Height pruning. Rope access

by Jan 24, 2021Pruning0 comments

  1. Pruning
  2. Height pruning. Rope access


The specialized science of tree care that encompasses the selection, propagation and selective felling of trees.

The following article will deal with the pruning of those trees that are planted for a final purpose and not those that are found in nature in a natural way and develop freely.

Several authors define pruning as one of the simplest practices with the greatest impact on tree health. This is so because the tree pruning technique, correctly developed, provides the tree with a perfect development that gives it the health it needs, being a fundamental and very important component in the reduction of defects in the wood. That is why pruning prolongs the life of the tree and avoids the entrance or propagation of damages such as insect attacks and/or rotting.

poda en altura petzl

Correct pruning with the right tools, causes a tree located in a park or public road to provide adequate shade, creating a microclimate that provides shade to reduce the temperature in summer and protects from adverse weather conditions in winter. It should also be taken into account that pruning carried out in an inadequate manner, with erroneous techniques, or with tools not intended for this use, can lead to a scenario with the risk of falling branches causing the tree pruning to be unsafe and creating a danger to passers-by. That is why the use of a proper technique by specialists in the field that make use of the right tools, make the end result of pruning, is a tree that meets its ultimate goal and does not pose a danger.

Ultimately, pruning allows the tree to fulfill the purpose for which it was planted, whether it is to bear fruit, provide shade, or produce timber.In the particular case of fruit trees, pruning the tree allows the sun’s rays to be directed and distributed in an adequate manner, guaranteeing better production, as well as facilitating access to the tree for harvesting and/or fertilization.

Pruning integrates different techniques that include, on the one hand, the elimination and shortening of branches and twigs, as well as their manipulation. In addition, during the development of a tree, two types of pruning are distinguished; formation pruning and production pruning, which can be accompanied by rejuvenation and recovery pruning.

  • Removal of branches
  • Shortening
  • Handling of folds and creases


Poda en altura. Acceso mediante cuerda

Technique for pruning at height

To carry out this technique “tree pruning” as named above, you need the right pruning techniques and pruning tools. PETZL offers a wide range of products for pruning at height that will not go unnoticed. The ZIGZAG” technique is introduced next.

This technique allows leaving the access rope installed and working in the tree with a second rope, being suitable for significant and long duration work.

Today, there are numerous access techniques adapted to the different objectives of working in the tree. This access technique includes the choice of rope installation and the actual ascent technique.

Special care must be taken in two aspects during access:

  • Ascent. The cams of the ASCENTREE must be secured (self-locking knots).
  • Descent. The user must be able to descend urgently, without changing the configuration of the material.

During the ascent, the ZIGZAG rope is installed in double, with a redirect point at the ASCENTREE. After access and while working, the pruner may choose to use the ZIGZAG in double or single with the CHICANE and install his work rope. This must be long enough to be able to reach the ground (in double) from the access rope anchor and/or the chosen final anchor point).

The various advantages of this technique are listed below.
Acceso a árbol Petzl
Acceso a árbol Petzl
  • Diversity of use of the access rope.

The access rope can be used for the ascent of several pruners to the same tree, as an aid, for rescue, and eventually for descent.

  • Material lifting.

Material can be shipped with the access rope from the ground.

  • Definitive anchorage.

Access is gained to the top of the tree to install the work rope on a definitive anchor, ensuring the quality of its main anchor during the work.

  • It is necessary to align the lines prior to access.
  • During long ascents, the rope can circulate in the ZIGZAG, modifying the ergonomics of ascent.
Captura de pantalla 2021 01 22 a las 21.15.38
  • To descend the user must simply undo the escape knot and operate the ZIGZAG normally. The ASCENTREE remains installed on the string.
  • Secure the blocking cuffs with self-locking knots.
Captura de pantalla 2021 01 22 a las 21.17.24
Captura de pantalla 2021 01 22 a las 21.18.32

Safety depends on whether the rope is installed with locked or unlocked lines.

  1. Double rope, unblocked strands Complete securing by means of a self-locking knot on each strand. The branch is not choked, so the rope can slide over the branch. Special Attention should be paid when approaching the anchor on a large diameter branch, as the separation of the rope strands can disable the cams or impede progression.
  2. Double rope with a single rope locking at branch level. A self-locking knot on the locked end provides complete assurance.
Productos PETZL para poda en altura

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Isabel María Ponce Sáez

Isabel María Ponce Sáez

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