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Stop! Don’t use those climbing spikes on a tree! Well, unless you plan on taking out the whole tree because that’s probably what you’ll have to do if you use them on a live tree.

Climbing spikes are sharpened steel spikes attached to a climber’s leg by leather straps and padded supports. They are also referred to as hooks, gaffs, and spurs.

Can I Use Tree Spikes When Pruning Large Trees?

Removing or Keeping?

Tree care professionals only use them to access trees being removed. If are used on living trees or trees you want to keep, it could be traumatizing to the tree and create unnecessary damage.

Each puncture from these climbing spikes damages the tree tissue. Some isolated worms can heal on their own just as if you had accidentally put a notch in the tree or car something in the tree, but over time, numerous holes from the spikes can cause an entire area on the trunk to actually die. If a tree has numerous spikes over a long period of time, it will damage the tree far beyond recovery.

Even if the tree has very thick bark, if there is sap oozing from these spike holes, the tree could be damaged beyond repair. The holes left by the spikes also make the tree susceptible to infection and vulnerable to insect infestation and diseases. A simple pruning could turn into a nightmare of a project and eventually the tree may need to be removed altogether.

The only reason climbers would use spikes is the trees being removed, when the branches are more than throw line distance apart and there’s no other way to access the tree or if the tree is too close to power lines and cannot be accessed safely by other means.

Can a typical homeowner use climbing spikes?

Climbing spikes or spurs cause so much damage to the tree that you really only should use them when the entire tree is being removed. If you are unsure about whether or not you should use the spikes, it’s best to contact a professional tree care specialist. If you want to save the tree at all, just don’t use them.

Have more questions? Give us a call. We know trees and we know the proper way to preserve and protect them. Whether you are removing a tree or just pruning, call Lineage Tree Care.

Image courtesy of Moody.AF