Latest Blog Posts

product-directory-front-cover

Clogger Product Directory 2017/18

We’re pleased to launch our new product directory.  It features the results of unwavering passion and relentless innovation – namely, the products.  Each one is special to us.  They are all a ‘work-in-progress’ and we’ll keep making changes and improvements.  That’ll never stop.  So think of this as a snapshot in time.  It’s merely what the products are as of April 2017.  Enjoy.

mike-teti

A talk in the trees with Mike Teti

When stateside at the TCI Expo last year, we got to meet and hang out with an awesome bunch of people.  One of them is Mike Teti.  Hailing from Philadelphia, a region that is still home, Mike has been a tree climber for 25 years.  He says he’s been blessed with all the opportunities life as a climber offers.  It has taken him to the top of the tallest trees, to the most beautiful locations and provided enough happy memories for a lifetime.  Mike says it was also “directly responsible for meeting my beautiful wife and Mother of my two precious boys”.

To the questions…

1. I became an Arborist because…
My passion for the great outdoors and the physicality of the job.  Even after all these years, no two days are the same.

2. My favourite tree is…
Dawn Redwood.

3. I can’t leave home without…
My awareness.

4. The perfect day at work would include…
Mild temps and sunshine.  Large canopies and a fun crew.

5. The worst part of my job is...
Cold rain, Poison Ivy and Bees.

6. The best slice of wisdom I can pass on is...
Be passionate about what you do.  It’s the things you do after dark that will make your a better arborist; reading, rec climbing and tinkering with gear.

7. If I could hang out in a tree with one person (past/present/living/dead), it would be…
My Grandfather.  I believe him to be the one to instill the love of the outdoors in me.

8. The one tree I’d like to climb is…
Eucalyptus Tree.  Not sure why.  It was my first thought and some of the pictures I’ve seen are amazing.

9. If I wasn’t an arborist I’d be a…
Climber of some sort.  Couldn’t imagine life without it.

10.  True Tale or Tall Tall Tale?  Once upon a time I…
…if ya really want to know, catch up with me and buy me a beer.  I’ll tell ya about it!  Hint: It involves alcohol and an alligator.

TO BE CONTINUED…………(after the editor gets the chance to take Mike to the pub.  A story with an alligator and alcohol needs to be told).

badhans5

A Talk in the Trees with ‘the badhans’.

Hans J. Tielmann, CTSP, CIC is an arborist and social media marketer from New Jersey. Hans is the owner of Pine Valley Tree Service, PVTS a family run business, that has been owned and operated by his father for over 40 years. Most Recently, he started a second business Bad Media LLC., a digital marketing company assisting clients in creating engaging online content for the tree care industry. His main goal is to help his clients overcome the challenges and misconceptions of “modern marketing”. A tech savvy graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hans is passionate about trees. He and his crew promote safe and effective techniques in their everyday duties by using modern equipment matched with comprehensive strategy. Ever the tree tactician, Hans’s passion carries over into the world of social media. As an industry contributor, he exhibits his love for what he does best. As his Instagram shows, Hans promotes fun and effective educational posts as well as behind the scenes posts for his audience. With the majority of his audience being in the tree care industry, he has a long-term goal of expanding into the consumer market. Hans also strives to improve safety standards without using fear as a motivator. Hans was a winner of the 2015 & 2016 TCIA Professional Communications Awards for Social Media. Also winning the 2016 Industry Website Award for www.pinevalleytree.com.

To the questions…

1. I became an Arborist because…
I grew up following my fathers business 24/7, he was always really passionate with helping his customers with their trees & yards.  He has owned the business for 42 years and I want to continue his success as a local business owner.

2. My favourite tree is…
White Oak.  (1) in NJ oak trees are one of the most common trees (2) they are an impressive site to see (for a NJ tree) (3) many of the oak trees in my area of NJ are historic, some were planted by America’s first President George Washington.

3. I can’t leave home without…
My cameras.  Documenting the companies performance and expertise by using photography and videography, is not only a great way to promote a better safety culture but it also allows for easy review of efficient climbing techniques and effective ground man duties. Its also beneficial when educating customers by showing examples of similar projects. 

4. The perfect day at work would include…
Coffee, removing an impossible tree, and a hot lunch while filming every second of it.

5. The worst part of my job is...
Hitting a nail with a freshly sharpened chainsaw.

6. The best slice of wisdom I can pass on is...
“Competence not confidence” Never stop learning and always work within your means.

7. If I could hang out in a tree with one person (past/present/living/dead), it would be…
My Dad.

8. The one tree I’d like to climb is…
Any tree with a view.

9. If I wasn’t an arborist I’d be a…
Hollywood Director.

10.  True Tale or Tall Tall Tale?  Once upon a time I…
…went to a house to give a pruning estimate, when I arrived I noticed that the home owner had a very unique landscape preference. Ready for it… he planted 10 artificial Christmas trees in front of his house. Now I have seen artificial flower planting before, but these trees didn’t even have the branches fanned, they were right out of a box. Fortunately, I was happy to see that there were actual trees that needed pruning.

krista-strating

A Talk in the Trees with Krista Strating

Krista started climbing trees as a youngster, taking it up professionally in 2009.  Since then, Krista has competed 8 times in the International Tree Climbing Competition.  Always busy, Krista has taught climbing at the Humber College for the last 4 years and works hard to promote women in the industry as a committee member for Women in Arboriculture Ontario.  And it’s all done with heaps of passion because…”the industry is amazing and I love my Tree Family!  We definitely have the best community of talented, experienced, exciting, knowledgeable and passionate people ever!”  We couldn’t agree more.  

1. I became an Arborist because…
I love trees and working outdoors.  I was tired of cutting grass for a living and I loved the idea of competing.

2. My favourite tree is…
The American elm for its beautiful shape and structure.  Red Oaks are my favourite tree to climb and Honey Locusts are my favourite trees to prune.

3. I can’t leave home without…
My lunch and 2 sets of safety glasses; tinted and clear.

4. The perfect day at work would include…
Dead wooding locust trees on a beautiful summer day with a fun crew and no clean up!

5. The worst part of my job is...
Waking up early.

6. The best slice of wisdom I can pass on is...
Work smarter, not harder.

7. If I could hang out in a tree with one person (past/present/living/dead), it would be…
Chrissy Spence.  She’s a phenomenal climber and such a great person.  She’s been a huge inspiration to me and I’d love to hang with her and learn from the best!

8. The one tree I’d like to climb is…
A Sequoia.  I’ve climbed some large Douglas Fir in Portland but never had the opportunity to climb the worlds largest living organism.

9. If I wasn’t an arborist I’d be a…
A firefighter specialising in High Angle Rescues.

10.  True Tale or Tall Tall Tale?  Once upon a time I…
…dropped a huge tree on a house.  Yup – true story!  I miscalculated the trees lean and missed some dry rot that encompassed an important portion of my hinge.  I had a rope in it, started my back cut…and to my dismay…it started to twist…and boom!!!  On the house!  Luckily no-one was hurt and the tree rolled right off and fell between the two buildings.  It knocked my confidence down so hard I almost quit.  Instead, we used it as a training opportunity to learn about the importance of leans and loads and everyone benefited.  The homeowner was also very understanding of the situation and even wrote me a letter to say that mistakes happen and not to be discouraged.  It was a humbling experience and now I take extra caution when felling trees.  Stay safe out there!

drew-bristow

A talk in the trees with Drew Bristow

Originally from the UK, Drew emigrated to New Zealand and stayed for 16 years before deciding he needed an even smaller Island, namely Fiji.  A co-founder of www.exploretrees.com, a South African based exploration company that specialises in canopy habitat for endangered Parrots, Drew keeps himself very busy running an eco resort but still finds time for some climbing and rope operations. 

1. I became an Arborist because…
I really liked trees!  I was working in a tree nursery and climbing rock on the weekends and decided that becoming a climbing arborist was a pretty neat combination.

2. My favourite tree is…
That’s almost too tough to answer.  Baobabs for the weirdness of them, Kauri trees for the impressiveness of what lives up in the canopy…but I think the English Oak will always be my favourite.  The form and the way it changes through the seasons is something I cannot look past.

3. I can’t leave home without…
Forgetting something!

4. The perfect day at work would include…
Working with friends.  The best crew can turn the worst days into the best days.  Even though I don’t production climb much anymore I still think this is the best part of Arboriculture.

5. The worst part of my job is...
Getting new rope dirty!

6. The best slice of wisdom I can pass on is...
Never stop exploring and seeing what’s out there.  If you don’t like something, change it.

7. If I could hang out in a tree with one person (past/present/living/dead), it would be…
It could only be Sir David Attenborough.

8. The one tree I’d like to climb is…
A snow covered tree in the Taiga Forest.

9. If I wasn’t an arborist I’d be a…
Manager of a small island eco resort in Fiji, surrounded by a protected marine reserve, called Barefoot Manta Resort (cough, cough, splutter, splutter)!

10.  True Tale or Tall Tall Tale?  Once upon a time I…
…watched AC/DC play live from the top of a Pinus radiata.

ngd

A Nice Guy to talk to

Many of you would likely have come across some of the excellent informational videos from ‘Nice Guy Dave’ at WesSpur.  We’ve used them ourselves to learn about products and techniques.  Then, a few months back, we were fortunate enough to be put in contact with Dave.  We wanted to know more.  So we’ve asked a few question and have some answers.  And in case you’re wandering…yeah, he does seem nice.

Tell us a bit about yourself.  What was the journey that led you to WesSpur?
Short answer, I was running a couple of crews in 2010 for a tree service in King County, the economy at the time was in a pretty significant downturn. The owner needed to trim costs. We could drop 2-3 crewmembers or I could give up my position as a Trainer/Safety guy and retain the guys. I opted to go back to contract work.  The owner of Wesspur was looking to expand the business. We decided to start the splicing company and also have me on staff as a SME, I have a very diverse background in work at height which gives me a broad depth of knowledge from industrial to rescue to treework.

How has the arborist scene changed over the years you’ve been involved?
The biggest change from my perspective is not only have we adopted many systems from rescue and caving, but there have been really significant leaps in ropewalker systems and work positioning that are unique to treework, and now to see the other at height disciplines start to adopt some of the systems that we use is pretty interesting to be a part of.

Is there any method or technique you look back on and think ‘wow – I can’t believe we used to do it like that’?
I still shake my head at how 20+ years ago nearly everyone on the West coast still spiked everything. It was also common to do removal work with no rope system for the climber. I was a black sheep for setting myself up on rappel when using a saw on removals. We had no idea what an adjustable friction saver was.

Are there any areas you still think carry an unnecessary risk?
I think that too many new climbers still get into the canopy without the proper amount of experience and training in chainsaw cutting techniques. Also, many folks are still working aloft without a rope system to get them to the ground. In addition a lot of folks forgo fundamental training and “youtube” it as far as running climbing systems.

The rules around chainsaw protection vary around the world. Do you think the rules in the US are adequate or could they be tightened to further reduce risk?
I do believe that saw protection should ALWAYS be worn, both on the ground and aloft, particularly with the level of experience of many cutters in the industry. To put in perspective, many years ago in the program I was in on the Hotshots, It was the norm to have over 3000 hours of chainsaw operation before you could even begin to think about testing for your Unlimited certification.

You’ve tested and reviewed a lot of gear. What stands out as essential bits of kit – the gear that everyone should own and have in the ‘arb arsenal’?
A Hybrid ropewalker system for sure. It will add years to your climbing career. In addition, a proper first aid kit and the ability to build simple mechanical advantage systems.

For the next generation of arborists looking to get into the industry – what advice would you like to share with them?
Treework is one of the most rewarding jobs in rigging at height. It is also one that puts the rigger in often very hazardous and exposed positions. We do things in rigging that no one else who works at height even attempts. Training in rigging physics is extremely important as is being competent in Aerial Rescue. Get training every year. There is no such thing as an expert. We are constantly learning and evolving.

We love a true tree tale. Any story you wish to share with us?
I had just transferred to a new Hotshot crew in California. I had been a sawyer for about 5 years at this point. Of course, being in my early 20’s I knew everything. I was the best, all you had to do was ask me. Anyway we were on a fire had pulled a couple of 30 hour shifts and our next shift was cake, just drop burning snags along the line. Of course we are making bets and I wind up missing my gun and hung up a big Sugar pine ( about 5′ diamter) into another large pine. The trees were loaded really bad. We decided that the only option was to blast the trees. Mind you this was my first shift with this new crew. We wound up placing several pounds of Kinnepac on the two trees, moved several hundred meters away and set the charges. What we saw next made me very concerned for my job. Now we had launched 2 very large trees into a giant oak next to the road right at shift change on the fireline. After many hours into the evening with many charges we finally got my mess cleaned up. The Superintendent of the crew wanted to kill me. I have never to this day been chewed out like that. I learned a few things. 1. I didn’t know diddly, that was a defining moment in my career. 2. Explosives are a lot of fun. Lastly, don’t let a huge mistake make you quit, turn into to the opportunity that it is.

For more from ‘Nice Guy Dave’ check out the WesSpur Tree Equipment YouTube page.
Clogger Zero Pants are available now from WesSpur.

 

 

megan-compressed

A Talk in the Trees with Megan Stoll

Head up the Pacific Northwest to the Kitsap Peninsula and you’ll find the amazing Megan Stoll.  Kept very busy with her company, Timberline Tree Care, we were grateful to get a few minutes with the hugely talented Megan. 

1. I became an Arborist because…
YOLO!!!!!!! Hahahaha.  It’s an industry that needs more women.  And I’m all about doing stuff that needs to be done in the interest of gender equalization! And it fits my lifestyle nicely.

2. My favourite tree is…
This year?  Quercus robur ‘Concordia’.  I want this tree.  My favourite tree to cut on is western red cedar (Thuja plicata).  I also adore mature Sequoiadendron giganteum.  And the neato award goes to deciduous conifers like Larix and Metasequoia.

3. I can’t leave home without…
Taking an hour to myself after waking up.  I’m not a morning person, I don’t want to talk to other humans for at least an hour after I wake up.  If I have to wake up, talk to people immediately, and leave my house right away…it’s gonna get crazy.

4. The perfect day at work would include…
A couple of fun-size (80ish ft, not too big, not too small) conifer removals, a cable installation and a little deadwood cleanout, a cheery helper, a smooth-running chipper and an overcast day.

5. The worst part of my job is...
Yards full of dog poo.  Storm season, when people are sad because trees have landed on their home or cars and now they have big unexpected tree work expense and repairs to do.

6. The best slice of wisdom I can pass on is...
Things break in tree work, constantly.  Workers move on, equipment fails, jobs fall through.  Be prepared to improvise, don’t sweat the small stuff (I’m bad at this – I freak out when my chippy breaks down) and trust your gut about bad situations.  Also, have high standards for who you work with; draw boundaries. And for the ladies – just keep climbing!  Clients want you.  The world is happy to see women doing tree work.  If you can’t find a company who can handle female workers, the clients will want you…start your own!  You can do it!

7. If I could hang out in a tree with one person (past/present/living/dead), it would be…
Dave Stice, because duh!!! or Katy Bigelow, because I learn something new every time I work with her.  Or if fictional characters count…The Predator could climb trees like a boss!

8. The one tree I’d like to climb is…
Yggdrasil.  Or that one epic tree from the cartoon ‘Fern Gully’.

9. If I wasn’t an arborist I’d be a…
Shaman…astronaut…nomadic shepherd….mushroom-picker…dragon-slayer…or maybe a grave digger.

10.  True Tale or Tall Tall Tale?  Once upon a time I…
…was new in the biz and I made some very poor decisions and a poor cut in a monster alder tree.  The 40ft top did kind of a barber-chair peeling thing and slammed me into the trunk of the tree, rearranging my spine significantly.  It was not my finest moment.  My back has a weird crater in it!!

dm

A Talk in the Trees with Derrick Martin

A Talk in the Trees is back and we have the excellent Derrick Martin with us.  We were fortunate enough to meet Derrick at the World Climbing Championships in San Antonio earlier in the year.  An impressive, talented climber and arborist, Derrick is an all-round great guy and we’re lucky to be able to call him a friend.

1. I became an Arborist because…
I was first drawn to tree work because of the climbing aspect of the job. Being able to climb and move through a tree was extremely fun and challenging.

2. My favourite tree is…
It’s hard to pinpoint one tree as a favourite.  I enjoy climbing and working in Hackberry’s, Oaks, Sycamores and Silver Maples.  My favourite climbs are large mature trees with a wide open canopy.

3. I can’t leave home without…
A hammock!  But I will also always carry a simple climbing kit in my car, consisting of a harness, throw line, climbing line, RopeRunner and helmet with a footlocking prussic.

4. The perfect day at work would include…
A no clean up job with a removal that needed to be climbed up nothing rigged.  And woods grove of trees that need hazard deadwood removed.  Something where you can traverse between a number of trees without coming down.  Makes you strategically plan the climb and often times lets you use multiple techniques to accomplish the work.

5. The worst part of my job is...
Getting poison ivy.  Its unavoidable and sometimes you just have to work in it to get the job done.

6. The best slice of wisdom I can pass on is...
The saying might go ‘work smarter, not harder’ but don’t discount hard work.  You’ll never reach your goals without putting in the hard work to get there.

7. If I could hang out in a tree with one person (past/present/living/dead), it would be…
I’ve had the privilege to work beside some very well respected Arborists (Mark Chisholm, Jared Abrojena, Cormac and Whitelock to name a few).  I’d love to get a chance to work with others such as Strasser, Forrest and Kilpatrick.  The list would be never ending.  But if I had to narrow it down to one person…then I can’t wait to take my son up in a tree and get to climb around with him one day.  So I would say my boy, Connor.

8. The one tree I’d like to climb is…
The Euc tree featured in the Spiderjacky video Joe Harris did with ART.  I wanna climb it with a RopeRunner because he made that climb look so smooth!

9. If I wasn’t an arborist I’d be a…
I can seriously not imagine not being an arborist.  I’d try finding another job half as exciting.