Have you ever walked past a team of tree surgeons as they are dismantling an awkward tree? Maybe there are powerlines running alongside the tree or a delicate structure that they have to avoid. A lot of people are interested in what we do and how we do it, understanding that that it takes a great deal of skill, experience and training to tackle a large tree as the wind blows and the rain comes down and every piece of material has to come down into an area the size of a small garden shed! That could be someone’s idea of a real nightmare, but to most of us it’s an enjoyable challenge that it is very rewarding.
What most people don’t see as they stroll past a work site is the days, weeks, months or sometimes years of planning that enable us to do these jobs safely and efficiently. Properly trained and experienced staff are essential, as is access to the right equipment and machinery. Training is the first step that we need to undertake, the use of a chainsaw (on the ground and in the tree), tree felling, aerial rescue, climbing a tree with the aid of a harness, woodchipper, 1st aid and emergency planning are just a small selection of skills that need not just training but in some cases many years of experience to master. Tools need to be adequately maintained and in good condition, ropes and harnesses must be replaced on a regular basis so as to ensure that they are safe to use. Once all the background work is in place then we can get to dealing with the tree work itself.
Take a mature Oak tree that stands at 20m+ (65ft) overhanging a road with powerlines alongside and delicate plants beneath the tree. The tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). The tree owner is concerned about the safety of the tree and asks us to have a look at it and advise. Our arboriculturalists inspect the tree and it becomes clear that it is in an unsafe condition and requires removal. This is where our tree surgery teams step in to take up the challenge of discussing the job with the client and supplying the client with a suitable quotation. Once an agreement has been reached we then undertake the necessary TPO paperwork required to seek permission from the local council to remove the tree. After 8 weeks permission is received and we can start organising the work. Meticulous planning is essential. The works may require a road closure, which requires us to notify local businesses, schools, landowners and road users of the upcoming works. A power shut-down may be required and we may need to arrange the hiring of specialist machinery, such as a crane, to make the job safer and more efficient.
Then the day comes when the team will load all the machinery and equipment that they need and off they go to site. Onsite planning, risk assessment and site set-up can take up a good part of the morning before we even get to start up a chainsaw or get into the tree. Whilst undertaking the job, concentration must be at its peak and all the staff must work together as a team.
A single tree can take a day or as long as a week to dismantle, follow the link below to see a Youtube video of such a tree.
But we all consider ourselves extremely lucky to be working in the industry!