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You Asked, We Answered: Trimming Trees and Managing Vegetation with MEWPS

Blog Posts - Jul 23

You Asked, We Answered: Trimming Trees and Managing Vegetation with MEWPS

JLG Industries, Inc.
World-leading access equipment manufacturer
McConnellsburg, PA

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is: “Can I use a JLG® boom lift (or scissor lift) to trim overhanging trees or manage overgrown vegetation?”

And, the answer is: “Yes, you can.”

MEWPs for Vegetation Management at a Glance

In fact, there are several advantages to using MEWPs (mobile elevating work platforms) in situations that require temporary access, at height, for tree care work and vegetation control, such as:

  • Offering operators a stable platform to work from rather than a rope and branches 
  • Having the necessary tools readily in the platform rather than having to be hauled up into the tree
  • Minimizing obstructions and/or disturbances to others when completing tree work near 
  • Decreasing operator fatigue by eliminating climbing up and down
  • Reducing the need to have extra crew at the base of the tree to pass equipment up
  • Increasing productivity by reducing the crews’ need for rest from climbing trees and hauling equipment


Know the machine to use

Choosing the right machine for this type of work is a matter of carefully assessing the work to be done and understanding the constraints of the site. 

Answering the following questions can help you make a more informed decision:
  • What is the height of the tree and what condition is it in? 
  • At what height is the operation to be carried out? 
  • What is the distance and angle to the working position?
  • What distance of outreach is required at the highest point?
  • Are the ground conditions able to support the machine?
  • Are there any obstructions to reach up and/or over?
  • Is there sufficient space on site to set up the machine? 
  • Is there sufficient space for maneuvering the machine?
  • What are the ground obstacles or corners that the machine will need to work around?
  • What utilities are present (electricity, telephone, gas, water, etc.)? 
  • Are there any road restrictions?

With these details in hand, JLG’s Equipment Selector will help guide you through choosing the machine for your job. 

Still need more advice? Check out these helpful articles on #DirectAccess to learn more about machine selection:


Know the hazards

Before using any MEWP on a tree trimming and vegetation management project, it is important that you always complete a site and risk assessment, as well as conduct a workplace inspection, to know what the hazards are prior to machine operation. 

Things to be on the lookout for include: 
  • Poor ground conditions, obstacles or existing infrastructure
  • Utilities (electric, water, sewer, gas, telecom, etc.)
  • Possible contact with or arcing of power lines 
  • Wildlife, such as nesting birds, wasps or bees
  • Being struck by falling objects or materials
  • Being struck by passing traffic
  • Pedestrians entering work zones
  • Excessive wind or changeable weather conditions
  • Exceeding the rated load capacity of the MEWP

Know the resources available to help

If you are planning to use a JLG MEWP for tree trimming or vegetation management work, be sure to check out our machines’ Operations & Safety manuals, which contain information on the safety precautions you need to know when using our products in any application, including tips to prevent tip-overs, how to avoid crushing or collision hazards and ways to reduce electrocution risks. These manuals are found online in the technical publications section on Online Express or by clicking here

JLG also provides a variety of safety-related resources, from inspections and manuals to how-tos and safety videos, to support its equipment owners and users. To access essential aerial lift safety and product relating to JLG equipment, click here.

JLG’s industry-leading MEWP training programs will bring safety and confidence to your team by making sure you are compliant with the most up-to-date ANSI standards and OSHA regulations. Through our expert-designed training plans, from online supervisor training to MEWP and telehandler operator and equipment service training, we offer comprehensive programs to fit your needs. To learn more, click here.

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