Is your tree care provider using spikes to climb while pruning your trees? Ouch!
Climbing spikes are sharpened steel spikes attached to the climber's leg by leather straps and padded supports. These spikes are traumatizing to your living tree and create unnecessary damage.
Each puncture from a climbing spike produces a certain amount of tree tissue death around it to some extent, varying from tree to tree. In most cases isolated wounds will seal, but over time, groupings of spike holes can cause the entire area on the trunk to die back with no chance of recovery.
The likelihood of piercing the cambium (living tissue beneath the bark) is high, even with larger trees and thick bark. If soon after the work is performed with spikes there is sap oozing from the wounds, the tree is responding to spike damage. Repeated damage of this type is harmful to the tree.
So why would climbers use spikes? The use of tree climbing spikes (spurs, hooks, gaff, irons, etc.) is a once-practiced method of climbing trees that has proven to be harmful to long-term tree health. The climber, using one leg at a time, will kick these spikes into the tree tissue and take alternate steps to ascend the tree - similar to climbing a ladder.
There are certain exceptions, when spikes are allowed, such as:
Homeowners searching for qualified tree care companies should look for the following:
A professional can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best trees and shrubs to plant for your existing landscape.
Why Not to “Top” ---Eight Good Reasons
1. STARVATION: Good pruning practices rarely remove more than one-fourth of the crown, which in turn does not seriously interfere with the ability of a tree’s leafy crown to manufacture food. Topping removes so much of the crown that it upsets an older tree’s well-developed crown-to-root ratio and temporarily cuts off its food making ability.
2. SHOCK: A tree’s crown is like an umbrella that shields much of the tree from the direct rays of the sun. By suddenly removing this protection, the remaining bark tissue is so exposed that scalding may result. There may also be a dramatic effect on neighboring trees and shrubs. If the tree thrives in shade and the shade is removed, poor health or death may result.
3. INSECT and DISEASE: The large stubs of a topped tree have a difficult time forming callus. The terminal location of these cuts, as well as their large diameter, prevents the tree’s chemically based natural defense system from doing its job. The stubs are highly vulnerable to insect invasion and the spores of decay fungi. If decay is already present in the limb, the opening will speed the spread of the disease.
4. WEAK LIMBS: At best, the wood of a new limb that sprouts after a larger limb is truncated is more weakly attached than a limb that develops more normally. If rot exists or develops at the severed end of
the limb, the weight of the sprout makes a bad situation even worse.
5. RAPID NEW GROWTH: The goal of topping is usually to control the height and spread of a tree. Actually, it has the opposite effect. The resulting sprouts (often called water sprouts) are far more numerous than normal new growth, and they elongate so rapidly that the tree returns to its original height in a very short time---and with a far denser crown.
6. TREE DEATH: some older trees are more tolerant of topping than others. Beeches, for example, do not sprout rapidly after severe pruning, and the reduced foliage most surely will lead to death of the tree.
7. UGLINESS: A topped tree is a disfigured tree. Even with its regrowth, it never regains the grace and character of its species. The landscape and the community are robbed of a valuable asset.
8. COST: To a worker with a saw, topping a tree is much easier than applying the skill and judgment of good pruning. Therefore, topping may cost less in the short run. However, the true costs of topping are hidden. These costs include reduced property value, the expense of removal and replacement if the tree dies, the loss of other trees and shrubs if they succumb to changed light conditions, the risk of liability from weakened branches, and increased future maintenance.