ArborTimes Fall 2022

Issue 01 | Fall 2022

Tree Care Business, Safety, & Equipment News

A Quick and Dirty Guide on Winterizing Aerial Lifts


Biz Expansion through Innovation Many entrepreneurs get their start because they’ve identified a “problem” and are uniquely positioned to provide a solution.

Optimizing Fall PHC Opportunities In fall, many professionals shi focus to fertilizer programs and winter-time projects, leaving some missed PHC opportunities on the table.

Climbing-equipment Inspections Equipment needs to be inspected before work for defects and safety function; specifically, personal protective equipment (PPE).




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Editor’s Note

Dear readers,

On our cover: As with any job any other time of the year, a site evaluation is key in winter. Photo courtesy of TrackedLifts.

It’s a pleasure to welcome you to ArborTIMES Magazine. We’ve enjoyed bringing education and networking to the industry over the last two years through our sister brand, ArborEXPO, and expect that ArborTIMES will maintain a connection between events to keep you up to date on tree care business, safety and equipment news. May I tell you a story? Sachin Mohan, producer of ArborEXPO and ArborTIMES , and I had some professional overlap with the same organization, and a couple years aer we went different directions, he reached out to see if I would be interested in supporting his firm, Edge Ahead Associates, with some freelance writing work. I wrote one advertorial for a client of his, and that could have been the end of it, but several months later he pitched the idea for ArborEXPO. I politely declined. At the time, I was working full-time (and then some) on the marketing team for a brand in the outdoor recreation industry. I simply didn’t have the capacity. Sachin didn’t take no for an answer and kept asking, and eventually I said yes. I hadn’t been fully in the industry for a few years, just dabbled as a writer on business and tree care topics here and there, so I looked forward to supporting the industry in a new way. Today, the team is two ArborEXPOs deep and planning a third (details on page 31), and sometime in there I was able to leave that busy marketing job and go all in on my own small business. I’ve interviewed a couple dozen tree care professionals over the last few years, and happily split my time between writing about outdoor recreation and telling stories about arborists, tree care companies, and the businesses that support them. I can’t quit you guys, which is why when Sachin proposed this new publication, I was instantly intrigued. Your passion for what you do is so apparent in every interaction. It’s impossible not to feel inspired and want to keep in touch and tell your stories. We have big plans for this magazine, with an over-arching goal to support all facets of the industry. As a new publication, we would like to be as accurate and transparent as possible. For this reason, we’ve recruited the help of industry leaders Ken Palmer, Jared Abrogena, Dane Buell and Mark Garvin to leverage their considerable knowledge and expertise to ensure our content is exactly what you need and nothing you don’t. We are elated to be in your inbox. Please share these stories, interact with us on social media and send feedback. We look forward to hearing from you.


PUBLISHER Sachin Mohan: EDITOR Emily W. Duane:



SENIOR ADVISORS Dane Buell Mark Garvin


For editorial and advertising inquiries: 1 Store Hill Rd, PO BOX # 334 Old Westbury, NY 11568

Tel. (516) 399-2627 Email: Web:

No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. All uncredited photography is either supplied or sourced from a stock image bank.

In safety,

Emily W. Duane, Editor, and the ArborTIMES Team


email: or subscribe online:

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Table of Contents


ArborTIMES is a fully digital publication for the tree care industry from Edge Ahead Associates, creator of ArborEXPO, the industry’s first indoor/outdoor trade show and conference for arborists and green industry professionals. We’re connecting with experts, business owners, master trainers and more to identify top stories and educational opportunities to deliver right to your inbox on a quarterly basis.




BUSINESS EXPANSION THROUGH INNOVATION By Emily W. Duane Many entrepreneurs get their start because they’ve identified a “problem” and are uniquely positioned to provide a solution. CLIMBING-EQUIPMENT INSPECTIONS: NOT JUST FOR COMPETITIONS By Mike Tilford Equipment needs to be inspected before work for defects and safety function; specifically,

AERIAL LIFTS By Emily W. Duane

Preparing an aerial li for cold weather operation, or winter storage, is essential for maintaining the equip- ment and ensuring it will have a long service life. OPTIMIZING FALL PHC OPPORTUNITIES By Mark Ware In fall, many professionals shi their focus to fertilizer programs and winter-time projects, leaving some missed PHC opportunities on the table.



personal protective equipment (PPE).

EDITOR’S NOTE 3 ArborTIMES will maintain a connection between events to keep you up to date on tree care business, safety and equip- ment news.





Each month we’ll highlight a variety of new and innovative products related to the tree care industry.

Aer working through Covid-19, now many of us find ourselves surrounded by what may seem like an ongoing pandemic hangover.

Advertiser Index

Northeastern Atlantic Financial ................... 35 Quest Products LLC................................... 25 Rainbow .................................................. 23 Sennebogen ............................................ 33 SingleOps ................................................13 Teupen...................................................... 5 Tracked Lifts ................................ Back Cover

ArborSystems .......................................... 26 ArborEXPO ............................................... 31 Bandit...................................................... 19 Chemical Containers Inc .............................27 GreenWorks Commercial.............................16 Mauget ....................................................24 Noble Oak Safety & Training......................... 18

All Access Equipment .................................. 2 Almstead ................................................34 Altec ........................................................11

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By Emily

It is imperativ from the site w pads land. Pho All Access Equ

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“The three main maintenance items include proper cleaning, daily inspections for damage and proper greasing of the boom and other moving parts.”

A Quick and Dirty Guide on Winterizing Aerial Lifts

y W. Duane

Working in an aerial li can be chal- lenging in the best of conditions, let alone through winter months with snow, ice and freezing temperatures introducing new hazards. Preparing an aerial li for cold weather opera- tion, or winter storage, is essential for maintaining the equipment and en- suring it will have a long service life. “These machines are the same as any other internal combustion equipment, much like your car,” says Eric Bailey, national aer sales technical engineer for Tracked Lis. “Whether you’re planning to put it up for two or three months or keep it in service through winter, even basic maintenance in regular intervals throughout the year is going to make the winterizing pro- cess easier. You’re more inclined to notice when something isn’t working as it should.” REGULAR MAINTENANCE “How you take care of your ma- chine is how your machine is going to treat you,” says Jason Rogers, North American operations manag- er at Teupen North America. “If you

keep it cleaned and lubed, and per- form maintenance as recommended, you’ll decrease downtime, maximize production, and will prolong the life and value of the machine.” “The three main maintenance items include proper cleaning, daily inspec- tions for damage and proper greasing of the boom and other moving parts,” says Ben Ta, president of Spimerica. Other basic tasks include changing air, fuel, hydraulic and oil filters, as well as topping off and changing flu- ids. The proper maintenance schedule for an aerial li will be in the oper- ator’s manual provided by the man- ufacturer. Following those guidelines will streamline the process and limit machine and crew downtime. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer for help with maintenance, troubleshoot- ing and training. Another basic, but sometimes over- looked, task is battery maintenance. Depending on the battery, it may require topping off with water and electrolytes to keep it in good shape, and don’t forget to clean the battery

Battery maintenance is often overlooked. Photo courtesy of All Access Equipment.

terminals. It’s relatively easy to do. “Shut off the main battery-disconnect switch, disconnect ground cables first, then wire brush all terminals. Every connection should be bright and shiny,” emphasizes Lenny Po- lonski, a member of the All Access Equipment sales team. However, re- gardless of battery type, its lifespan is something to keep track of. “In the course of operation, equipment gen- erates an extraordinary amount of vibration which dramatically short- ens all lead-acid batteries’ lives by as much as 50%. Weak batteries also considerably strain starter motors, causing them to overheat and fail,”

ve to clear snow where outrigger oto courtesy of uipment.

“How you take care of your machine is how your machine is going to treat you.”

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“Don’t use a pressure washer on the main control panel. It’s water resistant, but you can do damage to the panel...” Preparing a li for storage differs from preparing it for use in winter. “If stor- ing for the off season, you should give your li a thorough cleaning, fresh grease and hydraulic fluid, and give the engine a complete service,” sug- gests Ta. Taking the time to remove all body panels and give the li a thorough cleaning will make it easier to assess maintenance opportunities come spring. “You can blow out the inside of your li with a leaf blower or air compressor and wash it just like a car, with a bucket of soapy water and then go over it with wax. You might even touch up the paint to prevent rust,” says Bailey. “Don’t use a pres- sure washer on the main control pan- el. It’s water resistant, but you can do damage to the panel if you blast it with a high-pressure stream of water.” says Polonski. “Make a habit never to rely on old batteries for equipment that is your bread and butter. It will always cost you money. If the battery is more than three years old, replace it.” An additional maintenance task that is easy to overlook is cleaning. Simply clearing off the machine at the end of every job with a leaf blower will go a long way in extending the longevity of a li. “The biggest issue we see is not properly cleaning the equipment aer each job and a customer being surprised when dirt, wood chips and shavings, or other job-site debris caus- es failures,” says Ta. WINTER MAINTENANCE FOR STORAGE

“If you can, store your li inside. Oth- erwise, put a protective cover over it,” says Ta. Protective covers can be a sturdy tarp, a lean-to or a portable carport, and should be large enough to cover the tracks to prevent the sun from dry-rotting the rubber. Having a layer of tarp under the tracks will help, too, if the li can’t be parked on a trail- er or patio blocks in the off season. If the aerial li will be parked for two- plus months, remove the battery and other removable electronics and store them indoors. “Storing a battery in an unheated garage is fine as long as it is kept on a trickle charger to keep it from going flat,” suggests Bailey. Small critters have a tendency to seek shelter in winter, and can cause ex- pensive damage to wires and hoses, regardless if a li is stored inside or outside. Bailey suggests heading to the local cra store for high-density foam to make temporary plugs: “DIY plugs will close off large areas where critters can crawl into the boom. If they chew on electrical lines, you’ll have to fully disassemble the boom to repair the lines, and that can be a $10-15K job.” These plugs can also be used during the regular season to pre- vent squirrels and birds from nesting in the boom. WINTER MAINTENANCE FOR OPERATION The minimum maintenance does not re- ally change because the time of the year, but doing a full service before winter will

It is imperative to have a heat source handy to de-ice a machine before raising the boom. Photo courtesy of TrackedLifts.

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“If the aerial lift will be parked for two-plus months, remove the battery and other removable electronics and store them indoors.”

The most common issue is not properly cleaning the equipment after each job. Photo courtesy of Spimerica.

only help. “Crews should be cleaning properly, doing daily inspections for dam- age and proper greasing of the boom and other moving parts,” says Ta. Cleaning is just as important, if not more so, for lis operating in winter months, especially when salt and sand on the roads can kick up from the trailer’s tires and hit the li. “Blow it off aer each job, and don’t over-grease your machine. When grease gets caked with sawdust, it will be difficult to tell if there is a cracked weld or missing fastener,” says Bailey. “Plus, the added weight of wet or frozen sawdust in winter months limits the ma- chine’s operational capacity, and can jam up mechanical sensors and cause them to throw erroneous messages.” Speaking of ice, it is a serious safety hazard for the team on the ground. It is imperative to have a heat source handy to de-ice a machine before raising the boom to prevent ice from cracking, sliding off and hitting someone.

Much can be done to optimize the performance of an aerial li simply by knowing the conditions it will be operating in and adjusting accordingly. “A few examples of ways to peak the performance of a li in winter include proper coolant, special hydraulic oil for frigid conditions, added moisture-con- trol bags, block heaters and many more,” suggests Rogers. Utilizing anti-gel additives for diesel engines will prevent fuel from turning

Utilizing anti-gel additives will prevent diesel fuel from turning into jelly. Photo courtesy of All Access Equipment.

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into jelly when it’s parked overnight. “Gas stations and fuel suppliers do not replace summer diesel fuel with win- terized diesel fuel until their summer supplies are exhausted, which some- times can last well into pretty cold weather,” Polonski points out. “Adding a few ounces of fuel conditioner and replacing the fuel filter regularly great- ly affects a diesel engine’s cold-start ability.” Companies with their own fuel tanks can treat them as needed. It’s important to allow a diesel engine to run for a few minutes to warm up the engine’s oil and allow hydraulic fluid to circulate prior to placing maximum load on the engine. “Seventy percent of an engine wear occurs during engine start up and shut down. Allowing an engine to warm up slowly, rather than immediate- ly throwing a full load, reduces engine wear,” says Polonski. Magnetic block heaters can also be used on engines and hydraulic tanks to keep the fluids from getting thick, making it quicker and eas- ier to start up and start working. Trickle chargers, while helpful for bat- teries in storage, can also be used on in- stalled batteries to keep them from going flat in the cold. An alternative to trickle charging is using a battery heater. “If you can’t take a battery out, use a battery heater to keep it warm,” suggests Bailey. “It’s a sock that goes around each battery While manufacturers offer training specific to their equipment, which in- cludes maintenance and operation, there isn’t special training for operat- ing an aerial li in winter. “The Inter- national Powered Access Federation (IPAF) training covers a lot, and indus- try conferences oen feature trainings and certifications for proper use,” says Rogers. Crews should be trained to in- spect all job sites with an eye for the potential hazards of moving the equip- ment, as well as awareness of the dan- gers of working alo. Although, Ta notes, “Things to be aware of in winter include looking for moisture build-up to keep them from freezing.” TIPS FOR SAFE OPERATION IN WINTER

Working on snow-covered and icy terrain can be a gray area. Photo courtesy of All Access Equipment.

on sensors, electrical components and other moving parts, and familiarizing yourself with how a diesel engine runs in cold temperatures.” As with any job any other time of the year, a site evaluation is key. In winter months, preparing a work site for safe operation of an aerial li means clear- ing all snow and ice where the outrig- gers will be set up. “It is imperative

outriggers land is clear, secure and level. Outrigger feet should never be placed on any angled slope. The feet must always be level.” Working on snow-covered and icy terrain can be a gray area. “Even if you’ve trimmed at the same house 20 times, when there’s six inches of snow on the ground, everything is different. Driving over snow, you run the risk of driving over a hidden stump and tipping over,” says Bailey. “Aerial lis have rubber tracks, which can be studded. However, studs can damage asphalt, and climbing a metal trailer with studded tracks can result in slipping.” Bottom line, a site sur- vey, proper clearing of snow and ice, setting up on a flat surface and using enough salt and sand to walk on is very important to ensure the safety of the crew and the best operating con- ditions possible for the li. “Things to be aware of in winter include looking for moisture build-up on sensors, electrical components and other moving parts...”

Proper maintenance includes changing air, fuel, hydraulic and oil filters. Photo courtesy of All Access Equipment.

to clear the site where outrigger pads land with a shovel so the area is totally clean of ice and snow prior to setting up a li,” says Polonski. “Additionally, when working on a slope, it is manda- tory and the operator’s responsibility to make sure the ground where the

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Product Spotlight



DEWALT, a Stanley Black & Decker brand offering job site and outdoor solutions, released a biodegradable chain saw oil that is produced in the USA and is a USDA Certified Biobased Product made from North Ameri- can-grown plant oils. The oil is suitable for use around waterways and other environmentally sensitive areas. It has a flash point above 500°F and a -15°F pour point for temperature stability in extreme conditions. In addition to opti- mal lubricity and wear protection, the oil is high tack to reduce high-speed oil sling and is compatible with gas and battery-operated chain saws.

Greenworks Commercial, a manufac- turer of battery-powered landscaping equipment, released the Greenworks 20˝ 3.4kW commercial chain saw. With the equivalent power of a 4.56 HP engine and 65 cc placement gas engine, this chain saw leverages a built-in, commer- cial grade TruBrushless Direct Drive Motor and lithium-ion batteries to pro- vide the power and torque to cut faster and maintain a constantly higher RPM than gas alternatives. It handles up to 205 cuts per charge on a 4Ah GWC battery. Its heavy-duty construction includes steel bucking spikes, a mag- nesium base plate for increased dura- bility, all while eliminating the need for air filters, spark plugs and other parts that require maintenance. This tough, powerful and lightweight chain saw is ideal for cutting firewood, trimming and felling trees or doing forestry work.


Arborwear, a provider of uniform solu- tions and protective workwear for the green industry, released the Cambium Flex Jacket—a temperature-regulated, tough-skinned and flexible jacket de- signed to withstand work conditions while keeping the wearer warm with- out overheating them. It’s engineered with a lightweight, stretch-nylon shell, abrasion-resistant zones in high-wear areas, is lined with thermoregulated honeycomb fleece and features mul- tiple pockets throughout. Adjustable cuffs keep arms dry, and a DWR finish prevents moisture from penetrating the shell. The Cambium Flex line comes in black, olive and navy in men’s sizes, and black in women’s.

Do you have any products you’d like us to feature? Please send an email to:

ArborTIMES does not endorse or sponsor any product, service or activity. Reference to commercial products, services or brand names does not constitute an endorsement by ArborTIMES . ArborTIMES shall not be held liable for any claims or damages arising from the purchase of these products.

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The prototype was functional in initial testing, but merely a starting point. Finley’s design needed refinement.

Business Expansion through Innovation By Emily W. Duane

The reasons for starting a business are fairly similar across services and products, and even across industries. Perhaps it starts with the desire to be one’s own boss. According to research conducted by Guidant Financial, an American small business financing company, nearly 61% respondents stated being their own boss was their biggest motivation. Other motivators include turning passion into profit, be- cause the opportunity simply present- ed itself, or even as the result of recent unemployment. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a whopping 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021, possibly because of the number of unemployed people as the result of the pandemic. Howev- er, many entrepreneurs get their start because they’ve identified a “problem” and are uniquely positioned to provide a solution. This can be the case for many tree care businesses. One enterprising person with a chain saw might get their start

by offering their services to neighbors. Business growth can come through re- ferrals at first, but as clients start ask- ing about a tree dropping leaves pre- maturely, or deer munching on plants, the business can grow through service expansion. It’s up to an owner to skill up and/or bring on team members with specialized knowledge, and more team members translates to increased capac- ity to take on more work with existing clients or new clients. Kenneth Finley’s experience launch- ing SawHaul, and its evolution into GearHaul, is not unlike the evolution of building and growing a tree care company. Finley, CEO of GearHaul, based in Chanute, Kan., got his start by accident—literally. Aer acciden- tally running over a brand-new com- mercial chain saw gied to him by his wife, Shannon, Finley realized he likely wasn’t the only person who was carry- ing small equipment in the bucket of a tractor out of necessity, for lack of better storage options. The mishap re- sulted in a fruitless search for a chain saw caddy. When he couldn’t find one on the market, Finley decided to create his own. TAPPING INTO YOUR NETWORK It’s not uncommon for a new busi- ness owner to leverage their network

The SawHaul went through several iterations before the design on the market today. Photo courtesy of GearHaul.

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to source solutions. Finley started by reaching out to his cousin, a high school technology teacher. “The first iteration of SawHaul was a class project,” says Finley. He drew his design on paper and passed it off to his cousin, who then assigned it to the students. “My

Universal mounting kits enable users to safely store chain saws when working aloft. Photo courtesy of GearHaul.

versation with Neodesha Plastics in Neodesha, Kan. “We discussed the functionality, durability and cost effec- tiveness of different types of plastics and how the design could be manu- factured with their existing process- es.” SawHaul’s unique proposition is a chain saw caddy with a universal mount that can be applied to any piece of large equipment, including tractors, skid steers and bucket trucks, offering not only a secure base kit out of met- al for strength and the heavy-duty UV scabbard for protection of the blade and chain. “For durability reasons, we knew we couldn’t make this entirely from plastic.”

project gave them some real-world experience of how to take someone’s drawing that isn’t in CAD and put it into CAD.” The first prototype was printed on a 3D printer. The prototype was functional in initial testing, but merely a starting point. Finley’s design needed refinement. “For durability reasons, we knew we couldn’t make this entirely from plastic.” To account for the weight of a chain saw and any bouncing while a vehicle is in motion, sturdy metal parts were necessary. Additionally, the design would require a protec- tive interior to prevent the chain from getting dulled. “We went up the road to B&W Trailer Hitches in Humboldt, Kan., to incorporate their expertise and discuss the potential to produce metal components in mass quanti- ties.” Finley then had a similar con-

Kenneth (Kenny) Finley, CEO, started SawHaul in the garage on his property in Chanute, Kan. Photo courtesy of GearHaul.

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3.4kW max power

13,000 RPM max when cutting

Equivalent power of a 4.56 HP engine and 65 cc gas chainsaw

Up to 205 cuts per charge (with an 82BD400 battery)


Purchase online at

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Working with local partners was essen- tial to the success of SawHaul, which is sold in 36 countries. “We’ve devel- oped a tremendous network through- out Kansas,” says Finley. “Not only are our products made in the USA, they’re made within 30 miles of our hometown. For a multinational business, keeping all manufacturing in two neighboring counties is virtually unheard of.” REFINEMENT AND EXPANSION Naturally, rigorous field testing is an important part of launching any new product or service, and SawHaul was no exception. “Getting a product to market right the first time is very important, so we’ll work with field testers and modify a design several times before it hits the market.” GearHaul works with industry professionals using chain saws across all trades, including arborists, foresters and fir efighter s. They’ve tapped into Facebook groups to identify qualified testers. While Facebook can feel like a daunting prospect, it can be a useful tool when used correctly. It’s not just a medium for placing paid ads and hoping for a return on investment. “We were very fortunate to use Facebook groups as a new way of marketing, by friending group administrators and generating connections with some of the most knowledgeable experts across indus- tries,” says Finley. “I test our designs first. Then, we have a core group of field testers who report their findings and request modifications. Aer that, we send fresh product designs to You- Tubers, who share their experiences with their followers. This is how we’ve launched several of our products, and the environment is so different than it was five years ago. We’re constantly evolving as a result.” Listening to the customer is the best way to identify opportunities for im- provement. “It boggles my mind how some businesses don’t leverage custom- er feedback,” says Finley. “Our original design was welded onto a tractor, but based on feedback, we went back to the drawing board and created a universal

kit that allows customers to bolt their SawHaul to anything. We then added the scabbard aer feedback request- ing additional protection.” Customer feedback also inspired additional gear holders that work with their universal mounting solution, driving the brand’s expansion from SawHaul to GearHaul. “We even started offering custom colors because we recognize the importance of colors and branding from a marketing perspective.” Sometimes, people want to

TAKEAWAYS Drawing parallels between starting a tree care company and Finley’s experi- ence creating a product, testing it and marketing it is relatively easy. For example, joining Facebook groups may not be top of mind for a busy owner, but going to the places where prospects spend time is just one of many ways to market a business. Tapping into neigh-

SawHaul is a protective chain saw caddy with a universal mounting system that fits on any rig. Photo courtesy of GearHaul.

create their own designs, but will reach out to GearHaul for advice. “All of our components are available for purchase, and we’ll work with people who have created their own caddy, but just need a small component for mounting.”

borhood and city groups on social media is one way to get a pulse on what’s hap- pening in your service area, whether that means identifying opportunities to offer pest services in response to reports of a new pest in the area, or just answer-

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ing a direct request for tree trimming.

do we work with local businesses to manufacture our products, we’ve iden- tified companies that are aligned with GearHaul in product offerings and even business values, and partnered with them to cross-sell products on each other’s websites,” says Finley. “You don’t have to be a master of all trades–you can find partners that are an asset to your company. The referral network that can be gained from those relationships, which would otherwise be competitors, is gold.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18.4% of private sector busi- nesses fail within the first year. Aer five years, that number jumps to 49.7%, and up to 65.5% aer 10 years. Finley suggests that the secret sauce is inno- vation. “If you’re not coming out with new products or services, you’re mov- ing backwards. There will be naysayers, but you have to have thick skin, and you have to believe in yourself and find new ways to solve your customers’ problems, one day at a time.”

Collecting feedback from clients im- mediately aer a service, or a touch- base a few weeks or months aer their last visit, can reveal opportunities to expand a business with new service offerings. “Big box stores have made one-stop shopping prevalent, and it applies to service-based businesses, too,” suggests Finley. “Customers hir- ing an arborist might expect you to take down a limb, treat pests and fix your grass. Anything you can do to bring in new services to enhance the customer experience and make their lives easier will help you grow your business.” If your business doesn’t have the ca- pacity to offer new services, bringing in a trusted subcontractor or partner- ing with another business in your net- work to share client lists are ways to expand until there is capacity to skill up or hire more people, or can result in partnerships indefinitely. “Not only

Customers can reach out to GearHaul for recommendations on the best way to mount a SawHaul kit to their large equipment. Photo courtesy of GearHaul.

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There are many PHC-related issues in late summer and early fall that begin to show their signs and symptoms.

Optimizing Fall PHC Opportunities By Mark Ware

As summer wraps up and the days get shorter and cooler, the seemingly endless pile of work orders and treat- ments to be done starts to dwindle. Many professionals shi their focus to fertilizer programs and winter-time projects, leaving some missed PHC opportunities on the table. There are many PHC-related issues in late sum- mer and early fall that begin to show their signs and symptoms. For the ma- jority of these, it is too late to treat for this season, and all that can be done is to propose management options for next year. Fortunately, there are still plenty that can be addressed immedi- ately, extending the PHC season. CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS AND FOCUSING EFFORTS Fall is one of the most important times of the year to actively engage clients. Successful PHC programs build and maintain client relationships. Getting satisfactory results is important, but so is the relationship with that client, and the trust that is established because of it.

It’s important to keep in mind that conversations with clients in the late season don’t have to be sales oriented, although we will explore a variety of sales and service opportu- nities. Sometimes the conversations that hold the most value are those that generate no money whatsoever, but instead solidify relationships. These are an opportunity to gain feedback on what the clients thought of the work performed throughout the year. Sometimes, negative feedback can present as no renewal of service the following year. However, by proac- tively reaching out to clients to give them a platform to air any potential apprehension or dissatisfaction with the services received, these issues could be resolved, leading to contin- ued work with those clients. When it comes to late-season sales conversations, it’s important to focus efforts. There are dozens of opportu- nities to be had, but by focusing on

The PHC season can be short, so utilizing every service available to extend the season is important to keep technicians working. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ecoscience.

Successful PHC programs build and maintain client relationships.

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Fall is one of the most important times of the year to actively engage clients. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ecoscience.

just two or three services, operation- al efficiency becomes much greater, leading to higher margins and client satisfaction. Additionally, by focusing on current clients, it’s easier to eval- uate which will gain the most value in utilizing those services. A focused and targeted offering will yield a higher response rate.

visit. Travel time to and from the job can account for the majority of the cost of some services, so when that is already paid for with another accept- ed proposal, it’s easy to add services for a significantly reduced rate.


There is no shortage of pest and disease issues to tackle in fall. As a result, there are many different prod- ucts and application methods to con- sider. As you begin to send out email

blasts, direct mailers and promote select ser- vices on social media and websites, consider these PHC opportunities to enhance your clients’

When offering these services, consider using fixed pricing. Instead of offering a free estimate or site inspection, gen- erate a proposal that states the exact cost of the service being offered whenever possible. This will avoid the consulta- tion-proposal-acceptance process which can be both time-consuming and tedious at this time of year, especially con- sidering most clients have already had site inspections and multiple visits this year.

services this fall. TREE INJECTION

With emerald ash borer reaching the west coast earlier this year, this pest has now infested much of the nation. In regions where popula- tions are low, a soil ap- plication of imidacloprid may be the preferred management method,

One root-flare injectable to offer includes chlorosis treatments with macro-injected micronutrients. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ecoscience.

whereas on valuable ash trees, or in areas of high population, a root-flare injection of emamectin benzoate may be the better option. Emamectin ben- zoate, which will persist in the tree for up to two seasons, can also be

Additional offers could include loy- alty discounts or easy, “value-add” services for clients that are already signed up for a fertilizer or pruning

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Get t h e B e s t Pric es fo r Nex t S e as o n! Early Order Program Take Advantage of the

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applied to protect against other flat- head borers such as bronze birch borer and two-lined chestnut borer the following spring. Other root-flare injectables to offer include chloro- sis treatments with macro-injected micronutrients, treatments for syc- amore anthracnose and oak wilt, or even last-minute fungicide injections Fall coloration and the subsequent se- nescence of leaves slams the brakes on tree injections, but technicians have until soil is frozen or overly sat- urated to do many soil-applied appli- cations—and there are plenty. Imida- cloprid is a fantastic option to control a broad range of insect pests, and thanks to its persistence within the plant for up to a year, application in the fall can help manage many plant pests that are active in the spring*. for Dutch elm disease. SOIL APPLICATIONS

Leafminer on boxwood, birch and hol- ly; adelgids on hemlock and spruce; honey locust plant bug; multiple spe- cies of whitefly and thrips; aphids and more are all pests that can be managed in this way. CULTURAL TREATMENTS Late season is also a great time to fo- cus on cultural treatments. Soil man- agement is commonly offered this time of year, but it focuses primarily on fertilization alone. When utilizing soil-testing services, air tools and simple hand tools, arborists can offer a much greater value to clients by de- compacting soils, amending and ad- justing nutrient deficiencies and pH levels, and removing girdling roots and excess soil over root flares. Plant-growth regulators (PGR) are an additional cultural treatment to help improve plant health. PGRs with

Arborists can offer a much greater value to clients with late-season cultural treatments. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ecoscience.

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ArborTIMES Fall 2022 | 25

the active ingredient paclobutra- zol can help slow down the growth of trees and shrubs, but offer addi- tional benefits. Chlorotic trees, and even spruce trees, affected by Cyto-

spora canker can see benefits from the application of some paclobutra- zol (PBZ) containing products. The benefit that products like these can have for trees dealing with urban

and fall, hopefully this guide helps you consider what can be offered in your region. The PHC season can be short, so utilizing every service avail- able to extend the season is import- ant to keep technicians working and provide as much value as possible to clients and their landscapes. Mark Ware offers technical support and training as the Northeast arborologist for Rainbow Ecosci- ence. His educational background is in landscape construction and ornamental horticulture, with pro- fessional experience in general tree work, utility forestry and plant health care.

tree stress, whether it be environmental (drought stress) or human caused (con- struction stress), is also important to keep in mind. With one application last- ing up to three sea- sons in a tree, as long as the soil has adequate moisture and is not frozen, applications can be made in fall. EXTENDING THE PHC SEASON

*Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid, and as such can be harmful to pollinators. Only apply to plants as directed by the label and adhere to any use restrictions listed.

There is no shortage of pest and disease issues to tackle in fall, and PHC can enhance your clients’ services. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ecoscience.

While these are not all of the options available to offer in the late season

26 | ArborTIMES Fall 2022 Learn more! Call 800.698.4641 or visit for information and videos Our advanced technology for tree treatment allows you to INCREASE THE NUMBER OF TREES YOU TREAT IN A DAY!


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“Prior to the start of any reputable climbing competition, there is a gear check where equipment is inspected...”

Climbing-equipment Insp Not Just for Competitions By Mike Tilford

Prior to the start of any reputable climb- ing competition, there is a gear check where equipment is inspected, configu- rations are checked and the process is documented. However, inspection must go beyond these events. Equipment needs to be inspected before work for defects and safety function; specifically, personal protective equipment (PPE). When people talk about PPE, most of the conversation is centered around head protection, eye protection, hearing protection, chain saw chaps or pants, Hi- Viz clothing and sometimes boots. What about a carabiner? It is just gear, so sure- ly that cannot be considered PPE, can it?

ployer shall provide training to each em- ployee who is required by this section to use PPE.” The section then goes on to de- scribe the requirements for training. Use, maintenance, proper fit, lifespan and re- tirement criteria fall under obligation of the employer when issuing PPE. What else is required? ANSI Z133- 2017 3.1.2 states, “Employers shall instruct their employees in the prop- er use, inspection and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE).” 8.1.3 continues with, “Arborists shall inspect climbing lines, worklines (line, workline), work positioning lanyards and other climbing equipment for dam- age, cuts, abrasion and/or deterioration before each use and shall remove them from service, per the manufacturer’s guidelines if applicable, if signs of ex- cessive wear or damage are found.” PPE BASICS With the knowledge that climbing equipment is PPE, the next step is evaluating its application in tree care. Rather than discussing the intricacies of every cordage type, carabiner gate style and mechanical device, here are the basics to consider. Is it fit for purpose? This question may seem simple, but new equipment is regularly introduced for use in tree care, particularly from other industries.


Here is the bottom line: if it keeps you from falling, it is PPE. Pop open the booklet that comes with most carabin- ers, positioning devices or harnesses and you’re likely to find the statement, “This fall protection is used for PPE,” or something to that effect. That sim- ple connection makes a huge difference in the mindset of climbing equipment. There is “traditional PPE” and fall-pro- tection PPE. Both protect the user, and according to OSHA 1910.132, employ- ers have an obligation to supply both at no cost to the employee. Is it time to get in the tree? Not yet, hang on. OSHA 1910.132(f)(1) states, “The em-

Here is the bottom line: if it keeps you from falling, it is PPE. Photo courtesy of Arborwear.

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Discoloration on the exterior shell can be an indication that there has been structural damage. Photo courtesy of Mike Tilford.

For example, just because a particular cordage has the correct rating and diameter does not mean that it is fit to handle the heat incurred from use as a friction hitch.

The best way to check if products are fit for the intended purpose is to check doc- umentation accompanying the equip- ment. In the absence of a technical no- tice or user instructions, immediately look for a manufacturer’s website with documentation on the device. If you can- not find any information on a device or component, it is best not to use it. PPE INSPECTION Next up, it is time to inspect. Head protection . A visual and tactile inspection should expose any defects that could affect the performance of this piece of PPE. Is the shell cracked, fractured or showing signs of signifi- cant impact? A more thorough inspec- tion can be done with suspension-style helmets than the foam style. For exam- ple, it is easy to see discoloration on the inner shell when there has been a significant impact on the outer shell on a brightly colored helmet. When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s prod- uct documentation for suggested caus- es for retirement of a helmet. Harnesses. There are so many won- derful types of harnesses, and they used to be so simple. The materials used to be steel, leather and canvas, making them easy to understand and inspect. Now there are harnesses made with aluminum and synthetic materi-

Is the working load limit sufficient for the work to be done? Additional- ly, ask yourself if it is compatible with other components. Copycat equipment that can easily be ordered online is an alarming, rising issue. These products look like they are made by a reputable manufacturer, but reveal subpar quali- ty on closer inspection. SavATree District Skills & Safety Trainer Joe Pomeisl performing a pre-climb inspection. Photo courtesy of Mike Tilford.

Most PPE conversation is centered around head, eye and hearing protection, chain saw chaps or pants, Hi-Viz clothing and sometimes boots. Photo courtesy of Arborwear.

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Complete equipment inspection training is a requirement in ANSI Z133. Photo courtesy of Mike Tilford.

als, and attachment points involving screws. Despite this, the inspection process has not changed much. Start with the bridge, or main attachment point. Harness bridges are commonly failed during gear inspection. Gener- ally, textile inspection is similar for a harness bridge, rope, work position- ing lanyard and friction-hitch cordage. Check for cuts and frays. An important question to consider is whether the bridge material matches manufacturer specifications for the harness. Not ev- ery piece of cordage that meets break- ing-strength requirements in Z133 fits the purpose of a harness bridge. Web- bing, straps and buckles must all be checked too. Do the buckles correctly latch every time? What condition are the straps in? Move the harness around to check. Many modern harnesses have wear points that run through rings, necessitating moving parts around to

check the condition of otherwise hid- den straps. Rope and cordage. There are many rope and cordage options on the mar- ket, including three-strand, 12-strand, 16-strand, 24-strand, 32-strand, 48-strand, hollow-braid, single-braid, double-braid and kernmantle. Fortunate- ly, the inspection criteria are similar for all types. The two pieces of equipment most commonly needing retirement are work-positioning lanyards and the ends of rope close to a splice. Climbers tend to justify keeping a rope past its usable condition because a splice is a useful feature with modern systems and de- vices. Work-positioning lanyards take abuse from handsaw cuts and tend to get hung up on chain saws while traversing through the canopy. Again, tactile and vi- sual inspection should be adequate to un- cover any defects. One oen overlooked trait of rope and cordage ready for retire- ment is irregular diameter. This can be an indication that the rope was overloaded at some point. As for how many strands can be cut before retirement, it depends on the manufacturer and construction of the rope. Check the manufacturer’s spec- ifications for answers. Connective links. Frames need to be checked for cracks, pitting, excessive wear and corrosion. The most common reason for retirement is gate function. The gate must automatically close com- pletely, every time, from all opening dis- tances. A good way to test gate function is to open the gate only slightly several times, rather than the full distance of the hinge. If the gate is contacting the nose of the carabiner when closing, it

Inspect all moving parts of components for proper function. Photo courtesy of Mike Tilford.

may mean that the carabiner has been loaded incorrectly and misaligned the gate. You can clean a carabiner that is not performing to standard. Check the manufacturer’s documentation for guidelines on proper cleaning proce- dures, general maintenance and the correct type of lubricant. Graphite pow- der used to be the industry standard, but manufacturers have been moving away from that recommendation. Fall protection equipment inspection is not a should, it is a shall. Users and employers are obligated to ensure that PPE is in safe working condition prior to use. When equipment safety and us- ability is questionable, the best course of action is to replace it. Replacing equipment is an easy decision when the alternative is an employee being injured due to a fall. Mike Tilford is the director of gener- al tree care for SavATree. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, Municipal Specialist and Tree Worker Climber Specialist, as well as a TCIA Certi- fied Treecare Safety Professional. He serves as head technician for ITCC, presents and trains at regional con- ferences and is a voting member of the Z133 committee.

Inspection of gates for proper function on rope snaps is required for all connective links. Photo courtesy of Mike Tilford.

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