Aerial work platform manufacturer Skyjack is helping The Arboretum at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, to preserve rare trees including the cucumber tree, the first tree in Canada to be listed as endangered. Skyjack recently loaned an SJ63 AJ articulating boomlift to help collect difficult-to-access seeds from the Rare Woody Plants of Ontario seed orchards.
“Our priorities were to collect seeds from six main tree species that have good seed crops this year,” said Sean Fox, head horticulturist at The Arboretum.
Fox, who operated the SJ63 AJ, said the lift allowed for greatly increased access to seeds within tree canopies, not only for areas that were too high to access in the past, but even lower portions that have difficult-to-access angles.
“With the use of the Skyjack lift, we were able to collect more seeds, including seeds on some species that we’ve been unable to access in the past, in about a third of the time,” Fox said.
The SJ63 AJ has a working height of 70 feet, a horizontal reach of 40 feet and up-and-over clearance of 28 feet. The unit was painted pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Skyjack is also donating a portion of proceeds from sales of Skyjack boom sales in October to benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
In the past, the Arboretum collected seeds using a combination of ladders and hooks to lower branches. Staff used a 17-foot orchard ladder, but it was difficult to place within canopies. “With Skyjack’s lift, we were able to access the seeds in a safer and more efficient manner.”
The seeds collected will be used for multiple purposes. Some will be sent for long-term preservation to the National Tree Seed Centre; some will be used in the Arboretum’s Tree Nursery to produce seedlings that will be shared with other botanical gardens and research agencies for future archiving; and some will be distributed to selected tree nurseries to produce offspring that will aid in restoration programs in the tree’s native range.