Test Drives

Solidur Professional Workwear Range

During February, March, and April, I have been testing personal protective equipment from the Solidur professional workwear range for arborists: the Infinity chainsaw pants, the COB fleece shirt and the H20 water-resistant jacket.

Infinity Chainsaw Pants

The Infinity Chainsaw Pants are available in two colours, orange or red. I have been testing the orange pants over the last few months to see how they hold up in the Australian tree industry.

When first trying on the Infinity pants, I immediately noticed how light and comfortable they were. The lining is super soft and doesn’t cause abrasion against your legs. The vents at the rear of the legs are certainly the largest vents I’ve seen on any chainsaw pants on the market. They definitely help to keep you cool on warm days.

Made from 4-way stretch nylon, they stretch where it counts. Also, to help with flexibility, it has “hyper stretch zones” which is a really clever way of creating stretch where it is needed, without making the pants baggy in any areas.

The hyper stretch zones are essentially pleated “Armortex Kevlar” which allows the material to stretch out then spring back into its pleated shape.

Teflon around the bottom half of the legs is incredibly strong and hard-wearing, meaning when you’re kicking through branches, you are highly unlikely to tear your pants. With all these stretchy materials, the pants have a really nice slim fit, meaning they don’t easily snag on branches.

Other cool features of the pants include a combi-tool holder for those who work on the ground or in forestry, where it is definitely handy to have a combi-tool on your person.

Removable gaiters are built into the pants with lace hooks to prevent them from sliding up, which is especially handy for climbers.

It also helps prevent any nasty creepy crawlies such as spiders and ticks from getting up your legs. Webbing loops for carabiners and other accessories are also on the pants and pockets galore with good quality zips unlike other brands where a zip may not make it past two weeks.

In the third month that I had been trialling these pants I had not had a single major issue with them. I have found them very comfortable, well ventilated, hard wearing and super lightweight.

I usually have three pairs of pants that I wear on a regular basis depending on what I am doing. Over the last three months I haven’t worn anything but the Solidur Infinity pants and I don’t plan to stray from them anytime soon. These pants have continually impressed me, especially when compared against other pants in the same price point. These are definitely my top recommendation to anyone working in the industry.

COB Fleece Shirt

The COB Fleece Shirt is a top design for the colder months. Available in three colours, yellow (which is essentially lime), red or orange. Again, I opted for the orange option. I haven’t managed to get as much wear out of the shirt whilst climbing, but I have worn it a lot for felling and general ground work.

The material is a really soft polyester and is super comfy to wear. When I initially looked at the product, I had some concerns that it may be quite scratchy on the skin but that is definitely not the case. Even when it gets warm or sweaty is still remains a very soft, comfortable material on the skin.

Other cool features of the COB fleece include the thumb loops and vented armpits. The thumb loops are great for if you are wearing a jacket over the top so the sleeves don’t get bunched up in the jacket sleeves. They are also really nice to wear on especially cold mornings. I often catch myself putting my thumbs through the loops just to try keep my hands and forearms a bit warmer.

The vented armpits are also great as they allow fresh airflow to get into your armpits and prevent you from getting too sweaty.

Overall, I really like the COB fleece shirt, it’s comfortable, cosy and looks great. What more do I need to say about a thermal shirt?

H20 Water Resistant Jacket

The H20 Jacket is Solidur’s high-end waterproof jacket designed for workers. Unfortunately, SA has had its driest start to the year on record, so we haven’t had much chance to really give it a good trial but the rain that we have had has been a pretty good test for the H20 jacket.

The jacket is constructed for workers, especially the hood which is designed to fit over helmets. The hood also has a lip ridge to prevent water from spilling back into the wearer’s face. When the hood is not needed it can be conveniently rolled up and tucked away. The sleeve cuffs are able to be tightened to prevent the sleeves from sliding up your arms.

When we trialled this jacket model in the rain, it was coming down very hard. The jacket stayed nice and cool. In torrential downpour the jackets kept each of us very dry, even the climber getting smashed with the worst of the wind and rain. The fit of the jacket is great too as it isn’t at all baggy, which prevents excessive water catchment and avoids snagging and catching on branches.

The H20 jacket is incredibly effective against wind and rain, looks fantastic, fits well and is very competitively priced against other brands.

For more information visit https://treecaremach.com.au

July 24, 2019 / by / in ,
Husqvarna 550 XP® Mark II

The latest Husqvarna benchmark 50cc chainsaw release is ‘not just a pretty face’.

The brand-new 550 XP® Mark II is market leading design and top tier technology, thoughtfully bundled into a well-balanced and compact, user-centric package.

In a special year for Husqvarna – celebrating 60 years of chainsaw design and manufacture (1959-2019), professional tree climbers, ground workers, and hand-fallers should get excited for more great modern chainsaw engineering and smart and clever design. Seriously.

For those users who are familiar with the original 550 XP® you will see a technical and design transformation with new advances cleverly integrated into the Mark II build: increased power output; higher chain speed; significant improvement with airflow, higher capacity design air filtration and better cooling capacity including a new improved rigid heat shield allowing a cooler carby area and easier restarts; AutoTuneTM II (ten times quicker fuel and air mix adjustment than AutoTuneTM I); enhanced durability through lower temperatures; and improved fuel efficiency – 14 per cent longer run time, so more work out of every tank of fuel.

Dependable, innovative features and proven platform tech have been retained in the Mark II unit including: Low Vib®, Air Injection®, X-Torq® engine technology (lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emissions) magnesium crankcase, captive bar nuts, adjustable oil pump, 500 series ergonomics, aggressive, slimline design with tough external cosmetics, snap-lock cylinder cover, flip-up reservoir caps with visible fuel level, easy access quick chain adjuster screw and of the course the return to start control switch.

For the tech heads, there’s, even more, to like about this saw: the main bearings have been updated along with the crank and cylinder including a new crankshaft, new piston, cylinder base gasket redesign (to reduce heat transfer), and new carby ceramic sleeves embedded in the crankcase.

As you may have already guessed, I really enjoy reading and digesting the stats and specs on any new saw and am always impressed with the ‘brain in the bucket’, but ultimately, it’s the cutting capacity that really gets my attention in the field. This saw proudly boasts best-in-class cutting capacity. Matched up with the all-new optimised Husqvarna X-FORCETM guide bar (say 16” or 18”), X-CUTTM SP33G pixel pre-stretched chain and used in combo with Husqvarna’s Bio-Advanced chain oil (a vege-based chain oil formulation) – this 50cc beefcake is a torquey powerhouse!

Working with this new saw predominantly on the ground for regular rigging and medium size tree removal operations, it feels compact, lightweight and powerful, with the power to weight ratio being absolutely spot on for both me and my favorite contract climber – Joe Loorham from Tree Pioneers. It really is a grab-and-go chainsaw; super reliable for prepping material for the chipper, trimming and cross-cutting for firewood rounds and a myriad of tree felling duties on the job site – perfect to keep the groundies (like me) working hard!

Climbing contractors like Joe (pictured working in Emerald, Victoria) also love it for blocking down or some of the larger scaffold removals on a big prune as it’s super responsive on the trigger with 30 per cent faster acceleration than the original 550XP®. It really is a treat to work with; surprisingly quick and I do mean surprisingly – perhaps give the old 550 to the apprentice and keep this one for yourself.

This new Pro saw is a top tier unit born out of the new chainsaw generation platform, i.e. the same family heritage as the recently released 572 XP®.

It isn’t the big, bold and brutal beauty that is the 572 XP® but it is inherently based around the same ‘ground-up rebuild’ philosophy, with many of the latest technological advancements recalibrated for the 50cc market.

Optimised for an all-around professional experience, this dynamic upgrade has me enjoying the groundwork more than ever. That’s no mean feat for a tree career spanning nearly thirty years.

Smart and simple for a small job, or work hard out in the field all day. Let’s hope the saw lives up to your expectations once you’ve settled it into your fleet. It’s certainly exceeding mine thus far.

This new saw is not a shelfie; it wants to work. It’s built to deliver a quality experience in a demanding professional environment and is fated to become a fleet favourite for tree workers worldwide.

If you like to work, and I mean really like to work, then get your hands on the new chainsaw generation 550 XP® Mark II. It is as they say – cutting excellence reinvented!

For more information visit http://www.husqvarna.com

May 22, 2019 / by / in
Monitor PB2714 Spider Lift

If you are looking for a Spider Lift with a very stable and solid bucket that can reach a max working height of 27m/100ft with a two-person capacity, the team at Monitor have created an impressive machine with the PB2714 Spider Lift.

The PB2714 Spider Lift hosts a pile of great features that add safety and stability when working at heights which takes a lot of the movement out of the bucket when working, and in-turn relieves the stress out of your calves and ankles, when trying to hold yourself still in inferior machines that wobble and move at full height.

To start with, you can order the Spider PB2714 – which is the big brother of the Spider 2210 – in either the Diesel engine only set up (a powerful Kubota engine) or Diesel/Lithium battery hybrid version, which comes with so much added potential to this already impressive set up. The optional onboard Lithium battery pack provides almost silent, emission-free use. Majority of machines sold to date in Australia have this feature and can be a real game changer when positioning the machine in and around buildings where noise is to be kept to a minimum. Regardless of which way you decide to go, both options come with impressive features. There’s too many to mention right here, but some of the more significant ones that impressed me during our testing were as follows.

Test #1 Working Height And Reach

Being able to reach 27m is impressive enough but the 15m horizontal working outreach allows for an enormous amount of flexibility in where you can safely set up the machine. Also, the 10m of up and overreach again adds flexibility to this versatile outfit. You are providing added safety and usability in areas that previously were not achievable.

Test #2 Access

Even though the reach of this machine is extremely impressive, its accessibility and maneuverability are both equally impressive features. The tracks on the Spider PB2714 tuck into and get just about anywhere with its min-width of 890mm. It can also be folded down to a max height of 1.99m, giving excellent access to backyards through side gates and alike. This type of access is very impressive for a spider lift of this height.

Test #3 Controls, Functions And Set Up

The radio control unit is very ergonomic and simple to use. All functions are fully proportional, and several aerial functions can be performed simultaneously. The functions speeds are nice and fast if desired, making for quick set up times and productive work times.

The variable position outrigger system is brilliant. Even with all outriggers in the narrow position, Spider PB2714 will provide full working height with full SWL and 360 degrees of slew! If you are setting up in tight areas, or in and around obstacles, this feature will be a game changer. This is an awesome machine for working in confined spaces where access to taller heights is required. The high-speed Auto level along with the long outrigger travel allows for fast and versatile setup options.

For numerous reasons, this machine has impressed us all on the day of our test drive. Its smooth and proportional controls make for improved handling. The ability to operate several functions simultaneously along with its reach and ability to access tight areas in and around obstacles makes this spider lift a game changer!

Call 1800 025 024

For more info visit http://www.monitor.net.au

May 9, 2019 / by / in
Morbark 1415 Wood Chipper

In this edition of The Australian Arbor Age I was asked to test a model in the Morbark wood chipper range.

The Morbark wood chipper model we tested on the day was the 1415. The reason why it’s called 1415 is fairly simple and cuts out the confusion: the feed table throat opening is 14 by 15 inches. All the Morbark models will be named like this from now on.

This model is also available in a rubber tracked option.

The machine is typically well made as you would expect from a Morbark. It has 6-inch chassis rails that run right under the feed table and is powered by a 114hp CAT Diesel engine. The chipper weighs about 2.5 to 3 tonne, which is relatively light considering it’s so well made.

This particular model has a winch that packs a punch for a smaller machine. The representative was saying that this machine has a patented chambered air impeller system that not only increases the force and speed that it throws wood chip, but also – this is the bit I like – reduces blowback of dust and material back out the infeed hopper. Everyone has been behind a chipper on a hot day chipping something dead. It’s not pleasant to operate in a dust cloud, having all the dust sticking to you. Another feature I’m beginning to like is the addition of ChipSafe®. A couple of the crew members were sceptical bagging it out the first time we used one with ChipSafe®, but after a day using it, they changed their way of thinking. Your chipper functions like normal if there is nothing to set the sensors off, but I can personally see the value in wearing ChipSafe® as it’s very easy and quick to reset the sensor and start the rollers again.

The feed rollers on this chipper have got really good grip on anything you feed them, due to the design of the serrated teeth and knife bar combination as well. This model also comes with a hydraulic chute for left and right.

On the day we used the 1415 wood chipper, we were cleaning up storm-damaged trees and feeding this machine

with a loader. Both the crew and myself were extremely impressed at how well this chipper performed on the day. The chip hits the head board hard from these machines. The 1415 easily kept up with what we were throwing at it and didn’t have issues taking any kind of capacity logs.

One improvement I’d love to see is a ‘wind the chute up-and-down option’ from Morbark, as you can currently change the position of the chute but you need spanners.

In the past I used to prefer other brands of wood chippers but now I have to say that, after the last two machines I have tested from Morbark, if I had to buy a new machine tomorrow, this would definitely be one of the machines in the mix.

For more information visit www.globalmachinerysales.com.au or call 1300 072 926

April 24, 2019 / by / in
Arboriculture Australia Annual Conference 18 – 21 May 2019

Trade Exhibition & Australian Tree Climbing Championship Alice Springs Convention Centre 18 – 21 May 2019

2019 will see us venture into the outback of Alice Springs with its stunning sunsets, unique flora and fauna and glorious mountain ranges.

Urban Presenter Highlights

Lyndal Plant – The Life and Death of the Australian Leafy Street


Dr. Lyndal Plant is an urban forester who has worked in local government policy and strategic planning for urban trees, including many years with Brisbane City Council. A Churchill Fellow, member of TREENET management committee and now a published researcher and consultant, Lyndal have helped advance urban forest evidence gathering techniques and make stronger business cases for investment in green infrastructure. Lyndal now focuses on policy development/review and cutting-edge urban forest initiatives. She sees the forest, not just the trees – helps plan and monitor outcomes, not just outputs and is committed to a greener, cooler neighborhoods for all.

Kelly Hertzog – Updating the Tree Valuation Method


Kelly is an Urban Forester at the City of Melbourne, a role which includes strategic work and delivery of research and programs. As a social scientist, Kelly’s focus is the interactions between people and nature, and creating thriving urban ecosystems. Kelly specialises in community and stakeholder engagement, working to develop and implement the City’s Urban Forest Strategy. Kelly leads Melbourne’s Citizen Forester Program and the Urban Forest Fund. Kelly also plays a key role in the city’s urban forest data analysis and monitoring key forest health metrics, such as canopy mapping.

In previous roles at the City of Melbourne and Melbourne Water, Kelly’s work has also focused on Water Sensitive Urban Design and green roofs, walls and facades.

Nigel Tapper – Building Cooler, Healthier Global Cities as Critical Adaptation to Climate Change


Dr. Nigel Tapper holds a Personal Chair in Environmental Science (as a climate science specialist) within the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University where he currently leads the Applied Climate Research Group. Nigel Co-Led Program B (Water Sensitive Urbanism) until 2017 and is a key researcher in the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. Outside the University Nigel has contributed strongly to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change where he is a Lead Author of Working Group II, Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation. He serves in the World Meteorological Organisation as a member of the Terrestrial Observation Panel on Climate and associated task forces. He is President of the International Association of Urban Climate. Nigel has published seven books, 15 book chapters and more than 200 refereed research publications, and has supervised >45 Ph.D. students, in an academic and research career spanning 35 years. Nigel’s work has been cited >5,500 times and he has an h-index of 40.

He co-authored the classic text on Australasian climate – The Weather and Climate of Australia and New Zealand. Key research in recent years has been in the area of weather and climate impacts, including on fire, urban environments and human health-climate interactions. A strong climate change adaptation theme has emerged in his research, especially in relation to urban environments and human health. Nigel has a particularly strong track record in delivering industry-relevant research.

Peter Jobson – The Blooming Desert: The Flora of Arid Central Australia – Its Diversity And Potential Uses

Career Highlights

2013 – present Senior Botanist and Curator at the Northern Territory Herbarium, Alice Springs

2008 – 2012 Working for consultancies as an identifications botanist in Western Australia during the mining boom

2001 – 2010 Casual lecturer at University of NSW

2004 hD UTS: PhD looking at the taxonomy and biogeography of Dillwynia – one of the egg-and- bacon-pea genera.

1995 – 1996 Bio-prospector collecting species used to screen for natural drugs, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

1994 MSc: James Cook Univerity, Townsville – variation in Dendrobium canaliculatum or Tea Tree Orchid

1988 Bsc (Hons) LaTrobe University – ariation in south eastern Acrotriche (native heaths)

Denise Johnstone

The Urban Visual Vitality Index (UVVI) – A Visual Assessment Method of Crown Condition in Urban Trees.


Dr Denise Johnstone has been a lecturer in arboriculture and urban forestry for over 20 years, but began her career win arboriculture as a contract tree climber. She has competed in the Australian Tree Climbing Championships and was Vice-President of the Arboricultural Association of Australia for two years. She has presented frequently at ISA international and publishes most of her research work in urban forestry and arboricultural journals. Her research questions are driven by arboriculture industry needs such as; how can we keep trees healthy? And indirectly such as; how do trees work? How do trees interact with humans?

Greg Moore

Minimising the hazard and risks that may arise from the development of lignotuber us and epicormic shoots: lessons from a study of Eucalyptus obliqua L’Herit


Greg Moore, Senior Research Associate, University of Melbourne, Burnley, was Principal of Burnley (1988-2007) and Head of the School of Resource Management (2002-007). Interested in plant science and ecology, Greg specializes in arboriculture. He was inaugural president of ISAAC, and has been a member of the National Trust’s Register of Significant Trees since 1988 and chair since 1996. On the Board of Greening Australia (1988-2012), Trust For Nature (2009-2017) and Sustainable Gardening Australia, he has chaired TREENET since 2005. He has written two books, five book chapters and 180 scientific papers and articles. He was awarded an OAM for services to the environment, particularly arboriculture.

Janet Mc Donald

A root and branch approach to forest biosecurity: the importance of arborists as early detectors.


Janet McDonald has been working with the Department of Agriculture, Forest Health Surveillance (FHS) team since 1998 conducting pests and disease surveys in forestry plantations throughout Queensland. She was part of team of researchers who set up FHS systems in the South Pacific Islands and most recently in south east Asia. She is responsible for establishing FHS systems in the sandalwood plantations in the Ord River Irrigation Area near Kununurra WA. Janet has twenty years of experience conducting pest and disease surveys and collecting samples in the field.

She has recently been conducting workshops with the QAA and councils focusing on forest pests and diseases, nutritional disorders and forest biosecurity.

Melissa Mcmanus

The North Sydney Council Experience – Tracking canopy change over 20 years, the ups, the downs and taking a new approach


10 years in landscape maintenance, construction and nursery production in both government and private sectors. She then taught at TAFE before joining North Sydney Council where she has been for over 20 years.

At North Sydney, a small, affluent, waterfront LGA in the heart of Sydney, Melissa spent 5 years as Tree Preservation officer before moving into a strategic planning role where she has overseen the development of Council’s highly regarded Street Tree Strategy and Urban Forest Strategy.

Ian Leahy

Title 1: Vibrant Cities Lab

Title 2: Tree Equity: Career Pathways


Ian Leahy has overseen American Forests’ urban forestry program since 2014. Based in Washington, DC, he has developed a Community ReLeaf program that helps cities across the United States build capacity for managing and growing their urban forests through a comprehensive change model. This includes data analysis, planning, advocacy, innovative financing, and restoration projects.

Community ReLeaf has won multiple awards, most recently a Climate Leadership Award for Innovative Partnerships. Ian has also led initiatives to advance the urban forestry movement in general, including the Vibrant Cities Lab (vibrantcitieslab.com), Tree Equity: Career Pathways, and new tools to advance climate mitigation and public health.

Prior to American Forests, Ian served as the State Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the District of Columbia and managed his own landscape design and installation business. He studied natural resources management at Cornell University.

May Carter – Saving our cities, one tree at a time


May has academic qualifications in leisure sciences, social science and environmental management. She has worked as a lecturer and researcher with several universities and as a consultant for government agencies and not-for-profit community and environmental organisations. May’s research, publications, national and international presentations cover topics relating to planning, design and management of parks and urban green space; protected area management; outdoor recreation and tourism; health promotion; and community development through engagement in planning and decision making. May currently works in cross-agency policy and research for the Western Australian state government.

Ian Mcalister – Building a Tree Planting Framework for Urban Resilience


Ian McAlister, Manager Recreation and Open Space, Dubbo Regional Council Ian has worked in the local government sphere for the past 30 years and currently holds the position of Manager Recreation and Open Space at Dubbo Regional Council.

As a strong advocate for the need of a connected park network to promote human health and well-being Ian has consistently pushed the discussion on the need for long term planning for the integration of Green and Grey Infrastructure to achieve intergeneration benefits to the Dubbo community. This has included the acceptance of the Stockholm Tree Planting methodology which is providing a dramatic transformation in the planting of trees within the hierarchy of the urban road system.

Ian has qualifications in Amenity Horticulture, Parks Recreational and Heritage and Natural Resource Management and has been undertaking additional study through the University of Melbourne in the area of Green Infrastructure.








David Cashman

Title 1: Trees and development; bridging the gap between design and construction

Title 2: Managing large roots within the excavation envelope


Dave Cashman is an Associate Director and Principal Consultant with Barrell Tree Consultancy (BTC), one of the UK’s most successful Arboricultural Practices, working primarily in the planning and legal sectors (https://www.barrelltreecare.co.uk/). He is part of a team of 14 people, specialising in assessing trees on development sites and project managing their protection through to occupation.

Dave has worked with trees for 40 years, starting his career with the London Borough of Sutton, first as a climbing arborist and then as a tree officer. In 2003, after 15 years in local government, he joined BTC, bringing his wealth of public sector planning expertise into the professional consultancy arena. Dave is accomplished international speaker having delivered conference presentations and workshops in the UK, Sweden, USA, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand.

Mark Hartley –  Accidental Tree Failures


Mark Hartley is a second-generation arborist whose career spans over three decades. Mark has studied widely in Australia and the United States. His reputation and expertise in tree transplanting have taken him to 7 countries in 3 different continents. His expertise with palms resulted in him providing consultancy services in the UAE to the Royal Family.

Mark has given evidence as an expert witness in the Local, District, Land and Environment, and Supreme courts of NSW and has served as a court appointed expert for the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

Tom Vassallo – Arboriculture Qualification Review


Tom has many years’ experience in vocational education and training human resources and retail management, including secondary school teaching, learning and development consulting, delivery and assessment of Certificate IV Training and Assessment, developing training and assessment resources and managing training package projects. Tom’s roles prior to joining Skills Impact included Training Package Project Manager with the Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council, Training Programs Manager with the Master Builders Association of Victoria and Curriculum Maintenance Manager – Building Services for Victoria. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma in Education, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, Diploma of Management and a Diploma of Training and Assessment.

Register Now: http://bit.ly/ArbAus2019

Utility Presenter Highlights

Stacie Grassano & Jeff Filip – A practical approach to risk driven Vegetation Management


Stacie Grassano – GM Technology and Operations, Intelfuse

Stacie is Co-Founder and General Manager Technology and Operations at Intelfuse and has fifteen years’ experience in the geospatial, LiDAR and tree care industry and is an ISA Certified Utility Arborist PD-1435AU. Stacie holds a Master of Science degree in Plant and Soil Science specialising in Entomology. She has worked in the Environmental, Research, IT and Electricity Utility Sectors and is a certified Project Management Professional with the PMI.

Stacie has served as Project Director for major IT and LiDAR development and delivery projects in North America and Asia Pacific, including major Remote Sensing Electricity Transmission and Distribution Projects. Stacie’s core focus is the development and implementation of innovative LiDAR processing technology that greatly advances analytics for vegetation and asset management programs.

Jeff Filip – GM Strategy Development, Intelfuse

Jeff joined the Australian Power Sector during the mid-80s when utilities were dealing with bushfires caused by vegetation in contract with lines. Jeff played a key role in implementing bushfire policy at a regional level and has held senior management, strategy and technology development roles in both the public and private sector. He heads up Risk Solution Strategy at Intelfuse and is involved in development of new service offerings around LiDAR automation and technology. Jeff holds an Associate Diploma in Electrical Engineering, Master’s Degree in Business Management and an MBA in Entrepreneurship.

Stephen Martin – Right of Way Management – Insights from the International Symposium, Denver


Stephen is actively involved in knowledge sharing, which is demonstrated through his involvement in various industry bodies, such as the Energy Network Association Vegetation Management Working Group.

Stephen Martin is currently Land Strategist for Powerlink Queensland, which includes setting policy, monitoring performance, liaising with stakeholders and identifying efficiencies during a period of significant industry change.

In 2018, Stephen realised a career goal and presented two papers at the International Right of Symposium in Denver, Colorado. Stephen will share the learnings and experience from the Symposium at the Arboriculture Australia Annual Conference.

James Urbanowsky

Presentation #1 Title: Reliability Based Vegetation Management Strategies in the US and Canada.

Presentation #2 Title: Future Directions on Vegetation Management Practises and Strategies in the US and Canada.


James has been working for NB Power for the past 18 years, starting as Distribution Vegetation Field Operations Manager, with a 25,000km distribution network.

James is currently Senior Engineer T&D Vegetation Asset Management, responsible for T-veg NERC compliance, T&D vegetation annual plans, integrating LiDAR into program planning, and new process development.

As well, James is on several industry working committees, including CEATI, NATF and the US-UAA, benchmarking utility vegetation programs, leveraging GIS for vegetation management, applying linear programming for optimization, and defining strategies for improved reliability-based vegetation management. James is a Professional Engineer, Professional Forester, former certified gas pipeline inspector and ROW Agent, current ISA Certified Arborist / Utility Specialist, and Past President of ISA Atlantic.

Randal Miller

Abstract 1: Reliability-based Vegetation Management

Abstract 2: An Overview of Utility

Arboriculture: The Utility Specialist Certification Guide


Randall H. Miller joined CNUC as the Director of Research, Development and Industry Intelligence in May 2017 and currently maintains and cultivates a knowledge of UVM practices, regulations, trends, budgets, utility assets, arboriculture, ecology, technology and other subject areas. Randall performs formal benchmark and attribute comparisons across regions, company types, and programs dedicated to UVM. Prior to joining CNUC, he worked at PacifiCorp for more than 23 years , including nearly six years as an area forester, 18 years as system forester, and retiring from the company as the director of vegetation management. As PacifiCorp’s VM director, Randall developed comprehensive specifications based on industry practices, and managed thousands of overhead distribution and transmission lines for the utility. He served on ACRT’s Board of Directors from 2009-2015.

Miller holds a bachelor of science degree in horticulture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in urban forestry from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and an ISA Certified Utility Specialist (IL-0225 BU). He has been Chair of the TREE Fund Board of Trustees, President of the Utility Arborist Association, twice Chair of the Edison Electric Institute Vegetation Management Task Force, President of the Oregon Community Forest Council (now Oregon Community Trees), and editor of the ISA Rocky Mountain Chapter newsletter. He has served on the ISA Certification Test Committee and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Arboriculture and Urban Forestry. Randall is recipient of the 2005 ISA RW Harris Author’s Citation and has the ISA Integrated Vegetation Management Best Management Practices and, with Geoff Kempter, the upcoming Utility Specialist Certification Study Guide among his credits. He speaks widely on arboriculture topics.

Randall H. Miller holds an MS in Urban Forestry from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist® and Utility Specialist™ He has been director of research and development at CNUC since retiring as director of vegetation management after 23 years at PacifiCorp in May 2017. He writes and speaks widely on arboriculture topics and is co-author with Geoff Kemper of the revised utility specialist study guide.

Daniel Heyburn

Keeping Our People Safe – Drop Zones And Exclusion Zones


Passionate about both Arboriculture and Health and Safety, Daniel has 25 years of broad industry experience spanning Horticulture, Arboriculture, Workplace Health and Safety, Environment, Rehabilitation, Disaster Response, Training and Consulting practices. Supporting multiple states of Australia, Daniel joined ETS Vegetation Management in 2001 and has championed building ETS’s first training database, a combined training and audit database and an electronic integrated Safety Management System.

In his role of National Safety Environment Quality and Systems Manager, Daniel is responsible for seven state and divisional Safety Committees, driving HS&E initiatives across business, and is building a culture of safety and continuous improvement.

Shane Brunker, Sophie Davison & Scott Mckenzie

Understanding the past, present and future clearance requirements


Shane Brunker – Technical Director, NM Group

Shane oversees the development of new products and services with our R&D branch and leads on the implementation of new equipment and systems. Shane has been with NM Group for 7 years and previously managed our field operations and processing/engineering teams. His background is the geospatial and remote sensing sciences, having earlier worked on the spatial and land information side of government.


Sophie Davison – Product Manager, NM Group

Sophie is currently a product manager at NM Group, focusing on innovating their geospatial vegetation management solutions, and previously spent the best part of the last 8 years working in and researching forest environments. Sophie shares academic and industry experience in using LiDAR and other Remote Sensing technologies to model and visualise these complex natural systems, having spent time working at both academic institutions and in the geospatial industry.

Scott McKenzie (Vegetation Manager, Endeavour Energy)

Three decades of studying Australian native vegetation, Scott McKenzie has developed, managed, and taught a range of conservation/risk-based programs throughout Australia. Specialising in NSW environmental legislation and risk-based modelling, Scott has co- authored a range of documents including Endeavour Energy’s vegetation control manual, hazard tree identification course and has been a technical reviewer for the industry safety standards (NSW) including bushfire risk mitigation. In 2018 Scott collaborated with a team to develop a risk-based model assessing growth rates and hazard trees to optimise vegetation maintenance performance cycles using LiDAR technology.

Alexandra Lewis

Working with our stakeholders to deliver improvements and reduce our vegetation clearance requirements


Alexandra Lewis joined SA Power Networks in September 2013 within the Strategic Asset Management team which is responsible for the long-term and high-level management decisions relating to the electrical assets.

Since joining SA Power Networks she has been instrumental in the preparation of a long-term plan for vegetation management near powerlines, in close consultation with Local Government and key stakeholders, which aims to reduce the need for tree trimming over time and improve how we manage vegetation near powerlines.

Alex has a Masters in Environmental Planning and has worked for the past 20 years in a range of stakeholder engagement and environmental planning and assessment positions across state and local government and the private sector. Alex has extensive experience in stakeholder and community engagement.

Oxana Dankova – Global vegetation management practices – Pathway to 4.0


Oxana Dankova is a Partner and Managing Director in BCG’s Energy practice, based in Sydney.

Oxana is a core member of BCG’s global Network Transformation Services team and since 2006 has worked with multiple BCG Energy clients in Russia, Europe, North America and Middle East prior to transferring to Australia in 2015.

In Australia, she has been supporting several NEM DNSPs in end-to-end network operations improvement, process redesign and digitisation, advanced asset management capability build, and vegetation management.

Oxana holds an MA in Economics and a PhD from the Central Economics and Mathematics Institute of the Russian Academy of Science

Heath Frenwin – Six impacts of Distributed Energy on Utility Vegetation Management


Heath Frewin is Manager Strategy – Vegetation at Essential Energy, having recently joined the organisation in February 2019. He has been acquired by Essential Energy to provide strategic direction and leadership in the development, implementation and monitoring of strategies and risks relating to the vegetation clearance/corridor asset class.

Heath is a passionate advocate for true risk-based and asset management-structured approaches to utility vegetation management. Previous employment has included time as Head of Distribution with the leading national electricity and gas utility lobby, Energy Networks Australia (ENA), where he was an integral part of influencing the existing and future technical regulatory environment for utilities.

Review Of Arboriculture Qualifications And Units Of Competency

Critical information session and discussion forum to held at this year’s conference.

  • Project scope and drivers
  • Project phases, development and consultation processes
  • Changes to qualifications and units of competency
  • Validation Industry validation forum:
  • Introduction to validation – validator’s role
  • Validation of qualifications
  • Validations of units of competency and skill sets
  • Validation wrap up and next steps

AS4970:2009 Protection of trees on development sites review

AS4970 is considered a critical tool for our industry and is now 10 years old. Standards Australia have advised it must be reconfirmed, withdrawn, made obsolescent; or revised.

To take advantage of the largest gathering of arborists in Australia a facilitated discussion forum will be held to gather feedback for submission to ensure the Standard remains valid.

Your participation is important to ensure that the Standard is improved and retains its status as a key tool for our industry.

Further information at http://arboriculture.org.au/About-Us/Policies

UAAA Panel Sessions

  • Panel Session: Who’s engaging the customer, and where’s the value?

(Chair: Heath Frewin, Vegetation Strategy Manager, Essential Energy)

  • Panel Session: Working near power lines safely, 100% of the time

(Chair: Pete Halliwell, Commercial Manager, Essential Energy)

  • Panel Session: The value and challenges of implementing long term

Vegetation Management strategies (Chair: Matt Palmer, Vegetation Specialist, Energy Queensland)

  • Panel Session: Big data – what vegetation data do we really need?

(Chair: Kevin Hamblin, General Manager, Utility Contracts, TreeServe)

Register Now http://bit.ly/ArbAus2019

April 10, 2019 / by / in , ,
Avant 523 Articulated Loader

This month I have been asked to test drive the Avant 523 Articulated Loader and check first-hand what this machine is capable of on what was expected to be a two days job.

First of all I’d like to say a massive thanks to Vernon, the Sales Representative from Avant. He knew the massive difference in productivity this machine was making to our job and chose to stay on, after the test drive was finished, letting us continue to test the machine and put it through its paces, helping us to finish a job I had put two days on in just one day!

The few dealings I have had with Avant have been awesome. These guys really do bend over backwards for you and I’ve heard nothing but the same from a couple of mates who own them.

This year marks the 25th year Avant has been selling loaders in Australia. They really have great confidence in their products. After using them, it is easy to see why they are the benchmark for mini loaders in our industry. I asked Vernon how many they have been selling and he said their average is over five machines a month only to arborists.

The model we had on the day was the 523 Pro with the new OptidriveTM, which means 40 per cent less hoses and more torque.

The Avant 523 is powered by a 23hp diesel Kubota engine which is a reliable and proven engine. Looking at the machine, it has the offset boom for improved visibility and it’s 2WD or 4WD at the flick of a switch.

The 523 is a very compact loader but very well built. It weighs in at only 1300kg, meaning it’s very easily towable behind a ute which make it easy for any employee with a licence to transport it to site – that makes this machine very versatile.

I was surprised to find out that such a small machine with an offset boom was capable of lifting 800kg. We were lifting large sections of conifer and feeding them into an 18-inch machine on an acreage

property. The Avant was so good, tracking quickly across the acreage, leaving no damage to the grassed areas and preventing us from having to move the truck and chipper too often.

The Avant 523 has a width of 1130mm, a height of 1990mm and a length of 2440mm. With its compact size, this model would be also valuable in smaller residential properties.

Avant has a massive range of attachments for their loaders as well. There is a good reason you see so many Avant in the arb industry. These loaders are great quality and the guys at Avant are good guys to deal with.

For more information call 1800 686 411 or visit www.avantequipment.com

March 22, 2019 / by / in
Bandit Model 19XP Chipper

This issue we spent a day at work with a Bandit Model 19XP Chipper and did not hold back one bit in putting it through its paces.

The Bandit Model 19XP Chipper has a powerful 7.1 litre, 213hp six cylinder, CAT turbo diesel engine.

The chipper has a massive amount of torque; Bandit claims that at 932Nm, this engine has 51 per cent more torque than some competitors equivalent models fitted with four cylinder engines. As we know, it’s the engine torque that keeps the chipper drum spinning under the heavy loads we have here with our hardwoods.

On this particular test drive we had big conifers to chip. Their thick and  heavy foliage can bog the machine down while chipping the bigger sections, but the 19XP chugged it all straight through and didn’t bog down with all its engine torque. The barrels of a conifer are soft, so it was difficult to gauge on the tests we did, but this chipper looks to be a barrel destroyer. The infeed throat is massive – 26 inches high and 20.5 inches across. It has a pair of extra-wide 32 inch horizontal feed rollers and a 37 inch diameter oversized drum.

I have been told by the representative that the 19XP has been tweaked to improve its chip-throwing capability compared to the older 1890 “Brute” machines Bandit used to supply. It is fitted with 3 inch wide thrower paddles on both sides of the chipper drum, whereas the older model was fitted with one inch wide paddles. On the day the chips really smashed into the headboard of the truck, without any hint of blocking or “dribbling” out of the chute.

This model comes standard with a hydraulic chute swivel and all the great safety features normally seen on a Bandit, including their reliable hydraulic bump bar on the infeed. The drum and feed rollers are situated very closely together to make chipping ‘forky’ material easier. The 19XP comes with a standard wind-up jack; electric or hydraulic jacks are optional if you don’t want a standard jack. It comes standard with the hydraulic winch, auto feed and Bandit’s great lift and crush system. There is also a self-propelled rubber tracked undercarriage version of this chipper available, but I imagine that would be special order.

Bandit says there are more than 250 of their 19 inch chippers in the field Australia wide. In my opinion they are a great residential and commercial unit. You can’t beat Bandit for reliability and raw barrel munching power on an easy-to-tow unit that is easy to see behind the truck when reversing. This machine would be an asset to any tree company.

After 20 years or so doing trees it is a well-known fact amongst many fellow tree workers, and from my own personal experience, that Bandit looks after their customers, doing whatever they can to get you going quickly if you do run into trouble. It’s this kind of service that’s the reason you see so many Bandit green chippers out on the road. Overall, this chipper is an all-round great machine that loves to chew on timber.

For more information visit http://banditchippers.com.au

March 8, 2019 / by / in
Husqvarna Released The New 572XP® Chainsaw

Husqvarna has recently released the new 572XP® chainsaw to the Australian market and I have to admit; it is one hell of a hungry beast.

Joe Loorham, contract climber from Tree Pioneers and Steve Chappell, Arborist with Austree Contracting agreed to give this new saw a run on a medium dismantle in the hills east of Melbourne recently. I have also been using it as a general felling and ground saw on and off for the past few months.

Husqvarna states the new 572XP® has 12 per cent more cutting capacity than previous saws in this cc range (think 372XP® and 576XP®), lending itself to more productivity across the working week – this was certainly apparent during the various testing opportunities I have been involved with since securing the unit for demos.

The next generation AutoTuneTM that optimises engine performance in any and all conditions is an improvement here on previous AutoTune™ models, 10 times faster. In fact when loading up the saw with a full bar bogged into a large trunk, the saw didn’t slow or baulk at the work – it just seemed to work harder and felt gutsier to boot. Watching Joe pop big scaffolds on the dying stringybark, it seemed effortless from the ground.

A completely redesigned cooling system with the addition of an innovative heat shield ensures excellent cooling capacity (20 per cent better) and easy-as restarts. The Air filtration system has also been overhauled to include a heavy-duty filter with large surface area, and the addition of a rubber seal to exclude the finer particles from entering the carby. I interpret this as providing longer engine life and easier operation in all tree work scenarios.

The 572XP® has a soft cut-out system to avoid over-revving that should also result in longer engine life – a must in tree work where saws in this cc range are expected to go the distance.

The usual features have remained such as X-Torq® technology, Air Injection™, steel anti-vibration mounts, magnesium crank case, the flip top reservoir caps and transparent fuel level indicator with handy additions such as the air purge pump, new inlaid felling sight designed to outlast the saw and a redesigned clutch cover that optimises chip ejection to avoid clogging, especially when ripping logs.

With a 60 per cent wider usable RPM range, I would be tempted to switch out the standard 20” bar for a 28” bar for work on the ground or a 24” for added versatility aloft and at the base of the tree (though it has to be said that the 20” guide bar provides perfect balance for the saw). Pair the powerhead with the new Husqvarna X-Cut® C85 saw chain for even greater performance and productivity. Pre-stretched in the manufacturing process meaning less down-time for chain adjustments, and no bumper in the chain, so more efficient cutting that feels more aggressive but in a dynamic and smooth way (chain loops and reels available around the end of the calendar year so for bar upgrades and spare loops, be sure to check in with your local Dealer then).

“My team always uses Husqvarna’s Bio Advanced Oil (a vegetable-based formulation replacing the old VEGOIL product) in all company saws as it is biodegradable, and the Bio Advanced Oil improves oxidation resistance which is great for those tree workers powering through the colder conditions (like me here in southern Victoria) or where not all the saws in the fleet see daily work. I like the 1 litre bottles for the battery saws (stored in the battery box) but prefer the 20 litre drum decanted into a CombiCan for my petrol fleet.”

I would also upgrade the standard dogs with the big bumper spikes kit with standard hex nut side-cover assembly included. I personally think the big dogs are more versatile in the field working across a broader range of native and exotic trees found in Australia.

The new 572XP® is a reliable starter for medium to largish take downs and it is proving to be a powerhouse on the ground as a general felling and limbing saw. It powers through the work with 500 series ergonomics that make handling in any position a real treat, as evidenced by Joe during this takedown recently. Subtle improvements regarding serviceability and design also make for a saw that’s easy to maintain both in the workshop back at the yard or at the local dealership.

This ground up rebuild of a known and trusted model should see die-hard fans rejoice, and fence-sitters reconsider their alignment. More power. More performance. More production. Move over 372XP®, Husqvarna’s next legendary chainsaw has arrived, and it is ready when you are!

For more information visit http://Husqvarna.com.au

December 27, 2018 / by / in
Bandit Model 21xp Drum Chipper

This month I have been asked to have a look at the Bandit Model 21XP Drum Chipper and see what I thought.

I have been lucky enough to work with one of the older versions of this machine when I worked for Active Tree Service back in the days when Bandit called it the Model 1990XP. I wanted to give it a proper workout and lined up a 24 inch diameter dead Mexican pine which was perfect to try the Bandit 21XP on a max capacity log.

One thing I noticed straightaway was the size of the discharge chute. Jake from Bandit Tree Equipment told me that they call this their Forestry Discharge and that it is now standard on all 21XPs supplied into Australia. The chips flow off the drum freely without having to be forced through a small diameter opening and a tight bend like with a typical discharge chute. Jake says that this means there is more horsepower used for cutting wood and less used for throwing chips; makes sense to me. The 21XP did not look like blocking up and absolutely smashed the chips into my truck.

This chipper is built very heavy duty all the way around. I suppose it has to be if it’s constantly chipping big diameter wood, day in day out. If it wasn’t built like this it would vibrate to bits. I’ve seen quite a few of these getting around with well over 5,000 hours on them and they show very few signs of metal cracks.

The Bandit 21XP has a 250hp CAT turbo diesel engine which is known for its power, reliability and great backup from CAT. Some of the other big chippers on the market have huge rollers but the actual infeed throat tapers right down making it confusing as to what is going to fit, until you become more familiar with the machine. With the 21XP the infeed throat barely tapers in by comparison. The infeed throat is 24.5 inches wide and 26 inches high. The feed rollers are both 32 inches wide; the top roller is a monster and is chain driven to gear up it’s torque and pulling power. The machine itself is 6.1 meters long and weighs in at approximately 6.5 tonne on air brakes. Every bit of it was making my truck look smaller than usual. a self-propelled rubber or steel tracked undercarriage. You can also purchase it with a loader option – I’d love to see either option in action.

We pulled the machine into place and set up to see if we could winch in the whole tree. The tree was twenty meters away and sitting sideways to the chipper but to my surprise we managed to winch the tree around and get it onto the infeed table, no worries. After nipping a few of the fatter branches we pulled the tree into the rollers. I was ready and half expecting to do a little cutting to help the base fit but, to my surprise, it swallowed a 24 inch log, no cutting! As expected, we did have to cut some of the larger branch forks but you would have to do that on any machine, given the length and angle of the dead branches. The Bandit 21XP processes barrel very well and would have filled the truck quite quickly, if we had a few more trees lined up.

This is a great machine that is well made, chips very fast and efficiently and would be an asset to any company that does a lot of clearing. I would be looking at a truck of 300hp or more to tow the Bandit 21XP around loaded if I were buying one. One thing that makes Bandit stand out from the rest and I like about them is the parts and service support they provide. If you need something, they are straight onto it. I have seen this first hand over the years myself and working for companies that own their gear.

For more information visit http://banditchippers.com.au

December 24, 2018 / by / in
All Jobs

When looking to pair a loader and optimal attachments for all vegetation management jobs, look no further than Avant Mini Loader and Slanetrac Attachments.

Avant Mini Articulated Loaders are designed to enable operators to proactively increase efficiency and versatility without increasing staff or responsibilities, while simultaneously improving operator comfort and work quality.

Avant mini loaders target visibility, efficiency, lift capacity and power. With the telescopic boom, the loader powers a lift capacity up to 1500kg and up to 3.1 meters lift height. The unique articulated chassis and steering allows operators to move across a variety of terrains without damaging them, which is especially important during vegetation management. Unlike Skid Steer loaders, Avant Loaders can be used in any environment including State Forests, National Park and wildlife areas as well as properties.

Despite the increase in power, comfort and versatility, Avant doesn’t compromise on safety. The load sensor system provides an audible warning if the rear wheels are about to lift off the ground while the Avant quick hitch system allows fast, easy and safe attachment coupling.

Slanetrac attachments Manufactured in the UK, the specialist mini digger attachments can be used across a wide range of work sites and jobs making businesses more versatile and efficient. Read on for more information on each attachment and how it can be used.

HS55 Saw Head

The Slanetrac HS55 Mini Digger Saw Head Attachment is available for mini diggers ranging from 2 ton to 7.5 ton. With an ability to cut up to 150mm diameter material, the Slanetrac HS55 Saw Head Attachment is a great tool that can deal with rougher, thicker hedges and bows whilst still having the ability to produce neat, tidy hedges – with clean cuts with more satisfactory conditions for re-growth – fast, efficiently and safely. Also available: HS75 Saw Head.

HC150 Hedge Cutter Bar

The Slanetrac HC150 Mini Digger Finger Bar Hedge Cutter Attachment suits a wide range of machines. With a cutting thickness of up to 40mm the Slanetrac HC Series Mini Digger Finger Bar Hedge Cutter offers clean cuts allowing for neat, tidy hedges with more satisfactory conditions for re-growth compared to flail cutting attachments as well as ensuring minimum disturbance for wild life. Also available: HC180 Hedge Cutter.

FH80 Flail Cutter

The Slanetrac FH80 Mini Digger Flail Cutter Attachment is designed for mini diggers from 1.5 ton to 2.5 ton. The robust, low maintenance Slanetrac HC Series Mini Digger Flail Cutter has individually replaceable cutting blades and comes supplied with adjustable mounting brackets to suit your particular machine and hydraulic pipes to connect to your machines rock breaker lines for fast, effortless installation. Also available: FH100 Flail Cutter.

Swivel Trim Hedge Cutter

The SA-1000 Swivel Trim Tractor Front Loader Finger Bar allows you to convert a Front Loader quickly to a Hedge Trimmer. The SA-1000 Swivel Trim Tractor Front Loader Finger Bar Hedge Trimmer is a quick and easy system allowing you to perform neat hedge trimming. This system is connected to the tractor hydraulics, so you need a tractor with a suitable hydraulic flow for it to operate properly.

Overall the Avant and Slanetrac combination offers several advantages and these include:

Cleaning overgrowth areas requires less effort and can be done faster than before thanks to the Avant and flail mower combination

The articulated steering allows use on any surface without damage unlike Skid Steer Loaders

Paired with the hedge cutters, operators can experience smooth, clean hedge cuts that look great and require little effort from their machine

The reduced machine weight offers a critical advantage for being carried on a truck. The compact size prevents overhang without compromising on how much the machine can lift

Don’t forget to ‘like’ their social media channels for more updates on the latest machinery news.

For more information or to organise an obligation free demo, call Avant Equipment on 1800 686 411 or visit www.avantequipment.com

November 26, 2018 / by / in