Poplar concern

Concerned that a 100 year old tree was showing signs of decay, Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council called in Benbow Bros, one of its tree contractors, to carry out the required works.
The unusual hybrid poplar dominates a cluster of trees in public gardens adjacent to Shrewsbury’s historical English bridge and fronting the Wakeman High School.
To ensure the tree posed no safety risks to the public passing below, Benbow Bros were advised by the Council’s tree officer to make a 30% reduction of the canopy to return it to sound and healthy condition. This would also assure the conservation of a strategic and cherished natural landmark.
Gaining access to maintain a 100ft poplar tree on the banks of the River Severn in Shrewsbury presented Shropshire tree surgeons, Benbow Brothers with a difficult challenge.
The solution came in the impressive shape of the world’s largest tracked chassis ‘spiderlift’, the Teupen Leo 50, supplied by access hire specialist, The Spiderlift Company, part of the Ranger Group.
With almost 50m working height (w/h), the rough terrain model used (Leo 50GTX) has 17m working outreach (at 200kg basket capacity) and a possible 20m at 80kg basket capacity, providing ample working envelope to reach the highest, outlying branch tips.
The possible presence of weakened branches and the proximity to the water ruled out climbing the tree to complete the work and anchoring ropes to lower debris. Narrow access to the site, the uneven terrain, as well as the sheer height and outreach required to tackle the task, also set tough performance criteria for any powered platform and which only the Leo 50 could readily overcome.
Ken Benbow, director of Benbow Bros Tree Care division, said: “The Leo 50 reduced the safety hazards involved in maintaining what is an important and strategic tree. After carrying out a risk assessment, it was clear we would not be able to climb the tree to do the task and it was also obvious a normal MEWP would not give the outreach we needed at the height required.

Based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, The Spiderlift Company runs a fleet of German-engineered Teupen Leo Spiderlifts. Machines range from the compact Leo 15, with 14.9m w/h and narrow 780mm wide chassis that can pass through a single width door, to the towering Leo 50.
Tel 0870 225 5554
Located near Shrewsbury, Benbow Bros has been providing expert arboriculture services and consultancy for over 60 years to local authorities, commercial and domestic clients throughout the West Midlands.

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