a complex regulation, which requires a qualification, which is achieved through specific training courses. Subsequently it is advised to support a more experienced climber in order to continue his education before operating independently.
Absolutely improper attempts are discouraged after reading a simple paper manual. Appropriate training, in-depth knowledge of the arboriculture and the consistency of the woods of the different species is necessary to prevent any risk of branching failures not suitable for tolerating the operator's load and good physical preparation.
A soft version of tree climbing for our garden
Even if you can't practice tree climbing, you can learn some useful secrets for pruning jobs in our garden. By purchasing a climbing harness (price around 40 euros) and using parts of dynamic ropes, it is possible to increase the safety of pruning work.
Even if the heights are not prohibitive, often you are not aware that falling from just 2 meters can already be very bad. Once you have climbed to the center of the plant, which should be raised as a pot (such as an apricot), make sure of a large branch, passing the rope through the harness and changing the branch to which we make sure depending on the most convenient position:
this avoids a ruinous fall in case of loss of balance.
The nodes and the ways in which the plant is assured depend on your knowledge; we do not recommend any method, the purpose of the article is simply to raise awareness about safety measures when operating without feet on the ground.
Even work tools, such as saws, chainsaws and loppers, can be secured to the harness or to the branches by means of lanyards and carabiners: this avoids damage caused by accidental falls and protects any unlucky passers-by.