Why Do Tree Surgeons Use Climbing Spikes?

Why Do Tree Surgeons Use Climbing Spikes?

Why do tree surgeons use climbing spikes? Climbing spikes are usually used by arborists when they are felling a tree. This is because spikes can severely damage a tree by puncturing the cambium of the tree, which may then leak sap (they are sharpened steel spikes, after all!). The punctures can also lead to insect infestations and ugly damage to an otherwise healthy tree. Climbing spikes do give advantages in certain situations, but they are not without their own hazards. Here’s an explanation of when and why tree surgeons use them.

When Tree Surgeons Use Climbing Spikes

Spikes are used when a tree is being removed, and/or the position or height of the tree removes other options. For example, a tree near power lines or deep within a cloister may be inaccessible with other equipment, such as a lift. Sometimes a tree’s branch height doesn’t allow for easy rope access, and other means are necessary.

Risks and Safety Requirements

Climbing spikes are inherently dangerous. Professional training is required in their use and they should only be used in specific situations that require it. Professionals must assess the situation before using the spikes to decide whether a better alternative can be used to access the tree. In addition to the spurs, climbers must also wear full PPE and use a harness wherever possible. While climbing spikes are used because there’s a lack of options with rigging, in certain situations, it may be possible to set up partial rigging in the lower stages of a tree to reduce risks from fall injuries.

How Climbing Spikes are Used

The spikes are designed to attach to an arborist’s boots using pads and straps. High-quality designs such as the Treehog TH1000 can fit comfortably around boots with the spikes pointing downwards for support. There are also more expensive climbing spurs on the market such as the Stein ELEVATE Climber Kit. This model is designed to accommodate the different sizes and thicknesses of arborists’ lower legs and calves. This allows for greater comfort for more sustained periods of work no matter how someone is shaped.

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