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Climbing trees in the rain: Dangerous, or just unpleasant?

Dee MacThomas

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It's never occured to me that it would be a problem for us Northerners, but last winter my family had two arborists cancel on separate occasions due to the weather; specifically, the rain.


The job was to thin out and raise the crown on our 80 ft Eucalyptus. Two days' work for three lads, they said.


I've no idea how heavy it was tipping down, but I know that it was just raining and a bit cold. No wind.


So, is it normal for tree work to be called off in wet weather? Is it any more dangerous than in the dry? So long as my saw is not submerged in water and I stay comfortable, I'd say I'm alright.


I ended up doing the job myself. It was fun applying my rock climbing skills to tree climbing. Some of my techniques might have raised your eyebrows!

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Most outfits will carry on in the rain but it’s not uncommon to pick and choose your jobs. Eucalyptus in particular is no fun at all to climb when wet so I wouldn’t blame them at all for opting for something easier. Danger aside, add in what could potentially go wrong in the way of collateral damage(greenhouses beneath etc)…sometimes it’s just not worth the agro

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When I left Bolton in September of 2002 it had rained incessantly for the best part of 9 weeks.

I had to cancel quite a few large reductions/dismantles and concentrate on straight fells and conifer jobs instead, waiting for the weather to break, it didn’t. 
Starting a job in good weather then having torrential rain by mid day is quite normal, I have never called a job off mid way through, but starting a wet Beech, Eucalyptus or Sycamore reduction without gaffs is certainly not my favourite thing to tackle, If I could reschedule, I would.

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11 minutes ago, richyrich said:

Spikes only used on trees that are being removed- not used on trees that are being kept. Damages bark and lets disease in...

Yeh, where you live but in Kent, more specifically where Mark Bolam lives, it is widely accepted that pruning with spikes helps the tree breath through those extra holes.

 Mark told me that in 2009 when I first joined Arbtalk.

 True that.



Edited by Ty Korrigan
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Good advice from Mick and Pete. Slower, harder and therefore swap a job with a take down or some easy fells. Clearing up in the rain can be tedious and I've cancelled many a job because you know the customers prize lawn is going to look like a building site by the end of the day.


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