The Times They Are A-Changin’

Wow, 1984 doesn’t seem so far away, yet comparing the equipment and techniques being used in the Jamboree in the video, one can’t help but reflect how this aspect our industry has changed almost beyond recognition.

Having said that, performing professional work on trees is the common thread, I suppose. And in the eighties the transition from traditional tree surgery techniques to a view of trees we have to this day, with Shigo’s New Tree Biology being central to the change was in full swing.

In many ways, it was the arrival of these new concepts  that forced climbers to develop techniques to access the periphery of the canopy, as before a lot of the work, e.g. cavity work, wound sculpting and dressing, bolting weak joins etc., being done was stem-orientated.

I remember when I first started tree work in 1990 it was standard practice for arborists to have a top handle chainsaw on their harness – and a polesaw. In many ways the polesaw is symbolic of this transitory phase, when Shigo’s ideas had been adopted by the broader industry yet the techniques to access all points of the canopy were not there yet. It would be a couple of years yet before the polesaw became less commonplace.

It’s not as though, seen individually, the new tools and techniques were revolutionary, but as a whole they have made our work in trees safer, more ergonomic and easier. It’ll be interesting to see what further developments the future holds in store for us.