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When it comes to property maintenance and site prep, there are few items more frustrating to deal with than trees. Unless, of course, you have a skid steer tree shear attachment. These powerful, versatile attachments quickly cut through an entire tree with a single powerful snip. A second snip take the stump down to just above ground level. Or, if maintenance is your primary concern, tree shear attachments also cut through branches.
Other features include single and dual knife configurations, and the ability to bunch and lift trees as well as large shrubbery. Tree shears are popular attachments for landscapers, property maintenance crews, and fire prevention units.
There are two main types of tree shear attachments: standard and high reach.
Standard tree shears feature two knife-like jaws on cylinders. This model operates by clipping a tree at the trunk base. High reach shears have a similar construction but are used for trimming and pruning. The clippers extend and rotate to trim branches growing in different directions and at different heights.
Many models also include grapples and accumulators, which secure the tree after cutting is complete. Cutting capabilities vary according to model and range between 8" and 20" diameter trees. When choosing the right attachment for your skid steer, make sure its requirements match your loader's capabilities. Specifically, gallons per minute (GPM). Don't buy an attachment that requires more power than your equipment offers. Also, look at your loader's weight capacity and choose a shear attachment that falls in the 75 percent range of your equipment's rated weight capacity, since you also need to take into account the weight of the tree. If the attachment includes accumulators and grapples, it's likely meant for a larger skid steer.
Fair warning: pruning with a tree shear attachment is so much quicker than traditional methods (and fun, too), that it's easy to over-prune your trees, particularly when you're first getting used to the attachment. Yes, pruning the canopy helps trees grow taller, but cutting away too much may not leave enough to support the remaining branches. The result is slow decay and death of your tree.
- Avoid use during windy weather
- Cut perpendicular to the tree's grain
- Do not operate around people
- Do not operate on a hillside
- Do not position the loader in the direction the tree will fall
- Ensure the operator is within the appropriate enclosure
- Make sure to cut when the tree is as far into the jaw as possible
- Spartan Equipment Skid Steer 12" diameter tree shear attachment, fixed base, 1" thick AR400 blade, requires 12 to 40 GPM, price range:$2,500 to $3,000
- CID Xtreme 12" rotating tree shear attachment, 30 tons of shearing force, 1" thick AR400 blade, powered by a 5" X 12" cylinder, standard two pin quick attach, price range $4,000 to $4,500
- Bradco 10" Skid Steer Tree Shear, adjustable push bar/brush guard, 1" thick blades, Hardened steel bushing in pivot joint, no flow divider required, price range: $5,000 to $5,500
- Edge Attachments Tree Shear 14" skid steer loader attachment, price range: $9,300 to $9,800.
- Grace Manufacturing 20" Terminator Grande tree shear attachment, 3" pins with hardened bushings, 1” carbon steel blades, minimum 10 GPM, price range: $10,500 to $11,000
- Spartan Equipment skid steer 14" dia tree shear attachment, 110 degrees of hydraulic rotation, 1.25” thick AR400 shearing knife, powerful 6” shearing cylinder, price range: $15,000 to $16,000
Look carefully at the compatibility of your loader and your preferred attachment; not all brands and models work together. Universal attachments work with any skid steer, so you can usually keep the same attachment, even if you buy a loader from a different manufacturer.
Review the warranty, both what it covers and for how long. If the fine print doesn't make it clear, don't be afraid to ask your vendor for the details. Finally, take the time to research both the vendor and the unit before purchasing. Look at online reviews, of course, but also ask others within your industry. Nothing beats the firsthand account of someone who has used that piece of equipment or bought from that vendor. If your industry insider wouldn't make the same purchase again, that tells you a lot.
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