Staying Safe at Home … and in your Garden
More than a third of the world's population is staying at home to try and keep the number of COVID-19 coronavirus infections down. Homebound is a way to stay safe for ourselves and for everyone around us. Those who are lucky to have a garden are finding it a wonderful haven to have in such difficult times.
With extra time on their hands and as a way to keep busy, people are tending to their own gardens and trees. While it can be a very calming and therapeutic exercise to potter about in one's garden, it is still necessary to observe safety and take precautions. Not from the virus, but from the trees and plants. They can be hazardous for people who do not have sufficient knowledge of trees and plants nor the appropriate equipment and skills required to use them.
Famous Vet's Freak Accident
Dr. Chris Brown, veterinarian and presenter of the famous series Bondi Vet, learnt this the painful way while tending to his garden while in quarantine. He was trimming a big cactus when the unfortunate incident happened. One of the stems sprayed sap when it got cut. It ended up in Dr. Brown's right eye. Not long after, his eye started to burn. He managed to call the Poisons Information Centre which advised him to get to a hospital immediately. The sap was toxic and it could make a person go blind. He was lucky to get help and after spending an hour flushing out his eye, he managed to save his sight. Read more about his gardening mishap here.
´Hazardous´ and ´trees´ may sound like an oxymoron for some people but it can be a real situation. Trees can be hazardous and at Accomplished Tree Management, it is our job to handle the situation when trees pose a danger. We have the experience and equipment to do our job, keeping the trees safe and in good condition as well as making sure the surroundings and the people who inhabit the area are also safe.
It is important that owners take care of their gardens and check that their trees are healthy and well. If you notice something is amiss, it is wise to call a professional arborist to ask for an expert opinion. It may be nothing to worry about or it may warrant a house visit. What looks innocuous can turn out to be an ingredient for a fatal accident. If you have not heard of the term ´widow maker´, read about it on our blog here.
If you are working in your garden, take note of some of these potential hazards.
1. Heavy weight
If you are moving heavy objects like huge clay pots or piling too much on your wheelbarrow, make sure you do not over do it, and that you are holding your body the right way to prevent sprains and strains. Even seemingly ´light´ chores like raking or cutting can be harmful for your body if done repetitively over a long period of time. Gardening is a relaxing time, not an intense workout at the gym substitute. Keep chores light and in short durations to avoid getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or a nasty give in the lower back.
2. Noise pollution
Go easy on the machinery you use in your garden. Some of them can be very loud and noisy to operate. Your neighbours may not appreciate it and for your own auditory health, it is better not to overdo it and to wear ear protection if you need to use these heavy machinery.
3. Poisonous plants and insects
If you do not know your plants and cannot recognise your insects, avoid getting too involved with them as they can be dangerous if you get a cut and touch them or get bitten. An infected tick for example can pass on Lyme disease which can cause fever, fatigue, body aches and even affect the joints, heart and nervous system. Always wear protective gloves and clothing that covers your arms and legs also.
4. Dirty tools
Check your tools are clean before you garden. And wear gloves when handling sharp tools. You do not want to get the tetanus bacteria into your system. It is found in soil and can enter your body through cuts on your hands. It can cause painful muscle contractions. It is possible to get a vaccine for this, and it is advisable to check with your doctor what you need.
Safety as Responsibility
Being in lockdown can feel a bit like Groundhog Day and when there is a garden, it is tempting to want to get ambitious and plan projects to spruce it up to break the monotony of the days. You may have some mean-looking equipment in your shed waiting to be used, but this is really not the time to use it. In fact, we recommend people not using dangerous equipment if they do not have the professional training to do so, during a COVID-19 quarantine or during normal conditions. As professional arborists, our job is more complicated than it sounds. Any kind of work to be done on a tree requires an expert eye to assess before the work can be implemented. Accomplished Tree Management is licensed to carry out Hazard Assessments. We come in to look at all the potential danger points and we suggest what are the necessary next steps to take. If you have never seen one of us at work, read about it here to see why we need our study, training and experience to perform our work.
With hospitals and clinics all battling an overload of patients, lack of equipment, space and manpower, the last thing they need is to have people come in because of a situation that could have been prevented. We can enjoy tending to our gardens in a sensible way, and ensure that safety is respected. Owners may possess equipment which is already potentially hazardous in themselves, such as chainsaws and power tools. This is not the time to experiment with them, or assume it cannot be that difficult to manage, and end up with a nasty injury that would require an unnecessary trip to the hospital. This means an additional load on the medical staff who are already stretched with resources. Taking care of ourselves and letting the experts do what they do best, be they checking in on trees or taking care of patients, is a small thing we can all do to help reduce the negative consequences of the COVID-19 situation.
We are Open
Everyone is doing their part to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. Make sure you keep yourselves safe from gardening hazards and accidents too. Accomplished Tree Management is still open and available during this period. Contact us if you are concerned about a situation you have with your trees and plants. Talk to us before you attempt anything on your own. We are here so you have peace of mind knowing that there is someone available for the health and safety of your garden.
Stay safe at home and in your garden, go easy on the DIY gardening projects and leave your trees in the trusted hands of a professional arborist. We can make the most of the respite our gardens offer us. Accomplished Tree Management is working with everyone to keep our homes and gardens a safe place.
About Accomplished Tree Management: Tel 0411 443 535
Accomplished Tree Management is based in Port Macquarie and services the Mid North Coast. With over 16 years experience, we employ safe work methods and are certified with Australian AS 4373-2007-Pruning of Amenity Trees standards. We're fully insured with $20 million Public Liability and $1 million Professional Indemnity Insurance.
We provide the following tree services -
Tree management - tree removals, palm tree services, council permits
Tree and garden maintenance - hedging, pruning, deadwooding, stump grinding
Tree consultation - arboricultural reports, hazard assessment
"Staying safe at home ... and in your garden" is written by Vermilion Pinstripes, a sales marketing and communications agency based in Port Macquarie helping businesses thrive with brand confidence.