Practice Makes Perfect August 19, 2010
Practice makes perfect.
And that's no simple mantra. Studies show that practice improves the brain's memory of most skills, especially the practice of multiple types of movements vs. just one. This variable practice shows better retention of each skill.
And tree climbing is no different. Though it may seem like a simple act to some, for professional arborists like me, competitive tree climbing is a sport - a physically demanding test of job skill, speedy problem solving and aerial nerve. And it involves not just climbing from branch to branch, but using ropes and safety equipment and proper practices that keep you and those around you safe while you work in the sky.Read More
Aerial View August 4, 2010
As you approach the situation, you go through many scenarios in your head.
You think about them before the competition too, but you don't know which ones will work until you know the actual situation you'll be presented.
It's the aerial rescue - the most technical and difficult of the International Tree Climbing Competition's five major events. And the people who come up with the event scenario like to keep you on your toes.Read More
The Art – and Sport – of Climbing Trees August 4, 2010
I completed a secured foot lock in less than 20 seconds. Basically, this is where you climb 50 feet up a rope without touching the tree that it's tied to. You use the rope and knot to guide yourself up. It's like being a large caterpillar - feet up, push, reach with your arms and pull … feet up, push, reach with your arms and pull. And 20 seconds is only 6 seconds more than the world record score of 13.8 seconds. Being fast is one of the things that got me here. After competing in tree climbing competitions for eight years, I finally qualified to be one of the 39 male competitors to make it to the International Tree Climbing Competition Presented by Davey Tree - held at The Morton Arboretum in Chicago this year.
When you watch the video, 19 seconds looks pretty fast. Luckily, my brother - who also climbs trees - videotaped my performance so I can see where I need to improve. But it's hard not to overanalyze the mistake I make at the beginning - just a slight slip. It cost me at least a second or two. When you are competing against the best in the world, it makes sense to track your mistakes so you can do better next time.Read More
Peace, Love and Japanese Maples July 30, 2010
One of my favorite trees is the Japanese maple.
I have a 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple in my landscape. Its new foliage is bright red in spring and darkens to a beautiful reddish-purple in summer. In my partially shaded side yard it maintains this color, but in full sun it would show greener leaves. Its fine, delicate leaves are seven-palmed, and the fall color is an extraordinary crimson.
Among gray and beige stone steps, green shrubbery and turf and white blossoms, the burgundy Japanese maple leaves bring extraordinary texture, color and contrast. A Japanese maple typically has a height and spread of 15 to 25 feet, a muscular trunk and branches and a symmetrical canopy. It's a strong addition to a garden without being overpowering.Read More