Tie Down Those Tree, Please – Give the Rest of Us a Break

I see lots of crazy things on the road. I don’t know if it’s just where I live or the possibility that people have lost the understanding of what it means to drive safely. Take trees and utility trailers. In recent weeks, I have seen more than one tree being transported without tie-downs to keep it secure.

As this post is being written, we are just a few weeks past Christmas. I’ve seen a lot of locals hauling their live Christmas trees to the recycling center in pickups and trailers. I have seen a few carrying their old trees on the roots of their cars. But this isn’t the only time I see such things.

I see similar situations in the runup to Christmas in early December. I see it in the spring, when homeowners emerge from their houses to start working on their landscaping. I’ve even seen it during the summer months, thanks to landscaping contractors hauling trees to construction sites. When tie-downs are not involved, transporting trees creates a dangerous situation for all of us on the roads.

Like Mattresses on Cars

Unsecured trees in pickups and trailers are a lot like mattresses on car roofs. I’m guessing you know what I mean. Most of us have experienced at least one or two occasions of a driver tooling down the road with a car mattress strapped to the top. Unfortunately, the mattress is being held in place by a single rope or bungee cord. The driver and passenger are desperately holding on – out the windows, of course – to prevent the mattress from escaping.

The problem is that the mattress becomes a sail. The wind grabs it and tries its best to rip the mattress from the top of the car. The same thing happens with trees. They don’t collect as much wind as a mattress, but they collect enough to be dangerous.

Even a small tree left insecure in the back of a pickup truck can become airborne with very little effort. All it takes is a bump and a good gust of wind to turn the tree into a dangerous projectile. I have seen trees fly out of pickups with my own eyes. It happens.

Securing a Tree Is Easy

It is hard to imagine that a post of this nature is even necessary. Why? Because tying down cargo is just common sense. Moreover, securing a tree in the back of a pickup truck or trailer is easy. You don’t need a college degree or advanced understanding of physics to do it. All you need are the right tie-downs and a willingness to spend five or ten minutes deploying them.

A tie-down could be a rope or a bungee cord. It could be a ratchet strap or chain. I prefer Rollercam cam straps for their ease-of-use and effectiveness. However, the type of tie-down matters less than drivers making the effort to use them.

Tying down a tree is as easy as running a couple of straps from one side of the truck, across and around the tree, to the other side of the truck. As long as the straps wrap around the tree at least once and are connected to solid anchor points on either side, the tree isn’t going anywhere.

If you are of a mind to transport any kind of tree in a truck or trailer, please give the rest of us a break. Secure it in place with a couple of tie-downs. You will get your tree to its destination in one piece, for which the rest of us will be thankful.