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The Homeowner's Tree Trimming Video and DVD

This is an introductory lesson to the practice of proper tree pruning. In this 28 minute video/DVD ISA certified arborist Joseph Descans presents the fundamentals of tree pruning in a practical, easy to understand manner.  He covers the topics of lacing, topping, making proper cuts, pruning fruit trees, proper use and maintenance of tools and other helpful points. This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning tree pruning principals as an amateur or professional. Directed at teaching the novice how to trim smaller trees, Joseph takes you into the field as he personally demonstrates these principals on a variety of tree specimens. With this video/DVD and some understanding of your particular trees you should be able to maintain specimen trees for their lifetime. If you love caring for your own property and saving money along the way this video is for you!

Joseph is a certified arborist with over 27 years of experience and currently works in San Diego CA. He created The Homeowner's Tree Trimming video to help the average homeowner learn the basic principles of trimming their own trees and know a little bit about the process when looking to hire an arborist. Many of his customers consider him an arboreal artist.

In this 28 minute video/DVD ISA certified
arborist Joseph Descans takes you into
the field and personally demonstrates
these principles on a variety of tree
specimens.  You will learn:

- Proper Pruning Principles             - Fruit Tree Pruning
- Proper Tool Usage                      - Safety Principles
- Clean Up Techniques                   - Other Helpful Tips

These videos are $10.00 each plus $5.00 shipping and handling, plus tax for CA residents. There is no extra charge for multiple videos/DVDs per shipment to the same address.

This product is guaranteed for materials and workmanship. If you recieve a broken or nonfunctioning video or DVD return the item to us and we will send you a replacement for no extra charge.

                               Click here to order this video or DVD


Hear what some of Joseph's collegues and customers have to say....

"In my 30 years in the tree trimming
business, Joseph is the best I've seen."
- Mike Flores
- ARTISTREE Tree & Landscape Service

"Joseph is definitely an artist!
I would not hesitate to recommend
him to any of my serious
gardening friends."
- Terry Paul
- Homeowner, Del Mar, CA

"This is a video you can watch many
times gleaning new information each time."
- Rick Holmes
- Homeowner, Idyllwild, CA

If you have any questions about this product please visit our contact page. Dealer inquiries welcome

Here are some articles written by Joseph which were printed in TREE CARE INDUSTRY MAGAZINE. 

Hard Hat Appreciation Day

by Joseph Descans-2001


During my last 21 years of operating a professional tree service every so often we  have had what we call a “Hard Hat Appreciation Day.” A Hard Hat Appreciation Day occurs when special reverence is given to this often unwanted and unappreciated piece of safety equipment. This special attention always comes as a result of having one or more falling objects bounced off the hard hat of one or more of the crew during the course of a day’s work. These falling objects often come in the form of pine cones, fruit or other objects detached from the tree during the trimming process but also includes other things like debris shot from the chipper. I once even clocked an employee in the head with a pole pruner when I failed to manage a double extension situation while trimming from the ground. Having recognized the averted injury due to the proper use of this invaluable piece of safety equipment, the day was always officially dubbed a Hard Hat Appreciation Day in its honor. The event was always accompanied by an especially joyous state of well being as we all more consciously enjoyed our good health and good fortune.

            The aversion to hard hats and other safety equipment by crew members is no secret to employers in the tree care industry. Despite all the sap, dust, chips and bugs I used to get in my hair during the course of a day I chose not to wear one most of the time during my early years. I was converted one day after receiving an unexpected injury (that’s why they’re called accidents), which required seven stitches in the top of my head. The gash occurred one sunny morning while I repelled from a freshly laced Eucalyptus tree. As I glided through the branches on the way down my lanyard went on one side of a branch and I on the other. Not having noticed this I continued my descent. The rope slid down the branch until it reached the point where it was clipped on my belt, then it pulled back up the branch until the clip slingshot down on my head several feet below. Soon I was covered in blood and on my way to the emergency room. Now I rarely work on even a bush without one.

            The battle to keep hard hats on climbers and ground men has sometimes been a tough one for me unless there was an obvious imminent danger. One day while I was contending with a couple ground men about their bare heads from a tree I was trimming, our customer appeared unexpectedly and sided with me on the issue; supporting his argument with a story of his own. He told us that one day while working on a construction site an object fell on a fellow construction worker. The force of the blow split his hardhat in two and left the man permanently cross-eyed—but alive and able to continue his job. One of my crewmen joked about rather being dead than cross-eyed, but in spite of the stigma, most people would rather live with a small physical malfunction than leave behind a widow with kids.

            Of course hard hats can do more than keep your head from getting broken. I always buy ones with a screen and ear protection. The screen keeps wood chips out of your face and the ear protection keeps you from going deaf from those chainsaws and chippers. I’ve also never again gotten my ears cut from a jagged palm frond, like I did as a teenager when climbing with only a hand saw, gloves and a Sony Walkman.

We need to keep hard hats on our employees at all cost and in spite of their whining and griping about the heat or anything else. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who first said, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” The trick is to develop the habit of putting one on at the start of the day and leaving it on until wearing one becomes second nature.

The fact is that you never know when a Hard Hat Appreciation Day will occur, but, in order to have one, you must be wearing a hard hat. Other wise the day will be remembered for something else.



By Joseph Descans-1999

The accident occurred on a sunny, windless spring day in San Diego California. My ground man, Chris, and I were working about a mile from the beach and from the top of the tall eucalyptus I could see the glassy ocean and the swells rolling in from the horizon. It was mid afternoon and we were in the final stages of lowering branches from the top of the last tree. We were hoping to finish in time to go surfing and throughout the day Chris, who couldn't see the ocean from the ground, would yell up to me for surf reports. I would repeatedly tell him it was glassy and I could see the swells stacked up all the way out to sea.
          The neighbors marveled at my arboreal acrobatics and engineering and came from around the neighborhood to get a closer look at the spectacle. Seeing the opportunity to meet some of her new neighbors, the homeowner set up a table in her driveway and served cookies and lemonade. It was a festive atmosphere and they all got to know each other better as they watched us work.
          The Eucalyptus tree was about three feet across at the base and stood about twenty feet west of the house. The lady was having us trim the branches that leaned toward and in some cases over her recently purchased home. She didn't want to lose any during a storm and potentially suffer damage to her new house. Because of the obvious risk to the house, we were roping down every major branch that could possibly endanger it when they came down. As I cut the higher limbs, the tips would brush the roof of her two-story house as they swung back toward the tree. Then we lowered them down in a safe, timely manner.
           About thirty feet from the tree I was in, stood the stump of another eucalyptus we had cut down that morning. It was also about three feet across and I had left it about seven feet tall so we could use the trunk to rope down the branches from her sister tree which I was now in. With each large branch I would send the bull rope through a crotch over my head, lower the end to the limb I was cutting, secure the branch with a knot, and signal Chris I was ready to cut. He would then pick up his end of the rope off the ground, pull it tight, walk it around the stump three or four times without losing the tension, and signal back that he was ready. I would then cut the branch and it would swing away from the house and back toward the tree. When it stopped swinging enough to be safe for the house, Chris would lower it down in a slow, controlled manner. Once the tips were on the ground we would watch the butt to keep it off the house. If it swung that way I would hold the rope (since the pressure was less because the branch was on the ground) and he would direct it in a safe direction. Chris would then cut up the branch enough to move it out of the way just enough to avoid tripping over it while he worked. Then we would start the process over again.
           We repeated this routine for over an hour without a hitch before coming to the last major branch. After tying off the limb I signaled Chris, who had shorn his shirt and hardhat to relieve him self from the afternoon sun, to wrap it around the stump. Instead of wrapping it around the stump, he stood on the lawn, pulled the rope tight, leaned back on it, and nodded his head to indicate he was ready.
          Having been wrapping the rope around the large stump the whole time had made Chris' job somewhat easy. The stump bore the weight of the heavy branches and to lower the limbs he just had to undo a wrap or two and let the rope slide through his gloves. Because it had been so easy thus far, he must have forgotten the seriousness of the situation.
          So there he was holding the rope tight in each gloved hand, but it was wrapped once around each bare forearm and in between made a trip around his bare lower back. I repeated the command as if he hadn't heard me. He nodded again and leaned back on the rope even harder as if to signify he was really ready. I turned away to give him a minute to think about it and saw the beckoning ocean. It was hot, we were tired, and we both desperately wanted to go surfing. I was losing patience. I turned back to look at him and said one last time, "wrap it." Once again he nodded his head. I didn't want to waste any more time arguing with him and figured it wouldn't kill him, so I cut the branch.
          The rope sailed through the crotch above me with no noticeable resistance except that the branch swung back toward the tree enough to miss the house. After it hit the ground I looked for Chris on the grass. But he was gone.
          It was silent for a moment before Chris, hidden from my view beneath the foliage of the cut branch, began to move. He climbed out from under the mess and the homeowner broke the silence by asking if "that" always happened. Chris claimed to be all right so I cut some remaining smaller branches that didn't need rope work and came down.
          When I got to the ground I found the wide-eyed and mildly shocked Chris with some serious rope burns on his forearms and in his armpits. The rope had slid off his waist and into his armpits while the weight of the falling branch simultaneously hurled him superman-style through the air where he collided with the branch on its way down. Although it wasn't necessary to take him to the hospital, he spent the rest of the afternoon blowing vigorously on his rope burns in an effort to cool them. They were big and nasty looking, especially the ones in his armpits. It was a miracle he didn't get more serious injuries. He also didn't surf for three weeks.

From this little incident there are a number of lessons to be learned and precautions to take so you can avoid a similar accident yourself.

1)         Safety must always come firstA. Any body surface with a rope touching it should be covered to avoid rope burns. B. Ropes should not be wrapped around any body parts such as hands, arms, waist, neck or any thing else. They should always be wrapped around the base of some immovable object such as a tree or not wrapped at all. C. Hard hats and other safety equipment should always be worn. This is extremely important when working with trees because even the smallest thing, like a pinecone, falling from a great height can do a lot of damage. Accidents are not planned that's why they're called accidents. Unforeseen events happen almost daily, what prevents accidents, or keeps them from becoming tragedies, is often the proper use of safety equipment. Being uncomfortable or hot is no excuse for removing it.
2)        Don't rush: A. Haste often means carelessness, which is a chief enemy of safety. In this incident we rushed so we could finish in time to surf before dark. This was an admirable cause but ironically, because of our haste, Chris missed three weeks of surfing instead of one afternoon. B. When you're doing dangerous work, when you're tired is not the time to hurry up and finish, but time to concentrate more intensely on what you're doing to avoid making mistakes which lead to accidents. Some of my stupidest mistakes came as a result of being tired and behind schedule. These blunders also led to my costliest repair bills. It wouldn't have taken us more than five extra minutes to finish the job had we only followed the already established protocol. And Chris would have been far better off. 
3)        Communicate: This was both of our faults. When working in trees there's often communication problems due to distance, ear plugs, chainsaws, chippers and other things. Although in this case, Chris clearly knew what I was saying, he obviously didn't understand the seriousness of the situation. After three warnings he should have obeyed anyway, but when he didn't, I should have taken whatever measure necessary to make him understand—even if it did mean losing time. Some hazards are easier for the ground man to see, and some for climber, each should respect the other's opinion and take the safest steps to insure everyone's safety.