Crane Tree Removal – Pros, Cons & Techniques

Tree removal with crane is what I will be discussing in this article, so keep reading.

There are many ways to get rid of that problematic tree of yours.

You could use a chainsaw or hack it down with a regular ax, but there are faster, more efficient means of removing your tree.

One of such means is with the use of a crane.

Overview Of Crane Tree Removal

Tree removal using a crane is arguably the best method you can employ. Traditional tree removal methods take up too much time and human effort.

These traditional methods require too much digging and a decent amount of cutting. In the end, the results won’t be as desirable as that of a crane.

This is not to say traditional methods don’t work, because they do. It’s just that using a crane for tree removal makes a difficult task look so simple.

Using a crane for tree removal also poses no threat to its immediate surroundings. It is safe, efficient, and it’s probably the best means of tree removal since the invention of the chainsaw.

Crane usage has been a mainstay for tree removal companies for decades, and more tree services continue to embrace this method.

I don’t expect tree owners to have a crane parked in their garage, but many tree removal services have one, so you can hire them to get the job done for you.

Cranes require some expertise to operate, so be sure that the service you hire has passed through thorough training and is CCO certified.

CCO certification isn’t easy to come by, it takes patience and years of experience. The crane operator you hire must be skilled enough to tackle the task at hand.

The process of using a crane to remove trees does not have one single format since different trees have different sizes, positions, and accessibility. This is why you need an experienced crane operator capable of tackling each unique situation.

Below, I will list the standard steps required to remove a tree using a crane.

Crane Tree Removal Techniques

Step 1

First, the tree removal crew has to visit the site and do a thorough study of the area, as well as the tree to be removed.

The size of the tree trunk and the height should be taken into consideration.

Other factors they would consider include the elevation of the ground, overhead obstacles, picking areas, distance from the landing, and the space for the crane itself.

Step 2

The next step is to take the crane to the worksite and set it up. A few materials, including plywood and 6×6 wood blocks, will be needed for cribbing and extra height.

The crane should have 5 outriggers/stabilizers that lift it off the ground and provide it with extra support when in operation.

The operator needs to keep the crane leveled all through to maintain stability while working.

It should take approximately 30 minutes to set up the crane. The setup time is longer than the time it takes to pull the tree off the soil.

Step 3

After the crane has been set up, the removal team needs to go over their plan again to make sure everything they need is in place and they are properly set up.

As I said before, each tree has its unique situation, therefore there must be a unique plan for each crane-operated tree removal work.

The climber and the operator will work together to get accurate estimates of the weight of the tree. If the tree’s weight is beyond the capacity of the crane, it will cause the machine to flip over.

The growth pattern of the tree should also be given one more look. The site has indeed been surveyed before, but an extra look could still be useful, since there may be some information that was missed the first time.

Step 4

After all the planning and setting up has been done, the next step would be to remove the tree.

The climber has to fasten his/her support line to a secure spot, located above the ball of the crane. The operator will have to give the operator a signal to lift him/her to the point where the crane will be attached to the tree.

Once the cable has been securely attached to the crane’s hook and the tree, tension will be applied. The climber will now move down to the cut point and fasten his/her lifeline to the tree.

Once the climber is secured, the appropriate cut will be made and the crane operator will simply lift the tree away and drop it at a designated spot.

In the case of transplanting, cutting the tree’s trunk won’t be necessary.

The soil around the base of the tree will be excavated to loosen up the tree from the ground. The cables and hooks will then be attached to the top and bottom (or middle) parts of the tree.

The operator now pulls up and the tree will be out of the ground.

The size of the tree being removed will determine the size and capacity of the crane to be used.

Step 5

Once the tree has been taken down, the next step would be to take it away or see it up right there in your yard.

I assume that you would have already decided on what to do with the tree before its removal.

Advantages Of Tree Removal With Crane

Using a crane to remove your tree is probably the fastest approach you can take. There are several advantages to it, which I will point out below.

You don’t have to do anything: Unlike using a chainsaw or ax and chopping the tree down yourself, having a crane operator come over and pull out your tree will mean you can relax at a safe distance, sip a cold drink, and watch the pros go to work.

It requires no physical effort from you. All you have to do is pay for the service.

It is fast: Removing your tree with a crane will take 5 times less the time it will take if you were to use a chainsaw, and probably 10 times less the time if you were to use an ax to fell a tree.

It removes the roots simultaneously: Cranes are powerful machines that can yank off a full-grown tree right off the soil along with its roots.

Most tree removal methods involve cutting the tree first, then digging around the base of the stump to remove the roots.

This is extra work if you ask me, as digging and pulling out a stump and its roots are no easy tasks to accomplish manually.

You won’t have this problem with a crane.

It is safe: As long as there’s an experienced operator behind the controls of the crane, then this tree removal method is one of the safest you can employ.

A crane (or its attachment) has a firm grip that won’t loosen up unless the operator wants it to. When it grapples the tree, it pulls it off with no chance of dropping it.

Easy disposal: Using a crane, you can easily lift the tree from the uprooted site and move it to the location of your choice.

Transplanting purposes: Most people equate tree removal to tree disposal. Not necessarily so.

Some tree owners simply want to change the position of their tree, and chopping it off is not close to being an option.

A crane can simply lift the tree off the soil along with its roots and move it to the new location where you want to plant.

Many tree removal techniques do not have this advantage.

It is ideal for large trees: This is one of the biggest advantages of using a crane for tree removal.

Large trees are hard to remove simply because of their so and weight. These factors are not a problem for cranes, as they can pull and lift almost any tree off the ground.

Disadvantages Of Tree Removal With Crane

As there are benefits, there are also a few downsides to tree removal with a crane.

A few are listed below.

It is expensive: Cranes are pretty expensive to hire. You can spend between $1,500 to $3,000 renting a crane, depending on the size you want. This may not even include operator fees.

If the tree removal service has their crane, then expect to spend a bit more, since they will include the use of the crane with their service charge.

It takes up space: How big is your yard and how much space does it have to accommodate a crane?

While the crane removal method is effective, it remains a large machine that needs space to properly function.

Floor markings: There is no way such a huge machine will roll into your yard without leaving its prints on the floor.

Though markings are easy to take care of, it is still an added inconvenience.


Tree removal with a crane is one of the most effective methods of tree removal.

It will cost you a decent amount of money, but you’ll get good value for it.

Take care!

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