When winter finally comes, most landscapers quit working and pray for snow. Here are a couple of ideas that can be done in between plowing and shoveling and spring clean-up. The first and most productive would be dead tree removal. The ground is frozen and it is much easier to get a truck and trailer up to trees that find themselves off the main access road. Before you start tree removal there are a few things to keep in mind.
Make sure dead trees are clearly marked to prevent accidental removal of wrong tree.
While it may seem logical; trees that are dead in the winter are not always easy to spot because everything is dead. Therefore if you have employees or simply desiring for a company to remove a tree, make sure that it is clearly marked with something that is not going to fade or break off in the freezing and thawing and rainy seasons of the year.
Safety is first when cutting something that can fall and kill, cause damage to vehicles or other trees and that may be unpredictable when coming down.
I have seen many companies, and have worked for companies, where there really is not much safety involved in the removal of trees. I may take a little extra time to prepare for tree removal in a safe way, but it only takes one accident to cause regret the rest of one’s life, cause death or create a costly dilemma for a company. The saying is very true: It is better to be safe than sorry. Wear safety gear, such as, hard hat, face shield, safety glasses, ear protection, gloves, chaps, steel toed boots, proper clothing when cold and make sure vehicles are parked clear of fall zone until tree is on the ground.
Most companies chip the wood or take it to a company where they turn it into mulch, but consider other alternatives.
A company could cut heating bills simply by cutting wood up and using it in a wood burning stove to heat the office or employee areas that would normally take gas heat. Leave the thermostat on 60 degrees so that if the fire goes out your pipes won’t burst, but if set up properly there is no need to use the gas therefore cutting your bill in half. When you chip the wood, not only do you have to pay to dump it, but you also have to pay for the chipper. This may seem like it cost less, but when the big picture is seen, it really cost more and loses revenue that could be generated other ways.
The wood could be cured and sold. Not only would you not have to pay for the chipper and dumping, you could also make money on selling the wood as firewood to those who have a wood burning stove in their home. This could be as simple as loading up a dump truck or dump trailer and just dumping the wood in the driveway or if it needs to be stacked the price could be increased to compensate. You could chip the smaller branches or sell them as kindling. Not only would you get paid for the tree removal, but you would make money on selling the wood and if you could rent a machine, there could be a possibility of making your own mulch and selling it or using it for jobs.
Be prepared for anything.
When going to a site unprepared, a large amount of time can be wasted by not having the proper tools or by not having a plan in place. Preparing the night before and having a checklist of things needed and a plan to make sure that no time is wasted having to drive back to get tools or wasted not using the proper tools. This is especially important the farther the job site is from the business base.
Another option during the winter months is winter pruning. For proper pruning techniques visit this page from P. Allen Smith who can also be seen on PBS:
If you are unaware of how to do something then do research. Today most anything can be found on the internet and there are an ample amount of books on this one subject alone. Again it is better to be safe than sorry. Know what you are doing and if you do not, be humble enough to admit it and start researching it.