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How to Cut Down a Tree With a Cherry Picker

Updated February 21, 2017

Cutting down trees is a complicated process that must be performed correctly to avoid property damage, injury or even death. Felling a large tree a small piece at a time in a controlled manner will help minimise the risk. A mobile elevating work platform, such as a cherry picker, should be used to cut down large trees to give the cutter a stable work area and make the job as safe as possible.

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  1. Park your cherry picker in a location away from power lines that is 10 to 15 feet away from the tree to be cut. Place a wheel chock in front of the rear, driver's side tire. Place the other chock behind the same tire. Extend the outriggers on your cherry picker. Hook the landing pads onto the outriggers. Place a treated post under each landing pad. Lower the pads and lift the truck 1 inch off the ground.

  2. Clip one end of the lanyard to your harness. Slip your legs into the harness, pull it up behind you and slide your arms through the appropriate loops. Clip the waist and chest fasteners to lock the harness in place. Manoeuvre the bucket off its cradle and lower it to the ground. Climb into the bucket, latch the safety gate and hook the free end of your lanyard to the safety bar on the bucket.

  3. Lift the bucket of your cherry picker up to the trunk of the tree. Cut the bottommost branches of the tree away from the trunk with your chainsaw. Have a helper pick up the branches and move them away from the work area as they fall to the ground. Continue cutting branches until you reach the top of the tree.

  4. Tie the rope to the top of the tree. Drop the free end of the rope. Have your helper pull the rope at a 90-degree angle to you to keep tension on the tree as you cut and guide the falling wood to a safe area.

  5. Cut the tree into 5-foot sections and allow each piece to fall to the ground. Retrieve your rope and tie it to the top part of the tree before felling the next piece. Continue tying off the tree and cutting sections until the tree has been removed.

  6. Warning

    A harness and lanyard are required any time you are working more than 6 feet off of the ground. Work gloves, safety glasses, hearing protection, and a hard hat are required for every member of a tree-cutting crew. Be aware of falling debris in relation to you, your helper(s), your truck and the personal property of others. Never allow bystanders into a work area when cutting trees.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 wheel chocks
  • 4 treated 8-by-8-inch posts, 8 feet long
  • Harness
  • Lanyard
  • Chainsaw
  • 1/2-inch nylon rope

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.

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