Big Pine, high voltage

This has been the third year I’ve worked on this site as an employee of Christopher Campbell Tree Design (CCTD). I’m grateful for having learned about safety from Mr. Campbell, the safety master.

Campbell has shown me the importance of call and response, always keeping a clear line of communication between the ground crew and the climbers. The more eyes the better. Safety always comes first.

If you look closely or click on the picture at the left, you can see me working above the high voltage lines. It was very important that my tie in point be strong, that I communicate all of my actions loudly and clearly, and that I have complete control over every cut that must come down. You don’t want to mess with high voltage.

Four years ago I was working in Pacific Heights with CCTD. I was on the ground crew. Suddenly there was a giant explosion. All of us could feel the electricity in the air. All of our climbers came whizzing down to the ground. 200 yards away another crew was working over the high voltage lines. Someone had accidentally dropped a branch and it must have connected the positive and the negative lines. Fortunately no one got hurt. PG&E had to come out and restore the power.

Black Acacia needs regular maintenence

This is a tree that has been regularly maintained to preserve the neighbor’s view of the marina. Today me and Fetter spent about three hours getting this tree back into shape.

We brought it down about 10 feet. We’ll be back next year to do it all over again.

Chris Fetter, to the rescue

Chris Fetter is an artist and a fine tree trimmer. He’s been working for Campbell Tree Design for 6 years now. Check out his amazing work here. This picture to the right shows the tree before.

On the left is the artist carefully choosing his next cut. Fetter’s wearing a scowl, but he’s one of the most sensitive tree trimmers in all of California.

To the right is the completed work of art. Notice the natural flow. Notice that the tree still has a beautiful shape without looking too manicured. Notice that you can even see some of the interior structure. Fetter has opened up the outer canopy to allow light to enter the inner canopy. This makes for good long term heath and structure. The tree also looks graceful and contained.

Many Eucaliptuses on a hill

Today was a hard, but fun day for me. The goal was to create a better view for the client and make the hillside safer in case of a fire.

Since we were working on a hill one of the biggest challenges was moving the brush. We used ropes to help us get up and down the incline. Pictured to the right is Jordan, modeling the rope system. He’s Christopher Campbell’s newest crew member.

These trees were approximately 40 foot Eucalyptus globulus, Blue Gums. These fast growing trees from Australia can grow up to 90 feet in their first ten years. After15 years the growth rates slow down significantly.

The fast growing Blue Gums are one of the four main trees used as the original overstory for the creation of Golden Gate Park. The other three are the Torrey Pine, the Monterey Pine, and the Monterey Cypress.

Check out this link:

Instead of climbing up and down each tree, I jumped from one canopy to another and then reattached my line in the new tree. I love doing that. I feel like a monkey.

Here’s a picture of Mikey felling some of the trees. He loves his chainsaw.

We needed to thin out the grove for fire safety too. The bark of the Blue Gum is thin and sheds easily. It’s also highly flammable.

Here’s a before and after picture…

The client lives up on the hill. Here’s the view that he’s been
missing. . . what a beautiful winter day in San Francisco.

It took 8 hours and 8 guys and three truck loads of debris.