Palm Trimming with our Lift – Tough Access Jobsites!

Taking the lift up some stairs!

We’ve been swamped with work – lots of palms to trim since it is now “the season” when everyone would like their palms done. This is with good reason, as the seed stalks are fully developed and if we trim them now it will last a whole year! Some customers like to wait a little longer “just to be sure”, which is fine with us – we are having a hard time keeping up! We do very much appreciate all our loyal customers who are willing to wait a few weeks for us. Thank you!

The weather is still hot (not as bad as earlier in July) and the humidity is WAY up. This makes our working conditions tough, and makes thunderstorms pop up many afternoons. With that, we have started getting calls about storm damaged trees. Most of them so far have been big, old trees that were in poor shape; or young trees that had root problems (from the nursery or time of planting). We give these top priority and have to bump out the palm trimming jobs to take care of the emergencies.

I have some pictures from one of the jobs we have been on recently where access was the biggest challenge. We have done this particular property three years now, so we know what we need to do. It is still a bit scary though…

In the picture above, we have already used the ramps to get the lift on top of the first stair, and moved the ramps to the middle stair. I’m about to drive onto the ramps which will act as a “teeter-totter” on the middle stair, and come down onto the top stair. We have tried to pad all the concrete with wood so the metal ramps don’t scratch anything. Last year I used my AlturnaMATs (plastic protective matting) under the steel ramps – when the ramps teetered, everything slid downhill (backward – no friction between plastic and steel…) about 20ft! THAT WAS SCARY! This year with the wood it was no problem.

Looking up the stairs!

After we got the lift to the top of the stairs the trimming was pretty simple. The customer has two Mexican Fan Palms (Washingtonia robusta) that are “unskinned” – their trunks still have all the frond bases left on. He likes that look. But it makes climbing them with spikes pretty dangerous. No problem with the lift! The property is on top of a mountain with great views. There is also one Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis) by the pool on which we always do a light pruning. Here is the setup:

A Beautiful View!

Here is what it looks from my "office"!

There are three California Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera) in the front yard. They are all accessible from one location with the lift, but it has to be set up on a slope. The LEO18GT outriggers don’t extend very far below the body of the lift, so we have to set up cribbing on the downhill side to get it level. This is usually not a problem, but we have had the blocks shift before – never with the booms up! It is always makes me a little nervous setting up on cribbing. I try to make all my moves VERY smooth. In this case a thunderstorm was moving in, so I had to move smooth and FAST! I got the lift down just as the rain started and we took shelter under a porch roof for about half an hour. We cleaned up in a light drizzle, glad we were done cutting!

The lift set up on cribbing - see the storm moving in?

Next week looks like more of the same – palm trimming and storm damaged trees. Hot and humid weather. Tough working conditions.