While some tree care companies still get by with a chainsaw and a ladder, more and more are investing in cranes to help with tree care and removal.
Cranes help to get the job done faster, more easily, and more safely, and use of a crane is less damaging to the landscape around the removal.
Cranes can remove trees in tight or difficult-to-access areas
When you picture a tree removal, you might think of someone yelling “timberrrr!” as a large tree slowly tips to the ground. Sometimes, depending on location, access, the type of tree, and more, felling trees is still a viable option (maybe minus the lumberjack-type yell).
Often, however, it’s not possible to fell a tree in this way, due to how close the tree is to a home, roadway, or people. With a crane, the tree doesn’t have to fall, but is instead lifted out of the area vertically, piece by piece, and moved to a drop zone. In that safe location away from the crane, the ground crew cuts down the wood to smaller sizes for transporting and runs the branches through a chipper to be used as mulch.
Removing a tree from the area using a crane means that the likelihood of the tree falling on a building, structure, or surrounding trees is greatly reduced.
Cranes can also lift the tree over buildings and obstacles, allowing the tree removal company to take down trees that might not otherwise be possible to remove.
Cranes are helpful in hazardous situations
When a tree is not structurally sound, maybe from storm damage, pest infestations, or disease, a crane can greatly mitigate the risk. Hazardous trees are dangerous to climb; they can fail unexpectedly and in unanticipated ways, putting the climber at risk. These trees are also more likely to fall apart as they’re being cut down, damaging the area around them.
Safely removing unsound trees is a painstaking job that few tree care companies are willing to undertake without a crane. Not only does it make the job safer, it’s also more efficient and less likely to result in collateral damage to the surrounding area.
Cranes are a specialized piece of equipment that takes knowledge and training
If you’ve ever had a tree removed by crane, you may have noticed that it took much longer to set up the crane than to actually remove the tree. This is because things like the slope of the ground, how soft the ground is, and the size of the tree all affect how the crane must be stabilized.
There are stabilizers on the crane that support it, and sometimes wood blocks are used for additional support and leveling. Having the crane perfectly level is incredibly important for tree removal, as the weight of the tree needs to be balanced.
Note that while crane removal is safer than other kinds of tree removal, there are still risks involved. A climber still has to climb up and attach themselves to the tree, and then use a chainsaw to cut down the tree piece by piece. The branches or sections of the tree that they cut away will be removed by the crane, using a steel cable or nylon strap.
The climber constantly communicates with the crane operator using hand signals or radio controlled headsets. The climber needs to know the weight of the wood to be lifted by the crane, and the crane operator must know the maximum load that the crane can handle. Oftentimes the pieces of a tree can weigh hundreds or even thousands of pounds!
New tree-cutting crane technology
Given the inherent risks in tree removal, even with a crane, we have invested in the most high-tech crane system available worldwide (called Tree-Mek), where the need for a climber in the tree being removed is eliminated. Instead, this remote-controlled crane from Palfinger has an attached grapple saw that can grab, cut, and move parts of the tree without using multiple pieces of equipment or endangering climbers.
You can see this impressive piece of equipment in use in the video below. And soon you’ll be seeing it on Green Vista Tree Service tree removal sites throughout northern Virginia!