Explore using new tech to prune trees efficiently

National Parks Board (NParks) contractors have been relying on lorry cranes, cherry-pickers and chainsaws to prune trees for a long time.

After pruning, the branches are cut into smaller pieces and carted away in lorries. It is often not a single-lorry operation and a lane, or sometimes the whole road, is closed off to facilitate these works.

We can all appreciate the need for regular pruning - it maintains and improves the health and appearance of the trees which line our roads, as well as keep the roads safe for users.

But it puzzles me that we have yet to see any contractor use technology to increase the efficiency of the tree-pruning process.

One example is the use of trucks with aerial bucket lifts and easy-to-tow trailed wood chippers. These could improve safety and productivity, particularly for clean-up work, with minimal traffic interference.

Chipper shredders break down twigs and branches and quickly reduce the volume of horticultural waste, turning it into usable organic material for the garden.

It is definitely a worthwhile investment.

Proper pruning is complicated and dangerous, and there is a range of safety considerations, including the use of the chainsaw from an elevated platform and falling branches. On top of that, there are traffic control issues.

What is our national standard for the best methods and safety in this area?

Are tree workers certified by the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology?

Shouldn't NParks be looking out for up-to-date industry-recognised solutions to set the rules for best practice?

Loong Chik Tong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2017, with the headline 'Explore using new tech to prune trees efficiently'. Print Edition | Subscribe