Pruning a Tree to Make It More Hospitable to Tree Climbers: Essential Tips and Ideas

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Get to Know Your Local Trees

I'd always loved walking in forests and woodland areas, but I never really took the time to learn about the different species of tree — they all looked the same to me! That all changed when a relative gifted me a beautifully detailed book on local wildlife. From there, I was on a mission to learn all I could about trees, from oak to elm, beech to ash. I've set up this site to share my journey with you. Watch out for fun tree facts, tips on caring for trees on your property, and advice on tree planting and removal.


Pruning a Tree to Make It More Hospitable to Tree Climbers: Essential Tips and Ideas

11 August 2015
 Categories: , Blog

If you have kids or if you are an adult who just loves to climb trees, you can prune your trees in a way that makes them more hospitable to climbers. Although there is always some danger involved in climbing a tree, the right tree maintenance can make it easier. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Schedule tree service on a regular basis

The safest trees to climb are the ones that are strong and healthy enough to hold your weight, and part of keeping a tree healthy is getting it serviced on a regular basis. Ideally, you want to hire a tree specialist to come to your home in the spring before the tree gets its summer foliage, and you want that professional to ensure the tree is growing in the right direction.

2. Prune low growing branches and invest in climbing tools

Ideally, you should prune trees in a way that enhances their natural shape, and in most cases, this entails removing low slung branches. These branches can easily grow into nearby structures or block footpaths, turning them into a nuisance.

However, removing low slung branches can make the tree harder to climb. Luckily, you can easily compensate by attaching a rope ladder to some of your higher branches, or you can invest in an arborists rope and a tree saddle if you really want to be able to climb a tree with branches that you cannot reach from the ground.

3. Remove competing branches

Once you get into the tree and start climbing upward, you want branches that are relatively close together so you can step from one to the next, but you don't want branches that are too close together. Have your tree specialist remove overlapping branches, as these branches may start to compete with each other and cause problems for the health of the tree.

However, while your pruner is removing competing branches, ask him or her to focus on leaving you branches that are close enough together so that you can climb from one to the next relatively safely.

4. Shape from the inside

If you are trying to make your tree easier to climb, you ideally want a tree specialist who can get a climber's perspective on your tree. You don't want a tree trimmer who is going to use a ladder or crane to reach the outer branches of your tree. Rather, you want one who will climb around the inside branches, pruning and trimming in a way that benefits future climbers of that tree.

However, this approach doesn't just help the climber. It also helps the tree. Sadly, many people make the mistake of trying to shape a tree from the outer branches, but the healthiest way to shape a tree is by addressing its interior branches.

5. Consider adding platforms

While you have a pruner in your tree, consider asking him or her to add a few climbing platforms. Those can allow you spaces to rest as you climb, or they can be used to make climbing easier in areas where branches are sparse. Use hardware that is specially designed for use in tree houses so that you cause the tree as little damage as possible. 

Alternatively, ask the tree specialist about any platforms you plan to add to aid climbing. That way, he or she can let you know if you have picked the most advantageous positions and attachment methods for your tree.

If you suspect your tree is unhealthy or if branches look like they are going to fall, contact a business like Waratah Tree Services to look at the tree before any disease spreads or limbs endanger people or property.