Owning property can be a real tree-t, but it also comes with the extra responsibility to keep trees healthy and vibrant. The average homeowner is more than capable of doing some of these tasks themselves, but others are best left to certified professionals—unless you want to wind up losing your limbs rather than your trees. 

Take tree trimming, for instance. Each of your property’s different trees and shrubs requires a specific set of practices to survive and thrive. Any qualified tree service provider should know the proper steps and have the basic equipment to handle your trees’ needs—but not all tree service companies are created equal. 

One significant way tree companies differ is how they access your tree’s limbs and branches. We highly recommend not hiring a professional who uses climbing spikes to access a tree that you plan to keep in your yard. Read on to learn why.

Close up of boot with tree spikes

Understanding Tree Climbing Spikes

When to Use Spikes

Tree climbing spikes, also known as climbing spurs or gaffs, consist of sharpened steel spikes that tree climbers attach around their legs or tree climbing boots, enabling them to access and navigate through the trees they are servicing. Avoid using tree spikes on healthy trees because they can cause irreparable damage or even lead to the tree’s death unless the following situations apply:

  • The tree is being removed.
  • There is no other way to climb the tree due to branch height or the inability to access the tree with a lift device.
  • The tree is close to power lines.
  • There is an injured climber up in the tree.

When Spikes Are Dangerous

Tree spurs damage every part of the tree they pierce, and unlike humans, a tree cannot heal itself. So, using climbing spikes can significantly damage your healthy trees, even if they are larger or have thicker bark. Some ways tree climbing spurs cause damage include: 

  • They puncture the tree’s cambium—living tissue beneath the bark—causing irregular shoot growth or killing off parts of the tree. You can tell this is the case if your tree begins leaking sap. 
  • They leave holes that leave the tree vulnerable to insect infestations and dangerous tree diseases, including bacterial blight, cankers, or fire blight.
  • If you do not appropriately clean the spikes between services, they can carry a disease from your other trees to your healthy trees.
  • They leave unsightly gashes and marks on the tree’s bark.

Trust Gaston’s Tree Service for Your Tree Trimming Needs

A good tree technician knows these dangers. Instead of relying on harmful tree climbing spikes, they prioritize your tree’s health and have the necessary equipment—such as a rope system, safety harnesses, cranes, and lifts—to reach the top of your tree without needing climbing spurs. 

So, it’s essential to find a company with a solid reputation in the industry and community and sufficient insurance to protect you and your property. The tree service company you consider should also follow the appropriate ANSI Standards relevant to tree safety, pruning, fertilizing, and cabling. 

Gaston’s Tree Service has served North Central Florida for over 4 decades. In that time, we have invested in some of the best equipment in our area and industry. We employ certified arborists and hold certifications from industry-leading associations. If you need tree services, such as tree trimming or tree removal, and want to maintain the integrity and health of your trees, contact Gaston’s today!