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<JPS>
posted
What is the practitioners place if he sees bad work done on a property that is not his client?

a silver maple raised (stippedof the lower 2/3)too high).

Topping

Obviouse spike marks on a recent "trim"

Flushes & stubs

Does anyone stop and ask/inform? or since it's too late should we just keep on driving since we weren't hired (or asked).
 
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<Scott Cullen>
posted
Reply to post by JPS, on October 03, 1999 at 21:03:45:

The ASCA SPP Committee addressed this sort of issue in an article a few years back. I'll try to summarize what I recall as bg issues.

The really big picture is A) you don't have an ethical duty to be the "tree police," you don't have to stop and inform the owner (with the exception of some grossy unsafe operation, say the guy is about to make a topping cut during a removal and is going to lower the 12' x 18" piece on a length of clothesline and the whole operation is going on over the kids' play house and the kids are in it!). An B) you have the ethical freedom to blow the whistle on the other guy, you don't have to protect shoddy or unsafe work.

On a more practical level is knocking on the door and informing this homeowner a good way to build your clientele or to inform the homeowner? Chances are the homeowner hired this guy after getting prices from a number of better qualified competitors - like you - and got what they paid for. Going around sniping at other peoples work is not necessarily the best way to impress potential clients either. Maybe your time is better spent generally educating the public as to quality work, or supporting your organization's efforts in that regard.
Or supporting industry education. You may have a greater net effect on the quality of work that's done than trying to chase those die hard incompetents who ain't gonna change for nobody, nohow get outta my face!

In CT where arborist licensing is mandatory, CTPA has started a concentrated effort to identify unlicensed contractors for enforcement action.

Then there's the issue of what is actually going on at that other job. John Hendricksen wrote a Certification column in Arborist news a few years ago describing a real butcher pruning. Only it turned out that it was really a two year removal project... top it and make it safe this year, take down the big stuff next year as the client's budget allowed.
 
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<Eric>
posted
Reply to post by JPS, on October 03, 1999 at 21:03:45:

I wouldn't stop uninvited on a property but what if you're there for an estimate or consultation? I work in an area where all the other "tree companies" prune with spikes. Eric
 
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<JPS>
posted
Reply to post by Eric, on October 03, 1999 at 21:03:45:

If I'm on a property and see poor work I'll ask a leading question to see if it was homemade damage or not "Who'd you have out here last?" Either way it turns out I'll try to go into why the practice is bad if I can correct is (like stubs) or if the plant is going to need to be inspected every year or so because of the rotting flushes and cankering gaff woonds which some are four inchges long because the idiot didn't maintain them and the spikes shave out.

I try to low key about it, it's a concern, let's keep an eye on it. Tho i have walked awy from some topped plants (dodge county here in WI has a LOT of that still going on) and recomended that they find someone else to take the plant(s)down, I feel that there is a conflict of interest in a situation like that "I won't trim it but I'll take it down for 3k!"
 
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<Tom Dunlap>
posted
Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on October 03, 1999 at 21:03:45:

Last spring I got a job to prune a large red oak. The client had hired a door to door hillbilly and realized that the job was sub standard. The hillbilly had spiked, left stubs, rips, and cut two inch diameter deadwood and left four inch diameter deadwood inside the crown. In these reds, the bark was falling off so there was no excuse for not knowing if it was dead. While we were servicing saws I looked across the street and saw an ash that had been hyper-pruned. I walked over adn the clod had spiked this little tree too.

While we were pruning and installing a Cobra cable I heard a saw fire up in a yard down the block. Through the branches I watched the climber and could tell that he was spiking another red oak. I was torn between saying something or letting it go. I decided to try and cajole the guy into considering not using spikes. I walked over and with a big friendly "Hi, I'm tom from Canopy Tree Care. I saw you pruining over here..." Right off the guy gave me dagger eyes. He did not introduce himself so I asked him his name. Then had to ask again what his company name was. Then I went into a little talk about asking them to consider not using spikes to prune. The climber said, "They don't hurt the tree." I asked him if he wanted to see pictures of spike damage. He did not say no so I went back to my van and got Jerry Beranek's book which has some really good pictures of spike wounds from several years worth of climbing. AS I walked back to show the guys I met them on the curb and was showing them the pictures. As I was talking about the damage, the homeowner walks up behind me and hears me talk about the damage. He then asked me if it really hurt the trees. I showed him the pictures and explained that spiking red oaks in late winter can almost gauranty oak wilt. Now the guys were reading to stuff me through the chipper but I didn't give a hoot. They were caught and I decided to rub their noses in their own ****. Their client said "Boy, if i knew that, I wouldn't have hired them." And the guys are standing right there! I was ready to split a gut!

After the client walked back in the house I told the guys that I could see that they are really pissed at me but they should consider doing proper tree care.

As I walked away, quickly, I expected to get a shovel in the back of the head.

We got a job from the neighbor of my client and I went back to work with my crew. I was in the back yard and heard a no muffler vehicle pull up in the front. One of my climbers was out there in a tree. The loud truck stopped, and then burned out and roared away. Later my climber was chuckling and told me that the hillbillies drove around the block and stopped to yell out the window, "Be sure to do good work," and then roared away. My climber said taht he started laughing and had to stop cutting.

I have become so pissed off at poor work that I will become the tree police when I need to. I won't start out to rub someone's nose in it but if that happens so what. Trees are my passion and consume much of my life. If we don't do something to stop butchery, then we have no right ot crab about the poor work being done. Trying to educate the public is good but how do you reach them. Maybe the neighbor who had his trees spiked will think next time he needs his tree pruned.

If it's to be, it's up to

Tom Dunlap
Deputy Tree Cop
Badge number 8733 (getit?)

PS One Monday we are going back to my first client's to re-deadwood another tree and take another dead tree down. I am going to walk over to the spiked tree to see how it fared this summer. If it died I will have another "Dr. Laura-style-moral-dilemma." What do you think she would tell me, should I inform the neighbor or mind my own business.
 
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<JPS>
posted
Reply to post by Tom Dunlap, on October 04, 1999 at 06:26:39:

One thing i do if i see poor work across that street is point it out to my client and use it as an exapmle on how things should not be done and why. Maybe they will talk to the victims (wether it is self inflicted or not). I'll recomend the common books that our library system holds to back up my preaching (pedanticism is a hereditary trait in our male line).

Hasn't generated much extra work on the subject plants, but it's not the purpose of the exersize.

I also encorage people to get local ordinace for regulation. Tho that's gon nowhere.
 
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<Tom Dunlap>
posted
Reply to post by Tom Dunlap, on October 04, 1999 at 06:26:39:

Theother day we worked in the neighborhood where the spiking was goin on and the trees are still up and living. That gives fuel to the argument that "Spiking doesn't kill the trees..."
 
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<Scott>
posted
Reply to post by Tom Dunlap, on October 09, 1999 at 22:41:00:

That points out both ethical and practical concerns.

On the ethical side one must be careful not to overstate one's version of the "truth."

On the practical side you have to get into things like "die when?" Or "how often" or "how likely?" There were some posts on this board a while back with informed comment on which species might just tolerate spiking with no ill effects. If you say "they'll die" and they don't - at least not right away - you may have lost credibility which hurts you personally and may just lessen your ability to be an effective educator.
 
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<Mark Hartley>
posted
Reply to post by Tom Dunlap, on October 09, 1999 at 22:41:00:

Tom,

Neither will pulling your teeth out kill you but it sure is not
good for you and a long way from best practice (in most situations ...
wich raises situation ethics again). There is a time for spikes in
pruning a tree I am sure ... I am not sure yet when that is but I am sure
we could create a situation that we could argue was correct).

mark
 
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<Tom D>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Hartley, on October 13, 1999 at 11:31:36:

Mark,

I have tried to think of a time when spiking is OK. There might be a case made for thick, corky pabrked trees like Sequoia, cottonwood,etc. The spikes may not wound the cambium but they tear up the bark.

For the sake of discussion, can you think of a time when spikes are OK for pruning?

I did not tell the tree owner that the tree would die, I said that it ALMOST guarantees oak wilt. I say this from my experience in the local area and also other arborists.

Tom
 
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<Mark Hartley>
posted
Reply to post by Tom D, on October 15, 1999 at 14:05:47:

Tom,

You are making me be extremely creative.

Try this. A developer has just purchased a development site. There is a large tree
that is due to be removed in 3 months as it is in the middle of the proposed building.
The tree has lots of large dead branches for the first 60 feet. It then has 30 foot of
live branches and a 30 foot dead top. The developer is concerned about somone being hirt
before the tree is removed and council has permited the removal of dead branches but not
the tree as thaey want to keep a green fron up prior to an election.

The tree will be killed in 6 months and the developer is most concerned about safety and
not spending too much.

So the contractor uses spurs reasoning he is in part preparing for a removal.

Is he unethical in using spurs.

Mark
 
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<Russ Carlson>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Hartley, on October 17, 1999 at 20:39:38:

Register my vote 'NO' on this one.

This is a 'partial take down', not a pruning job.
 
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<Scott Cullen>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Hartley, on October 17, 1999 at 20:39:38:

Let's make it a little more difficult... or maybe a little easier.

Say the guy knocks on the door and says "I'm a dead limb remover. I don't know anything about tree health but I can get that dead top out of that tree for you for $35 cash right now." Is he being unethical? He stated did what he said he would do. He did not lie and did not knowingly hurt the tree.

You on the other hand know lots about tree health. You actually spend more time reading and going to workshops given by famous people than working. You are engaged to prune a tree with very thick bark and there are no limbs for 70 ft. You decide that the tree will be done no harm by using spikes and that the little old lady on a fixed income can't really afford to have you rent a helicopter to deposit you on the top of the tree. Are you unethical because you used spurs?

The points are 1) that there is a difference between ethics and standards of practice and 2) that even standards of practice must accomodate interpretation and variable facts.
 
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<Tom Dunlap>
posted
Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on October 19, 1999 at 18:47:25:

There is NO REASON to spike the tree. It is actually faster to set a throwline and footlock or use SRT to get into the tree than to spike. My spikes are worth around $250, my throwlines are worth about$30 so I have less overhead to bill to the job too. So ,I can do more and charge less to do proper work. I have no problem with the first example as long as while deadwooding the climber doesn't spike and makes collar cuts
 
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<Tom Dunlap>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Hartley, on October 17, 1999 at 20:39:38:

Mark got here before me. Partial takedown.

I had that come up on a job. I told the people that I would only "top" the tree if I could girdle the trunk to prevent any sprouting.

Next...
 
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<Scott>
posted
Reply to post by Tom Dunlap, on October 20, 1999 at 10:46:16:

Tom, I admire your commitment to the higheset standards of work. The purpose of the example, however, was not probe the acceptable situations so much as to get to the heart of what is "ethical." You have strong beliefs and to breach them would be unethical for you. The worker in the example had no such beliefs to breach. He knew how spike into the tree, do what he contracted to do in good faith and get paid. If he did not know it might be bad for the tree, was he unethical? Some ethics are broadly understood... don't steal, don't lie, don't kill people. Others... don't spike living trees are not.

The related issue is standards of practice. If the worker in the example spiked the tree he may well have breached standards of practice even though he was unaware of them. But was he unethical?

I'd also suggest that there are reasonably skilled arborists who would not agree with you that the throw-line footlock alternative is easier for them. And whether you and I agree with them or not there are skilled and knowledgable people who believe that there are situations in which spikes can be used without causing damage.
 
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<Tom Dunlap>
posted
Reply to post by Scott, on October 20, 1999 at 14:22:20:

I missed the point, sorry, Now that you clarified for me I would have to say that, to me, ethics are based on knowledge. Then there are personal ethics, trade ethics, and then we spin off to accepted practices too.

This starts to get phylosophical quickly.

Spikes CAN'T be used without causing damage. They can be used in some situations without causing harm, meaning injury to living tissue.

Tom

PS Anyone else attending TCI? See you there...
 
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<Mark Hartley>
posted
Reply to post by Tom Dunlap, on October 20, 1999 at 17:26:36:

OK

So what about this liberty tree. Perhaps it could be topped and kept as a pollard for
anothe 400 years. Would this be wrong? Is it any more wrong than killing the tree?

Spiking damages trees and I do not consider it ethical to prune with them. Pruning damages trees
and yet we do it. We argue the benefits. Is there not some problem here?


Mark
 
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<Mark Hartley>
posted
Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on October 03, 1999 at 21:03:45:

Part Removals,

In MHO are a problem for the industry. Where ever possible if money is the
issue I would rather do the whole job and have installments from the client.
This avoids the problem you have discussed of the wrong impression being given
to onlookers. It also helps the person, allows you to charge for the second
callout and set up as profits for financing it and it doubles your work an
often gets the work at higher total dollars.

Mark
 
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<JPS>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Hartley, on October 20, 1999 at 21:11:03:

Mark,

There was an earlier thead this was Peter post to it did you see it?

http://tree-tech.com/board/?topic=topic7&msg=337

If the practitioner is carfull not to sink the gaff in is it malpractice still?
 
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<Peter Torres>
posted
Reply to post by JPS, on October 03, 1999 at 21:03:45:

I worked on a sweetgum in Oregon one year a while back. I discussed with the client what I needed to do, and the fact that it was such a mess because it had been topped. The client asked if that had been the wrong thing for the climber to do, last time.
I said, (luckily,) it depends upon what you hired the climber for, and what he was paid to do.
I say luckily, because several years later I was making similar cuts on sweetgum trees that had been demolished by an ice storm.
 
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<Mark Hartley>
posted
Reply to post by JPS, on October 22, 1999 at 07:25:09:

No,

I do not think it is malpractice, it is a fantasy and
perhaps an OSHA violation. There are very few trees this could
be done on and all of them could be climbed quicker without
spurs.

IMHO sprus should not be used on live tissue that is to
remain on the tree and for the temperate and tropical guy this
means on palms too.

Mark
 
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<JPS>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Hartley, on October 26, 1999 at 21:49:13:

how is it an OSHA violation if he is roped in?
 
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<Mark Hartley>
posted
Reply to post by jps, on October 29, 1999 at 08:45:43:

Good Queation,

If he is using a climb line why is he using spurs.

If he is using a flip line and not spiking into the wood or live bark
but rather relying on just dead bark to hold him then he may be
engaging in an unsafe practice.

Additioally where I come from OSHA states that you can not endanger the public.
If spiking can lead to decay that may lead to failure that may lead to injuries
then that could be argued to be a violation.

mark
 
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<JPS>
posted
Reply to post by Mark Hartley, on October 31, 1999 at 20:14:22:

my understanding is that he is usingthem as a positioning device w/o stepping ito the wood.
 
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