From professionals

How to run an arborist business and compete around the world, Jo Hedger's story

Triple World Tree Climbing Champion, Jo Hedger, joins Husqvarna's H-Team. Alongside competing in tree climbing championships around the world, Jo runs a successful arborist business, Arbor-Venture Tree Care. Read more about here impressive experience!

High climbing – International tree climber Jo Hedger on what it takes to run an arborist business and compete around the world

Triple World Tree Climbing Champion, Jo Hedger, joins Husqvarna H-Team. Alongside competing in tree climbing championships around the world, Jo runs a successful arborist business, Arbor-Venture Tree Care. She and her partner John Trenchard employ 8 people and also run the Arb Training School which trains 300 students per year, meaning her life is both busy and rewarding.

Jo, how do you find time for it all?

It's easy…I found a hobby which is also my work! Technically every tree I climb at work I can potentially be training for a competition, whether its physical or mental training. Managing time is difficult for anyone but running a business means my brain is constantly working. I employ a good group of people who I can rely on and they work hard, which allows me to make sure every aspect of my business is running effectively. I have to find time outside of work to specifically train for competitions, so some people do find it incredible that I climb trees during the week for work and at the weekend for fun.

When did you start?

My father ran sawmills and worked with trees so I grew up around chainsaws and woodwork. I had never seen anyone climb a tree until I went to a Landbased college when I was 17. There I discovered arboriculture and my love for climbing trees. I left college at 19 and started my carrier in arboriculture.
Jo Hedger
Probably starting my own tree care business and seeing how its grown and developed over the last ten years, knowing it was a small idea I started which is now continually growing.

What are the most challenging elements of what you do?

Large tree removals within small confined locations or public areas are probably the most challenging to me. It takes a lot of mental ability to work out the safest and most efficient method of removal, as the climber and the business owner you also have additional concerns for other people’s safety and welfare. The physical side is greater as you are in the tree all day, usually using larger heavier chainsaws with additional heavy rigging equipment. However, your body builds up to this over a period of time and also you develop techniques to overcome physical strain.

Could you give some insight into how Husqvarna products help you in your work?

I have found that Husqvarna have thought about the ergonomics of their users and how they can improve power without increasing weight, and the ease of handling. The recent development of their battery products allows us to work in noise sensitive areas, such as schools, and as a business owner I also have to assess vibration and emission levels. These battery products have the power of their equivalent petrol units however their user friendly advantages mean I am confident to send these to work with the people who work for me, knowing I have chosen the right tool for the job.

Any advice for other arborists?

  • Enjoy it. Come rain or shine you’ll need to keep smiling.
  • Don’t expect to be the best. It’s a long progression to be a quick and efficient tree worker. And even when you think you’ve got there, you haven’t, you never stop learning.
  • Expect hard work. Everyone has to muck in as it’s a team game. If you separate yourself from your co-workers as just the climber for example, you’ll come unstuck very quickly.
  • See arboriculture as a carrier not just a job. I see arboriculture as a lifestyle, constantly learning and working in a unique environment.
  • Pass your knowledge on. We all learn from others, your knowledge and experience helps others, and ultimately yourself.
Jo Hedger

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