The Spider Lift Versus the Emerald Ash Borer

Man in lift bucket

We first started calling attention to the threat posed by the Emerald Ash Borer on this blog way back in 2012 when we advised people that “success is ultimately determined by both tree condition and treating the tree before it is challenged by EAB.”

We continued tracking it on the blog through 2013 when it reached Franklin and Cumberland Counties, and then again in 2014 when it was discovered in Sharpsburg, MD.

The warning from 2012 notes that “Our native PA and MD ash trees do not have natural defenses against the Emerald Ash Borer, and trees of all sizes and conditions have been killed.” If you heeded the warning at that time, and you have implemented a proactive preventative tree care regimen, then your ash trees might be safe – as long as you continue to take such preventative measures.

Unfortunately, after seven years of unchecked infestation and destruction, it is likely too late to implement any form of preventative program. At this point, an untreated ash tree is likely already dead or dying, and the only option left might be total removal.

However, even after the Emerald Ash Borer has destroyed the tree, it further complicates things by making the tree difficult to remove.

If the tree is so weak that it has to be removed, then it’s almost certainly too weak to send a crew into.

For some of these jobs, we can rely on our trusty bucket trucks to safely remove the tree, but if there are additional complications on the property such as narrow passageways, budgetary constraints, or neighbors who won’t let us onto their property, then we turn to a specialized piece of equipment known as a “spider lift” or “track lift.”

The secret to our success has always been our people, but the right people with the right tools can achieve amazing results.

Our spider lift is handy for removing ash trees that have been ravaged by EAB, but it also allows us to perform a wide variety of work that would otherwise be unsafe or cost-prohibitive. We can go anywhere it can go, which is pretty much anywhere.

Here’s a look at five ways that the spider lift empowers us to get the job done while protecting our arborists and your lawn.

1. The spider lift can reach a maximum height of 72 feet.

While CVTS-L is comfortable working in trees that are in excess of 80 feet, a 72-foot lift is tall enough to handle most trees that would also be growing in a space so confined that it can’t be removed by other means. This includes most ash trees. There are many varieties of ash trees, but most of them top out around 50 to 60 feet, which – given their structural weakness – makes the spider lift an ideal solution.

2. At less than three feet wide, the spider lift can fit on virtually any property.

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to tree work is getting the arborists and equipment close enough to the tree. No matter how large the backyard is, it can only accommodate equipment that can fit through the gate. Because the spider lift is less than three feet wide, it can fit through most gates, down most sidewalks and between most structures to get the job done.

3. The spider lift moves using tracks rather than wheels, which protects lawns.

Many calls to CVTS-L are the result of weather-related storm damage, and given the record-setting rains of 2018, we need to be able to work in any conditions. Unfortunately, heavy trucks on wet yards can cause deep ruts. The spider lift uses tracks to displace its weight, which reduces ruts, and it is lighter and nimbler than a standard bucket truck. Additionally, parking heavy vehicles on the roots of other trees on the property can damage them.

4. The spider lift can reduce the overall time and financial costs of projects.

Trees don’t take property lines into consideration as they grow. In fact, many of them were there before the houses were built. When trees are growing near property lines, it can be beneficial to have permission from the neighbor to use their property when removing a tree. Without that permission, we are prohibited from crossing the property line, and we have to get more creative with our solutions. Without the spider lift, we would have to rely on brute force to work in a limited space and drag branches and limbs a greater distance, which requires more time and people on the job site. The spider lift allows us to work smarter (not harder) without crossing the property line, reducing overall time and cost commitments.

5. The spider lift keeps our arborists safe by allowing us to remove trees that are unsafe to climb.

Trees that have decayed to the point that they need to be removed are likely to be unsafe to climb. This is especially true for ash trees that have been negatively impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer over the past few years. The spider lift allows our crews to remove trees without being in them, which, in these cases is a much safer solution.

Learn more about CVTS-L’s tree care services here and what you can expect when a tree care professional visits your property here.