Bark Up The Right Tree: Choosing The Best Boom Lift For Your Tree Plantation

Warnings about human impacts on the environment get more urgent every year, so it's unsurprising that more and more consumers demand ethical, sustainably sourced products. In this environment, tree plantations and nurseries can be extremely profitable businesses, providing sustainable lumber to construction projects and industrial concerns. 

However, trees grown in plantations must be carefully tended, so each plant provides as much usable timber as possible. Buying or hiring a boom lift is a great way to make tending your trees easier, allowing you to reach the highest branches to prune dead matter or remove pests. However, not every boom lift is suitable for tending trees, so if you're in the market for a new boom lift, you should ask yourself the following key questions:

How large is my plantation?

Sustainable plantations are some of the most environmentally friendly businesses around, but you can add to your green credentials by using electric boom lifts on your plantation. These lifts create zero emissions and can run for several hours on a single charge, making them ideal for use in hothouse plantations and smaller plantations with paved roads.

However, electric boom lifts generally have less torque than conventional boom lifts powered by diesel, which makes navigating over rough terrain more difficult. Their outdoor range is also naturally limited by battery capacity. As such, diesel-powered boom lifts are more suitable if you are running an expansive plantation with large trees, such as a biofuel plantation.

Will I be tending trees with large crowns?

Generally speaking, the cheapest boom lifts are so-called telescoping boom lifts -- these lifts have straight booms that can be raised vertically to great heights. They are ideal for tending to tall, evergreen trees, such as fir or spruce trees, which do not have large, bulbous crowns.

However, many popular plantation trees, such as jarrah and white oak, are deciduous trees topped with large, round crowns. Reaching the highest branches of these trees with a telescoping lift can be difficult, as these lifts lack horizontal reach and force the operator to travel straight through the crown. If your plantation grows more crowned trees, choose an articulated boom lift -- these lifts have hinged booms which are ideal for reaching over obstacles, although they tend to have less vertical reach.

Is my plantation located on flat terrain?

The vast majority of boom lifts are designed to be operated on relatively level ground and can over-balance on gradients of just a few degrees, especially when lifting heavy cargo. If your plantation is located on a hillside or a steep-sided valley and you need to tend trees growing on slopes, you should pay a little extra to buy or hire an all-terrain boom lift. These lifts are fitted with stabilising outriggers and gyroscopes, as well as high-traction, all-terrain tyres, and can be safely used on surprisingly steep gradients.