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Spiking Trees while Tree Pruning & Tree Trimming

Tree spikes

The Harmful Effects of Spiking Trees: Why Blooma Uses Rope Systems for Pruning

Tree pruning is an essential part of maintaining trees in an urban environment like Seattle. However, the method used to climb and prune trees can significantly impact their health. At Blooma Tree Experts, we prioritize the well-being of the trees we care for, which is why we strictly avoid using spikes (or spurs) when pruning trees. Instead, we use rope systems that are safe and non-invasive.

Understanding Tree Spiking

Spiking trees involves using climbing spikes or spurs attached to the tree climber's boots. These spikes dig into the tree's bark, providing the climber with the grip needed to ascend and work on the tree. While this method is more convenient for the tree climber, especially for tree removals, it poses serious issues for tree health when used for pruning.

Spikes are designed to penetrate deeply into the tree bark, creating holes and damaging the tree's protective outer layer. This layer, known as the bark, is crucial for the tree's health as it protects the inner tissues from pests, diseases, and environmental stressors.

To be clear -- tree spikes (or spurs) have their use case, which is for managing tree removals. The Blooma crews are all outfitted with tree spikes. But our team is well-trained and knows when to use them and when not to use them.

The Dangers of Spiking Trees

  1. Physical Damage to the Tree:

    • Wound Creation: Every time a spike penetrates the bark, it creates a wound. These wounds can vary in size and depth, but each one compromises the tree's ability to protect itself.
    • Bark Splitting: Repeated use of spikes can cause the bark to split, which can lead to significant structural damage over time.
  2. Increased Risk of Disease and Pest Infestation:

    • Entry Points for Pathogens: The holes created by spikes serve as entry points for fungi, bacteria, and viruses that can cause diseases. These pathogens can spread quickly throughout the tree, leading to decay and potentially, the death of the tree.
    • Attracting Pests: Damaged bark can attract insects and other pests that exploit the weakened areas. Some pests, like bark beetles, can cause extensive damage in a short period.
  3. Stress and Decline:

    • Physiological Stress: Trees experience stress when their bark and underlying tissues are damaged. This stress can manifest in various ways, such as reduced growth, leaf discoloration, and branch dieback.
    • Overall Decline: Repeated spiking can lead to a gradual decline in the tree's health, making it more susceptible to other environmental stressors, such as drought or extreme weather.

The Ethical and Professional Approach: Using Rope Systems

The tree care industry has long been using rope systems as a method to climb trees safely for the purposes of tree pruning & tree trimming. These methods are tried & true, with deep industry research backing them up. At Blooma Tree Experts, we have made the investment in training our team to be high-quality arborists, which includes being capable of using rope systems to climb trees for pruning & trimming. We are committed to ethical and professional tree care practices.

There are numerous advantages to using rope systems to access trees rather than spiking trees.

  1. Non-Invasive Climbing:

    • Minimal Physical Impact: Rope systems allow climbers to ascend and work within the tree without causing any physical damage. This method preserves the integrity of the bark and underlying tissues.
    • Preservation of Tree Health: By avoiding spikes, we ensure that the trees remain healthy and resilient against pests and diseases.
  2. Increased Safety:

    • Climber Safety: Rope systems provide a secure and stable means for climbers to work, reducing the risk of accidents and falls.
    • Tree Safety: The tree itself remains unharmed, ensuring that it continues to thrive and contribute to the environment.
    • Easier Rigging: High-quality arborists who are adept at managing rope systems are also more capable of using ropes to rig down branches safely, especially in tight drop zones. You want tree climbers with this type of experience working above your house.¬†¬†
  3. Professional Standards:

    • Adherence to Best Practices: Using rope systems aligns with the best practices recommended by professional arborist organizations, such as the ISA and ANSI.
    • Commitment to Excellence: Our dedication to using the best and safest methods reflects our commitment to providing high-quality tree care services.

The Environmental and Aesthetic Benefits

In addition to the tree-specific & client-specific benefits noted above, using rope systems to access trees provides a wider environmental & aesthetic benefit that impacts our neighbors in the Greater Seattle Area and the world in general.

  1. Environmental Responsibility:

    • Conservation Efforts: Healthy trees play a crucial role in the environment, providing oxygen, reducing carbon dioxide, and supporting wildlife habitats. By using rope systems, we help preserve these vital ecological functions.
    • Sustainability: Our non-invasive methods align with sustainable practices, ensuring that trees can continue to thrive and contribute to the ecosystem.
  2. Aesthetic Appeal:

    • Maintaining Beauty: Trees are valuable assets to any landscape, adding beauty and shade. Rope systems help maintain the natural beauty of trees by preventing unsightly damage caused by spiking.
    • Property Value: Well-maintained trees enhance property value, making our services an investment in the future of your property.

Our Commitment to Continuous Improvement

At Blooma Tree Experts, we are always striving to improve our methods and stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in arboriculture. We invest in ongoing training for our team and adopt new technologies and techniques that promote tree health and safety.


Choosing the right method for tree pruning is crucial for the health and longevity of your trees. At Blooma Tree Experts, we are dedicated to providing the highest standard of care by using rope systems instead of spikes for all of our Seattle tree trimming and tree pruning jobs. This approach ensures that your trees remain healthy, beautiful, and resilient for years to come.

We invite you to contact us for all your tree care needs - every job starts with a complimentary consultation with one of our ISA-Certified Arborists. Our team of professional arborists is ready to help you maintain the health and beauty of your trees with our safe and effective rope system climbing methods. Together, we can ensure that your trees continue to thrive and contribute to a healthier environment.

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