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28 Jun 2017

Footballs, Frisbees, and Drones – How to Safely Retrieve Things Stuck in Your Tree

Safety Tips for Climbing Trees

 

Anyone who grew up in small towns or in the suburbs has probably experienced climbing trees as a pastime. As a kid, we all enjoy climbing trees, especially during the summer. As kids who believed we were Tarzan, we’ve all had our share of falls and broken bones.

But a kid’s naiveté aside, there is an inherent danger in climbing trees without supervision or safety precautions. As children, we all get a kick at climbing trees without even considering the potential dangers that come with it. And as adults, it is our responsibility to know the risks and apply proper precautions whenever we are faced with a situation where we have to climb a tree.

So, whether you’re a tree climbing enthusiast or just someone who’s just trying to remove from tree something that’s stuck there, here are a few safety tips you need to consider before you start looking at that tree like Sir Edmund Hillary stared at Mount Everest:

 

Safety Tips to Consider before You Start Climbing That Tree

 

  1. Always do a visual inspection of the tree before climbing it.

Don’t think for a second that just because you have had experience climbing trees, you can just safely navigate any tree on the fly without checking it first. Even tree professionals who climb trees for a living know the importance of tree inspection before doing any actual climbing.

Check the tree for broken limbs, signs of infestation, weaknesses, and diseases. If a tree is suffering from any type of disease, or if insects have nested on it or in it, then it’s probably unsafe and unstable for climbing.

 

  1. Never climb a tree in inclement weather.

Climbing trees during bad weather conditions is especially dangerous, because of the effects weather has on trees. If there’s rain or snow, trees can become slippery and unsafe, greatly increasing the chances of accidental falls.

And if you’re dealing with a thunderstorm, well that’s a whole other level of danger. Trees often get hit by lightning strikes. The last thing you want is to be up on a tree in the middle of a thunderstorm. Wind speeds upwards of 15 miles per hour will likely cause the tree to sway. Unless you’re that friendly neighborhood superhero, don’t be up on a tree when strong winds are blowing.

 

  1. Don’t climb trees that are located near power lines.

Live power lines are very dangerous and shouldn’t be trifled with. Before you climb a tree, make sure that there are no power lines nearby. If your rope, any equipment, or any part of your body touches a live power line, electrocution is a very real possibility. If the electricity won’t end you, the fall might.

 

  1. Use safety equipment if you have to climb a tree.

If you absolutely must climb a tree to retrieve whatever it is that’s stuck in there, at least wear appropriate safety gear. Helmet, leather lineman’s gloves, safety goggles, climbing rope—all of these are important safety gear that you should always remember to wear when climbing trees for whatever reason.

 

  1. Stay away from nesting animals or nests that you might encounter.

This should always be included in your initial inspection of the tree before you start climbing. If you see visible nests, especially of insects like bees or wasps, or even birds’ nests or some other critters’, you should call it a day and just call the professionals.

Bees, wasps, possums, squirrels, different kinds of birds—all of these creatures could be living up in your tree, so be very careful when you climb. Oftentimes, it’s not the creature itself that will harm you; it’s the subsequent fall after you get startled. And if you are allergic to bee stings, you should definitely just leave the climbing to the professionals.

 

  1. Don’t wear leg spikes when climbing a tree.

Leg spikes can make climbing easier, but if you care for your tree, you should avoid it. Leg spikes are not ideal because they cause tree wounds. Those wounds make the tree vulnerable to attacks from bacteria, viruses, fungus, and insects. So if you care at all for the health and well being of your tree, please don’t stab it repeatedly by using leg spikes.

 

  1. Leave the climbing to professionals as much as possible.

If you’re in no shape to climb, if you have no experience or do not have the right equipment to safely navigate the tree, you should just contact a professional. Yes, it might cost you a few bucks, but it’s nowhere near the cost of an unfortunate accident that could’ve been avoided in the first place.

 

More info:

 

Pixabay.com photo by Niloblu

09 Jun 2017
tree lightning strike

What to Do If Your Tree Is Struck by Lightning?

Lightning can undoubtedly be considered as one of the greatest threats to massive trees.

As a matter of fact, every year, thousands of trees get struck by lightning. Moreover, it has long been proven that taking shelter under a tall tree in a thunderstorm is one of the most ill-advised things to do.

Being usually the tallest object around a given area makes a tree a natural lightning rod during tempestuous weather. There have even been recorded instances of trees getting blasted by lightning in sunny weather! And with more than 100 lightning strikes happening around the world every second, there’s a fairly good chance that your tree might get hit one of these days.

During spring and summer seasons, lightning strikes become more prevalent, and while not all trees attract lightning (short ones come to mind), it is critical that you learn how to assess lightning damage just in case your plant does get hit.

 

Assessing Tree Damage

When lightning blasts a tree, the impact can be felt instantaneously. The moment it hits, it turns the tree’s water into gas, causing the plant’s outer layers to explode outwards. This effect is catastrophic; 50% of trees hit by a bolt die immediately while others suffer extensive damage, making them vulnerable to diseases.

Among the most common tree species that get hit by lightning are oak, gum, maple, poplar, and pine trees.

 

Degree of Damage

When a tree gets hit by lightning, there are three possible outcomes: The tree escapes damage; it suffers damage but survives with nothing but a scar; it dies.

The Tree Survives

Most of the trees’ water content is stored just under the bark. With water being a superb electrical conductor, the lightning strike will penetrate the outer layers of the tree obliterate them. Lightning blasts will typically scar a tree.

The Tree Escapes Damage

There are times when heavy rain has soaked the tree’s exterior.  When this happens, there’s a chance that the lightning will just cascade around the tree and leave it relatively unscathed.

The Tree Dies

Dying trees—especially ones with an already compromised structure—will typically have one or more areas that are being ravaged by disease. Since these have most of their water content concentrated deeper in their trunk, any lightning strike can fully penetrate the plant’s center and utterly destroy the tree. This can cause a powerful explosion that will send large and small branches flying (including splinters and huge chunks of wood), and even split the trunk into two.

 

What to Do after Lightning Strikes Your Tree

Before you inspect the tree, know that there may still be a residual electric charge around the immediate area of the blast site; do not approach the tree immediately. Let a few minutes pass then take a look at the plant and assess the damage it received from the lightning strike.

The first step that you should do in treating a damaged tree is by supplying it generous amounts of water. Make sure to provide fertilizer as well to help stimulate new growth. Damaged trees that survive until the spring season are most likely to recover from a lightning strike.

Know though, that while scarred barks and broken branches can be considered as minor issues, you have to check from time to time and see that the damage hasn’t spread—trees that have damaged layers become more vulnerable to certain pests and diseases.

Another way that you can do to save a hit tree is by pruning the broken branches, including any torn wood. A word of caution however: Do not do extensive pruning until a year has passed after the lightning strike.

For trees that have suffered extensive, irreparable damage, you need to remove them from your area especially if they are near healthy trees. Leaving them there can sometimes cause numerous arboreal threats to infect your healthy trees. Consult an expert tree removal team to help you get rid of the damaged tree.

 

Tree Protection against Lightning Strikes

In order to prevent lightning from harming your trees, you may consider installing a lightning protection system that uses copper cables attached to the tree’s uppermost branches and grounded a few meters away from the tree.

Once the lightning strikes, the electricity will be diverted to the cable assembly, leaving your tree unscathed.

More info:

Tree Removal

Tree Health Care

Pixabay.com photo by AgencjaAIAC