Spring Cleaning for Your Tree Service
As the winter winds finally stop howling in the great state of Michigan, I’m beginning to thaw out my bones and look towards the warming glow of spring. Just as the rugs should be beaten to knock the dust out of the fibers, we need to start knocking the dust out of all our gear that has been pushed aside all winter long because of the cold temps and the never ending drive to go warm up at the end of the day instead of doing the routine maintenance that is so easy during the warmer summer months. Let’s take a look at some of the things that we are doing to get caught up now that warm temps are just a month away!
First things first, it’s time for a thorough cleaning of our saws. These poor saws have been buried in snow, mud and nastiness all winter long. How many times have you, or more than likely, one of your ground workers forgot to pull them out of the back of the chip truck and then chipped a bunch of chips or just the never ending amount of dust created by chipping onto the saws?!?! Yeah, we’ve all been there. This usually happens to us when the temperature rises above freezing and the saws are covered in sloppy snow or wetness that attracts the dust like moths to a flame. Now is the time to give your air filters a super good cleaning or possibly just start the season out right and replace them. Cleaning all that nasty goo out of the channel in the guide bar is a great idea as well. Using some compressed air or an air compressor to get a deep clean under the cover of the saw is a great idea as well.
While you are on the topic of changing out air filters, you might as well start looking over your equipment to be sure your air filters are in top condition before the spring rush comes. Take that air filter out of the chipper and knock all the big chunks of crud off it and then give it a good blast with the air compressor. Check the fluids to be sure they are at the correct levels. Obviously this is a daily / weekly maintenance procedure but why not do a super thorough inspection of everything that could have been rushed in the winter months?
The next thing that is super easy but also highly beneficial is to open up those vents on your helmets. Unless you are doing line clearance, your helmet more than likely has a vent that opens allowing more air flow to your melon. This airflow will make you much more comfortable when you are out there busting your but dragging brush or climbing. The vents in the Petzl Strato Vent, Kask Super Plasma or the Pfanner Protos are all great options for increasing that airflow! Unfortunately for line clearance tree trimmers, any openings in the helmet are not allowed according to ANSI so your best bet is looking into the Kask Zenith or the Petzl Vertex which both allow for good air movement under the helmet without the vents in the outer shell.
Next is moving your cold weather gear into the closet and getting out your summer attire. I can’t wait to finally get some of my summer clothes on instead of all the bulky winter wear that has been plaguing me for the last 4 months! Oh to finally climb in a t-shirt instead of a base layer, mid layer, hoody and on cold days… the ten other layers I had on just trying to stay warm! The Solidur SoFresh saw pants are a great option as the temperatures start to rise. The SoFresh pants have great vents that move a ton of air through the back of the pants. These great pants offer superior saw protection while also offering huge amounts of air movement! Awesome!
While going over all your other gear, it’s probably worthwhile to start looking over ropes that have been in service for longer than you can remember. Ropes, just like everything in tree care, have a life expectancy that is drastically reduced by wear, tear and abuse. I’m not saying that you are abusing your ropes…but I’m also not saying that you aren’t either! Rigging lines take a ton of abuse throughout their life spans and it might be time to realistically look at how long those ropes have been in service and what you have put them through. Maybe it's time to look into picking up a new hank of Sta-set, Stable Braid or a trusty chunk of 3 strand for all your rigging needs!
These are just a few of the things that I start looking at as I get ready for the spring rush to start taking place. Spring is an exciting time for us as we really start rolling with more and more work coming in. I’m sure you are probably the same way depending on where you reside in the world. Let's make the spring and summer great by being prepared for the workload we have coming our way!