Pruning trees is dangerous. You think you know which way that branch is going to drop, and instead it falls right on your head. Good thing you are wearing a helmet, but a big limb is not going to be stopped by a helmet. A recent report out of Penn State developed some statistics on tree “felling' – pruning – which should be noted by anyone cutting trees. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.23286 . Where it reads “logging and landscaping”, read avocado pruning. These statistics are just for deaths from trees, not injuries. I couldn't find on-farm statistics of pruning injuries, but, know that farming is one of those high risk activities like other tree-related interactions.
Tree felling — whether by professional loggers in a forest setting or by landscapers in urban and rural landscapes — is the most dangerous job in what are two of the most dangerous industries, according to Penn State researchers who conducted a new study of associated deaths.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration calls logging “the most dangerous occupation in the United States.” The fatal injury rate for loggers is more than 30 times the rate for all U.S. workers. Tree-care workers also encounter hazards at rates much higher than the average employee.
“This was the first research to look at commercial logging and landscaping services together,” said Judd Michael, Nationwide Insurance Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health and professor of agricultural and biological engineering, College of Agricultural Sciences. “It was a unique and more accurate way to assess fatalities. The commonality, of course, is that workers in both fields fell trees. They do it using very different methods, but either way, it is extremely hazardous work.”
Logging in Appalachia and other regions with forests growing on rough, mountainous terrain continues largely unmechanized, with workers felling trees with chainsaws, standing at their bases; landscapers, on the other hand — because they must control the fall of limbs and trunks — must climb trees with chainsaws and cut sections down.
To reach their conclusions, the researchers analyzed an Occupational Safety and Health Administration database to identify occupational tree-felling fatalities in the United States during a 10-year period — from 2010 through the first half of 2020. They compared data for the two industry segments of logging and landscaping services.
In findings recently published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the researchers reported that there were 314 fatalities over the period. The victims were overwhelmingly male, with the median age being 43. “Struck-by” was the No. 1 event type causing fatalities, with the head being the most frequent body part involved in fatalities.
Falls from elevation was the only event type significantly different between the logging and landscaping industries, Michael noted, adding “but you would expect that, given the nature of the work.” Poor decision-making was listed as a key component of fatal incidents, and in some cases bystanders were fatally injured due to the actions of others.
The number of tree-felling fatalities varied greatly from year to year during the study, and there were no clear trends in fatality rates, Michael pointed out. The reasons for the cyclical rise and fall of tree-felling fatalities are unknown but he suspects they may be driven by weather events. One possible causal factor was whether hurricanes made landfall in the coastal states.
Storm damage may lead to increased fatalities, he explained. Years such as 2012, 2017 and 2018 with abnormally high damage costs from Atlantic storms also saw relatively high numbers of landscaping fatalities that could be associated with storm‐damaged urban trees, while 2014 and 2015 had very quiet hurricane seasons and relatively few fatalities.
“Look at what happened with Hurricane Ida recently, with all the power lines that were down because of downed trees in Louisiana,” he said. “We don't know yet if that will lead to landscape tree-feller deaths, but we suspect large storms lead to more fatalities. Utilities can't restore power without clearing downed trees, so the importance of keeping tree operations safe can't be overstated.”
Getting a better handle on fatality numbers is just an early step in trying to make the job of tree fellers safer, Michael explained. And it is not as simple as just advising that protective equipment should be worn.
“Personal protective equipment is mandated, but that means a hard hat or some chaps on a worker's legs to stop a saw from cutting through,” he said. “But if you have a 1,000-pound limb falling from 10 feet or 50 feet, no equipment is going to protect them. And that's one of our key takeaways — you can have all the protection you want, but it won't help you if you get hit by a tree trunk or large limb. That's why we need to have better decision-making to keep people out of danger.”
There is a need to focus on hazards associated with tree-felling activities so that proactive prevention strategies can be developed, Michael suggested.
“Employers in the landscaping industry should put extra emphasis on fall protection and prevention for those working in elevated positions,” he said. “Greater attention to falling object avoidance for persons working around a tree being felled could also prevent fatalities. Logging companies should strive to adopt mechanized methods for tree felling.”
But fatalities from tree felling are just a fraction of the number of severe injuries incurred while working around trees, Michael added. By focusing on the cause of fatalities, Penn State researchers hope that strategies can be developed to also reduce the number of injuries in these important industries.
More Information on safely working trees:
And KEEP those TOOLS SHARP: https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=28916
Santa Barbara County Coastal Gardener
This garden column provides information on home, garden and landscape problems. It was created by Frank Laemmlen Ph.D., Farm Advisor Emeritus in the Santa Barbara County Cooperative Extension Office.
The original column was in question and answer format with 1 or more questions answered in each issue. We have separated each topic and have listed them as fact sheets.
- Can You Rent a Christmas Tree
- Carpet Beetle
- Cloths Moth
- Drugstore Beetle
- Fungus Gnat
- Little Black Ant
- Oak Bark Beetle in the Home
- Patio Plants
- Sap on Table
- Spots on Rubber Plant
- Take care of Your Skin
- Attracting Hummingbirds
- Broadleaved Weed Control in Lawns
- Controlling Oxalis by Replanting
- Controlling Earthworms
- Crude Oil
- Deer Resistant-Tolerant Plants
- Fertilizing Sandy Soil
- Iron Chlorosis
- Lawn Causing Itching and Welts
- Lawn Fertilization and Watering
- Lawn Mowing Heights
- Lawn vs Tree
- Leaf Scorch on Japanese Maple
- Lillies Poisonous to Cats
- Living With Oaks
- Mosses, Alga and Slime Molds
- Mushrooms in Lawns
- Niger Seed in Bird Feed
- Poison Oak
- Propagating Willows
- Pruning Roses and Fruit Trees
- Pruning Trees to Speed Growth
- Queen Palm Problems
- Railroad Ties
- Sparse Foliage and Large Seed Crops on Birch
- Sucker Growth on Roses
- Tip Dieback on Dogwood
- Trees Made Stronger by Bending in the Wind
- Yellow Lawns
Vegetables and Fruit
- Avocado Nutrient Deficiency
- Avocado Fruit Set
- Chilling Hours
- Citrus Fruit Cracking
- Compacted Soil
- Compost and Composting
- Eucalyptus Mulch
- Fertilizing Fruit Trees
- Fertilizing Potted Plants
- Fireplace Ash
- Fruit Splitting
- Growing Avocado from Seed
- Growing a Pineapple from the Top
- Harvesting Avocados
- Harvesting Pears
- Harvesting Potatoes
- Medium for Planter Boxes
- Nectarine Problems
- Planting Trees
- Planting Vegetables
- Pollinating Squash
- Poor Seed Germination
- Pruning Avocados
- Pruning Roses and Fruit Trees
- Rehabilitation of Freeze Damaged Plants
- Root Sprouts
- Stop Olives from Bearing
- Tomato Fruit Set
- Tomato Leaves Turning Yellow
- Tomato Problems
- Walnuts Shriveled and Inedible
- Will Bird Damaged Fruit Cause West Nile Disease
- Author: Rebecca Ozeran
In the 5 years I've been with UCCE, I have received a few recurring weed-related questions. I've certainly had some unique requests, like how to deal with fig trees invading a livestock water pipeline, or whether filaree might be harmful to guinea pigs (it isn't). But often, questions I receive about rangeland or pasture weeds fit under three categories:
- Is this plant toxic to my animals?
- How can I get rid of yellow starthistle?
- What can I plant in my pasture to outcompete all these weeds?
Of course, each question has its own “It depends”-style answer. But today, I want to share the resources I recommend for these Frequently Asked Questions.
Is this plant toxic? (Usually following the question, “What is this plant?”)
- Toxicity varies with plant species, growth stage, part or structure (e.g leaf versus flower) and relative abundance. Toxicity also varies with animal species and size, and what other feed is available. Some plants are toxic at all growth stages and in all parts of the plant (such as oleander) while other plants accumulate toxins at certain times of their growth cycle (such as plants that accumulate nitrate) or affect livestock species differently (such as yellow starthistle).
Fiddleneck, like oleander, accumulates toxins in all plant parts, though the concentration can vary. Fiddleneck seeds and flowers often contain the highest concentrations of alkaloids within a single plant.
- Fortunately, we have an excellent guide that describes common toxic plants and how to reduce risk to your animals: Livestock-Poisoning Plants of California. For plants that aren't listed, you can always contact your local farm advisor for assistance in plant identification and management! If you suspect plants are poisoning your animals, please contact your veterinarian ASAP.
How can I get rid of yellow starthistle?
- While we probably can't eliminate it completely,yellowstarthistle can be managed to reduce its impact on landscapes and livestock. Several usefulresourcesdescribeyellowstarthistle management, and can be freely accessed or downloaded:
- UC IPM Pest Note on Yellow Starthistle, a brief overview of the plant itself and key management strategies
- Yellow Starthistle Management Guide, published through Cal-IPC, probably the most thorough document on yellow starthistle impacts and management tools
- Yellow Starthistle weed report, from Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States, especially handy if you want a concise comparison of management options, or something that is well formatted for printing out
What do I plant to manage pasture weeds?
- Maintaining healthy forage cover is one of the best ways to reduce weed pressure in a grazing or haying area, whether irrigated or not. However, getting good forage established can be more challenging when there are weeds already present. Drought years like this year don't help, either – many deep-rooted broadleaf weeds are doing fine while desirable grasses had a shorter than usual growing season. And, of course, site-specific variations affect what forage plants might be competitive, and what weeds they might have to outcompete.
- Because the answer is more complicated than “buy X seed mix”, I usually refer to the excellent guide, Establishing and Maintaining Irrigated Pasture for Horses. The principles of pasture preparation, including strategies for weed management during pasture establishment, are similar across grazing livestock species. Most of the information in the guide can also apply to dry pastures aside from the specific sections about planning and using irrigation.
Healthy pastures will better outcompete weeds. The species in that pasture will vary across the state. Having sufficient moisture - from rain or irrigation - also impacts weediness!
Now, range and pasture weed questions aren't going to be completely resolved by a single blog post – but I do hope this post is a helpful starting point for anyone who manages rangelands or pastures.
If you have a question that isn't listed in this short FAQ, feel free to reach out! I'm happy to expand this resource. You can comment on this blog, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message through my program Facebook page.
Spatial Overview - How it Works
The California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) currently manages over 145 active weather stations throughout the state. Archived data is also available for 85 additional stations that have been disconnected from the network for various reasons. Most of the CIMIS stations produce estimates of reference evapotranspiration (ETo) for the station location and their immediate surroundings, often in agricultural areas. Because of California's diverse landmass and climate, many locations within the state lack a representative CIMIS station. Some counties, for example, do not have a CIMIS station and others have only one or two stations. As a result, there are significant spatial ETo data gaps, especially in urban areas. In an attempt to mitigate this problem, CIMIS initiated a study to investigate the possibility of coupling remotely sensed satellite data with point measurements from the CIMIS weather stations to generate spatially distributed ETo values (ETo maps).
A contract was awarded to the University of California Davis (UCD) remote sensing group, lead by Professor Susan Ustin, to conduct the study. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) formed an advisory committee comprised of individuals with expertise in remote sensing, GIS, modeling, and water management from DWR and UCD. The committee met, on an as needed basis to discuss new developments and plan future actions. After thorough research, the team decided to use combinations of data derived from satellites and interpolated from CIMIS station measurements to estimate ETo at a 2 kilometer (km) spatial resolution. The resulting product has been vigorously tested and has demonstrated a degree of accuracy that is acceptable for most irrigation applications. The CIMIS program will continue to evolve and expand to meet the future irrigation information needs of California. For a brief description of the methodology used to generate the ETo maps, see the Spatial Model discussion below.
Daily reference evapotranspiration (ETo) at a 2 km spatial resolution are calculated statewide using the American Society of Civil Engineers version of the Penman-Monteith equation (ASCE-PM). Required input parameters for the ASCE-PM ETo equation are solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed at two meters height. These parameters are estimated for each 2 km pixel using various methods.
Daily solar radiation is generated from the visible band of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) using the Heliosat-II model. This model is designed to convert images acquired by the Meteosat satellite into maps of global (direct plus diffused) irradiation received at ground level. The model has also been used with other geostationary satellites such as the GOES. For details on the Heliosat-II model and its accuracy, please refer to the HelioClim web page.
Air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed values at each pixel were obtained by interpolating point measurements from CIMIS stations. Originally two interpolation methods, Spline and DayMet, were selected based on accuracy of results, code availability, and computational efficiency. Spline – the method currently used – is an interpolation method that fits a surface through or near known points using a function with continuous derivatives. Two- or three-dimensional Spline is used based on which weather parameter is to be interpolated.
The accuracy of both methods has been tested using cross-validation analysis, but DayMet is no longer used. DayMet is an interpolation method that was developed at the University of Montana to generate daily surfaces of temperature, precipitation, humidity, and radiation over large regions of complex terrain. It determines the weights associated with a given weather station for each point where weather parameters are to be determined depending on the distance and density of the stations.
The accuracy of ETo values estimated from these methods depends on many factors. For example, solar radiation remotely sensed through GOES is significantly affected by such factors as cloudiness and snow cover. Therefore, mountainous areas with snow cover and coastal areas with cloud and fog are more susceptible to errors. Also, interpolation accuracy is affected by the density of the weather stations and geographic features of the region. CIMIS stations are purposely placed in irrigated, open, flat areas – usually valleys – to provide the best reference data for adjacent farmlands and other irrigated areas. As a result, interpolation in valleys between CIMIS stations may not provide accurate data for mountainous terrain. Despite these potential problems, however, we believe the ETo estimates provided will be superior to only using data from a distant weather station with a different microclimate. For CIMIS station Siting criteria click the “Siting” tab.
For detailed descriptions of the methodology used to map daily ETo, refer to the RESOURCES navigation button https://cimis.water.ca.gov/Resources.aspx
If you would like to get ETo data created using the methods described here, you may do so by logging into your account, clicking on the SPATIAL navigation bar, then on the Spatial Report tab. If you do not have a CIMIS account, you can create one by registering with us. Please note that CIMIS data is provided free of charge and registration is required for statistical purposes only. https://cimis.water.ca.gov/Default.aspx