Trees are not only beautiful for a property. They provide shade, fruits, and protection from harsh winds. Yet they need regular care and maintenance. Tree management is one of the facets of human life that technology shapes. Here’s how you can improve safety and aesthetics on your property with the latest technology in tree care and management.
The Benefits of Using the Latest Technology in Tree Care
We can categorize the benefits of using the latest technology in tree care into three. The first is operational benefits. Arborists can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and work with greater flexibility. They don’t have to work long hours caring for trees. Technology does most of the repetitive work. The increased precision reduces waste and thus saves costs. For example, smart irrigation systems reduce water wastage.
The second category is safety benefits. An older report by the CDC shows that between 1992 and 2007, 1285 workers lost their lives while doing tree care. Modern technology can reduce that. For example, you now don’t have to climb trees to prune or trim because drones and robots can do it. It’s now possible to grind a stump remotely.
The third category is customer service. Augmented reality (AR) and 3D modeling can improve customer satisfaction. Customers can communicate more efficiently with arborists and landscape designers. They can be part of the process because modern technology enables creativity.
1. Drone-Supported Tree Surveys
One of the latest technology in tree care is drones. The Globe News Wire estimates that the agricultural drone market will grow by 31.5% by 2028. Drones can be used for tree surveys to detect many issues. For example, drone-supported surveys can detect diseases and infestation. Ground-level inspections may miss some pertinent issues, but drones have a better angle.
Although trees add aesthetics and functionality, they can be a safety risk. Drone surveys can help you detect trees with issues, such as overgrown branches. Even more, you can use drones for pruning and maintenance. Some drones have pruning tools that can help you in lot clearing. They can clear debris. You can get better precision even at an elevated position, which could save you from the risk of climbing.
You can also use drones for landscaping design and planning. For example, you can get a 3D map of your property to plan where certain trees go. You can get a model of your property before making any changes. As with such technology, it’s best to follow the instructions carefully.
2. 3D Modeling for Landscape Design
3D modeling for landscape design uses computer software to model outdoor spaces. Landscape designers use this technology to visualize a space’s appearance before work starts. According to Autodesk, correcting flaws and adding details with 3D modeling is easier. If you are planning changes in your trees, 3D modeling is one of the latest technology for tree care you should use.
Apart from visualizing the landscape, 3D allows accurate measurements and calculations. For example, if you want the trees evenly spaced, you’ll have less room for error with 3D modeling. Even more, you can detect issues before any work begins. 3D modeling also allows for experimenting with different options. Conventional 2D models required too many prototypes, so creativity was limited. But now, thanks to tools such as SketchUp Pro and Lumion, you can try different designs until you have one you love.
Some design firms have the technology to take you on a virtual tour of your future garden. Isn’t that cool? They can also render your outdoor designs in 3D. The same technology is used in public parks and recreation facilities. The government is experimenting with 3D modeling, so you can be sure it’s a solid technology. You can check out Virtual Brisbane to get a taste.
3. Tree Health Monitoring Technology
Tree health monitoring is essential, especially when dealing with safety-related issues. Yet conventional methods such as visual inspection, sounding mallet, and micro-drilling have limitations. Sonic tomography, resistograph, and imaging are the latest technology in tree care. Sonic tomography involves using sound technology to visualize the tree’s interior. The technology offers better accuracy for property owners considering tree removal.
A resistograph measures the tree decay and density. Yet, it’s limited since it provides results for only a single part of the tree. Still, it can assist in creating a targeted plan for treatment. Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging detects photosynthetic activity. Thus, you can know the health of a tree, even on elevated parts. Thermal imaging is also a modern technology that detects the temperature of a tree. So you can detect any issues with a tree.
Tree monitoring technology can help you detect issues before they become serious. If you remove the tree, you’ll have accurate information to back you up. According to Utility Products, sonic tomography offers more accuracy and less invasion. Even more, you can understand the tree’s growth pattern and health.
4. Machine Learning for Decision Making
Machine learning is one of the latest technology in tree care. It has limitless possibilities in agriculture. A study published in Nature suggests that machine learning could advance agricultural research. One of the places machine learning can find use is predictive analysis. Arborists may use tree growth data and weather patterns to make predictions. Algorithms may also be useful in identifying trees at risk.
A tree care company can use machine learning for automated tree management. Automation may be more helpful for people with a large population of trees. It’s time and cost-saving even for owners with a smaller tree population. For example, machine learning can help automate watering, fertilizer application, and pruning. It is possible to prevent issues from developing by using predictive analytics.
Smart irrigation systems depend on machine learning to schedule irrigation. A smart system optimizes scheduling to cut waste. It detects soil moisture and sun exposure before delivering water. Since smart irrigation systems depend on real-time data, there’s less risk of over-watering. Thus, water is delivered at just the right time.
5. 3D Tree Mapping Technology
Another of the latest technology in tree care is 3D tree mapping. It uses software to create a three-dimensional picture of the tree and its environment. It helps assure the structural integrity of the tree. You see, if you have a large tree on your compound, you can’t have a conclusive view of your tree even if you climb to the top. 3D mapping helps you scan the tree’s environment and detect potential risks. 3D mapping technology uses sensors such as hyperspectral imaging and LIDAR.
The technology helps improve safety and measure a tree’s biomass. Thus, it saves time and money and reduces risk. Even more, it can help in tree management. For example, 3D tree mapping can help you identify the best planting spot. It can help you visualize how the trees will space out as they grow. You can use it to schedule tree corrective pruning and even track tree growth.
If you have a larger forest, you can use it to assess the tree cover. 3D mapping is a fast-growing field with applications in many facets of human life. In the future, we may see more integration with AI and other technologies.
6. Augmented Reality to Show Plans to Customers
Augmented reality (AR) has gained popularity in many applications. Lately, it’s found its way to tree care. A report by Markets and Markets estimates that AR may experience a growth rate of 31.5% between 2023 and 2025. AR use will increase as more people look for efficient tree management.
AR helps people visualize a product’s appearance after application. For example, say you were shopping for oriental shrubs. An arborist can use AR to help you visualize your backyard with a specific species of oriental trees. Such technology can help improve tree services. Customers can visualize the product and then highlight their concerns. Thus, they’d be more satisfied with the product and the arborist’s services. It can improve communication since customers will know what they want.
Some tree care companies have started implementing AR in customer service. They use AR to identify areas of improvement. For example, would you prefer a canopy or spaced-out trees? AR has capabilities of integration with other technologies. This latest technology in tree care is already improving customer satisfaction.
7. GPS Tracking for Tree Removal Equipment
GPS tracking has grown popular in many facets, including agriculture. The GPS World says if GPS is used on 10% of planted acres in the US, it could save water fuel use by 16 million gallons yearly. Tree care companies are already using GPS tracking for tree removal equipment. GPS tracking devices can create virtual boundaries. Thus, an alert is sent every time the equipment leaves these boundaries.
GPS tracking can send specific metrics such as fuel usage and maintenance schedules. Using active GPS can give equipment owners real-time updates on the equipment’s location. Passive GPS stores location information for later analysis. It might take GPS tracking some time, though, to integrate with tree removal equipment. This latest technology in tree care is still costly, but as its use increases, prices are likely to lower.
Yet there’ll be time and cost savings for emergency tree service companies that use it. Real-time tracking improves efficiency and productivity. Workers’ safety may also increase because of real-time monitoring. For companies working on a project basis, GPS may improve customer satisfaction. They can receive real-time data on how the project is advancing.
8. Robotics in Tree Pruning and Removal
Robots are the future. And agriculture is not shy to tap into this latest technology in tree care. A Markets and Markets report estimates that the agricultural robotics market will reach $11.7 billion by 2026. As technological advancements increase, AI-powered robotics will make whole-tree assessments. AI will make it easier to analyze many data sources to make more informed decisions. For example, AI-powered robotics can provide accurate reports that inform pruning decisions.
Agricultural robotics can help in tree pruning and removal automation. As a start, drones are useful in site surveying and planning. Tree robots may come with automated chain saws that prune with precision. Climbing robots come in handy during shrub removal. Now, it’s possible to remove stumps with remote-controlled stump grinders. Thus, you can get the job done while protecting workers.
Apart from safety, tree robots improve efficiency and speed. While the robots still need human intervention and guidance, they reduce labor costs. When pruning, they can offer higher precision than humans would and in less time. You can even prune tree areas that are hard to reach. It’s also possible to prune and remove trees of all sizes.
9. Tree Inventory Management Software
Tree inventory management software is one of the latest technology in tree care. It helps arborists track all the trees under their care. It may have information such as health status, species, location, and maintenance history. Inventory software is a time and cost saver for an arborist with many trees under their care. It provides a decentralized management system that’s efficient and manageable.
A tree inventory software program can help an arborist prioritize care based on urgency and budget. For example, they can begin with trees with symptoms of pest infestation. Visualization tools can come in handy during tree planting. Tree inventory software can also be integrated with GIS technology. Thus, an arborist can assess how trees are distributed.
To bring it all together, the latest technology in tree care is revolutionizing how we think of trees. It’s now possible to provide care remotely. Arborists, property owners, and even institutions are already using these technologies. We can only expect these technologies to advance more in the future. For example, we can expect more AI and machine learning integration in tree care. Even more encouraging is the possibility of reducing deforestation using modern technologies.