Author Archives: Bob Dray

Man with gloves tree trimming a branch
Tree Trimming: Why, When, and How to Do It

What is one of the most important property maintenance jobs that homeowners often forget to do? Talk to any arborist or tree management company in the United States and they will tell you it’s tree trimming.

Yards get mowed, fall leaves get raked, flowering shrubs and herb patches get planted. But when it comes to tree maintenance, many real estate owners in the nation remain unaware of the effects of uncontrolled tree growth.

So, why is regular tree trimming so important? Here are 3 reasons:

# 1: Safety

  • In urban developments there isn’t often a whole lot of open space to go around. Houses are built next to each other, and trees grow within touching distance of utility poles that carry between 34,500-7,200 volts of electricity. When left unpruned, trees with extending branches can easily get entangled in the power cables, and this is the cause, according to Consumers Energy, for approximately 30% of all power outages.
  • A second safety concern is extreme weather and natural disasters like snowstorms, floods, spreading fires, hurricanes, and earthquake. During these events, diseased or unhealthy trees can get uprooted, and heavy limbs can come crashing down on homes and power lines, destroying roofs and risking lives.

# 2: Tree Health

  • Overgrown trees develop dense canopies that, over time, may become so dense that they impedes the flow of air and sunlight to vegetation underneath. This can cause decay and rampant growth of fungus. Dead plant debris on the ground mold and rot, as they’re unable to lose accumulated moisture. This in turn attracts pests like wood-boring insects that eat away at the trees and weaken their root system.
  • Co-dominant leaders – two strong branches growing straight up at the top and fighting for supremacy – make the tree vulnerable to cracks and breaks unless one is cut down and the other is allowed to flourish in a more balanced manner.

# 3: Curb Appeal

  • The value of a property can be greatly enhanced with well-cared-for trees. By strategically cutting off branches that obstruct a view, of a hillside or a lake for example, the aesthetics of the property seem more appealing to both potential buyers and current residents.
  • Fruit-bearing trees benefit from regular pruning, which encourages the growth of spurs and increases fruit production in the following year.

When Is the Right Time to Trim Trees?

The period between fall and early spring is the best time to trim trees, when they are experiencing a dormant stage. This inactivity and colder temperatures are ideal to improve blooming potential in the next growth cycle. It also reduces the risk of contracting a disease before they have time to heal.

Why Call in a Tree Care Company?

Can homeowners do the tree trimming job themselves? Yes, if they know what they are doing, and the scale of the job is modest. But tree care companies may be the way to go if they are tackling the removal of large tree limbs or trunks requiring professional equipment.

Knowledge is very important. Each cut can change the growth pattern of a tree, so no branch should be removed without a reason. By using techniques such as thinning, cleaning, reduction, and subordination, tree management professionals have a corrective approach that helps trees to develop a strong structure and desirable form.

Also keep in mind that trees that receive the appropriate pruning while young will require less corrective pruning as they mature, saving money and effort in the long run.

DIY Tips on Trimming Your Own Trees

  • Keep only one dominant leader (explained above) growing upward in young trees. Don’t attempt to cut back the tip of this leader or allow secondary branches to outgrow it.
  • Branches 5 cm or less in diameter can be safely removed. If they are larger than 10 cm, it is advisable to seek professional advice.
  • Don’t trim too close. Be mindful that you’re not removing the branch collar (soft tissues from which the smaller branches sprout).
  • Try to cut outside the branch bark ridge, and angle your cut down and away from the stem.
  • U-shaped branches are typically stronger than the V-shaped ones. If branches are crossing over each other and you have to choose, save the U-shaped ones.
  • Don’t remove more than 1/4 of a living crown at once. If you have to, do it gradually over a number of years.
  • Don’t top trees! It is an extremely harmful tree-pruning practice.

 

Terex XTPro 70 with its bucket extended to a full 70 feet of working height
Forestry Bucket Trucks: How Much Do You Know About Working Height?

Bigger is not always better, even if it always feels like you need that extra foot of working height when you go to make that last cut. We will go over some factors we feel you should consider when making your choice. Custom Truck One Source understands that no job is ever the same, and every operator has their own way of getting the job done. We also understand forestry bucket trucks, so our goal is to help you make a well-informed decision to assure you choose the best truck to efficiently, effectively, and safely get the job done.

1. Price

Even though your mind is on trimming or cutting trees, the cost of the truck will ultimately decide if you should purchase, lease, or rent. It will also help determine if you should opt for new or used. As you would expect, with the height comes a higher price tag. A rear mount is also more expensive than a forestry truck. That fact surprises most people. Just remember that you are operating with an additional set of outriggers and additional materials to build that style truck. Along with your initial investment, new equipment for the truck, taxes, daily usage costs, maintenance, and maybe a new crew needs to be considered.

2. Surrounding Trees

How high are the trees you will be working on? Available on NASA’s Earth Observatory you will find a map generated to show the tree canopy height across the United States. Some coastal areas and plain states will rarely see a tree over 60’ tall, so depending on where you work, you could effectively choose an XT56 or XT60 to get the job done.

3. CDL or No CDL?

Do you have a CDL? Recently, finding a CDL driver has gotten just about as hard as finding a good climber. With that coveted 75’ working height comes weight. While there may be ways to cut a corner here, maybe use aluminum instead of steel there, ultimately the safest way to build the XT70 Pro, on either a forestry or rear mount, is on a CDL chassis. Custom Truck One Source offers an under CDL XT60 Pro rear mount that shares the same wheel base and lift orientation as the XT70 Pro rear mount that any licensed driver can drive. The XT56 Pro, currently only available in a forestry package, is also available under CDL.

4. Is Smaller Better?

Will 45’ do the job? The Terex LT40 with a 45’ working height may be all you need. It may be perfect for your second bucket or add to a climbing crew for assistance near power lines. While you may sacrifice some working height, you will gain maneuverability. This could allow you to gain access to locations you never would have reached in a larger truck. These are currently built on either a RAM 5500 or Ford F550, and available in a forestry or flat deck. Do not underestimate what a LT40 bucket can get done.

 

close up of an emerald ash borer, a non-native forest pest
Non-Native Pest Infestations – A Blight That Could Cost Billions

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about forest devastation? Wildfires, right? It’s true that wildfires raging through forests in the West and South of the country make headlines from June through August every year. They cost states billions of dollars in damage control. But there’s another determined and relentless killer that silently destroys vegetation and doesn’t get as much attention: pests.

Non-Native Pest Infestations

Armies of them, in fact, colonize and decimate our forests. They leave behind carcasses of dead trees that have to be cleared. Great cost and effort are then required to preserve timber, manage risks of spreading wildfires, and prevent additional global-warming gases being expelled into the atmosphere from dying plants. A study has found that the 15 most virulent pests in United States destroy enough trees to expel 6 million tons of carbon – equivalent to adding 4.6 million cars onto our roads every year.

According to estimates, there are 6 billion dead trees standing in western states alone, and about 40% of our forest regions are currently at risk of infestation from at least 450 oversea pests that have entered the country via international cargo ships and airplanes.

Non-native insects of foreign origin have an edge over local ones. They don’t have natural predators or other evolutionary checks-and-balances – advantages that allow their population to survive, thrive, and explode.

Here are some examples:

  • Emerald Ash Borer: An iridescent, green beetle from North East Asia that feeds on ash species.
  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: An insect from East Asia that feeds on sap from spruce and hemlock trees.
  • Gypsy Moth: An insect of Eurasian origin that is partial to oak, feeds on whatever species is at hand.
  • Asian Long-Horned Beetle: Also known as the Sky Beetle from Korea and China. It feeds on maple, poplar, willow, and also elm trees.

With over 400 more foreign intruder pests to go, this list could go on and on…

The Emerald Ash Borer

The U.S. discovered the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in southeastern Michigan, in the summer of 2002. Having, in all probability, crossed the Pacific Ocean in wooden packing material, the pest has since then been detected in 35 states. As of 2020, the EAB has been reported as active in six states (Minnesota, Massachusetts, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee).

All 16 species of ash trees in United States are at risk of an EAB infestation. To date, they have killed millions of ash in North America. The USDA has enforced quarantines and taken other steps to ensure that infected trees, logs, and firewood were not moved out of their zone of origin to contain their spread. This cost forestry departments, municipalities, nursery businesses, and property owners millions of dollars in pest management efforts.

The Spotted Lanternfly

While our country attempts to fight and control the EAB infestation, another battle has begun with the spotted lanternfly. Native to China and Vietnam, they arrived on American shores as egg masses on a stone shipment in 2012. Arborists found the first infestation of this pest in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014. The voracious insects wreaked havoc on trees, causing sap to ooze, leaves to curl, and trees to dieback. They also excreted a sugary substance that encouraged the growth of black, sooty mold.

Despite quarantine efforts, we have now discovered spotted lanternflies in New York, Delaware, and Virginia. Grapevines, apple trees, and stone fruit trees have the greatest draw for these insects. However, their track record of using at least 40 species of native plants as hosts in the United States (including hardwood trees of commercial value like maple and black walnut) opens up the possibility of them colonizing large swathes of the country in the near future. More in depth information on arborists’ struggles against the spotted lanternfly can be found in the April issue of TCIA magazine.

Costs and Pest Control Solutions

Imported pests have always been an expensive problem. Besides trees, the emerald ash borer, for example, consumed $850 million of taxpayer’s money during enforcement of control measures – a figure that could climb to $ 12.7 billion by 2020, says The Harvard Gazette.

Financial considerations aside, there are grim environmental impacts too. Every species of tree has a role to play within a forest’s complex ecosystem. These systems involve birds, mammals, insects, other plant species, and even soil. A shift in the balance shakes up a forest’s infrastructure which can cumulatively impact the country as a whole.

Recommendations like switching to non-solid-wood packaging material for imported goods, restricting import of live trees, and improving inspection protocols should be firmly enforced. Otherwise at least 25 more forest pest species will propagate on American soil each decade. And by 2050, three times as many invasive wood-boring insects will be occupying our forests.

 

Tree trimmers in buckets wearing PAL safety lanyards
Positive Attachment Lanyard: A Terex Innovation Proving To Be A Good Pal For The Tree Trimming Industry

Being hoisted in the bucket of a tree trimmer truck, dangling high above ground to perform your job, can be a daunting task.

The truck base must be properly secured to allow the worker to do his work while safely anchored. However, the bucket is sometimes left to its own devices, not properly controlled. In such situations, a swaying bucket operated at higher elevations can fatally injure the trimmer doing the job.

To add yet another piece of safety equipment to reduce hazards of tree-trimming, Terex Utilities — strategic partner of Custom Truck One Source (CTOS) — has introduced the Positive Attachment Lanyard (PAL) device, which now features on the Terex Hi-Ranger XT Pro Series forestry bucket trucks.

The model range, comprising the XT60-70, XT Pro 56, and XT Pro 60, is designed to meet the unique job site needs of tree care professionals. They are also now available with the latest technology to support safe work practices in the field. PAL is simply a warning system. It reduces the chance of an operator elevating a bucket without a safety harness lanyard attached.

When you haven’t properly fastened your seat belt, your car beeps and a light goes off on your car dashboard. The same happens with a truck that has this device. Audio and visual warnings go off once controls engage if the worker doesn’t attach the lanyard to the anchor at the platform.

After undergoing rigorous testing, PAL became available on XT Pro Series Tree Trimmer trucks at the  International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) in October of last year. Best of all, PAL can also be retrofitted. The three-model XT Pro Series features over center aerial devices with working heights from 61 feet to 75 feet. They can also be customized to buyer specifications.

According to Bob Dray, VP of Sales and Marketing for the Forestry Division at CTOS, “A company that works clearing right of way areas prefers the XT60-70 forestry unit as it gives them the required height and chip carrying capacity. Independent tree trimmers working in residential and some commercial jobs prefer the XT60-70 rear-mounted unit. It has a smaller wheelbase, allowing more mobility in tight areas.”

Dray added, “Back of cab compact longitudinal lift accommodates an 11-ft. chip box, so there is no reduction in chip storage space. Over rear axle elevator installation makes it possible to achieve additional working height. Plus it provides more than 40 square feet of open-deck space for storing tools.”

PAL is simple in its concept. It’s easy to use, doesn’t take up space, and doesn’t require extra equipment to be utilized.

Terex Utilities’ vertical market manager, Ted Barron, said, “We have a history of pioneering innovations in the utility market. PAL is one such example. Through user-focused feedback, Terex Utilities was able to be quick in product development of the PAL device.”

He added that customers were a great help in developing PAL through their feedback. Workers often forget to attach the lanyard, because their work requires so much focus. Barron said with PAL, this would be a thing of the past. Alarms going off would serve as a reminder. He stated, “We consider the PAL device a friendly reminder in the bucket, and it promotes safe work practices.”

Also in the works is Smart PAL. This would use telematics data to time and date stamp every lanyard attachment and detachment, and activation and deactivation of the boom. So stay tuned!

 

Trees in the winter
6 Steps To Wintering Your Trees – The Right Way

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the brutality of severe cold weather, imagine what trees are experiencing as they are exposed 24/7 to the elements. They may be dormant in the winter months, but trees still feel the stress caused by the harsh cold.

There is no hot chicken soup nor warm layers of thermals and woollies for them, but there are still certain measures you can take to help them make it through the worst of the weather – and extend their survival by several years in the process:

# 1: Mulching

Starting in late fall or early winter, add a thin layer of organic mulch under the tree’s drip line. Make sure the layer is not more than two inches. Mulch helps insulate soil and tree roots and slows down water loss. Remember not to place mulch directly against the trunk. Mulching should be done when the ground starts to freeze or else you could end up with the tricky problem of getting rid of rodents who find it a perfect spot to spend their winters.

# 2: Watering

It would be wrong to assume trees only need to be watered in hot weather. They should be watered up until the ground freezes. This is especially the case for newly-planted trees which need extra care. Before freezing temperatures set in, you must remove irrigation bags around the trunk. At the slightest sign of a thaw, you need to water your trees to keep them hydrated and replenished.

# 3: Wrapping

Protect your trees from sunscald. The sun in winter thaws out tree trunks, while at night, the cold air can freeze them. This leads to cracks in the trunk. To prevent this, use crepe paper tree wrap, and, working from the bottom of the tree upward, wrap the tree trunk. Once you reach the lower branches, STOP! The wrap can stay there until spring. Another way for you to beat sunscald is by painting the tree white. (An interesting factoid: trees planted to the west or south of buildings are more vulnerable to sunscald.)

# 4: Pest Control

You may have noticed how your pet dog likes to chew up furniture. Similarly, pesky rodents love chewing the outer and inner bark of trees. This exposes the inner wood of the trunk, making your tree even more vulnerable to the harsh weather.

Rodents can be kept away with the help of plastic tree guards. Wrap them around the trunk working from the bottom up and past the snow line. Not only do the guards keep rodents out, but allow the bark to mature in peace and develop fissures, which rodents hate to chew. Remember to remove the tree guard before spring.

# 5: Snow Removal

While snow on tree branches makes for a pretty picture, the sheer weight can also bring them down. You can remove the snow very gently by pushing upward on the branches. The snow will then fall to the ground, and the branches will once again become visible. To remove ice, don’t try to break the icicles off, as this action hurts the tree. A gentler way is to hose branches down with warm water. (Remember, if the water is too hot, your tree could actually suffer burns!)

# 6: Pruning

Winter provides a great opportunity for inspecting and pruning trees. You can easily see the total shape of the tree and figure out which branches could be a problem. Pruning in winter, when trees are dormant, can help stop the spread of disease.

 

Fassi F145Z Under CDL Grapple
Why Grapple Loaders are Essential for Bulk Waste Management & Forestry Industries

What is a Grapple Loader?

A grapple loader, as defined by ANSI Z245.1, is “a hydro-mechanical device able to rotate on an axis with a grapple or bucket attached at the end of the boom, which is intended for the collection of waste that due to size and/or weight is impractical to containerize.”

Who Uses Grapple Loaders?

Grapple loaders are used by the forestry departments, public works departments and waste collection companies. They’re called in for loading/unloading of unwieldy material by road construction and repair companies, and prove indispensable during disaster relief efforts.

Advantages of Using Grapple Loaders:

  • Grapple loaders are a bulky waste management solution. (A sizable portion of up to 40% of the municipal solid waste in many cities is bulky trash.) For example, trees, branches, logs, discarded building material, discarded flooring, discarded electronic goods etc., which are difficult to collect, contain and haul away, can be done using grapple loaders that accomplish these jobs, quickly, efficiently and safely.
  • Grapple loaders cut down the need to deploy large crews, as the mechanized system can usually be managed by a single operator.
  • They keep workers off the road, and safe from the possibility of accidents, especially in congested, high-traffic areas.
  • The waste material, which may include roadkill, glass and other unexpected hazards, don’t have to be handled by the operator, as the grapple does the job of loading via controls that are inside the operator’s cabin.
  • According to studies, more than 42% of illegal dumping is the result of a lack of affordable and efficient collection systems. A study conducted by Reed, Stowe & Yanke’s proved that the average cost per ton for collecting illegally dumped material was approximately $326 and the average cost per dump site cleaned up totaled approximately $805. This is a perennial and constant problem for municipal services, and grapple loaders do an excellent job of clearing out these illegal dump sites, legally and inexpensively.

Types of Grapple Loaders:

Principally, there are 6 kinds of grapple loaders:

  • Loader And Body System (includes a dump body).
  • Roll-off System (grapple loader mounted behind a truck cab, with a cable roll-off mounted behind the grapple).
  • Rear Steer System (grapple loader mounted on the rear of a short frame chassis with an operator’s cab mounted between loader and chassis cab).
  • Rear Mounted Loader And Haul Truck System (grapple loader mounted on the rear of a short frame chassis, loading into separate haul trucks and offering the advantage of continuous loading).
  • Rear Mounted Loader And Trailer System (loading into connected trailers, thus saving time and making the operation more efficient than most traditional loading methods).
  • Transfer System (grapple loading mechanism mounted with a dump truck body on a truck chassis. The grapple truck loads into the dump truck body or into separate haul trucks).

 

ICUEE 2019

 

Forestry Chippers - Custom Truck One Source
Survival Guide To Purchasing Wood Chipper Equipment

If you own a tree care business or if you’re planning to start one, you already know that a good-quality wood chipper – a machine used to reduce tree limbs and trunks to small chips – is a piece of equipment you absolutely need.

However, if you’re still unsure about how to choose one that is just right for your needs, here are some tips that should help you decide.

MATCH SIZE TO JOB

The first consideration is size. There are large units in the market that efficiently handle large-scale, commercial tree cutting jobs. But if the work you do, or intend to do, does not involve extensive land-clearing for example, a smaller size would be convenient and cost-effective. You don’t want to be maneuvering a large, unwieldy chipper (that may need a bigger truck for transportation) in close, residential areas, but if you go too small, you may end up spending more time in handling and disposal than you need to.

As a general rule, select a chipper that can handle 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the trees and bushes you expect to be chipping.

DISC CHIPPER OR DRUM CHIPPER?

The original chipper design is the disc, which has knives mounted on a steel disc as its chipping mechanism. Reversible hydraulically powered wheels draw wood from the hopper to the disc, and as it spins, the knives cut the wood into chips.

Commercial tree care companies often opt for the disc design, and many operators say that they produce more uniform chips than the drum chipper. On the flip side, it is also true that small, flexible branches may pass through the disc slots and result in poor chip quality.

The material diameter capacity of consumer-grade disc chippers range from 6 to 18 inches, whereas industrial-grade ones can be as large as 160 inches in diameter.

Drum chippers are a newer system that involves a steel drum (powered by a motor) that is located parallel to the hopper and spins towards the output chute. The drum also functions as the feed mechanism, drawing the material through as it chips it.

The drum chipper can not only chip big logs of wood, it can also process small tree branches and fibrous material (like palm trees). It has a compact structure, and is reliable and easy to operate.

The main parameter of chipper technology is the length of the wood chips. So evaluate performance by checking the quality of the chips produced. When wood chip size is balanced and the detritus and chump content is less, then it is a good quality product.

CHIP TRUCKS

Another piece of equipment to consider is a chip truck. Chip trucks have large chip boxes to catch the cut-up chips that chippers spit out. At Custom Truck One Source, we offer two models of chipper trucks: the 11×66 and the 14×72. The models are simply the size of the chip boxes on the bed of the truck. The smaller model, the 11×66, is an under CDL truck and doesn’t require a special license to operate.

SAFETY FACTORS

Needless to say, safety is a huge factor that you must keep in mind when selecting a wood chipper. A longer feed table, for example, will create more distance between operators and the cutter. An enhanced upper feed control bar will offer an extra stop position. And so on.

 

Looking To Buy A Wood Chipper That Is JUST RIGHT For Your Business?

Custom Truck One Source has you covered!

We’re America’s first true single-source provider of specialized truck and heavy equipment solutions and we’re standing by to help you!

Call us at 844-282-1838 or email us at info@customtruck.com.

 

 

Choosing the Right Truck for Your Forestry Needs

Without the right equipment for a variety of activities like tree trimming, skidding, loading, onsite processing, hauling, chipping etc., the amount of time that the forestry industry would have to spend in accomplishing day-to-day tasks is hard to imagine. Specialized trucks, for example, are crucial pieces of machinery that keep forestry job sites running smoothly, safely and efficiently.

Custom Truck One Source is a premier provider of forestry equipment in North America, and the following trucks are four of the most popular types we carry in our inventory:

 

Which Forestry Truck is Right for You?

Grapple in Winter
Winterizing Forestry Equipment: 8 Things You Cannot Afford To Ignore

Winter is a great time for the forestry industry. Logging, for example, when the ground is frozen, reduces the impact of heavy equipment that cause compaction and rutting when the soil is soft, which in turn damages roots, weakens future stand development and spreads disease. The likelihood of forestry equipment accidentally “skinning” (ripping the bark from trees) is reduced as well, and the food energy is saved, because nutrients are typically stored in the roots during winter when trees are dormant.

But to stay busy, profitable and safe through the winter season and achieve all this, the heavy equipment used for forestry has to be properly winterized first.

The following 8 tips will help you make sure you’re doing everything to keep your forestry equipment protected from the ravages of winter weather that can damage pipes, undercarriages etc, and weaken them so much that they fail on the job and cost you time and money.

 

Forestry Winterization Checklist - Infographic

 

Got Forestry Equipment Needs?

 

Call Custom Truck One Source at 844-282-1838 or get in touch with us by clicking HERE. We’re the nation’s first, true single-source provider of specialized trucks and heavy equipment solutions.

With sales, rentals, aftermarket parts and service, equipment customization, remanufacturing, financing solutions, and asset disposal, our team of experts, vast equipment breadth and integrated network of locations across North America offer superior service and unmatched efficiency for our customers.