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When Your Arborist Should and Should Not Use Spikes

When trees are not maintained regularly, they can become a nuisance to your property. Thus, it is crucial to choose the right arborist in Toronto for comprehensive tree care and maintenance. They are trained and certified experts with extensive knowledge of the biological and physiological needs of trees. They know how to manage the health and well-being of a tree without causing any damage.

If you select the wrong arborist, they might follow improper practices, such as using spikes to climb a tree. But experienced professionals know that using tree climbing spikes during tree pruning can cause irreversible damage or even kill the tree.

This article discusses more on why arborists should not use spikes.

What Are Tree Climbing Spikes?

Also called climbing gaffs or spurs, these sharp steel spikes are attached to a tree climber’s legs through padded supports and leather straps. Amateur arborists use them to get a solid grip on a tall tree when they need to trim the upper branches. The spikes allow them to access and navigate through the tree.

How Do Climbing Spikes Damage Trees?

When arborists use climbing spikes to scale the tree trunk, the sharp tips puncture the bark and kill the tree’s living tissue. Damage to bark is irreversible, as trees do not have the capacity to heal themselves. The spikes pierce the bark with holes that leave the trees wounded permanently. Even giant trees with the thickest and strongest trunks may get damaged if the cambium layer under the bark is hit. Oozing sap from the wounds is a symptom that the tree’s health is affected.

When Your Arborist Needs to Use Spikes

Although spikes are harmful, there are a few situations when a professional arborist might use them to climb a tree. These include:

  • During tree removal service
  • When spikes are the only option, and there are no safe ways to care for a tree
  • When the branches are more than 50 feet tall and access through a lifting device is not possible.
  • When the branches are far apart, and there is no other way to climb
  • When the tree is nearby electrical cables, and there is no other option to reach it
  • When a rescue team needs to reach an injured climber quickly

Common Diseases Caused by Pruning Wounds

Here is a list of diseases that may occur when a tree is pruned incorrectly.

Bacterial Blight

Insects, rain, wind, or improperly sanitized pruning tools can cause the spread of this bacterial disease. It severely infects young shoots and shows irregularly shaped brown spots surrounded by lemon-yellow rings.


This is a fungal or bacterial infection that enters the vascular system of a tree via a physical wound, such as through climbing spikes. This disease commonly appears in dark and hollow areas of a trunk. This eventually leads to exposure of the tree’s vascular system to environmental stresses.

Fire Blight

This is another bacterial infection that occurs due to insects, rain, and pruning wounds. When it infects a leaf or bud, it quickly spreads through new growth, causing the leaves to turn black or brown. Eventually, the vascular system is blocked, and cankers infect the entire tree and kill it.

Why You Should Hire a Professional Arborist in Toronto

Great References

When selecting an arborist in Toronto, ask for references and learn about their work experience, expertise, and certification. Avoid paying them before the job is done.

Confirmation of Insurance

Ensure to hire an arborist from a professional tree service company backed by insurance. Otherwise, you could be liable for any damage to your property.


Find out if the tree service in Toronto has affiliations with business groups and associations so that you can learn more about their reputation.

In-Depth Knowledge

An expert arborist will have up-to-date information on the best practices, standards, and principles for tree planting, maintenance, and removal. Ask them about their knowledge of complete tree care.


Ask them to provide an agreement that includes the total cost, date of completion, and everything about what the tree care experts should be doing and when. If they use tree spikes to climb a tree, find out the reason, and ask them to use them only when the tree needs to be removed.

Also Read: 7 Benefits of Hiring an Arborist for Tree Pruning & Trimming

Rely on Expert Arborists in Toronto, Canada

When Your Arborist Should and Should Not Use Spikes

DreamWorks Tree Services is one of the most trusted tree services in Toronto. We have only trained, certified, and experienced arborist Toronto and tree care experts qualified to work with the right equipment, best practices, and dedication to accomplish the job with utmost efficiency and safety. With complete confidence in our services, we provide free estimates and assurance to our clients that our competitive pricing and service will exceed your expectations.

We do everything you can imagine, from tree planting to tree removal services, including maintenance. From the moment you call to the completion of the project, we will keep you informed. Take the first step by contacting us at 647-924-2627 or filling out our form.

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We offer the best tree care services to maintain your property while ensuring the health of your trees by providing reliable tree care solutions.