Tree care professionals have a staggering array of tools to choose from. A quick look at any tree gear catalog will astound anyone! Choices must be made, and sometimes you may be forced to just “make do” with a tool that works just fine for its intended purpose, and in a pinch, well, you do the best you can with the tools at hand, as they say.
One tool I recently acquired is a lift or bucket truck. Some trees seem to be made for this piece of equipment! Instead of shooting a line into the canopy, or putting on hooks and stomping up to the top, you pull the rig up to the tree, engage the P.T.O. switch/lever, lower the outriggers and you are at the top of the tree in a matter of a few seconds. If the work is way out on the end of the limb.and there is no safe place for a climber to tie-in, a bucket truck really shines! As a 40+ year climber, I can tell you first hand that a bucket can save you from sprouting more than a few grey hairs!
I recently pruned a GIANT corkscrew willow, and the ability to safely position myself in such a way as to make perfect pruning cuts to remove the dead branch tips on the outermost portion of the canopy was a joy to say the least. I have climbed my fair share of these over the years and it always seemed like I was driving a nail with a pipe wrench when doing so…
If access is not an issue, and it would be an advantage to be on the outside working in, a bucket is the tool for the job. The difference between a bucket on the job and climbers climbing and rigging a tree down in a removal process can be a couple thousand bucks saved by the owner of the tree.
One downside to a lift truck is access. 25,000 lbs of truck cannot go just anywhere, and care must be given before it can be used on the job.
Trees in the process of falling over can be PERFECT bucket trees if you can get the truck within striking distance and out of the strike zone, as it were.
The other downside to a lift truck is the original purchase price. Like a chipper, dump truck or other piece of equipment, the retail price will make you recoil, but the flip side to this is way fewer grey hairs! Speed and safety are the ultimate goal of any tree guy/gal and the right tool for the job makes this happen, so, bucket truck for the win!
On a side note, water will be at a premium this summer if it goes the way things are shaping up so take precautions to conserve, mulch and irrigate infrequently but deep.
As always, plant high and often…