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climbin' palms

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by baka, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. baka

    baka LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Any of you guys in the south ever trim palms by climbing them? I've seen the Tongans climb them, but I didn't get a close look at exactly how they do it.

    I used to trim palms in Florida and if they were too high we just rent a lift. But of course, that cut into our profit. I was wondering if anyone ever climbs them, and what kind of gear, skills, do we need.
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    When I was visiting down in Clearwater, I watched a guy climb with gaffs and a harness. This guy was at the top of tall trees in seconds flat.
  3. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    don't use spikes.
    the trunks of palms don't really head, so infection can set in, and it's unsightly.

    we use a power pruner and ladders.
  4. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,381

    Most of the tree trimming companies around here use a bucket truck for the tall palms. Climbing a palm is not a safe way to make a living in my opinion. If I can't get to them with a ladder I sub the work out to a company with a bucket set-up.
  5. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Everyone here just spikes. Never seen palm die from it. Bad thing about doing them that way is it feels really unstable when working with them. I never felt ccomfortable using them. Can't get down very fast if there are bees up at the top although I never encountered that I know a guy who did. Got stung a buch of times before he could get al the way down. If the trunck is peeled it's more sure footing but you can see the holes afterwards. The pricing is ridiculous too. No matter what the height guys charge the same per tree as well. Around 20-35 per, although the school district finally hired an outside guy to do 'em who charged $7 a tree but got to dump in our trash/green waste pile.
  6. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    Spiking anything BUT a removal is a no-no too me .... I know plenty that do it .... I just don't like it .... just like hurricane cuts .... don't like em as most palms develope "pencil top" from it
  7. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Yes spiking is a no no when there is a cambium layer. Palms are monocots and therefore lack a cambium layer. Sometimes there is no other way because of close proximity to a building or no way to get a bucket to the scene. As for ladders they slip and you'd be on the ground. Putting a stright rung aginst a round object will give very little surface area contacting the palm so most guys just spike 'em. We get palm borers occasionaly here and that is about the only thing I've seen that actaully kills palms. By pencil top I assume you mean the guys that leave only one or two fronds upright? That is a no-no, should be cut up to 45 degrees and that's all. Most people like them a little further than that though, don't know why maybe they feel they're not getting their money's worth. Personally I like the fuller look when they're cut to 45 degrees and it provides some shade still. Shade is everything in the desert.
  8. baka

    baka LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18


    Thanks for all of the advice. I was just talking to this tongan guy who says the best way to do it is barefoot. I told him he was nuts! I guess he gets some sort of belt and wraps it around him and the tree, climbs up with just a machete and starts whacking away. He told me the key is to have a low center of gravity, sort of bends his knees and drops his butt. Thing is, most residentals are fine with paying a guy 20 bucks to go up their palm this way. If I were to rent a lift, I couldn't compete with them. I was hoping to learn of a way that is safe to the palm, but also safe for me! I sure ain't climbing no trees with no shoes...

    Baka ;)
  9. KINGjosh

    KINGjosh LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 531

    I got a big coaconut palm in the back, and every year we let this jamaican guy come and trim the nuts off for free, this freakin guy gets up it with his bear feet and hands. I guess you have to bee really strong for that though!
  10. Mats

    Mats LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,931

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