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Tree Surgery Perception: Is It Easy Like The Lumberjack Cartoons?


Tree surgery is no simple task. Sometimes when we explain we’re tree arborists - you can almost see the looks in people’s faces… “Tree arborists… What is that? Do they mean they just chop down a tree like in the cartoons? Don’t you just axe through it a few times, it comes tumbling down and that’s it?” Tree Surgery Cambridgeshire is more complex than that as you’re about to find out…

As with most things in life, especially when working with something standing as high as a building, weighing multiple tonnes, blowing in the wind, surrounded by valuable assets, a tree expert is more than a glorified cartoon with an axe, a plaid shirt and a hairy chest. In fact, you need to be properly educated to take down such a beastly part of nature safely and properly on a consistent basis. We have level 3 diplomas in forestry and arboriculture as well as being City and Guilds NPTC qualified which took several years of training and practising for any of us to call ourselves a qualified tree surgeon.

Uniform is also standard procedure so hairy chests can’t always be confirmed.

You WILL need to find a certified arborist if you’re going to have a tree taken down in around any of your property. Make sure they definitely are a licensed arborist and that they have the correct qualifications. This is a safety issue as much as a professional issue. You could pay someone that doesn’t actually know what they’re doing and end up with ‘Half a job’ - maybe it’s unsafe or they leave a load of the waste behind.

People are quite shocked the first time they see a tree being taken down. Again, they assume the process is going to be like a lumberjack cartoon. They see our vehicles show up, they see us with all our gear (arborist climbing equipment, arborist tools and equipment etc.) on and probably think: “that’s a bit much, isn’t it? All this to axe down those trees!?…

But things quickly start to change when they hear the deafening roar of the chainsaws and start to see one of the team scale the tree. They quickly realise tree surgeons aren’t a cop out and, at least with our company, they’re watching real professions operate quickly and decisively. You really can’t just chop a tree down from the route of the trunk wielding an axe and hope for the best…

There’s a reason this profession is called tree *surgery*. There are plenty of tree surgery techniques and it’s not a case of just chopping the tree down from its base.

Sometimes we even get small crowds gather to watch as the pursuit looks so dangerous. To us, after to many years, it doesn’t seem dangerous, but it’s not every day you see someone hanging from the top of a tree with a revving chainsaw hanging round their waist with full uniform and gear on. One of us will literally be suspended from the top, feet on a branch, with ropes attached to the top of the tree and to something stable on ground level, ready to start dissecting the tree, one branch at a time.

The reason for being at the top of the unstable looking tree is that you need to start getting rid of the weight from the tree so that you can safely bring the tree down. You start by taking off branches from the top, slowly cutting away at the kilos and giving yourself more control over the tree and how it will eventually come down. The tree surgeon at the top will use their mini chainsaw that’s strapped round their waist to start sawing the branches. This is where people are wowed as, occasionally, these branches can be massive. It’s a spectacle and you really have to be trained to do this. A vast piece of nature that man seemingly couldn’t do anything to move is being eradicated minute by minute in front of their eyes.

As the main tree surgeon cuts branches down from the top, other tree arborists will be at the bottom collecting the branches, cutting them into smaller sections of wood and moving them either out of the way or into the vehicle. This keeps the job tidy as you go and gets rid of potential safety hazards in and around the tree.

So, the tree gets chainsawed branch by branch as the main surgeon scales down the tree, making sure to adjust their harness and stay as safe as possible. The main trunk is largely untouched as this usually makes up the bulk of the tree and therefore the most weight. The branches are sawed off first to reduce the weight. Then, when the flailing branches are taken care of, we start to work on the trunk.

Even when it comes to taking the trunk, it isn’t a case of just sawing from the bottom and hoping for the best with the tree’s landing. The process is more like taking off sections of the trunk from the top in manageable sizes. Again, this reduces the risk as much as possible so masses of tonnes aren’t flying through the air. The tree slowly gets dissected from the top, part by part, all the way to the bottom. This is why tree surgery IS considered tree surgery. We aren’t chopping, hacking or madly chainsawing a big tree. It’s a delicate and potentially dangerous job that needs care. It’s really a dissection process and that’s where tree surgery gets its name from.

If you need to bring any trees down, ensure you hire a certified tree arborist to do the job as mentioned before. A handyman or someone unqualified shouldn’t even be considered. If done incorrectly, tree surgery can be one of the most dangerous jobs in the the trade world. Not just anyone is going to have arborist tools and equipment, either. Hire professionals with experience, a track record and great testimonials. That way you’ll ensure a brilliant process and result. You can always find us on Yell, Facebook, Google and other sites to check our legitimacy!

Until next time,
TH Tree Surgery


TH Tree Surgery

Sycamore Cottage,
40 Mildenhall Road,
Fordham,
Cambridgeshire,
CB7 5NR