Using ladders in the yard
Last updated 3/12/2014 at 10:05am
As winter ends, gardeners, get out that ladder and spruce up the shrubs and trees in your landscape.
Ladders can be very useful to help you get into position to make appropriate cuts, which will improve your trees and shrubs. They can take the wear off your shoulders by allowing you to be at the height of the cut rather than constantly reaching up for that high branch. The downside of ladders is you can fall. So here some pointers to insure your safety while using your ladder.
First of all, always use a tripod ladder to prune trees and shrubs. This is also known as an orchard ladder. A good size for the home owner is an 8-foot or 10-foot orchard ladder. Aluminum is a good choice unless you will be working near electric wires. So look up, and if you see wires at the height you will be working, choose a wooden or fiberglass ladder for your work. Never use a two-point or four-point ladder because you cannot safely set them.
Good footwear is important, so wear slip-resistant shoes, and make sure the soles are clean from mud to maximize traction. After you have set your ladder, step on the first or second rung and rock it from side to side, then push down to make sure the ladder is stable. Make sure the tongue is planted firmly and is stable. This is especially important if you are setting any part of your ladder on concrete or asphalt.
Keep in mind, you need to spend almost as much time moving and setting your ladder as you do pruning. When climbing, go slowly and deliberately and avoid sudden movements. Keep the center of your stomach between the ladder side rails when climbing and while working. Do not overreach or lean, so that you don’t fall off the ladder. Never stand on the top step. The second to the last step is the highest step to safely stand.
Finally, when you are finished, put your ladder away in its storage home so no one else is tempted to use it without your permission.