Australian Arbor Age June - July 2024

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#1 SINCE 1996 JUNE/JULY 2024 + FORESTRY EQUIPMENT +  EWPs +  Chippers & clean-up options +  Association news +  Forestry equipment +  Eye on the industry +  Technical features Saws and log splitters! FEATURED: Husqvarna’s world first A BATTERY CHAINSAW WITH A CLUTCH! SUBSCRIBE AND WIN A HUSQVARNA CLIMBING GEAR HARNESS AND SIX CARABINERS RRP $1030.90!






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The federal budget can seem very complex, but it’s worth working through at least the broad headings. Image: kemaltaner/

Time honoured

As I write this, business and financial analysts around the country are trying to make clear the good and bad of the 202425 federal budget.

It’s not easy.

Aside from the sheer complexity of the thing, the budget itself seems to be presented to the public with slogans designed to appeal to what everyone wants to see.

That may be true, but even so, $22.7 billion committed to ‘facilitating privatesector investment, creating new jobs and opportunities’ can only be a good thing for the arbor sector, which is mostly made up of small, privately owned outfits. Let’s keep our fingers crossed the promised financial boost offers the support to the businesses which want and need to make use of it.

Alongside that commitment is $1.6

billion over five years to ‘reform the tertiary education system and deliver a future workforce’ and $641.4million in ‘targeted support for small business’. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the promised financial support did give rise to an increase in up-and-coming arboriculturalists?

Over the past few years the associations around the country have been working hard to promote the advantages and joys of tree work to secondary and tertiary level students in the hope they’ll consider what can be an extremely rewarding career. But that promotion has been done mostly through the greatheartedness of volunteers and at the expense of the associations themselves and their industry supporters. Perhaps there’ll be a few dollars available here and there to help the

associations further that work. It’d be a big, ongoing boost for the industry which would show benefit well into the future…possibly for generations to come.

As we all try and sort out the wheat from the chaff with the budget, the end of the tax year is creeping up on us fast as well, and according to the business press, we’re all in for a bit of a windfall there, too. There are tax cuts forecast which look set to benefit both individuals and small businesses.

So overall, It looks like the next few years may offer significant opportunities for arborists and tree workers to make the most of a supportive financial situation from the federal government Don’t let those opportunities pass you by.


The Australian Arbor Age is published bimonthly by Prime Creative Media Pty Ltd.

CEO John Murphy


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Tom Foster

National Advertising Manager

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Phone: 0466 923 194

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P. +61 3 9690 8766 Website



The Australian Arbor Age magazine is owned by Prime Creative Media and published by John Murphy. All material in The Australian Arbor Age magazine is copyright and no part may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means (graphic, electronic or mechanical, including information and retrieval systems) without written permission of the publisher. The editor welcomes contributions but reserves the right to accept or reject any material. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information, Prime Creative Media will not accept responsibility for errors or omissions, or for any consequences arising from reliance on information published.

The opinions expressed in The Australian Arbor Age magazine are not necessarily the opinions of, or endorsed by, the publisher unless otherwise stated.

© Copyright Prime Creative Media, 2024

Articles All articles submitted for publication become the property of the publisher. The editor reserves the right to adjust any article to conform with the magazine format.

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#1 SINCE 1996 JUNE/JULY 2024 + FORESTRY EQUIPMENT +  EWPs +  Chippers & clean-up options +  Association news +  Forestry equipment +  Eye on the industry +  Technical features Saws and log splitters! FEATURED: Husqvarna’s world first A BATTERY CHAINSAW WITH A CLUTCH! SUBSCRIBE AND WIN A HUSQVARNA CLIMBING GEAR HARNESS AND SIX CARABINERS RRP $1030.90! 10 On the cover
chainsaw with a clutch has arborists smiling. #1 SINCE 1996 Events like these provide an exciting spectacle for spectators, pushing the boundaries of what climbers can achieve in their sport. “ ”
Page 36

Cassian Humphreys

Cassian is an exMerristwoodian (NCH-arb 1991, bridged into the UK Diploma ’92), Qualified to the AQF L5 (AUS Dip) in ’09, upgraded in currency in 2017. He commenced his career after graduating in Horticulture (’85), transitioning into Arb (’89). Experienced in all aspects of arboriculture, having worked in Germany, Australia, Britain, PNG and Vanuatu, Cassian has been writing for AAA since 1999, with over 40 articles to his name. His core specialisation involves conservation arboriculture, education and tree-health-care.

Jim McArdle

B.Ed. Sc (Sydney), Dip. Arb. (Ryde), VTRA@QTRA qualifications. Director at McArdle Arboricultural Consultancy and TCAA

President, Jim’s career spans across almost 40 years and focuses on consulting and reporting in tree risk protection and management plans, and tree impact assessments.



Kiah Martin gives Husqvarna’s T542i XP® and 542i XP® a workout


Plant more native trees to reduce landslide risk


Ascension and the analogy of the tree to illustrate the human condition by Cassian Humphreys

Dave Crispin

A professional consulting arborist at Treeswest Australia, certified to AQF level 5 (Diploma), international coach, speaker and presenter.

Contributors Features Regulars

Balga – a significant tree?

The balga trunk may grow over three metres tall, and banding allows the age of the plant to be determined. Image:Chris/

Balga (Xanthorrhoea preissii), not technically a tree, is a widespread species of perennial monocot found in southwest Australia, and is significant as a supplier of bush medicine.

Often colloquially known as The Grass Tree, the name ‘balga’ is derived from the Nyungar language, and the appearance of the plant was seen by early settlers of the region as resembling a native inhabitant holding a spear. It’s found in all types of soil throughout coastal plains, near watercourses, and in inland forest regions extending from the Western Australian coast to Albany in WA’s southwest.

What looks like a trunk is actually

made up of a ring of accumulated leaf bases which provide structural support but no nutrient transport. Nutrient transport is achieved via aerial roots which run down the hollow centre.

Balga was important to the Noongar people, who used the gum it contained as glue, and when burned, inhaled the smoke for relief from respiratory ailments. The spikes were used for fish spears, and the bardi grub which colonised the plant as a source of food.

Inside the top of the tree is a pulp eaten to ease stomach upsets.

The trunk may grow over three metres tall, and after fires the remains of leaves and the annual regrowth produce banding, allowing the age of the plant to be determined.

Creamy or white flowers appear on an upright spike, 1.5m to 2.5m long, between June and December, and appear more profusely when stimulated by bushfire.

Significant Trees

The worlds first battery chainsaw with a clutch!


NEW T542i


and 542i XP from Husqvarna.

With a passion for innovation, Husqvarna has recently introduced the world’s first battery chainsaw with a clutch: the top-handled T542i XP®, and its rear-handled sibling the 542i XP®. The saws have landed in Australia, and Husqvarna H-Team Ambassador and professional arborist at TreeStyle Pty Ltd, Kiah Martin, has put them through their paces.


hese two saws, new to the Australian market, have inherited the tried-and-tested features of their predecessors, including excellent in-tree (top-handled version) and on-ground (rear-handled version) manoeuvrability, spot on power-to-weight ratios, great ergonomics and balance, and an everefficient brushless motor.

But there is one quite significant change.

Move to battery power

There’s something so familiar with these new battery saws, different from their earlier counterparts, in that they really do feel more like the saws of old – the older petrol versions that is. And I’m confident it’s the addition of the centrifugal clutch and the kick-start energy and momentum this provides that’s fuelling this feeling in the cut.

To better understand this feeling, I

recently contacted my colleague Peter Vergote – a climbing arborist from Belgium – and he told me, “The little extra weight I take for granted when I have this power! Even for pruning work where I only use the chainsaw for a couple of cuts.

“Since I have a T542i XP®, I almost never use my other top-handle saws. And definitely no petrol top handle.”

Tree professionals still using 40cc

On the cover

petrol chainsaws might now decide to finally make the transition to battery with the launch of this new platform, as the control and throttle response of these units under load certainly feels like their petrol equivalents, but with all the benefits and convenience of the battery system.

Great features

The two new chainsaws have more torque and more power at lower RPM. In fact, it’s around 10 per cent more, allowing increased cutting capacity and productivity during the workday. Scott Forrest – New Zealand arborist and good friend – agreed to let me quote him saying, “Finally! I’ve found a battery saw that can keep up with my production: the T542i XP®”.

The T542i XP® just changed the game with battery saws “ ”
Professional arborist at TreeStyle Pty Ltd, and Husqvarna H-Team Ambassador, Kiah Martin. The new chainsaws have more torque and more power at lower RPM than comparable petrol chainsaws. Images: Husqvarna
Finally! I’ve found a battery saw that can keep up with my production

Is it time to upgrade or augment your fleet to include the T542i XP®?

If you know Scotty, you’ll understand it takes a lot to keep up with his speed and stamina! He is a machine!

The new models support the Husqvarna X-CUT® SP21G chain and optional the X-CUT® SP33G chain. Both are robust, pre-stretched chains and the first of their kind to be developed, designed and manufactured in-house by Husqvarna, with semi chisel cutters to keep sharpness over time and a narrow kerf for enhanced cutting efficiency.

In test driving these tools, some of the main platform highlights for me were:

• The addition of a centrifugal clutch

• An updated magnesium sprocket cover for quick debris bale out

• An adjustable oil pump for customisable oil-flow control

• A rim sprocket simplifies changeovers

• A new digital oil sensor on the intuitive user interface giving a heads up to fill and heads up when there’s no flow

• An IPX4 weatherproof classification, and

• A new, improved snug-fit guide bar cover (I love it!).

• Some of my favourite features of the T540i XP® are still present:

• A belt eyelet (my favourite little bit)

• An unobstructed view through the hand guard

T540i XP® with X-PRECISION™ SP11G chain (1/4” mini) and 10” X-PRECISION™ guide bar, but now you can also

the cover

Forestry Equipment

New Cat® 255 and 265 Compact Track Loaders

Delivering industry-leading lift and tilt breakout forces, and with significantly increased torque.

The all-new, next-generation Cat® 255 and 265 Compact Track Loaders elevate Caterpillar’s loader reputation through improved engine performance, lift and tilt performance, stability, operator comfort and technology.

A new performance standard

The new 255 and 265 loaders are powered by Cat C2.8T and Cat C2.8TA engines respectively, which offer 74.3hp (55.4kW). The new engines maintain horsepower across a wider RPM range and boast significant torque increases for improved working performance, and a redesigned engine compartment mounts the engine and cooling package lower into the frame for improved stability.

“ ”

Improved engine performance, lift and tilt performance, stability, operator comfort and technology


Standard hydraulic-system pressure is increased to 3500psi (24130kPa).

New for these next generation machines, the closed-centre auxiliary hydraulic system allows the 255 and 265 to operate all Cat Smart Attachments, including the Cat Smart Dozer Blade, with the standard auxiliary hydraulics provided, and the 255 loader offers a new 12.6” (320mm) bar-tread narrow-track option, ideal for work in confined areas.

Improved operator’s office

Both the Cat 255 and 265 Compact Track Loaders feature a larger cab design with more overall volume and additional foot space.

A range of new mechanical and air-ride suspension seat options are available for the 255 and 265 loaders, including a high-comfort seat that is both ventilated and heated.

The all-new, next generation Cat® 255 and 265 Compact Track Loaders are a ground-up redesign of the previous series, improving on the features that made the previous models so popular. The new 255 loader delivers class-leading lift height. Images: Caterpillar

Both the Cat 255 and 265 Compact Track Loaders feature a larger cab design with 22 per cent more overall volume and 26 per cent additional foot space.


Hydraulic Pressure – standard, psi (kPa)

Hydraulic Flow – standard, gpm (lpm)

Hydraulic Pressure – SEA High Flow, psi (kPa)

Hydraulic Flow – SEA High Flow, gpm (lpm) 30 (113) 30 (113)

Hydraulic Pressure – High Flow XPS, psi (kPa)


Next generation loaders are equipped with either a five-inch (127mm) standard LCD monitor or an eight-inch (203mm) advanced touchscreen monitor, depending on the technology package selected. The standard monitor features Bluetooth connectivity and supports functionality for rear-view camera feed, creep, job clock, and maintenance reminders.

The new advanced joysticks provide integrated control of the advanced touchscreen monitor so all machine function control and adjustments can be made without the operator removing their hands from the controls.

Advanced technologies

The new compact track loaders deliver the next level of integrating machines with technology. Both the standard and advanced monitors offer the ability to run Cat Smart Attachments, such as the dozer and grader blades and backhoe. The machine automatically recognizes the type of attachment and the required joystick pattern for controlling it.

The available Cat Product Link Elite system tracks machine hours, location, asset utilisation, provides fault code details and delivers advanced monitoring and machine health, and is remotely accessible via VisionLink®. In addition, Product Link Elite provides remote flash and troubleshooting capabilities and quickly enables the remote activation of the SEA High Flow feature.

For more information about the new next generation Cat 255 and 265 Compact

For more on the new Cat 255 and 265 Compact Track Loaders, contact a Cat dealer or visit

New engines maintain horsepower across a wider RPM range and boast significant torque increases for improved working performance.

THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE 15 255 265 Engine: Cat C2.8T Cat C2.8TA Gross power, HP (kW) 74.3 (55.4)74.3 (55.4)
Engine Torque, ft-lb (Nm)
(380) Operating Weight, lb. (kg)
Operating Capacity @ 35%, lb. (kg)
(24130)500 (24130)
23 (86) 23 (86)
3500 (24130)3500 (24130)
(28000)4061 (28000)
Flow – High Flow XPS, gpm (lpm) 30 (113) 34 (129)

The TITAN 40/20 Premium Firewood Processor a compact, reliable and mobile solution built for processing larger quantities of firewood.

Revolutionise your firewood production with the eco-friendly Titan 40/20 Premium Firewood Processor

The Titan 40/20 Premium Firewood Processor stands out as a must-have tool for professional firewood producers looking to scale up operations while minimising environmental impact.

Australian firewood producers need a professional machine, and the 40/20 Premium Firewood Processor is ideal for the most demanding firewood producers. Thanks to features like a Ø100cm Widia Carbide circular saw and 200kN of splitting force and mechanical-hydraulic operation, long service life and minimum maintenance are ensured.

Environmentally friendly

The TITAN 40/20 Premium cuts logs with a WIDIA circular saw with cemented, carbide-tipped teeth, resilient to foreign materials, that cuts logs in the shortest time possible. It requires no lubrication with oil that could be dispersed in

the environment, and because of its completely mechanical operations, the firewood processor can also be used in more demanding conditions.

A telescopic hydraulic lifting table for logs up to 4.0m is available for easier work, and can be driven via PTO, electric motor, or a combination of both.

BoomSpeed function (standard equipment)

BoomSpeed shortens the splitting cycle by up to 60 per cent compared to the base model, with the same splitting force (20t). A specially built cylinder and the additional valves enable a better oil flow and a greater splitting speed.

Invest in efficiency and sustainability

Choosing the Titan 40/20 Premium Firewood Processor is not just a purchase; it’s an investment in efficiency, sustainability, and futureproofing for any firewood production business.

With its robust design, eco-friendly features, and powerful performance, this processor is ideally suited to meet the challenges of the Australian market and beyond.

To learn more of the Titan 40/20 Premium Firewood Processor, log on to

Saws and log splitters
FIREWOOD PROCESSOR TITAN 40/20 PREMIUM 0436 028 643 ECO FRIENDLY GRAPPLES Cuts with a carbide tipped circular saw. Cut and split at the same time. Also see our larger 53/40 model! CALL NOW

Superaxe ticks all the boxes Saws and log splitters



Whitlands Engineering is one of the last remaining local wood-splitter manufacturers, prioritising local jobs, strict quality control and the pride that comes with being Australian owned and Australian made.

The Whitlands Engineering story started when head designer and CEO David Burder designed and built the first vertical hydraulic log splitter on the market – the now legendary Superaxe.

Safe, local product

Thirty-one years later Whitlands Engineering is considered one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of hydraulic wood splitters. All machines are built on site in the country Victorian workshop and shipped direct to buyers all over Australia and New Zealand.

A core focus of the Whitlands Engineering approach to product development is safety. Although not as widely publicised as other farm accidents, injuries from hydraulic wood splitters are common, and often very serious. In response to concerns, Whitlands Engineering has developed a two-handed control system used on the Superaxe which keeps the operators hands away from the cycling blade. This simple system has been applauded by hire companies, business owners and machinery operators as it maximises operator safety and reduces potential liability.

The range

Available in three different models ranging from smaller domestic machines right through to the powerful WS4150, all Superaxe models feature log lifters, heavy-duty construction, top quality Honda power packs, and a two-year manufacturing warranty.

Over 30 years the company has earned an unrivalled reputation for building ergonomic, tough, productive and efficient machinery. David said, “We’ve been providing machines to the farm and forestry sectors and arbor industry for many years – the durability, ease of use and speed of all our machines means they are the first choice for many companies seeking to exploit the profit potential in tree waste and plantation timber.”

There is a machine to suit all requirements – large or small. Furthermore, as a small company, Whitlands Engineering can also accommodate custom additions.

To see more of Superaxe and Whitlands Engineering, log on to

Over 30 years the staff at Whitlands Engineering has earned an unrivalled reputation for building ergonomic,

tough and efficient.
all Superaxes feature log lifters, heavy-duty construction, top quality Honda power packs, and a two-year manufacturing warranty.
Available in three different models,
tough, productive

Lucas Mill 30th anniversary

Lucas Mill reached a major milestone in March 2024 when the Australian family-owned company celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Lucas Mill had its debut at Warragul Farm World in March of 1994 and has been an amazing success story since that time.

The company’s original business plan was to sell 50 Lucas Mills in its first 12 months, and was blown away by its instant success, receiving orders for 50 Lucas mills in its first six weeks alone.

Passing the test of time

Three decades later the Victorian business has gone beyond the family’s initial dream of selling 50 mills a year, with the company boasting sales of over 23,000 mills sold into over 100 countries. Lucas Mill has international distributors in all major countries, some who have been with the company almost since its inception.

Lucas Mill continues to enjoy success both in Australian and international markets, and currently over threequarters of its sales export to a huge diversity of markets, from the jungles of Papua New Guinea to the Alaskan wilderness and the Lakes District in England.

See for yourself

Field days are the company’s shopfront and it attends 30 shows in Australia each year (a list of upcoming field days is available at, with two technical advisors onsite and demonstrating throughout the events. Ian Schulz has spent his entire career working with timber and was a trainer on the Lucas Mill when he worked at Creswick Forestry School, while Kyle Roberts has gained a vast range of knowledge with the Lucas Mill operation and the timber industry in general.

Still growing

Lucas Mill’s product range has expanded over time to include five Circular Blade Mills (with an electric option for Model 8 and Model 10), three dedicated Slabber Mills (including the Super Slabber which can slab up to 2.8m) and a large range of optional extras, from complete planer kits to weatherboard attachments.

Find out more about Lucas Mill and see the complete range of milling equipment at

Saws and log splitters
Lucas Mill owner with timber milled in Chile. Dudley Keeble (retired) operating a Dedicated Slabber.

Saws and log splitters

KC330.9 : Superior performance. Images:

Kress Commercial OPE

Embracing sustainability in tree care.

In the world of arboriculture, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword –it’s a commitment to maintaining the health of trees and the future of the planet.

This commitment to sustainability is driving a shift in the industry, with more and more professionals and municipalities seeking to integrate sustainable practices into their operations. Among these, the Kress Commercial range of outdoor power equipment (OPE) stands out, offering a compelling solution for sustainable landscaping and tree care.

A leap forward

Unlock your tools’ true potential with the Kress 8-minute CyberSystem™, offering up to 10x battery life, 2x power output and zero downtime. Make the transition to zero-emissions today with market-leading commercial warranties – five years2 for tools and eight years for CyberPack™ batteries3 and the CyberTank™ Power Station4.

As sustainable practices are embraced in tree care, tools like those offered by Kress Commercial are leading the way. With their innovative design, high performance, and commitment to sustainability, they are setting a new standard for the industry. So, whether you’re trimming hedges, pruning trees, or cutting branches, choose Kress

Kress KC270.9 a game-changer for any arborist.

Commercial for equipment that works as hard as you do, while also working to preserve the planet for future generations.

With innovative designs and cuttingedge technology, these tools are revolutionising tree care.



KC270.9 60V Brushless 55cm Long Shaft Pole Hedge Trimmer

The KC270.9 is a game-changer for any arborist. Its long shaft allows for easy reach of tall trees and hedges, reducing the need for lifts and ladders. This not only improves safety but also efficiency, as work can be done quicker and with less strain. The hedge trimmer offers the robust output of a 1kW motor, comparable to a traditional 25cc petrol trimmer. The 145° articulating head

Innovative designs and cutting-edge technology “

and 246cm shaft provide versatile cutting angles and a superior reach for complex tasks.

As part of the Kress Commercial CyberSystem™ OPE range, it delivers high-end performance with lower operating costs compared to petrol and other battery systems, making it a sustainable choice for environmentally conscious professionals.


With its combination of 2.8kW power, 24m/s chain speed, and an Oregon 0.325 lp chain, the KC300.9 outperforms traditional petrol-powered saws.

Kress Commercial KC330.9 60V

Brushless 12"/25cm Telescopic Pole Saw

Setting a new standard in productivity, the KC330.9 boasts an impressive reach of up to four metres.

With its 60V power supply, it competes head-to-head with its petrol-engine counterparts in terms of power and performance. Equipped with a two-point adjustment system, the pole saw offers superior manoeuvrability, allowing arborists to make precise cuts from various angles with ease.

Like the KC270.9 Hedge Trimmer, the KC330.9 delivers commercialgrade performance while significantly reducing operating costs compared to traditional petrol equipment.

Kress Commercial KC300.9 60V

Brushless 16"/40cm Chainsaw

Offering power and efficiency, this chainsaw outperforms traditional petrol-powered saws with its

The Kress KC330.9 offers an impressive reach of up to four metres.

combination of 2.8kW power, 24m/s chain speed, and an Oregon 0.325 lp chain. The CyberSystem™ battery and charging system, coupled with an IPX4 waterproof design, makes it an ideal choice for tree care and storm damage recovery. With an 8-minute1 charge time and a remarkable battery lifespan of 3000 charge cycles, this chainsaw is powerful, enduring, and well-balanced, allowing for comfort and longer periods of operation without fatigue.

Say goodbye to starting concerns that can come with intermittent use on petrol products. The Kress Commercial KC300.9 Chainsaw ensures smooth, fast, and efficient cutting.

A 145° articulating head and 246cm shaft on the KC270.9 give versatile cutting angles. A high chain speed ensures fast and efficient work.

1Charging time of the Kress Commercial 8-minute batteries when charged with the CyberTank charger in boost mode.

22 +3^ or 400 +6—hours of use (whichever comes first)

35 + 3 Years^ or 2000 + 1000 charging cycles (whichever comes first)

45 + 3 Years^ or 1200 + 800 charging cycles (whichever comes first)

^The additional warranty period applies only if customer registers their Kress products at within 30 days of purchase


Saws and log splitters

Peterson Portable Sawmills

Peterson Portable Sawmills’ commitment to optimising mill efficiency and maximising the potential of logs has led to forging strong partnerships with local woodturners and woodworking professionals. One such collaboration introduced the company to Pete.

For over three decades, Peterson Portable Sawmills have been the passion and livelihood of thousands of satisfied sawmillers worldwide.

With 25 years of experience in wood processing, Pete’s foray into woodturning commenced when he received a lathe from a local woodturners club as a gesture of gratitude for providing timber slabs used for countertops. Though the lathe initially sat idle in his shed for a year, Pete eventually embraced woodturning in 2014 and has since been dedicated to the craft, sourcing timber through working with Chris at Peterson’s.

“As soon as milled timber started coming off logs, I realised woodturners and woodworkers would utilise more of a log if it was milled instead of chopped up with a chainsaw,” remembered Chris. “Parts of the log previously used only for firewood could become saleable timber and slabs or turned into woodturning blanks – the firewood became the off product instead of the main selling piece.”


Pete’s association with Peterson’s traces back over two decades to when he delivered a large gum log – gifted by the local council – to the factory. It was unloaded with a 30ton crane and milled into garden sleepers – lots of them!

“Being portable is such a blessing!” said the craftsman. “Both woodworking and woodturning, you need wood, lots of wood.

“Sawmilling provides builders, joiners, cabinetmakers, woodworkers and woodturners with locally sourced timber, which I have.”

Since working with Peterson’s, Pete has been able to utilise test mills for processing logs and to deploy portable mills to access timber that cannot be transported to the factory. He actively participates in woodworking events like the New Zealand National Wood Skills Competition, where he not only demonstrates his woodworking prowess, but also champions Peterson’s mills.

“The yield from small or large logs is impressive,” he said. “Their speed and reliability, the training and aftersales service is world class. Assisting at their open days I have seen the interest and amazement people get from watching a Peterson in action, and what we are able to produce during the milling process.

“Woodturners who have experienced a Peterson in action often comment that they should have bought one years ago!”

Learn more

Pete’s story highlights the symbiotic relationship between woodturners and sawyers. For the staff at Peterson Portable Sawmills it’s a privilege to see Peterson mills transform ordinary logs into extraordinary works of art.

If you have any questions about how woodworkers and sawyers can work together, and to find out more about Peterson Portable Sawmills, log on to


The BVR line of brush chippers builds upon the legacy of Morbark’s innovation in the tree care industry through an updated modular design. The new configuration streamlines the equipment’s overall upkeep and maintenance routine, reducing customer downtime and increasing overall productivity.

The BVR brush chippers also feature Morbark’s proven and patented ZeroClutch®. Our ZeroClutch removes the anxiety of engaging the chipper drum, damaged drive belts, and burned clutch discs and elevates the customer’s operating experience. Customers will now simply start their brush chipper, throttle the machine to full RPMs, and engage the feed control bar.

The BVR brush chippers also feature a Reverse-Style Pivot Assembly, which contours the radius of the drum, reducing dead

space between the feed wheel and the drum. This gives the machine a mechanical advantage for increased down pressure, providing optimal chipping results when working with challenging materials.

Other notable innovations to the BVR line include:

• Infeed-Mounted Control Panel - Provides a more convenient access location for operators

• Side-Load Anvil - Four-sided, side-load anvil makes changing the anvil easier.

• 360-degree manual swivel discharge chute - Offers multiple locking positions for greater operator control over chip discharge, and a

• 3-position Electronic Control Bar with Dual Safety Pull Cables, designed to keep safety a top priority while working on a jobsite.


For eqiupment availablity, request a demonstration or quote, contact your local Morbark dealer.

Monitor Industries - NSW/QLD/VIC

Ph: +61 1800 025 024

49-50 Cassola Pl, Penrith, NSW 2740

1/9 Brumby Street, Seven Hills, NSW 2147

143 Gunnedah Rd., Tamworth, NSW 2340

191 Magnesium Dr, Crestmead, QLD 4132

2/2 Alta Drive, Caboolture, QLD 4510

24-28 Williams Road, Dandenong South, VIC 3175

75 Willandra Drive, Epping, VIC 3076

Stevens Products - New Zealand +64 9 275 0443

293 Landing Drive, Mangere, Auckland, NZ

Scan the QRCode to learn more about Morbark’s new BVR Brush Chipper Line.


Saws and log splitters

NEW Silky Super Accel 21cm Curved Professional

Get excited! The NEW Super Accel 21 is here.

It is not well known in Australia that Japanese companies have a term for constant and neverending improvement.

It is called Kaizen.

The team at Silky Saws Japan abides by the term Kaizen at their factory in Ono Japan where they collaborated to improve the Super Accel, attacking the challenge from two sides.

Silky is all about how the saw feels in the hand, and the strength of the tool, while keeping the saw as light as it can be! Silky Saws has reinvented the shape of the handle and a curved blade for a folding saw that is more ergonomic.

New scraper teeth and enhancements

The NEW Super Accel 21cm Curved Professional folding saw has a 21cm blade with the new GOKAI-ME scraper tooth at intervals along the blade. The new tooth is designed to clear sawdust from the cut, enhancing efficiency.

The cut starts with the handle closest to the branch and is pulled across it. The teeth immediately bite into the branch and start cutting. As the saw progresses through the pull stroke, more teeth join the party, making an aggressive incision in the branch.

At the same time, the scraper teeth at various intervals clear the sawdust from the cut.

The NEW Silky Super Accel 21cm Curved is fast and aggressive, with an increased efficiency in cutting live and large branches.

Features and benefits

• The scraper-shaped GOKAI-ME teeth are perfectly designed to remove the remaining sawdust and to make both rip-cuts, cross-cuts, and slant-cuts with great performance

• The NEW Super Accel features a 21cm curved blade crafted from highquality materials. This unique design ensures optimal cutting efficiency and manoeuvrability, making it the perfect tool for a variety of pruning tasks

• Whether you’re trimming branches, pruning bushes, or shaping shrubs, the NEW Silky Super Accel delivers unparalleled cutting precision. The curved blade enhances the saw’s ability to navigate through dense foliage with ease, providing clean and controlled cuts

• Weighing in with just the right balance of sturdiness and portability, the NEW Super Accel is a compact and lightweight hand saw, thanks to its rigid aluminium chassis

• The ergonomically designed handle ensures a comfortable and secure grip, reducing fatigue during extended use. The non-slip surface

adds an extra layer of control, allowing the user to tackle many pruning tasks with confidence and ease

• Electroless nickel plating coats the entire blade, giving stronger rust resistance, and

• The saw’s adaptability and efficient cutting make it an indispensable tool for both professionals and hobbyists alike.

For more info phone (07) 3823 1599, or log on to

Silky is all about how the saw feels in the hand. The NEW Silky Super Accel 21cm Curved is fast and aggressive with an increased efficiency in cutting live and large branches. The NEW Super Accel 21cm Curved Professional folding saw.


Take communication to new heights

Experience X-COM Active, a robust, high-tech communication and hearing protection headset system designed for arborists and tree care professionals –making teamwork smoother and more efficient.

• Crystal Clear sound

• Advanced noise reduction

• Excellent hearing protection

• Up to 10 team mates across 3 channels FIND OUT MORE

Chippers and clean-up options

Enter: Vermeer’s largest stump grinder yet

For tree care professionals who have been searching for a commanding machine that can take down large stumps with ease and fit through tight jobsites that most stump grinders with this horsepower could not — your search is over.

The SC1052 stump grinder is the newest, most powerful machine in the Vermeer stump grinder line-up. While a large machine, the SC1052 can become compact when needed — allowing you to navigate through tight residential areas with ease.

For tree-care and landscape business owners, rental-fleet managers or anyone in between, the SC1052 is ideal at quickly taking down multiple small or mid-sized stumps or efficiently tackling robust, challenging stumps.

All-day performance

The SC1052 is backed by a 115hp (85.8kW) Origin 4.3L gas engine and an 18 gallon (68.5L) fuel tank – the choice of a gas engine made to simplify refuelling the machine.

“The Vermeer SC1052 stump grinder is the next generation of large stump grinders,” said Josh Vrieze, senior product manager at Vermeer Corporation.

With cutting capabilities up to 31” (78.4cm) above grade and 25” (63.5cm) below the surface, operators can

Ideal at quickly taking down multiple small or mid-sized stumps “ ”
The SC1052 is the newest, most powerful machine in the Vermeer stump grinder line-up. Images: RDO Equipment/Vermeer
Two-sided carbide V-profile teeth on the VCS not only help to optimise overall cutting performance, but also help extend the cutter wheel’s longevity “ ”

experience fewer interruptions due to repositioning while working. With a 72” (182.9cm) straight-line cutting width, the SC1052 tackles six-foot (2m) stumps with ease. The impressive cutting power behind the SC1052 makes it an ideal fit for operations that consistently remove bigger stumps or spend the majority of their time grinding stumps.

The cylinder-and-linkage bar design gives operators a wide cutting range and minimises the need to reposition. The design helps to position the cutter wheel out and away from the machine as the boom drops. Repositioning the machine less means more time spent doing important work — removing stumps efficiently.

Cutting-edge innovations

The SC1052 is equipped with innovative technology and design components to help your crew be more productive while working.

A notable feature on the SC1052, and all new Vermeer stump grinder offerings, is the Vermeer cutting system (VCS). This feature was developed to address many challenges associated with traditional cutting systems. Instead of using a bolt to secure teeth to the cutter wheel, the VCS is equipped with a mounting and retention structure. This design helps to keep teeth from shifting in the pocket and absorbs the shearing force while operating. Two-sided carbide V-profile teeth on the VCS not only help to optimise overall cutting performance, but also helps extend the cutter wheel’s longevity

due to maximised durability.

For operators looking for more productivity on the job, the SmartSweep™ control system can help reach daily grinding goals. The SmartSweep system provides constant feedback while monitoring the engine load, creating a smooth and consistent cutter-wheel sweep rate.

No matter where the work is done, jobsite safety should be a top priority for operators and crew members. That’s why the operator presence system, equipped on all Vermeer stump grinders, is crucial for your crew. This feature of the control handle is intuitive, disengaging the cutter wheel and bringing it to a stop within seconds if the operator’s hands leave the control.

Navigating jobsites with ease

At just 35” (89cm) wide without dual wheels, the SC1052 smoothly navigates through a standard 36” (91cm) residential gate. The SC1052 is equipped with a four-wheel drive system and differential lock that enables smooth travel over uneven or challenging jobsite terrain.

The Vermeer SC1052 stump grinder is not just a new stump grinder, but a machine that can maximise efficiency, power and productivity.

An optional feature to maximise manoeuvrability on the jobsite is the wireless remote control which allows operation of the stump grinder away from the operator’s station. Along with the enhanced visibility using a remote control can provide, it can also help the machine fit through tight gates or areas without the operator getting in the way.

Maintenance made simple

Engineered for efficiency, the SC1052 features access panels for hassle-free maintenance — no tools required. To make maintenance even more convenient, the machine is beltless, meaning operators no longer need to worry about replacing machine belts. The Vermeer SC1052 is not just a new stump grinder, but a machine that can maximise efficiency, power and productivity on each jobsite you encounter.

For more information on the SC1052 or other Vermeer tree-care, rental and landscape equipment, contact your local Vermeer Australia team at 1300 VERMEER or visit


Chippers and clean-up options

Use of an AirSpade is the best way to minimise damage to the tree’s root system and the most efficient technique available.

AirSpade and AirVac


great combination for non-destructive digging.

AirSpades have become a preferred method for arborists on many jobs ranging from vertical mulching, bare rooting, radial trenching, and soil aeration. AirSpade’s proprietary supersonic nozzle turns compressed air into a high-speed, laser-like jet that dislodges soil in a fraction of a second without damaging roots.

Use of an AirSpade is the best way to minimise damage to the tree’s root system and the most efficient technique available.

A tree-service must-have

Over the past 30+ years, the AirSpade has become a must-have tool for treeservice companies providing tree-health management and site construction services.

Applications using the AirSpade are

safe for both trees and personnel on site. When paired with a standard 185cfm tow-behind air compressor, the AirSpade delivers exceptional performance for a range of applications at remote locations. Through ongoing engineering, research, and experimentation, AirSpade continues to develop new options, nozzle sizes, and

accessories in response to demand from arborists and other end users. Councils and shires in Australia are increasingly specifying non-destructive digging when requesting tenders, more often than not using AirSpade in their Tender Scope of Works.

Powered by a common, tow-behind air compressor, excavating with the AirSpade offers several advantages over conventional tools such as picks, shovels, and backhoes, and is two to three times faster than hand excavation and causes less worker fatigue. They eliminate sharp metal edges, and are therefore harmless to buried, solid objects such as utility lines, telecommunication cables, tree roots, hazardous-waste containers, or military ordnance.

Excavation Rates

Excavation rates for the AirSpade are a function of soil type and nozzle size (air flow). Hard, stiff soils will have lower excavation rates than soft, sandy soils. For any given soil, the lower the unconfined compressive strength, the faster the digging.

As shown in the table, six standard AirSpade supersonic nozzles, ranging in size from 25cfm to 330cfm, are available. As a rule of thumb, the quantity of soil that can be excavated in a given amount of time is rough.

Pairing AirSpade with AirVac

The next generation AirVac is the costeffective, mobile alternative to large, expensive vacuum-excavation trucks.

Engineered to be rugged and dependable, AirVac vacuums up to two cubic ft/min of dirt, sand, gravel, and muck. It safely uncovers underground utility lines, tree roots, or other buried facilities, and is ideal for trenching, potholing, and keyholing applications.

Soil is dislodged and driven airborne by the AirSpade, then vacuumed directly

The AirVac is the cost-effective, mobile alternative to large, expensive vacuumexcavation trucks.

Images: Knight Pneumatics

into the AirVac container. It’s ideal for small-diameter, deep excavation (potholing) where a hand shovel or backhoe bucket cannot be used. The recovered soil is easily replaced into the trench or hole.

Designed to run off a standard, 185cfm tow-behind air compressor, AirVac boasts a tank capacity of 11 cubic ft. (82 gallons) and an extra-wide dump door to facilitate emptying spoils for backfilling.

The powerful, multi-stage venturi vacuum engine is also detachable to provide ease of transport. Featuring all aluminium construction with heavyduty rear rails, loading the AirVac onto the bed of a vehicle is an easy task.

The tank lid is removable for access to the tank interior and is held in place with quick-release latches. Handles are provided on the AirVac for its lifting but are not intended to support the entire weight of the tank if full.

The AirVac has two wheels and

Non-Destructive Digging


rear handles for manual transportation. A wide dump door with quick-release latches is located at the front bottom of the tank so material can be easily removed or dumped back into the trench or hole.

For more information contact Andrew Knight on 0411 314 007, or email

AVU16540KTA AirVac

AirSpade Vac Vacuum Excavator

• Durable, lightweight 373 litre aluminum tank with over .2 cubic meters of soil capacity.

• Dismantles for easy setup and transportation.

• Exhaust silencer for quiet operation.

• Rear handles for superior maneuverability.

• Wide tires for rugged and off-road traction.

• Wide opening dump-door with quick release latches for easy to empty operation.

AIR-SPADES® are in use in arboriculture, utility, construction, and industrial applications worldwide. AIR-SPADE is the tool of choice due to its fast, non-destructive method of excavation.

Flows from 25cfm to 330cfm.

• Ideal for Bare Rooting

• Radial Trenching

• Root Collar Excavation

• Vertical Mulching

AirSpade 2000 Series

Rates (CuFt/Min) Model Nozzle Size OSHA Cohesive Soil Type A OSHA Cohesive Soil Type C AirSpade 2000 25 0.4 0.9 60 0.7 1.1 105 0.9 1.5 150 1.2 1.8 225 1.7 2.3 AirSpade 3000 330 2.4 3.0
5000 Series Utility AirSpade Kit Contact: Knight Pneumatics P/L Andrew Knight 0411 314 007 Call for more literature

Chippers and clean-up options

The BT300 will outperform any other 12" chipper in today’s market, and has more horsepower than most 18" chippers.

Piranha Chippers BT300

Designed from the ground up to excel at performance and serviceability, Piranha Chippers are 100 per cent designed and made in Melbourne, Australia.

The Piranha Chippers BT300 is powered by the 4HK Isuzu turbodiesel engine which produces a classleading 197hp. This power is sent to the 650mm diameter cutter drum which weighs 400kg with four staggered cutter knives and with a 390mmH X 500mmW (16” X 20”) direct opening into the cutterdrum housing (no step downs).

The BT300 will outperform any other 12" chipper available in today’s market, and indeed has more horsepower than most other 18" chippers currently sold. Being a state-of-the-art, electronically controlled common-rail direct-injection diesel motor, the 4HK provides amazing fuel economy and is also very quiet when running. The dual horizontal infeed wheels offer incredible pulling power, and, with the assistance of

the hydraulic winch (which quickly folds up out of the way when machine loading), difficult trees and branches are quickly dealt with, using minimal physical effort from the operators. Other features that ensure ease-of-use include the hydraulic auto-engage clutch, hydraulic discharge-chute swivel and the hydraulic tailgate-raise-and-lower functions.


The design team paid a lot of attention to the finer details of the BT300, and servicing of all required items has been designed to be able to be done quickly, easily and with minimum effort.

Starting at the front with the engine, the Isuzu 4HK service intervals are every 500 hours, which means you can work

for longer before doing the scheduled oil and filter changes, and with many operators already running Isuzu trucks in their fleets, the shared filters mean you can limit stockholdings of essential engine parts and spares.

When the front door of the engine compartment is opened, all filters and service points are right there in front of you, making the changing of filters and oil extremely easy. The remote oil-drain hose makes draining the old engine oil out of the sump quick and easy without making any messes, and the access door at the top of the engine cover ensures new oil is easily filled back into the motor. The work light mounted inside the engine bay ensures checking the essentials is easily done, even in dark conditions.


The other major service requirement for any chipper is attending to the chipper knives, and on a Piranha Chipper this is done with easy access via the side walk-way ramp, and then when the chipper housing hood is opened, the top part of the cutter drum is completely exposed, making changing the knives extremely easy and safe. Chipper blades are torqued up very tight as we know, and when you are required to reach down into a small access door, the job becomes very difficult. This has all been changed with the Piranha BT300.

Talk to Piranha

Piranha Chippers are 100 per cent Australian made and owned, and with a class leading five-year/3000-hour warranty. They’re your first choice if you are serious about chipping wood.

Contact the Piranha team today. They’d love to show you just how good the BT300 is in real life! Call 1300 406 171, or log on to

When the chipper housing hood is opened, the top part of the cutter drum is completely exposed, making changing the knives extremely easy and safe. The BT300 is powered by the 4HK Isuzu turbo-diesel engine which produces a class-leading 197hp. When the door of the engine compartment is opened, all filters and service points are easily accessible. Attending to the chipper knives is easy, thanks to access via the side walk-way ramp.

Chippers and clean-up options

Chipper truck bodies – built to last

Shakanda Engineering has spent years developing a chipper truck body for the arborist market that exceeds the lifespan of any other in the market today.

With a superior, long-lasting body, protective-coating system and flexibility of design, coupled with a three-year structural warranty on all chipper bodies and a full and friendly back-up service, it’s easy to see why people are choosing Shakanda.

Key features include:

• Three-year structural-integrity warranty

• Fully sandblasted, 2-pack zinc-primed and 2-pack top coated

• Fully customised to customer requirements

• Many optional extras

• Quality and durability – Chipper Tippers are made to last! and

• After-sales service.


For over 20 years, wholly Australianmade and owned Shakanda Engineering has been engineering endurance into every one of its truck bodies, becoming a premier Vehicle Body Building Specialist, manufacturing innovative and tailor-made equipment to suit every requirement in the commercial-vehicle market.

Based in South Gippsland, Victoria,

its truck bodies are sold Australia-wide, with recent chipper bodies going to Cairns, Sydney, Canberra, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Quality and value

Shakanda’s chipper bodies are predominantly built in what’s called a monocoque construction. There is very little framework involved to keep the body together – yet it’s still strong. This reduces a lot of weight and decreases the potential corrosion areas where woodchips would otherwise sit and eat into the steel material. Coupled Shakanda’s superior protective-coating systems – resistant to the corrosive acid produced by woodchips – and Shakanda can offer the long-term lifespan that sets its chipper bodies apart from anything else in the market.

Backup service

Shakanda Engineering prides itself on back-up service. The highest standard of design and quality are built into every one of its projects and is backed up with a full three-year structural warranty on all manufactured vehicle bodies.

Shakanda Engineering is able to offer a long list of features on its chipper bodies.

For more information about Shakanda Engineering and any of its bodies, including chipper bodies and full custom builds, please call (03) 5662 3144 or visit

Shakanda Engineering has produced a superior, longer-lasting chipper body.Images: Shakanda

Chippers and clean-up options

Morbark’s BVR line

The BVR line of brush chippers builds on the legacy of Morbark’s innovation in the tree-care industry through an updated modular design.

History of innovation

Morbark’s history of innovation with wood-chipping equipment goes back to the 1970s with the development of the world’s first whole-tree disc chipper.

The whole tree disc chipper, also known as the Total Chiparvestor, was developed in response to the challenge of disposing millions of trees affected by Dutch elm disease in the United States in 1972. Building upon the success of the Chiparvestor, Morbark introduced a towable, hand-fed brush chipper in 1980, known as the Eeger Beever, which featured the first hydraulically driven feed wheel and safety control bar, further revolutionising the industry and making operating a brush chipper safer.

BVR innovation

The complete line of BVR chippers includes the BVR 10, BVR 13, BVR 16, BVR 19, and BVR 22, and features chipping capacities from 12 inches to 20 inches. The new configuration of the brush

chipper line streamlines the equipment’s overall upkeep and maintenance routine, reducing customer downtime and increasing overall productivity.

The BVR brush chippers also feature Morbark’s proven and patented ZeroClutch.

The ZeroClutch removes the anxiety of engaging the chipper drum, damaged drive belts, and burned clutch discs, and elevates the customer’s operating experience. The ZeroClutch technology features an integrated drum-speed sensor that monitors the drum speed and will not allow the clutch to engage if material is lodged between the feed wheel and drum or if the discharge chute is plugged. Customers will now simply start their brush chipper, throttle the machine to full RPM, and engage the feed control bar.

BVR brush chippers also feature a reverse-style pivot assembly which contours the radius of the drum, reducing dead space between the feed wheel and the drum. This gives the machine

a mechanical advantage for increased down pressure, providing optimal chipping results when working with challenging materials.

Other notable innovations to the BVR line include the infeed-mounted control panel that provides a more convenient location for operators, a side-load anvil, a 360-degree manual swivel discharge chute which offers multiple locking positions for greater operator control over chip discharge, and a three-position electronic control bar with dual safety pull cables, further elevating industry safety standards.

Moving forward

Morbark transitioned from manufacturing its popular Eeger Beever brush chipper line to the BVR line in January 2024, and began delivering new BVR units in February 2024.

To see more on the BVR range, log on to


A 360-degree manual swivel discharge chute offers multiple locking positions for greater control over chip discharge. Image: Morbark

Morbark’s BVR line of brush chippers builds on the legacy of Morbark’s innovation in the tree-care industry through an updated modular design. Image: Morbark


WA Arbfest 2024

Dave Crispin, senior arborist at Treeswest Australia and Arboricultural Association of Western Australia (Arb West) committee member, was thrilled at the 2024 WA tree-climbing competition.

Buddy, that rocked!”

“Dude, this was GOAT!”

Those are some of the comments I heard at the end of the Western Australian Arbfest (Tree Climbing Competition), staged in early March this year. And if you, like me, are not across what ‘GOAT’ actually means (I had to look it up), for the uneducated: Greatest Of All Time.

Novices welcome

After 12 months of planning by the ArbWest committee the event finally came to fruition, and I can honestly say it was well worth the effort.

Partnering with the City of Bayswater and the Stihl Shop Osborne Park, it was decided at the outset that new, up-and-coming climbers and novices

should have the opportunity to compete against one another at a separate event. This meant the competition started on the Friday with the inaugural Novice Climbing Competition, and it proved to be a big success.

The venue

The venue was Claughton Reserve in the City of Bayswater.

Our requirements for the event, as you would expect, depended on the quality of the trees. We needed five or six mature trees with open canopies, minimal defects, and spaced far enough apart that we had separation from one climbing discipline to another, but not too far apart that climbers and their support had to walk any distance.

Other considerations included easy

access from a major arterial road, a large open area with plenty of car parking space, and a central location.

And of course, being Western Australia, plenty of shade trees for climbers and spectators.

Claughton Reserve delivered!

Sponsors and supporters

With thanks to our supporters and sponsors: Stihl Shop Osborne Park, Vermeer WA, TCM Tree Care Machinery, Daimler Trucks, Ahern, Multi One Loaders, Rosher, Uniforest, Rise Equipment, Digrite, Baileys, Husqvarna, Hayes Tree Care, LRV8 and Bioscience. Without them the event would not have been possible. Thank you!

ABC Radio Perth was the first live cross for the day, with ArbWest Committee

36 THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE Association news
Jordan Wong demonstrating his skills on his way to becoming the eventual winner in the inaugural Canopy Shootout. Images: Arb West

member Jolyon Elliott spruiking the event to a state-wide audience. The second live cross was on Channel 10, just before the national news in a segment called What’s on in Perth this weekend.

A great start

With a field of 47, a 68 per cent increase from the previous competition, the stage was set for a spectacular event.

The novice competition ran smoothly, with several climbers showing great potential and being asked to attend the following day.

Saturday was an early start with volunteers arriving from 6.00am, bleary-eyed from the previous day. With a coffee to start from one of our vendors at the event, it was go, go, go, throughout the whole day. If it wasn’t for the support of the volunteers the event would not have run as smoothly as it did. In recognition of this, we decided on a volunteer award, with the eventual recipient, Hayes Tree Care.

All stallholders were allocated a spot and all were marshalled in place on the Friday, ready for the following day.

The backdrop of the sun rising through a light mist sitting on the river set the stage for a glorious Perth Saturday and the buzz from sun-up was electric. All competitors were on time and ready for the pre-start briefing.

Riki Peterson competing in the Canopy Shootout. Briar Waugh pruning a palm tree at Cable Beach..

Association news

During several head counts between 10.00am, and 3.00pm, conservative estimates were put at around 450-500 people at any one time: a great turnout by any account. All the hard work with our marketing strategy and advertising had paid off. The aim was to encourage the support crews, work colleagues and the public to attend, walk around visiting stallholders, and watch the event. Conversations with stall holders at the end of the day were very positive, with orders taken for both machinery and equipment. All vendors commented on how well the event ran, and they were excited to get involved next year, promising to be back bigger, and better.

Briar Waugh

Climbers came from interstate and intrastate, both male and female, vying for a chance to win big and compete in

the national climbing competition. Of the climbers qualified for the nationals, two, Briar Waugh and Riki Peterson, shared a quick chat.

In a previous life, Briar, 26, was a youth worker in New Zealand and travelled to Broome as part of a road trip around Australia. In search of work to fund the next leg of the trip she answered an advertisement for a tree worker. With her love of the outdoors, and an industry that prides itself on inclusion, she very quickly became an asset to the company.

I asked Briar, who works for Kimberley Tree care, how long she’d been climbing. To my surprise it was only one year. She’s 2.5 years into her three-year apprenticeship and climbs as much as she can. Asked what life was like as a climber in the Kimberley, Briar explained that no two days were the same. She’s

based in Broome, but may travel local, or out to a remote community, travel three hours to Fitzroy crossing, or two days to Kununurra. Briar is a champion of equal opportunities, and with temperatures reaching 42 degrees daily, and humidity at 85 per cent, she ‘holds her own’.

“We have to drink at least 10 litres of water a day, with electrolytes, to avoid dehydration,” she said. “We also have to take two sets of kit.”

“What type of trees do you work with?” I asked.

“Lots of palms,” she replied. “25m-30m Moringa trees (Moringa oleifera), and Baobab var. that smells like rotting faeces. You must be careful not to get it on your skin or clothes because you have to shower and change straight away, otherwise you ride home in the truck on your own.”

I asked if there were any challenges she faced coming from youth work.

“I had to train at the gym for a while to be able to start the big saws and build up my fitness, but that didn’t take long,” she said.

Gauging Briar’s enthusiasm, and her passion for the industry, I’m certain we’ll see more of her in years to come.

Riki Peterson

Riki Peterson and the Western Australian Tree Climbing Competition have a symbiotic relationship – they benefit from one another.

Riki draws a crowd. With his skill and speed usually unmatched, he consistently manages to place. The first time Riki stepped into a harness was back in 2010 in a climbing competition. Since then he’s gone on to qualify for five national events and two Red Bull events. This year was no exception, taking out first place in the aerial rescue, aerial ascent, and the work climb, and walking away with a tidy prize pool.

Other climbers who placed high included:

• Oliver Willmoth – first in the throwline and the speed climb

• Pa scal Oosterik,

• Aydyn Aagesen, and

• Luke Osborne.

Canopy Shootout

Another first for this year was the introduction of the ‘Canopy Shootout.’

Qualifiers competed for only five spots, with their placings considered throughout the day. A spot in the

Briar and crew taking a break on the Tanami Track.

shootout meant a chance at walking away with the $1,100.00 cash prize and an attractive looking trophy. The competition was fierce, with all climbers bringing their A game, but the eventual winner was Jordan Wong. Jordan’s speed and skill set him apart from the rest, and he was definitely a crowd favourite.


Events like these provide an exciting spectacle for spectators, pushing the boundaries of what climbers can achieve in their sport. We look forward to welcoming back the interstate challengers again next year, who will be undoubtably eager to take away line honours and bragging rights at the next Canopy Shootout, part of the Western Australian ArbFest in 2025.

39 forestcentre Attachment solutions for safe and efficient pruning and removal of trees forestcentreau 02 6947 2833
The Kimberley Tree Care outfit driving back from Fitzroy crossing..

NSW Code of Practice for tree amenity

The TCAA’s compliance Officer, Dan McArdle, shares some history and views on the current review of the NSW Code of Practice for the arbor industry.

Once again, there is an arb-industry review and update of the NSW Code of Practice (COP) for tree amenity, which includes arborists and tree workers. The review is currently underway, with several meetings taking place in February, March and April, 2024.

It’s expected the selected panel of experts working on the latest draft will have completed its review by July 2024, and the resulting document will be released for public comment for a period of time.

Try again

The TCAA has, in the past, been active in the development of the COP and the team has once again made available expert advisers to work with SafeWork NSW.

The last extensive review and was completed in 2006-07, and revised the 1998 Code of Practice. However, the work completed on the 2006-07 document was not endorsed at the time, and all the hours of work and face-toface meetings spent revising the draft seemed to me to have been shelved.

Recently the industry stakeholders received the 1998 COP and were requested to put forward submissions

for change to update the version. This couldn’t go unchallenged, and the TCAA Compliance Committee promptly resubmitted the 2006-07 draft as a starting point – which has now been adopted as such.

Industry expertise

The development of the draft had input from some recognised members of the arboricultural industry, including:

• Tree Contractors Association

• Arboriculture Australia

• Total Height Safety

• Active Tree Services

• McArdle and Sons Pro Tree Service

• Energy groups

• TAFE NSW, and

• Others who supplied their exceptional and valuable volunteered time to create a working document with content relevant to the trade.

The most important facet of the contributions from these people and organisations was the information and suggestions being workable on day-today jobs. Trade associations have a direct input into industry-related matters of all sorts, including training, policy development, regulations, Australian standards, WH&S development, raw mulch, wood splitters, tree-

40 THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE Association news
Author and TCAA Compliance Officer, Dan McArdle (right), has been involved with shaping the NSW Code of Practice (COP) for tree amenity for more than 16 years. The TCAAA has been active in the development of the COP.

management guidelines, risk assessment, tooling and minimum industry standards. The list is extensive.

Question need to be asked

Does this have impact on your business? Yes.

Ultimately, the objective is to reduce the risk of injury and/or fatalities.

Over my time as an employer, I have seen workerscompensation tariffs reduced from 17 per cent to the current rate of around 7.9 per cent. This reduction is a direct result of the efforts of industry groups to improve workplace safety procedures and training designed by the likes of TCAA, AA, QAA, WTG, VTG and NT associations, but also the willingness of Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to adapt to new methods and safety procedures.

When I’m at the table or Zoom meeting, I’ve learnt one very important fact: if you don’t get involved decisions will be made without you or your input.

For example, assume the standard distance in tree felling is 1.5m to twice the tree height in all directions. My question is, ‘Is this suitable in most of our working environments domestic or commercial work?’

The answer is ‘no’! In most cases it’s just not possible yet.

What about the ways to implement the hierarchy of control for working at heights? If a tree can be assessed as safe to be felled, it should be.

And crane work and regulation is not mentioned in either Draft 1998 or 2007 (inclusion is being discussed at this point).

Have your say

These are examples of the challenges the industry experts are addressing, offering the benefit of their wide experience and knowledge, in development of this document.

I encourage all industry stakeholders to take interest in the public-comment stage of the COP when it’s released later this year. I again remind everyone that, if you allow it, decisions will be made without you or your input. You have the opportunity to offer the benefit of hands-on industry experience, and any input will be welcome through the TCAA website or via email to

Mark the subject line of the email: ‘Attention Compliance Officer: Dan McArdle’.

NEW ZUBAT ULTIMATE 330MM EXCEPTIONAL DESIGN SUPERIOR QUALITY 0418 231 549 QTRA CALEND AR 202 4 For further information visit www qtra co uk Email: admin@qtra co uk QTRA Training (2 days) 2024 •09/10 September Adelaide 2024 • Melbourne 12/13 September 2024 • Sydney 25/26 September 2024 Using a traffic light system of colour -coded risks values, supported by skill, measurement and judgment, QTRA users can enable trees owners to make balanced and informed risk decisions Unacceptable if imposed on others Tolerable Broadly Acceptable Unacceptable •05/06 September Perth • 18/19 September 2024 Gold Coast T RAINING • Auckland 30 September/01 October 2024 The most important contributions come from industry professionals.

Association news

QAA news

More great competition, initiatives and advancement from the Queensland Arboricultural Association.

QAA invites volunteers, sponsors, and spectators to support the qualified arborists who will demonstrate their expertise in the trees in the QTCC 2024 at the scenic Tamborine Mountain showgrounds. Images: QAA

The QTCC 2024 is gearing up to be an exhilarating event at the scenic Tamborine Mountain showgrounds.

QAA invites volunteers, sponsors, and spectators to support the qualified arborists who will demonstrate their expertise in the trees on this exciting day. Your participation helps celebrate and encourage the art and skill of tree climbing. Save the date. Keep the weekend of September 6-8 free!!

QAA sponsorship opportunities: supporting the arboriculture community

The QAA is dedicated to advancing the arboriculture industry through pivotal education, training, and advocacy efforts. As sponsorship opportunities for the upcoming year are now open, businesses can align with the QAA to show their support for the industry. These partnerships not only offer significant exposure and networking possibilities, but also bolster initiatives

benefiting the entire arboriculture community.

Interested parties should act quickly to secure their sponsorship, available on a first-come-first-serve basis. For more details, please contact the QAA office.

Industry Meet & Mingle

May 24 saw the QAA host the first arborist Meet & Mingle.

This informal gathering is a great opportunity for QAA members, nonmembers, and industry suppliers to connect over a drink and some tasty nibbles. Whether you’re looking to share experiences, gain insights, or just enjoy good company, this event is the perfect setting to meet fellow arboriculture enthusiasts and professionals in a friendly atmosphere.

The Meet & Mingles will continue to run every two months in different locations around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. The QAA is looking forward to seeing everyone

at the next event on Friday, July 26. Keep an eye on the QAA website for an announcement on the venue.

Celebrating educational success: Bryan Gould’s ARB101 series

A sincere thanks to Bryan Gould for a fantastic conclusion to the ARB101 workshop series.

Covering essential topics from Tree and Risk Assessment to Tree Biology, Physiology and more, these workshops have enhanced the skills of many aspiring and experienced arborists.

Bryan’s engaging and informative sessions have left participants enriched and eager for more. The QAA looks forward to future sessions that continue to support professional development in arboriculture.

Career Expos 2024

After last year’s success, QAA is excited to return to local high schools to inspire future arborists.


The Career Expos are a critical platform for addressing the skills shortage in the arboriculture industry and for businesses to connect with potential employees. The QAA needs your help to man its stall, engage with students, or offer them work experience. This can, in turn, significantly impact our community and positively support your business. Below are the dates and locations for the upcoming expos:

• Carmel College, Thornlands: June 4, 2024, 4.00pm – 7.00pm

• Morayfield State High School, Morayfield: June 4, 2024, 12.00pm – 3.00pm

• Sunnybank State High, Sunnybank: June 6, 2024, 8.30am – 2.45pm.

Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ)

A special thank you to Mark Roberts and all participants in the upcoming TRAQ courses.

Please be reminded TRAQ will return in 2026. If your qualification expires before then, please contact Arboriculture Australia to enrol in a renewal course.

Upcoming workshops and educational opportunities

The QAA’s commitment to education continues with various workshops designed to enhance your skills and knowledge:

• Forest Biosecurity Awareness: June 19, 2024, with Janet McDonald from DAF, focusing on pest and disease damage. Additional Workshops include

Covering essential topics from Tree and Risk Assessment to Tree Biology, Physiology and more, the Bryan Gould ARB101 workshop series has enhanced the skills of many aspiring and experienced arborists.

Preparing Quotes and Tenders, Diagnosing Tree Diseases, and Practical Sessions on Woodchipper Operation and Stump Grinding.

Make sure to check to check the QAA events page regularly and register early to secure your spot as these workshops are in high demand.

Thank you for reading this far. The first person to contact the office noting they have read this article will receive a free copy of an MIS booklet of their choice.

Join the QAA in these events and workshops to advance your skills, network with industry professionals, and contribute to the growth and sustainability of the arboriculture community. Your participation and support not only foster a skilled workforce, but also help in the QAA’s mission of delivering excellence in arboriculture.

QAA Executive

For info call QAA on (07) 3821 1488, email, or visit Follow the QAA on Facebook (QueenslandArboriculturalAssociation), Instagram (qaa_arborist), or LinkedIn (queensland-arboriculturalassociation).

44 THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE Association news
The QAA’s commitment to education continues with various workshops designed to enhance skills and knowledge.


The protective coating system on our chipper bodies means we can comfortably say we would expect no less than a 10 year lifespan from our chipper bodies.


Shakanda Engineering is able to offer a long list of features on its chipper bodies. Customers can have two-way tailgates, barn doors, toolboxes in one or two sides of the body, ladder racks, pole-saw boxes, a variety of towbar options with pintle hooks or combination ball and pintle hooks, change the body size to increase the front toolbox, or change the overall dimensions of the body if they want to alter the capacities for a particular truck.


We pride ourselves on back up service if anything goes wrong. The highest standard of design and quality are built into every one of our projects, backed up with a full Three Year Structural Warranty on all manufactured vehicle bodies.


The fact a contractor has an ABN does not necessarily mean they have genuinely been engaged as a contractor.

Contractor or employee – tax implications

Brian Beecroft of the Timber Trade Industrial Association helps navigate the contractor relationship as viewed by the ATO.

Just when you thought the legal and tax implications imposed on business was already far too complicated, it gets worse every time the government or its departments focus in again on any aspect of the contractor relationship. It’s becoming patently clear that, just because an agreement states a worker is an independent contractor, this does not mean they are a contractor for tax and superannuation purposes according to the ATO.

Where there is a written contract, the

rights and obligations of the contract need to support that an independent contracting relationship exists. The fact a contractor has an ABN does not necessarily mean they have genuinely been engaged as a contractor. The ATO says that: “At its core, the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor is that:

* An employee serves in the business of an employer, performing their work as a part of that business, and

* An independent contractor provides services to a principal’s business, but the

contractor does so in furthering their own business enterprise; they carry out the work as principal of their own business, not part of another.

Contracts over time

The ATO points out a contracting agreement at the start of a relationship may not continue to be one over time. For example, if the project the contractor was engaged to complete has finished, but the worker continues working for the company, the classification needs to be revisited.

46 THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE Association news

What happens if there is no contract?

If no contract exists, it’s important to look at the form and substance of the relationship to come to a reasonable position about whether an employment or contractor relationship exists.

That said, it is important to have a written contract clearly stating the terms of the services provided and the nature of the relationship. This will assist if the matter is tested by a third party.

Workers compensation work, break and journey claims

An employee may be able to make a claim for injuries incurred during work breaks and some work-related journeys.

In a motor-vehicle accident between the workplace and home, there may be an entitlement to compensation under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme.

• Work-break claims: an employee may be able to claim for injuries received during an ordinary work break (eg: morning tea or lunch break) or authorised temporary absence;

• Claims while on a journey: if a worker is injured while travelling for the purposes of work, they may be able to lodge a claim for workers compensation.

If injured while travelling to or from work and their home, they may be able to lodge a claim for workers compensation. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. Speak with your insurer for more information.

For compensation to be payable there must be a real and substantial

connection between the worker’s employment and the accident or incident which resulted in the injury. However, if the injury in a motor-vehicle accident occurred while travelling between the workplace and home, there may be an entitlement to compensation under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme.

For more information, log on to

Legal support for TTIA members

If you need assistance or legal advice on a contractor agreement you may have as a business, contact TTIA’s Legal Department for practical plain-English assistance on 02 9264 0011.

We provide machinery for a wide variety of applications and deliver Australiawide. Have any questions? Ask us and find out how we can help you find the right solution for any job.


Mobile: 0475 083 080 Office: 03 5335 9054


Elevated Work Platforms

CMC S19HD and S22HD

CMC Lifts Australia offers a range of both compact and heavy-duty spider lifts with big height and reach. Here are two ideally suited to the professional arborist. And don’t forget to check out CMC’s recently launched Arbor Pro range – lifts built for the tree professional and ideal for arbor work. See the entire range at

CMC S19HD 18.7m spider lift

The S19HD features an extremely compact stabilisation area with full side reach, including the ability to self level on steep, sloped floors and terrain. In addition, the S19HD is also capable of setting up in ‘narrow mode’, with an even smaller footprint. This special feature means reduced outreach, however the lift is still capable of full 360° rotation and full vertical height. Designed and built with a configuration of one lower riser pantograph and two-telescopic boom extensions, the S19HD has a 200kg basket capacity and 180° basket rotation, with close to 19m of working height. Compact dimensions of 0.95m W x 2.04m H means

access to virtually any work area.

The S19HD is equipped with a double stabilisation area and articulated outriggers capable of raising the entire lift approximately 1.5m in height. That lift allows safer lift self loading onto a truck chassis, avoiding the need to use cumbersome loading and unloading ramps. An easy-to-use control system with multiple toggles allows for a smooth, comfortable and safe operator ride, while a quiet diesel engine/240v electric hydraulic power pack is standard. The S19HD is also available with hybrid power source, and an internetconnectable control system allows for quick remote diagnostics and corrections which make for less-expensive maintenance.

load in basket:

Turret rotation +/- 355º Total weight: 2872kg
S19HD features
working height:
Maximum reach with 80kg:
Platform height: 16.7m Maximum
200kg Basket dimensions: 1.4m x 0.7m x 1.1m Basket rotation: +90º/-87º
The S19HD has 180° basket rotation, with close to 19m of working height.

Added to the articulated stabilisers with high leveling capacities is an unrivalled 21.6 metres of maximum working height and 12.50 metres of outreach on the S22HD.

CMC S22HD 21.6m spider lift

The S22 HD is a jib platform which completes and increases the potential of the CMC HD range.

Added to the articulated stabilisers with high leveling capacities is an unrivalled aerial part: 21.6 metres of maximum working height and 12.50 metres of outreach plus jib, for a maximum load capacity of 230kg.

Thanks to the three working areas and the multiple travel speeds, the S22HD is a track platform with truly exceptional performance and suitable for every job.

S22HD features

Maximum working height: 21.6m

Maximum outreach: 12.5m

Maximum load in basket: 230kg

Basket dimensions: 1.4m x 0.7m x 1.1m

Basket rotation: +/90º

Turret rotation +/- 355º

Total weight: 3180kg

The S22HD is a track platform with truly exceptional performance and suitable for every job.

Niftylift receives King’s Award

Niftylift Ltd, a leading British manufacturer of mobile elevating work platforms, has been honoured with the prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade for 2024.

Elevated Work Platforms
The Niftylift Shenley Wood site at Milton Keynes in the UK.

This, the company’s first King’s Award for Enterprise, follows an illustrious history of recognition, including four Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, two in 2013 and two in 2019. Notably, Niftylift holds the unique distinction of being the only company ever to receive two Queen’s Awards on two

separate occasions, highlighting its ongoing commitment to excellence and innovation.

“We are immensely proud to receive this distinguished award,” said John Keely, Managing Director of Niftylift. “This accolade reflects our hard work and dedication to excellence in the international trade arena. It underscores our commitment to not only advancing our technology but also ensuring that our operations support sustainable practices worldwide.”

brought ongoing investment and muchneeded job creation. “Our success is not just measured by sales but also by the positive impact we have on communities and the environment,” added Mr. Keely. “We work hard to be successful on the international stage, but we are a family business at heart, and the wellbeing of our staff, their families and our local communities is what drives us to succeed.”

More to come


has significantly expanded its global footprint

“ ”

Reward for hard work

The King’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade is awarded to British businesses for their exceptional performance in international expansion and commercial success. Criteria for the award include demonstrating substantial growth in overseas earnings and commercial success through innovative products and services.

Niftylift has significantly expanded its global footprint, demonstrating remarkable export volumes that have increased consistently year on year. The company’s innovative approach to design and manufacturing has enabled it to deliver high-quality, environmentally conscious products that meet rigorous international standards.

Real benifits

Niftylift’s export success also brings dramatic benefits to its local economies. Most notably in the UK, but also in Australia, US and Europe, Niftylift has

The official presentation of the King’s Award for Enterprise will take place at a royal reception later this year, attended by members of the Royal Family and other dignitaries.

Niftylift continues to strive for excellence and innovation, paving the way for future growth and sustained international success.

About Niftylift

Niftylift manufactures a range of mobile elevating work platforms with working heights ranging from 12m to over 28m, mounted on trailer-towable, self-propelled, self-drive, track-drive chassis. Founded in 1985, Niftylift has production facilities in Hoyland (near Barnsley) and Milton Keynes in the UK. It also has sales, service and parts centres in Tomago, Australia, Greer in the US, Markranstädt in Germany, Sittard in The Netherlands and an extensive dealer network supporting Niftylift sales throughout Europe, Australia, China, South Africa and Central and East Asia.

The company prides itself on its ability to deliver innovative and effective solutions designed to enhance safety and efficiency on-site while minimising environmental impact.

For more information, please visit

Niftylift’s export success also brings dramatic benefits to its local  economies

“ ”

CMC aerial platforms: perfect for arboriculture

Agile, robust, versatile and safe, CMC spider platforms meet every need of tree-care professionals.

With working heights ranging from 13 metres to 41 metres, and an above-average lateral reach, CMC spider lifts allowing for easy pruning of any tall tree. Images: CMC

Elevated Work Platforms

Born from the most advanced lifting technology, CMC aerial platforms perform in all conditions, offering solutions and overcoming obstacles difficult for a truck-mounted platform.

Go anywhere

First among CMC’s distinctive features is the ability to access areas otherwise impossible to reach as they can reduce their dimensions to the point of passing through a simple door, slipping under an awning, or traversing a narrow corridor to access a residential yard.

All this while moving autonomously on their tracks controlled by the operator via wire or radio control (depending on the model).

Not even a small operating space poses a problem. CMC aerial platforms are designed to adapt to the available space, achieving the best possible stabilisation, both in open fields and in the tightest and narrowest places.

As for levelling, it is difficult to find perfectly flat terrain in nature, and this can often be a major obstacle to the safe use of truck-mounted platforms.

However, the hydraulic stabilisers of CMC aerial platforms can perform the operation simply and quickly, especially with the Self Control System by CMC, an autopilot for MEWPs, forming the base to work perfectly on any terrain.


With working heights ranging from 13 metres to 41 metres, and an aboveaverage lateral reach, CMC spider platforms prove to be up to any task, allowing for easy pruning of any tall tree.

This is also thanks to an excellent manoeuvrability and easy and intuitive control features, both in full hydraulic versions and in those equipped with technologically advanced guidance systems that include automatic closure of the aerial part.

Thanks to their low weight and the availability of non-marking tracks, along with special support plates at the base of the stabilisers, CMC aerial platforms prove to be the perfect choice in even the most delicate missions, such as public and private gardens, courtyards, or golf courses.

Built for pro use

Last, but certainly not least among CMC’s advantages, is their great ease of transport. CMC aerial platforms are self- loading and easily transportable on trailers, thanks to the excellent balance between robustness and low weight.

“For us, this means being The Specialifts, the specialists in spider aerial platforms,” declared Alessandro Mastrogiacomo, CEO of CMC. “We are able to design and manufacture efficient work tools that respond perfectly to the controls and meet the specific professional needs of our customers.”

See the CMC range of lifts and learn more of the company at

CMC spider lifts are available through Golbal Machinery Sales:

• Melbourne: 24-28 Williams Road, Dandenong South Vic. 3175

• Sydney: 49-50 Cassola Place, Penrith, NSW 2750

• Queensland: 191 Magnesium Dr, Crestmead QLD 4132.

Phone 1800 025 024.

The hydraulic stabilisers of CMC aerial platforms can level the machine simply and quickly, especially with the Self Control System by CMC.


Quinton Garlick’s subscription to The Australian ArborAge scored him a Husqvarna 525PT5S Pole Saw valued at $1599 RRP.

Quinton Garlick is big bloke, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s fitting that one of the biggest prizes in Australian arboriculture went his way when he picked up his Husqvarna 525PT5s Pole Saw from Jason at The Red Shed in Cranbourne, Victoria.

We were busting to know how the saw shaped up as part of Quinton’s arsenal at Cut It Right Tree Service.

“To tell you truth, I haven’t used it yet,” chortled The Big Fella.

When he won a chainsaw at the Victorian Tree Climbing Championship some years ago, Quinton was so rapt he wanted to gold-dip the bar and just keep it in pride of place.

“But I never did it, did I?” he laughed. “The Husqvarna will probably sit there on the trophy shelf for a little while, but then I’ll grab it and get to work.”

What a dead-set champion, and a deserving winner.

You could be next winner we speak to!

#1 SINCE 1996


THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE 55 #1 SINCE 1996 JUNE/JULY 2024 + FORESTRY EQUIPMENT +  EWPs +  Chippers & clean-up options +  Association news +  Forestry equipment +  Eye on the industry +  Technical features Saws and log splitters! FEATURED: Husqvarna’s world first A BATTERY CHAINSAW WITH A CLUTCH! SUBSCRIBE AND WIN A HUSQVARNA CLIMBING GEAR HARNESS AND SIX CARABINERS RRP $1030.90! SCAN THE QR CODE TO SUBSCRIBE OR CALL +61 3 9690 8766 Website:
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Eye on the industry

Rapid Hexa

Innovation in chainsaw chain from STIHL.

It’s not often developments in chainsaw chain technology cause a stir, but STIHL Rapid Hexa is fully deserving of the attention it’s gained around the world.

Consisting of a patented V-shaped cutting tooth and hexagonal file, Hexa offers professional forestry chainsaw users a 10-per-cent boost in cutting performance, and a much enhanced sharpening experience unlike anything else on the market.

How has this been achieved?

First, the top-plate kerf of each cutting tooth is narrower than the equivalent Rapid Super chain, leading to an improvement in cutting speed and efficiency. Shrewd readers may see a similarity to the Rapid Super Pro chain available in .325 pitch – this too features a narrower kerf and cutting speed improvements. A second optimisation is the 25° sharpening angle. Testing has found a slightly reduced angle performs

Stays sharper for longer “ ”
STIHL Rapid Hexa chains need to be used with a Hexa file. Images: STIHL
These features all combine to deliver a chainsaw chain that cuts faster, takes less time to sharpen, stays sharper for longer and boosts productivity “ ”

better in diagonal felling cuts.

Finally, the most striking update to the chain is the 60°, V-shaped side-plate angle. The hexagonal file sits perfectly in the tooth’s profile, leading to simplified and faster sharpening. With Rapid Hexa it’s easy to achieve a high-quality cutting edge, and due to the less acute angle of the leading cutting corner the tooth is less prone to wear and therefore stays sharper for longer.

STIHL Rapid Hexa chains need to be used with a Hexa file. The lower 1/6th of the file is smooth, meaning it’s impossible to accidentally graze the file on the drive links. A top ridge makes it clear in which orientation the file needs to be held, and because the Hexa system

is so simple to use, a file guide is not necessary.

High efficiency

These features all combine to deliver a chainsaw chain that cuts faster, takes less time to sharpen, stays sharper for longer and boosts productivity. Compatible models include professional STIHL chainsaws ranging from an MS 362 C-M up to MS 661 C-M, and every professional petrol model in between.

If you’re not sure of the pitch or drivelink gauge specification of your chainsaw, your local STIHL dealer who will be more than happy to help you out.

Find yours at

Because the
Hexa system
is so simple to use, a file guide is not necessary.

Customers find Merlo machines reliable and easy to use. Images: Merlo and Melbourne

Merlo and Melbourne Tractors

Melbourne Tractors, with branches located in Somerton and Dandenong in Victoria, has provided the construction and agriculture industries with the finest world-class machines, quality parts and attachments for over 40 years. The company is the authorised dealer for several large and well-respected brands of earthmoving and construction equipment, including Merlo telehandlers.

Peter Keley, General Manager at Melbourne Tractors, was keen to get behind Merlo equipment.

Peter Keley is the General Manager at Melbourne Tractors, and he’s a busy man. Along with the two branches mentioned already, the Melbourne Tractors Group also oversees Ballarat Tractors and Meltrac Machinery in Terang, both in Victoria.

But even with all that going on, and a big stable of high-profile equipment brands to represent, Peter’s been very enthusiastic about Merlo equipment since he started with Melbourne Tractors three years ago.

“In my assessment of the franchises we had, Merlo looked to be the one

Eye on the industry Customers really enjoy the product “ ”
They find it easy to use, they find it does exactly what they expect it to do, and it’s proving to be very reliable out in the field “ ”

with a significant opportunity for future growth,” the very affable General Manager told The Australian Arbor Age. “I could see the product had a quality about it, and a certain style, which had strong appeal in the marketplace.

“We reviewed our activities and made a significant commitment in terms of stocking, training and parts support to really get behind the Merlo product, and that’s seen us achieve significant growth in sales over the past three years.”

Customer satisfaction

Melbourne Tractors recently took delivery of a Merlo Roto 50.26S Plus to fill the requirements of a specific customer, and Keley was hoping for the sale of a second unit when we spoke. He also felt that was part of a growing trend in the market for Merlo equipment.

“We see enormous upside in the Merlo product,” he affirmed.

“As a company we have a number of machines and attachments for the whole arbor industry, so we see Merlo being a key part of offering a complete solution to customers in that space.

“And the feedback from the customers,” he said, “They really enjoy the product. They find it easy to use, they find it does exactly what they expect it to do, and it’s proving to be very reliable.”

Coming from a man and company who stake their reputations on the performance and reliability of the equipment they supply, that’s about as strong a recommendation as there can be.

For more information on the Merlo range, log on to

Merlo’s flagship rotating telehandler, the Roto 50.26S Plus, is capable of operating in multiple environments with a range of attachments.


The Magni RTH 6.30 is a tough, high-performance rotating telescopic handler which can lift loads to a height of 30 metres.

Magni RTH 6.30

This incredible telescopic handler is able to meet a wide range of applications in construction and arboriculture, and Powerclear Arboricultural Contractors in southeast Queensland/northern NSW has them available.

The RTH 6.30 is a tough, highperformance rotating telescopic handler which can reach to a height of 30 metres and is equipped with scissor stabilisers to ensure greater safety and stability during working manoeuvres, especially with limited space available. Even partially stabilised, the machine is programmed to provide the best possible load chart on each side.

When the stabilisers are fully extended they guarantee maximum machine performance over 360°.

The Magni RTH 6.30 is compatible with a huge range of accessories, thanks also to the RFID system which provides automatic recognition of

the attachment and creation of the relative load charts; this telescopic handler is able to meet a wide range of applications in construction and arboriculture.

Built for serious work

Campbell Brooke, Director at Powerclear, is understandably excited about the newest addition to the Powerclear fleet, and is proud to be the first arboricultural company in Australia to have this new technology available.

“It’s a rotating telehandler,” explained Campbell. “Or some would call it a slewing telehandler. It’s got a reach of 30 metres, and it has a maximum lifting

capacity of six tonnes. It can interchange attachments. We’ve currently got the crane-winch attachment and the rotating wood-cracker felling head. It’s an all-terrain vehicle, so it’s four-wheel drive and four-wheel steer, and with the outriggers it has a very similar footprint to a 20-tonne all-terrain crane. It has conditional registration, so it can be driven on public roads,” he said.

Super versatile

Powerclear contracts to local, state and federal government organistaions, and is rapt in the versatility, safety and productivity of the Magni. The RTH 6.30 significantly reduces risk to arborists

60 THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE Eye on the industry

by eliminating the need for them to work at heights or around structurally compromised trees. Equipped with boom-mounted cameras, a digital automated load chart, and the capability for the operator to control the Magni remotely, the RTH 6.30 enhances safety and efficiency. Powerclear is proud to be pioneering the next level of safety in arboriculture.

“Instead of having three pieces of equipment, you’ve got the one that can do the job of an excavator, an EWP and a crane,” Campbell explained. “With that 30-metre reach and the rotating felling head you can be quite precise and piece the tree down in very small sections if you want. You can take single branches or you can take leaders. You don’t have to take a whole tree in one grab.

“You can utilise it as you would a guy in

Arbor Age-HH 1 15/3/2024 2:01 pm

Eye on the industry

Brandt’s John Deere Compact Construction Machines

Revolutionising arborists’ operations.

Arborists, tasked with the arduous responsibility of managing trees and green spaces, require machinery that can navigate through tight areas, manoeuvre with finesse, and deliver exceptional performance without compromise. Brandt’s range of John Deere compact construction machines addresses these needs comprehensively, offering a range of benefits that make them the superior choice for arborists worldwide.

Tough and reliable

First and foremost, these compact machines are engineered to excel in confined spaces, a common challenge faced by arborists when working in urban environments or densely vegetated areas. Equipped with agile manoeuvrability and a compact footprint, they can access areas larger equipment simply can’t, allowing arborists to tackle tasks with precision and efficiency.

Moreover, the reliability and durability synonymous with the John Deere brand ensure arborists can depend on these machines day in and day out, even in the most demanding conditions. Whether it’s moving logs, removing tree stumps, or transporting heavy loads of debris, these machines deliver consistent performance, minimising downtime, and maximising productivity.

Equipped with agile manoeuvrability and a compact footprint, they can access areas larger equipment simply can’t

Safe and efficient

In addition to their exceptional performance, John Deere compact construction machines prioritise operator comfort and safety—a crucial aspect of any arborist’s work environment. With ergonomically designed cabins, intuitive controls and advanced safety features – such as rearview cameras and proximity sensors – these machines prioritise the well-being of operators, allowing them to focus on the task at hand without unnecessary distractions or discomfort.

Brandt’s range of John Deere compact construction machines offer a range of benefits that make them the superior choice for arborists worldwide.

Furthermore, the versatility of these machines is unparalleled, offering a range of attachments and accessories that can be easily swapped out to suit specific tasks. Whether it’s an Engcon Tiltrotator and a hydraulic grab for precisely placing logs, a compact mulching head for efficient land clearing, a hydraulic hedge trimmer for safer faster pruning, or a set of buckets for general digging and clean up, arborists can customise their equipment to meet the unique demands of each job, enhancing efficiency and versatility on the field.

Learn more

Beyond the tangible benefits, Brandt’s offering of John Deere compact construction machines underscores a commitment to innovation and customer-centric solutions. By actively engaging with arborists and understanding their evolving needs, Brandt has succeeded in delivering a product that not only meets but exceeds expectations, empowering arborists to elevate their craft and achieve unparalleled results.

Brandt’s offer of John Deere compact construction machines tailored for arborists represents a fusion of cuttingedge technology, unrivalled performance, and unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. For arborists seeking equipment that combines precision, reliability, and versatility, the choice is clear: Brandt’s John Deere compact construction machines are the superior choice, revolutionising the way arborists approach their craft and shaping the future of arboriculture.

Contact the team today on 1800 237 887 or visit

“ ”
Brandt’s offering of John Deere compact construction machines underscores a commitment to innovation and customer-centric solutions.

the opportunity to host a

and competitionplanning

Team Australia APTCC workshop

Continuing its long-term support of arboriculture and competitive climbing, Husqvarna supports the Australian team to train and attend competitions both locally and overseas. Husqvarna is also the major sponsor of the Asia Pacific Tree Climbing Championship (APTCC) where, this year, Team Australia took the opportunity to host a throwline-techniques and competition-planning workshop. Jamie Boston, professional arborist and Husqvarna H-team ambassador, headed up a team of Aussies who shared their knowledge.

H eld before walk through and gear check, the throwline-techniques and competition-planning workshop was well received by competitors and volunteers, with nearly 50 people in attendance.

Team Australia, consisting of myself (Jamie Boston), Barton Allen Hall, Jack Lewis, James Gigliotti, Jess Hamer, Nick Batson, Adam Joel, Alana Murray, Isobel Watson and Brian ‘Beaver’ Kinred, shared

their individual techniques and planning thoughts when throwing a throwline, both at work and in competition. The enthusiastic crowd got some hands-on practice with individual guidance from the team.

Team Australia is made up of competitive tree climbers, including the current high-ranking climbers who compete on the world stage, up-andcoming enthusiastic climbers and

past-competition climbers. This range of experience gave a unique perspective which would be difficult to find in any workshop anywhere in the world.

The warm up

“The APTCC is the first opportunity for us to represent our country in force each year before tackling the world stage,” said Boston. “The APTCC includes over 10 countries’ top five male and female

Team Australia took throwline-techniques workshop at the 2024 Asia Pacific Tree Climbing Championship (APTCC) in Kuantan, Malaysia. Images: Jamie Boston

climbers competing for a worldchampionship ticket, with both the Queensland Arboriculture Association and Arboriculture Australia having the opportunity to send 10 climbers each. This gives Australia a huge strength-innumbers advantage. An Australian won the male class at the previous running, which allows Australia to have three male climbers at the International Tree Climbing Championships (ITCC) with a fourth male climber because Barton Allen Hall has won twice on the trot at ITCC.”


“In general,” Boston continued, “the Asian arboriculture community is developing its skills and techniques, and with Team Australia’s success on the world stage, we took the opportunity to share some of the knowledge we’ve gained. History was made at the 2024 APTCC with an Asian male climber making Masters for the first time ever. Congratulations Jason Ma!

The free workshop was organised by the ISA and hosted on the site of the 2024 APTCC.”

The workshop was well received by competitors and volunteers, with nearly 50 people in attendance.

The Aus team. Top row: Jess Hamer, Brian Kinred (Team Support and championship judge), James Gigliotti, Jack Lewis, Alana Murray, Isobel Watson and Adam Joel. Bottom row: Nick Batson, Jamie Boston and Barton Allen-Hall.

Plant more native trees to reduce landslide risk

Landslides typically occur under heavy rain. With the potential for increased precipitation due to climate change and a possible return to La Niña, reinforcing slopes with native trees and shrubs could be an effective, economical and sustainable solution.

Homeowners, councils and state governments looking to build houses and infrastructure on or near slopes should reconsider cutting down trees or using artificial slope reinforcement to buttress vertical terrain against landslides and slips. They should plant native trees and shrubs instead,” said University of Sydney PhD candidate and nature lover, Jiale Zhu, who’s researching how native trees and shrubs common to Australia’s east coast could help reinforce sloping terrain and reduce the risk of landslide and soil erosion under wet conditions.


Zhu found the Sydney Red Gum, Narrow-leaf Scribbly Gum, Blueberry Ash, Coastal Banksia and Crimson

Bottlebrush were best for stabilising shallow slopes, which are typically two metres deep and involve up to 1000m2 of soil.

“Plants provide a sustainable, natural approach to slope reinforcement compared to artificial methods, such as steel mesh or sprayed concrete,” said Mr Zhu from the School of Civil Engineering. “They also create and maintain crucial habitat.”

He said the focus of his doctorate is particularly pertinent with a potential return to wet, La Niña conditions and with the increasing prevalence of extreme-weather events. Landslides typically occur under heavy precipitation and have the potential to rip apart homes, which occurred during the 2022 floods.

Which trees are best for preventing landslides and erosion?

Out of all the species, Sydney Red Gums – also known as angophora – and Blueberry Ash were the best at slope reinforcement.

Zhu explained: “The robust taproot system of the Sydney Red Gum – where a dominant root takes hold of soil –provides an anchor against erosion. Its elastic roots also help it penetrate stiff soils, making it suitable for rocky sites or areas with deep groundwater. These conditions encourage it to lay down deep roots which further help strengthen erosion control.”

“Blueberry ash trees have a thick, vertical, heart-shaped root system and, out of all the trees I studied, were the

66 THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE Technical feature

University of Sydney PhD candidate and nature lover, Jiale Zhu, is researching how native trees and shrubs common to Australia’s east coast could help reinforce sloping terrain and reduce the risk of landslide and soil erosion under wet conditions.

Image: University of Sydney

most resistant to being pulled out. They also provide berries for native birds like the Regent bowerbird,” he said.

While using trees to stabilise soil on shallow slopes has long been understood to be effective, few studies have focused on Australian species and conditions. According to Geoscience Australia data, incidents of landslides and heavy erosion increased by 190 per cent in the period between 2004 and 2017, compared to 1990 to 2003.

The role of precipitation can also be difficult to understand in experimental settings. Mr Zhu said: “It can be very hard to replicate wet conditions in field studies because it’s hard to control the water content, but what we do know is landslides are more likely to occur during heavy rainfall.”

The most at-risk areas

Cut-out motorways, reclaimed or disused mine pits and riverbanks were most at risk of erosion and landslide during higher precipitation. Zhu believes state governments should prioritise reinforcing slopes with trees alongside state-owned assets and major river systems, and councils should prioritise in-filling terrain on public land and around housing with native species.

“Sometimes, nature offers the best solution. Prioritising native planting would be a quicker way to achieve the NSW Government’s 2036 green cover index, opening new sites for regreening that directly benefit critical infrastructure, homes and crucial river systems,” he said.

Homeowners, too, should consider planting these native trees and shrubs to protect their properties against landslide risk, and reconsider cutting them down where possible.

“If you look at a place like Sydney, it is hilly and craggy, with multiple river systems, including the Hawkesbury, Parramatta and Nepean,” Zhu said. “You only need to look around the harbour to see that many houses are built on slopes and vertical terrain, which could be at heightened risk of landslide or slip with increased rain patterns due to climate change.

“So, instead of cutting down that angophora or Blueberry Ash for the view, remember it might be helping to strengthen a site,” he offered.

Current thinking

Professor Abbas El-Zein, Zhu’s supervisor, said the research was reflective of a broader philosophical shift in technological design that had been taking place over the past few decades.

“We are now more conscious than ever that the traditional engineering ethos of ‘conquest of nature’, which has given us dams, concrete jungles and urban sprawls comes with significant cost,” he said. “Technology is at its best when it is mindful of its limitations and respectful of its ecological context, including all forms of life, and when it is more intelligent, less obtrusive and no larger in scale than it needs to be.”

Dr Guien Miao, an Honorary Affiliate in the School of Civil Engineering who also supervised Zhu’s work said: “This research provides important findings

that will help engineers address a publicsafety concern that impacts the integrity of our everyday civil infrastructure. It offers insights into the complex interactions between soil and plants, and practical advice to give decision makers greater confidence in the unconventional engineering solutions that will be needed to tackle wicked problems of today and the future.”

Dr Matthew Pye, from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, who advised Zhu on tree species selected for the research said: “Joey’s findings are critically important.

“Using native species for stabilisation should be a no-brainer. The ecosystem benefits of planting native, local species are massive and should be prioritised. This small step connects our urban backyards and plantings to the natural vegetation that surrounds our cities. The plantings become functional in an ecosystem sense, which then delivers more bang for your ecological buck.”

Dr Zhu also found a large root diameter did not contribute to additional resistance, and that erosion control could be limited by how far roots could throw down. He also said different species would work best under different conditions.

Mr Zhu’s doctorate will be conferred later this year. The results have been published in Acta Geotechnica and presented at the Australia and New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics.


Mr Zhu’s doctorate examined the mechanical interactions of common east coast trees and shrubs in the soil surrounding a root, including under saturation: Angophora Costata (Sydney Red Gum), Eucalyptus Racemosa (Narrow-leaf Scribbly Gum), Elaeocarpus Reticulatus (Blueberry Ash), Banksia Integrifolia (Coastal Banksia), Prostanthera incisa (Cut-leaf Mint-bush); Melaleuca thymifolia (Thyme honeymyrtle); Callistemon citrinus (Crimson Bottlebrush).


The researchers have no conflicts of interest to declare. The research was funded by the University of Sydney’s International Strategic Stipend Scholarship and the School of Civil Engineering HDR Student Research Support fund


Ascension and the analogy of the tree to illustrate the human condition

Cassian Humphreys offers some excerpts from TheEnlightenedGardener.


o Captain Fergus ‘Gus’ Johnstone on Salerno beach on mainland Italy in September 1943, the unquestioning sacrifice of the SAS soldiery was worth far more than gold. Yet, as a gardener at heart, he wondered what that would look like if such sacrifice was made as plantsmen in service to the Earth.

Italian encounter

In the time of boots on the ground during the allied invasions of Sicily,

then Italy, during the Italian Campaign, there was only time to fight. Britain’s prime minister was to call Italy ‘the soft underbelly’. That may have been true of Sicily, but the Italian mainland was the muscular, well-armoured abdomen and even harder sternum.

A truly great example of a kick-arse, no-nonsense strong-wrister came from a British commando with whom Fergus would serve first in Sicily, then Italy and Yugoslavia the following year.


The major leading No:2 Commando out of a landing craft at Syracuse at the start of the Sicilian invasion got into a spot of bother with an Italian machinegun nest behind the sand dunes. Its fire had the mostly out-of-range major and his men pinned with his kilt in the water. Fortunately, Fergus and his boys of the Special Raiding Squadron were on the headland after hunting and capturing an Italian Colonnello.

68 THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE Technical feature
Fig 1: Ficus species. Image: Cassian Humphreys


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No:2 Commando got into a spot of bother with an Italian machine-gun nest behind the sand dunes. Image: Grigory Bruev/

Fergus could not help but notice the commando major wearing a Royal Stewart tartan kilt, reserved for pipers and the royal family. The major also carried a basket-hilted Scottish broadsword and a set of bagpipes.

In fact the major had played his troop out of the surf.

Out of respect and utmost amusement, in honour of such behavior as being the respected norm, Fergus remained silent about the sword and the major’s dramatic piping entrance.

The major introduced himself as Jack Churchill, whom Fergus was to come to know as ‘Mad Jack’.

Major Churchill of course inquired after Captain Fergus’s kilt, especially

70 THE AUSTRALIAN ARBOR AGE Technical feature
Fig 2 (below left): Growth increments and wood rays in Californian Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii). Image: Tree Anatomy by Dr. Alex Shigo. Fig: 3 (below right): Woody cross section Trees Roland Ennos. Image: Cassian Humphreys.

after seeing his six soldiers all sporting the same desert camouflage material. Fergus explained they were ex-highlanders, then ex-commandoes, currently serving alongside 2SAS, and that they’d lifted the kilts from a blown-up 7th Argyll transporter in Tunisia. To which the Major with a huge grin replied, “Bloody capital, of course that makes complete bloody sense!”

Trees and the mind

The next time they met was two months later on the Italian mainland. Jack Churchill was marching down the hill to Salerno beach with his corporal and 42 captured German soldiers when Fergus and Co had unexpectantly popped their heads up out of the Sloe shrubbery in which they’d been hiding. Fergus had warned the major of their presence with, “In the Prunus spinosa, sir. Salutations, major. Would you care for a tot of Sloe gin?”

With the giant James Macpherson Bren gun over his shoulder standing the tallest, clearing the shrubbery almost to his waist, the sight of the group’s sudden appearance was most incongruous.

Sitting around the campfire after the men had swapped pleasantries and stories of interests before the war, Fergus was to learn Major Churchill had an interest in the study of psychology. With his recent consideration in mind, Gus led Jack onto the topic of shellshock, and inquired on the Major’s take on what it is that enables men to outmanoeuvre their trauma and to be able to deal with war.

“Trauma, Fergus?” pondered Churchill aloud. “Well, my understanding of this presents the tree as the ultimate model to understand the human mind.

“This starts at childhood. It’s adult parents that, through neglect or abuse, create disparity in their children’s minds, though this is actually a co-creation as those young minds comply to the teaching. We all love our parents, regardless how wrong they get it, though such parents never earn our respect, as with wayward children who only get our love.

“The first split in the child’s identity comes from the shock of being taken out of the present, to be taught the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ of us and them – right or wrong. It’s not those things that cause the split per se: it’s the child’s identification and their embodiment to the emotion behind it, fueling self-blame, that creates

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Technical feature

the split. The young human mind then, founded on ego, in ‘protective’ layers, stacks everything else on top. Usually by the age of 30 the individual, like their parents, is in the limited container of their own mental creation.

“A limited human mind is identified with its vessel, its body, over the freedom of spirit which is not ours to possess anyway. Possession is a mental construct that blocks us from ascension – from being the best version of ourselves.

“None of us is free of this multilayered hierarchical internal stack of dominoes,” the soldier continued, “though the luckiest of us creates a more malleable form. With renewed mental training we can create a new means to our thinking and embodied response. Hence what some call the ‘Christ’ experience.”

At this Fergus, thinking of his mentors, offered, “As with the ascended Indian masters.” Major Jack nodded, now speaking with a spark in his eye.

“So you’re a plantsman, right? Consider the engineering of wood, the most malleable of large forms on the planet. The fools amongst us obsess over the few trees that fail, but it’s the multitude that stand that show us the way. Timber is the most evolved, massive ‘hard’ structure naturally created on the planet, that’s why it’s our number-one building material.

“Tell me of its make up Captain, then let’s consider how it applies to the human mind, then consider applying that to our ‘craft’: combat.”

Growth and strength

Fergus pondered his hours spent in the library at Kew, applying that knowledge to the experience of observing trees and to their mitigation of storm events, in working on them as a climber and pruner, as well as processing their bodies by saw and axe.

“Well, Major,” he said, “I will use the example of broad-leaved trees, the most common woody-plants on the planet to date, which significantly vary when compared to tree ferns or palms, though less so compared to conifers.”

Major Jack sat poised in the sand, expectant of the engagement, like their connection was a duel with words of wisdom as opposed to swords.

Fergus stepped up to the task.

With a stick he made rough illustrations in the hard sand.

“Picture the ‘baby’ tree: from a seed, first there’s the root and shoot,” he said, drawing simple markings in the sand. “The root draws water and, as it matures, elements in solution. The shoot draws energy from light. The plant takes in nutrients straight from the source, via the rhizosphere connected to the substrate it grows on, and the atmosphere it grows in. All new growth is soft and pliable.”

Coughing, he went on.

“With growth it embodies carbon, differentiating, becoming woodier, transitioning into a sapling and beyond.

“The young tree as a generating

Trees, when healthy, self-regulate or optimise structure “ ”
Fig 4: Growth Stresses. Image: Stupsi Explains the Tree

Technical feature

organism lays down increments of sapwood, or new wood laid down over old, like a Russian doll. Every stage of the tree’s life is entombed in its former ‘self’, the new tree growing over the old tree in compartments, or increments of cells separated each growing season by a new boundary formed between new wood and old.

All new growth is soft and pliable “ ”

“Although trees are generators we are regenerating organisms growing new tissue in the place of the old as opposed to new tissue on top of old. The outer ring of wood we can call the ‘now’ tree and the older rings the past trees.”

Fergus was drawing a tree cross section of concentric circles.

“As the increments age, the cell walls become rigid, hardened by a compound that turns plant cellulose to wood. Cellulose gives wood flexibility, the compound called lignin in the now-thickened cell wall gives compressive strength. It’s like multitudes of ropes, supported with bricks.”

Looking at the excited Major Fergus he continued.

“Trees, when healthy, self-regulate or optimise structure, growing wood tissues with thicker or thinner lignified cell walls subject to load. The greater the compression the thicker the cell wall, or lignified tissue. The higher the tension the thinner the cell wall and the greater the proportion of cellulose. This is why when cutting a broad-leaf tree a saw gets stuck in compressionwood, yet more easily cuts wood subject to tension or tension-wood. Wood mechanics in living trees are as evolved as in animals with muscle and bone, it just looks very different.

Plus it’s all made of the same foundational elements. Elements the plants harvested first. Elements we gain when we eat plants or by eating animals that ate them.

“But l digress. Back to the structure.”

Gus paused and drew a breath.


“Each increment is made up of plant cells stacked end over end,” continued Gus, clearly approaching a critical point. “These pipe the water and elements absorbed from the soil solution via the soil-root-interface – the rhizosphere. Even when the wood differentiates through age or becomes hardwood it continues to be functional, lesser-so biologically, but as much so biomechanically, though in time subject to internal decay.”

Major Jack looked at Fergus and urged him on.

Captain Johnstone and Major Churchill’s story will continue in the July August issue – Ed.

Fig 5: Compression and Tension wood; Image: Stupsi Explains the Tree


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