Raking Up – Is it an Art?

Toolbox Talk

12th December 2019 | Info

I’m laughing to myself as I write this ridiculous article, but I remember when my first boss steamed up to me, ripped the rake I was holding from my young, uncalloused hands and without saying a word, turned his back on me and proceeded to rake furiously like a man possessed. I was this young, keen wannabe Arborist left standing there, frozen on the spot, wondering:

 What in God’s name just happened?’ and What the hell am I meant to do now?’.

I’ll tell you what I didn’t do, and that was ever to rake slowly again, never ever and I  won’t do for the next 30 years.

You would assume that picking up a rake and drawing it across the ground, collecting twigs and leaves would be as simple as it sounds. Well, if you are like me and most of the tree surgeons I have come to know over the years, you would have had some serious raising of the voice debates on the art of raking.

I love a good rake chat, but I’ll tell you what I do not like, and that is someone who won’t rake up the way I want them too. I’m not too fussed on the type of rake you prefer, as long as you use it like I want you to when you are working for me.

I often think to myself:

‘Oh my god. How hard is it to rake up a few twigs efficiently and not go over the garden 32 times in order to leave a nice tidy site?’. Well, really hard, apparently! 

You have to love the look on the new lad’s face when you have a dig about his raking skills… it says;

‘Are you serious?! It’s just raking.’

YES actually, I am deadly serious as it goes. Raking up efficiently can be the difference between getting onto that nice little extra job at the end of the day to not raking up in the dark on a horrible, wet, dingy winter’s evening.

I swear I have had guys with me for years who simply just don’t get it (Ethan). I know I am not the only person who gets this frustrated. Clearly, this obsession came from my first boss, but in a way, I have to thank him. 

I’m pretty sure I’ve never ripped a rake from another man’s hands, but I have definitely stopped someone raking and said,

‘Come on; let’s show you have to rake properly,’ in a joking manner, of course… well, maybe not so jokingly after the 3rd or 4th time though.

As frustrating as I have found it to be over the years, the customer, 9 times out of 10, will comment on how neat and tidy you left their garden and not on the outstanding 2m reduction on a fiddley, annoying to climb tree that overhangs a greenhouse and fence that you have carefully climbed on that wet, windy day, only to receive absolutely no recognition.

It has always amazed me how lazy some companies appear to be when it comes to clearing up as it has always been one of the things that my company has always been recommended for.

People love their gardens, and if you leave it looking exactly how it was before you arrived, they will always appreciate and remember that.

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