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Question DetailsAsked on 8/20/2012

Do we have to have a crane to remove a large ear tree? One company stated this as well as a 13k tab for tree removal of 3.

We have had several bids from certified arborists, however not all of them have this kind of equipment nor said we have to use a crane. We were also told by this company that during a storm, the tree would lift our house. My husband seems convinced this is the only "safe" way to remove the tree. I am wondering if the tree can safely be removed in sections without a crane as they want to cut another healthy tree as well so that they can get the crane onto our property. I agree that the tree is a problem, but is there a less drastic (and less expensive) way to deal with it?

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2 Answers


Depending on the size of the tree, the position in your yard- i.e.; directly next to your home, hanging dangerously over you house, or the condition of the tree (dead, dying, decayed, cracked, etc). A crane may be the only safe choice. A certified arborist that has recommended a crane, has experience using one. This is a great choice- most often it is much safer to utilize a crane to lower the cut debris.

The key to understand with cranes is the distance from where the crane must set up to the tree- the larger the distance, the larger the crane needed to complete the task. The crane pictured above- was positioned approximately 120' from the tree and had to extend the boom almost all the way out to reach the target. The tree that was removed with this crane weighed approximately 14 tons. The crane pictured has a rating of 150 tons- it is a $1.8 million machine.

Answered 6 years ago by outonalimbts


It is very rare that you HAVE to use a crane - generally only in cases where overlying criticla utility infrastructure or glass roof or such where any dropped piece could cause major damage. In almost all cases the tree can be guyed off and climbed, a jib boom lashed to the tree to support cut pieces, and the tree cut down from the top down in small segments that can be jib boomed to the ground - or if not right over something that would be damaged, just cut down in 3-6 foot sections and dropped or roped to the ground. In other cases a manlift or bucket truck (like utility companies use) can be used to cut the tree into small pieces that are broought down by line from the bucket. Many trees right next to and overhanging houses are cleared in one of these ways - including without ever standing on or touching the roof if necessary, like for glass or slate or shake or very steep roofs.

However, that being said, it can sometimes be cheaper to use a crane and remove a tree (or many) in an hour or less per tree than spend a day for 2-3 guys to cut the tree down in segments by topping. That is why getting multiple bids is good, as if you allow each contractor to come up with his own solution you may get a cheaper quote fromone of them because of his unique equipment, capabilities, or experience. Around my place there are several tree services - one commonly uses guy ropes or chains and a vehicle pulling on it to do controlled felling into open areas or slots between trees or alongside houses, a couple commonly do top-down cutting, one commonly uses fewer men and a crane they own - all have similar costs in general but for specific jobs may vary from each other by 50-100% on bids, depending on how well they see their favored technique working for that specific location.

I have had many jobs where there was a 2:1 difference in responsive (capable contractor) bids, and for some remote site, military and exotic jobs as much as a 10 fold difference in bids - all functional and do-able, but using specific equipment or techniques they are comfortable with some contractors can drastically underbid others for the same final product, sometimes with unbelievably different solutions to the same scope of work.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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