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Knot Tying is an Arborists’ Tool

Knot Tying for Arborists

As an arborist, there are many tricks you learn to tie knots that get you through every job. Knot tying is a tool that all arborists carry in their mental toolbox to ensure safety on the job at all times. Take a look at some of the most popular ones we use. These knots also make us very useful when boating! Here is some insight into just a few tools our Certified Arborists carry with them.

Basic Parts of a Rope

  • Working end – the part of the rope that is being used to tie the knot
  • Standing end – the part of the rope that is not actively being used to tie the knot
  • Loop – The circle formed by passing the working end over itself
  • Bight – Any section of the rope that creates a “U” shape

Running Bowline

The Running Bowline (pronounced “bow-luhn”)  is a different way of tying a “noose” that won’t bind, but can be undone easily. This knot can even be used for boating when retrieving objects that have fallen overboard, or for retrieving objects when climbing. 


Run the rope over the branch, form a loop in the tail. Then, pass the shorter end around the standing end. Go through the loop, back around itself, and then through the loop to form the bowline. Next, pull on the standing end to run the bowline back up against the branch.


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Half Hitch

The Half Hitch Knot is also known as the basic overhand knot, twice. In climbing, when used on its own, it unsafe, however, it is used best when tying two half hitches together. This increases the overall security of the primary knot. 


Pass the end of the rope around the object and tie your basic overhand knot. And… you guessed it… Repeat! You now have two half hitches!


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Sheet Bend

The Sheet Bend, also known as the weaver’s knot, is best used when the arborist is trying to join two ropes of unequal size. The thicker rope will be used as the simple bight, but this knot will work equally well for ropes of the same size. This knot is very similar to the Becket Hitch, however, a “hitch” does not join two ropes together. The best part about a Sheet Bend, is that, while time-consuming, you can make a cargo net from it.


Form a bight in the thicker rope, and hold in one hand. Then, put the thinner rope through the bight and behind the thicker rope’s tail, then do the same with the standing end. For critical loads, always leave the ends long. Last, tuck the thinner rope under itself.


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Bowline on a Bight

We have already discussed a running bowline, but now we have a bowline on a bight.  This knot is used to make a secure loop in the middle of the rope. It will not bind or slip while being used. Overall, this knot is easy to tie, but it is hard to visualize it as it can become confusing.


First, form a bight in the middle of your rope. Then, make a loop and pass the end of the bight through it. Open the bight up and encircle it around both standing ends of the rope. Tighten to complete!


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Remember, these knots can be used in more situations than just tree work, however, even though you now know that knot tying is a tool, leave it up to the pros! Give us a call today for your free estimate!