Author Archives: Bob Dray

drone flies against the background of a spring forest fire
How Drones Help Fight Forest Fires

In 2020, California suffered from a record-breaking 52,113 wildfires. With the state of the environment, the situation is looking dismal. Every year, thousands of firefighters and millions of dollars worth of resources are used to combat forest fires. In the efforts, firefighters employ a limitless array of tactics, systems, and technology to help keep people safe. As technology has gotten more accessible and affordable, firefighter teams are increasingly turning to drones to help in everything from situational awareness to information gathering.

Drones use multiple electro-optical and thermal sensors, along with aerial imaging, to provide instant and actionable intelligence, regardless of the wildfire situation, to a commander. They’re enormously beneficial to any firefighting crew. They make the entire process far more efficient, far less dangerous, and help effectively deploy resources to where they’re needed most. And that’s only scratching the surface. Let’s take a look at how drones help firefighters around the world combat forest fires.

Drones Quickly Help Assess a Forest Fire Situation

Given its ability to get into a dangerous situation quickly, a drone can help firefighter commanders decide within a few moments what kind of resources to send into the fire. Many drones are equipped with thermal sensors. These are able to utilize infrared radiation to help crews find heat signatures of both people and fire hotspots.

With the information provided in these first moments of an active fire, commanders can safely make informed decisions from their computer before the real battle begins. This kind of rapid, in-depth information can make all the difference in the world when it comes to battling wildfires. It’s the kind of information that saves lives, lowers resource cost, as well as determining the trajectory of the entire firefight.

Drones Provide Superior Intelligence for Decision Making

Drones don’t just help with the initial response of fighting a fire. Forest fires require large-scale operations with minute-by-minute decisions about where and how to deploy resources and personnel. As with any decision, the more information and intelligence you have, the better the decision.

Drones are superior intelligence gatherers. They’re capable of capturing data, visuals, topography, and heat signatures in wildfires and sending their findings back to the commander. With all of the information, in addition to an up-close aerial view, commanders benefit from being able to make decisions based on information they wouldn’t otherwise have. This makes the entire process far more efficient, saving the environment and potentially lives too.

Drones Protect Personnel

Every situation involving a drone instead of a human being is an opportunity to save a life. Forest fires are immensely dangerous and incredibly stressful to combat. Using drones instead of feet on the ground, firefighting crews risk a more modest amount of resources.

Drones also help commanders monitor the men and women who are on the ground and in the fight. They help them make the right decisions on whether an area is safe enough to enter and in which direction the crew should move. This helps keep them safe and avoid unnecessary danger.

Another way that drones help with protecting personnel is by replacing manned aircrafts. Plumage and smoke from active forest fires create dangerous flying situations with little visibility. By using drones to provide accurate intelligence, commanders can remove pilots from unnecessary dangers.

Moreover, manned aircrafts simply can’t fly as low and get into places that a drone can. Even a helicopter has to remain at a safe distance from a raging fire. Not only does using a drone in place of a pilot potentially save lives, but it provides firefighting crews with better information and intelligence.

Rapid Mapping for Response and Recovery

Drones are truly helping to revolutionize the world of firefighting. They have a wide array of sensors and cameras that provide firefighting crews with a wealth of information about fires. Commanders can see real-time aerial views of the situation, along with thermal and heat signature readings from their crew and the fire itself.

They’re far more agile and can get into places that typical manned aircraft just can’t access. And for that matter, shouldn’t be accessing unnecessarily. Better still, drones can read situations. They can identify and locate people who could be trapped, giving firefighters the necessary intelligence to save lives.

Given their utility, drones are also extremely useful during the recovery period once a forest fire has been contained. In some instances, drones can be used to help assess the damage caused to residential and commercial structures, providing victims with valuable information that helps with insurance claims. These assessments can help move things along more quickly so victims of these unfortunate events can begin rebuilding their lives.

Drones: Firefighting Tool of the Future

Given how quickly drones have joined firefighting teams, it seems possible that there will soon be flocks of them flying over and combatting all sorts of fires in the years to come. That said, it’s critical to understand that as critical as they, it’s boots on the ground that put out fires.

Drones will never replace the kind of courageous and skilled person it takes to fight and contain forest fires. But they are joining the ranks of firefighting forestry equipment. They give commanders information and intelligence that allows them to make the best possible decisions, leading to the best possible outcomes. And it’s these frontline fighters, operators, and incident managers who will decide on the best tools to use to improve firefighting.

Fires are terrible events capable of destroying environments, wildlife, homes, businesses and—in the worst instances—human life. Therefore, any tool that helps contain these terrible events is an immense blessing. Drones are one of those tools and an incredibly effective one at that.

 

XT70 Rear Mount forestry bucket truck
5 Trucks to Help Grow Your Forestry Business in 2021

If you’re in the forestry business, you need the right equipment to make your work fast, safe, and efficient. Some of the must-haves are your forestry trucks.  The machines streamline core tasks in your business such as tree trimming, loading, chipping, onsite processing, skidding, and hauling.

The type of truck to choose depends on several factors, including the type of work it’s intended to perform, the chassis requirement, and body type. Here are the five best trucks you need to bring your forestry business to a new level in 2021.

Forestry Bucket Trucks

These offer access to locations and heights which you’d never reach unless you were using a ladder. An inbuilt combustion engine powers these trucks, although there are also some hybrid models available.

Some have a secondary shaft that powers the hydraulic rams to direct the truck’s lift in the right direction. Most bucket trucks include an auxiliary internal combustion engine on one side of its chassis.

Forestry bucket trucks enable tree management crews to operate safely off the ground, while allowing the bucket to reposition an d reach out-of-the way spots that couldn’t be reached with a ladder. For many years, bucket trucks have been instrumental in tree trimming. They are the best option for line clearance.

Roll-Offs Trucks

Roll-off trucks are mainly used to transport logs from the forest to the yard. They are robust machines that can handle heavy-duty work without straining. These trucks include an open container dumpster without a top.

The trucks also contain a roll-off hoist system used to lift logs off the ground and load them on their containers for transport.  Most of these trucks will either include a hook-lift or a roll-off hoist. The type of hoist has a different method of loading and unloading materials onto the truck.

Roll-off hoists pull the logs onto the truck’s bed. These trucks can also be used to load containers onto the trucks. Some of these trucks have rails on the bottom to roll containers and other material onto the truck’s bed.

The roll-off system comprises three components: the hoist mechanism, the truck chassis, and a tarp system. Such systems are automated to fit different applications. The system ensures loading logs onto the truck or trailer is effortless.

The hoist system can be configured for alternative fuel types, including LNG, CNG, electric or hybrid. These trucks are made to ensure optimal durability.

Chipper Trucks

Chip trucks are also referred to as chipper trucks. These forestry trucks have increased in demand due to their crucial role in the forestry industry. They are useful in tree trimming and tree removal. Tree producing, tree-trimming companies and smaller independent contractors are the main clients who need this forestry machinery.

After trimming and felling a tree, you’ll find lots of debris on the ground. The best way to clear the site is to chip the debris into smaller pieces. A chipping machine does this work. It helps to clear the mess swiftly, eliminating the need to burn the remains, thus recycling the wood chips.

Once the wood debris is in small pieces, the chipper moves them onto the truck. The chipper truck is essentially a chassis and a closed dump container that is specifically designed for this purpose. You can purchase a chipper truck with or without a toolbox. Some buyers forgo toolboxes to increase load capacity.

The big chip trucks have a self-loading arm to allow easy wood chip loading. The truck and the woodchipper work in tandem. An inbuilt combustion engine powers the wood chipper’s engine. Some chipper trucks have a separate engine mounted on the truck to the chipper. Others have a hydraulic crane to help in lifting the debris onto the truck.

Grapples

A grapple truck is a truck fitted with a grapple loader on its frame to help load and haul bulky materials, including logs and debris. This truck can collect materials that are difficult to containerize due to their weight and size.

Grapple trucks systems come in different sizes and types, including rear-steer system, loader and body systems, haul truck systems, roll-off systems, transfer systems and rear-mounted loader and trailer systems.

These trucks are very instrumental in removing overgrown trees from residential and commercial areas. They help to grab and lift hefty foliage, limbs, branches, and trunks. That’s why you need to purchase a grapple truck if you’re in the forestry business.

Grapple trucks have a jaw or claw attached to the bottom end of the boom to lift and load objects onto the truck. These trucks are essential equipment for cutting and transporting logs.

Most grapple trucks are fitted with micro cranes to make loading logs easy. Grapple trucks come in different sizes and types to meet the needs of varying clients. It’s therefore vital to select a truck that will be effective in your forestry business.

Service Trucks

A service truck is one that functions as a mobile workshop.  This truck helps to transport tools, equipment and parts needed to do a forestry job effectively. Service trucks are heavier and larger than utility and delivery trucks: they comprise robust bodies and powerful engines.

These trucks work as ambulances by rushing to the site to facilitate repair works on trucks and other machinery used in the forestry business. They also ferry technicians who perform the repairs. Service trucks come in varying sizes and configurations to address the needs of different customers.

It’s quite frustrating if your forestry truck or other machinery breaks down onsite. It means the equipment has to be transported to a mechanic shop for repair. Fortunately, this is not the case if you have forestry service trucks.

The service trucks also have cranes used to lift heavy parts and materials. These trucks are a must-have, especially if you have many forestry trucks and machinery. They help save money, time and ensure your work momentum is not interrupted.

Are You in Need of High-Quality Forestry Trucks?

If you’re in the forestry business, you need to invest in the right equipment and machinery to make your work easier.  We have different forestry trucks, including grapples, roll-offs, chipper trucks, service trucks, trailers, and dump trucks.

Over the years, we’ve been offering the best forestry equipment to our clients. We also provide unmatched service and maintenance for this equipment. Our sales agents and engineers will advise you on the best machinery for your business. Contact us now for comprehensive information about our wide range of forestry trucks.

 

Emerald ash borer looking for a meal, An invasive bug that feeds on ash trees.
The Ash Borer’s Destructive Path Through the South

The emerald ash borer has been responsible for destroying trees in huge numbers in the recent past. The jewel green beetle has been responsible for destroying great regions of otherwise mighty and formidable ash trees.

Areas of Ash Borer Infestation

The ash borer, originally from north-eastern Asia, came to the U.S. in 2002 and was first noticed around Detroit. The belief is that they arrived in ash wood meant for stabilizing large crates as they were shipped.

They have now travelled and trees in the south are being attacked, from New Jersey all the way to Florida as well as Oklahoma and Texas. The beetle has left in its wake a path of destruction that is now also slowly moving west. The beetle is adapting to utilize new hosts and it will have serious ecological as well as economic repercussions on the forestry industry.

Damage from Infestation

As of now, the ash borer beetle has killed millions of ash trees. It is estimated that there are over 8.7 billion ash trees in the U.S.  Unfortunately, the beetle is well on its way to killing most of them. The damages could result in losses of over 10 billion dollars.

The female beetle lays eggs in the bark and crevices of the ash tree. The larvae then feed off the trees when they hatch. This weakens them from within, cutting off the natural flow of minerals and water through the main bark.

It is easy to spot when a tree has been infested. The fully grown beetle leaves the bark by leaving behind a hole in the shape of a D. However, the tree could have been infested years earlier when the female beetles had first laid their eggs inside the bark. If the bark is peeled apart, then damage inside it can be shocking.

Steps Taken To Restrict the Movement of Ash Borers

Numerous efforts have been taken to stop their destructive journey. Pesticides have been injected into the trunks of trees or fed into the soil from where the trees derive their nutrients. Parasitoid wasps haven been released into the trees which feed on the beetles.

However, with the ash borer reaching higher densities, it is nearly impossible to cull them all before they infest another group of trees. Currently, modern research is focused on developing new strains of the ash tree which would be more resistant to the beetles.

Significant measures have been taken by the experts of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or APHIS, a branch of the US Department of Agriculture. The department has been researching the invasive nature of the beetle and its impact on horticulture, forestry, and agriculture.

Impact of Ash Borer Infestation

Ash trees are responsible for keeping the topsoil in place in the regions they grow. Widespread destruction of the trees will make the region prone to soil erosion. Moreover, the tree is a refuge to a variety of animal life, like birds, insects, and good microbes.

Over the years, regions where ash borers have invaded have observed poorer regeneration of ash trees. If allowed to continue, the tree species might become practically extinct. A biological invasion of this nature is bound to have a huge environmental impact, and the battle of keeping the beetles from multiplying is still raging.

 

bunching grapple attachment picking up logs
6 Grapple Attachments Used in Forestry

One piece of equipment can’t fit every vegetation management need. In fact, there are at least three at the top of any forestry company’s equipment acquisition list: chip trucks, bucket trucks, and grapple trucks.

Each perform a unique task. Chip trucks chop tree limbs and branches into small, transportable pieces before hauling them offsite. Forestry trucks enable tree-cutting crews to be safely lifted off the ground. Grapple trucks use mechanical `claws’ or `jaws’ that are attached at the end of knuckle booms to grab hold of large, felled wood sections and load them into the vehicle.

While the general function of any grapple truck is basically the same, the difference comes in the shape and application of the jaws or grapple attachments. Each is specifically designed to grab onto different kinds of wood debris. In this article, we will discuss some of the most popular ones in forestry applications.

#1: Grapple Buckets

Also known as flat-bottom grapples, these have a scrape-and-scoop functionality. They scrape the ground and load the tree bits and pieces into a bucket for efficient clean-up and disposal. The dimensions of the tree debris that a bucket grapple can pick up are limited by its size. Some do have cutaway end plates to allow for loads with larger widths, but typically, if the pieces are big, you’re better off switching to a lumber grapple.

#2: Root Grapples

These have tines that are usually spaced about 8 inches apart. So, when they pass close to the ground, the unwanted dirt they pick up slips between the tines. Therefore, only roots and branches are caught by these grapple attachments.

#3: Rock Grapples

As the name suggests, the job of this style of grapple is to pick up rocks. The tines are closer together than on a root grapple – about 3 inches apart. This provides better `raking’ capability for land clearing.

#4: Log Grapples

Used to pick and haul long cuts of lumber, the shape of these jaws is just right to grab hold of single, large and heavy logs or a bundle of smaller ones in one `bite’. This grapple attachment’s load-carrying capacity is about 40,000 lbs. This is decent heavy lifting to quickly remove sizable log pieces.

#5: Bunching Grapples

These are grapples with single cylinders and bypassing jaws that use a large gripping area to scoop up short logs in portable `bunches’. They are very useful to unload timber at the roadside or to feed wood-chippers and grinders at the job site.

#6: Grapple Saws

Grapple saws improve safety conditions at tree-cutting sites by doing the sawing work instead of hoisting a crew member off the ground to do it. Once done, these same grapple attachments grab and deposit the cut wood wherever it needs to go.

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