Preparing for a Tree Climb

Preparing for a Tree Climb

Whether you’re an arborist or a non-professional, preparing for a tree climb is extremely important. This can be hazardous work when undertaken without proper climbing equipment or preparation. Especially if you plan to use a cutting saw.

Ensure you have appropriate clothing

Appropriate PPE gear and clothing is essential when climbing. Your clothing should allow you to move your joints fully without snagging. It should have protective sections especially if you are using a chainsaw. Remove anything that can get stuck during the climb or on the chainsaw, including personal jewellery.

Preparing for a Tree Climb

Before you begin, ensure you fully appraise the tree to ensure it’s safe. Many trees are not safe to climb. Watch out for red flags such as deep splits in the trunk or branches, signs of decay, or branches that are less than 15 centimetres in diameter. It goes without saying that you should not climb in poor weather conditions. Rain makes the tree slippery. Trees are deadly on days when there are chances of lightning or thunderstorms. Very cold weather makes the branches brittle, so on colder days, it’s essential to double-check branches before using them to support your weight.

Other risks include power cables near the tree. During the summer months ensure there are no bee or wasp nests as these will attack you if you get too close. Ensure any cut branches are not left snagged in the tree as these can become falling hazards for anyone beneath them.

Is the tree sturdy enough to climb?

Before throwing a climbing rope on a branch ensure the tree is in good condition. Some signs of a weak tree can be found in the first metre of the trunk. Fungus feeds on decaying matter. So if you see mushrooms or fungus growing around the base of the tree or on the tree itself, this is a strong sign of dead wood.
A dead tree’s branches will fall to the ground, so many branches piled on the ground beneath the tree are a sign that the tree is weakened and potentially unsafe to climb. There may also be signs of uprooting such as severed roots or cracked/raised soil beside the tree’s trunk.

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