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  1. #11
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    western oregon
    currently l4400 stick

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    Hollow timber in the woods is one situation. Hollow trees in an urban situation are a completely different one. Smart cowboy will put a line on it. Really smart cowboy will hire a certified and insured arborist and get two or three bids from those of that caliber. JS the ragman with his chainsaw aint gonna be insured even though he is a nice guy. Might be the best to piece it out, then fall it. You can get a price for the full meal deal, or on the ground only, and you do the clean up. You might be surprised at really how smart you might be to have them chip it as they take it down. Chipping it as they dismantle it,they do it systematically and efficiently. On the ground only leaves you a rats nest that is not much fun to sort out and clean up.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member Deere Dude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Hohenwald, TN
    John Deere 3720

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    I would hook a 75' cable about 15' up the tree and the other end to a truck or tractor. Put a small wedge cut in the tree and give it a pull. It probably won't go over just yet, but may. But then start cutting in the back of the tree while pressure is being put on with the truck in the direction you want it to go. You need a driver that won't panic and room to drive ahead, about 20' or so.

    Cut a little bit from the back of the tree and have him pull. If it doesn't go over cut a little deeper and try again. Do this until you hear a crack or two and see the tree tilt slightly, signal the driver to give it the gas and then back away ten feet or more. It will fall in the direction of the truck almost directly, as long as pulling pressure is on as long as possible.

    I have dropped maybe 20-30 trees close to buildings and hanging way over buildings this way and as long as there is adequate pressure on it, it can only go one direction. If it doesn't land within 6" of the direction of the pull I would be real surprised.
    3720, Frontier 6' BB; 6' Rear Blade.; Loaded tires and Ballast Box; Dirt Scoop.

    X740; 62" Deck; w/47" Snoblower; 42" Hydraulic Tiller.
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  3. #13
    Veteran Member s219's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Virginia USA
    Kubota L3200

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    Re: the comment about a barber-chair, I think that is the least of your worries in this case. If the tree is hollow, there isn't a mechanism to create the shear stress that causes a barber chair. In fact, it's like the tree is pre-bored out for you!

    The real problem with hollow trees is the lack of a proper hinge when setting up the cut. You can get a little hinge action from the outer holding wood, but not enough to bet the farm on.

    I'd have to examine the tree closely before I could make a recommendation on how to proceed. So that tells me you should get an expert on the scene to check things over.

  4. #14
    Veteran Member Treemonkey1000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Renton, Washington
    Kubota L3750

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    I agree with hslogger. His advice is spot on. Now if it were me..which isn't saying much. I would be up in the tree with a strong line. A small face cut which might help me see how much rot is in the center. Then I might do a little bore cut. A lot does depend on how the tree is weighted though. They can rotate on what ever hinge is left after you start cutting away. Wind is another influence. Chain or strapping above your cuts is another thing that should be done..
    Hungry tree fallers with insurance might not be as expensive as a hospital visit or mashed up buildings.
    1st Peter 1:6-9

  5. #15
    Elite Member jimmyj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Allis Chalmers 616 (Two) and a Kioti CK30 HST with loader and backhoe

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    Dodgy bit of work. Can you plunge a small square cut all the way through at the base to see if there is good wood there? (Like a tip in square the size of the bar all the way through so you get a core of wood to examine).

    I'm the cheapest guy in the world and do stuff to trees that I probably should not. That said, not having seen it, this one scares me. When I'm scared, I tend to back away from the tree.
    God Bless our brave men, bring them home, safe again.

  6. #16
    Elite Member The kid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Tennessee Vols Country
    My tractor is an old M... F... and red too.

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    If this tree has any mass above the trunk then you might consider hiring someone who does this for a living. The tree will need to be stripped to a straight trunk. Then removed starting at the top a section of a time till the tree is small enough for a controlled fall. Hollow trees will not fall the way to want them too due to "being hollow" If you start cutting a hollow tree with mass above it, the shear weight could cause the tree to crush downward at the cutting point and gravity takes over.
    Retired and enjoying life with my kids and grandkids -robert
    "life is too short.. eat your cake first"
    My 1965 MF 135 Z145 Refurbish Project with Pics .... .... It's about Trucks... The other TBN
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  7. #17
    Platinum Member CobyRupert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Washington County, NY
    JD 5075E

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    Yeah Kid, it's not really that massive, it "Y's" into (2)-10"+/- diameter branches at about 10' up, above the hollow trunk part. I did consider dropping these upper "small Y's" first and then cutting the remaining "rather harmless" trunk later; but how to cut these branches that are 10' up? -Option 1) build/get some staging to stand on to get up to 10' -but who goes through that trouble? 2) Cut them off from a ladder with a helper pulling rope (this seems like bad idea as branch can take out ladder & you're standing on it w/ only 2 points of contact (feet) with two hands on the saw that's at head level, and you never cut at the right non-pinch angle - been there-done that (don't ask!) ), or 3) Put on my climbing spikes w/ a helper pulling rope (better than a ladder, but you still can't run away!)

    Hmmm: I wonder if 4th option would use a "mortise & tenon" to stand on. - I'm sure there's a better official name: i.e. saw a mortise hole about 5' up and stick a 2" x 6"(or 8") wide plank in it to stand on. That way one could still jump and run if needed? I guess I need to check if the lower hollow part is wide enough to allow a deep enough "mortise" cut to do this. If not, alternative could be to drill (2) 1" holes about 6" apart and stick in a couple of rebars to stand on?
    JD5075E, Frontier RC2084 Rotary Cutter, Wallenstein FX65 Skidding Winch

  8. #18
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    Stand in the bucket or on a pallet on the pallet forks?
    Rent a manlift ($160/day around here)?

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  9. #19
    bcp is online now
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    SW WA
    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

  10. #20
    kco is offline
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Armstrong, BC
    Kioti DK35 SE HST (2011)

    Default Re: How to cut a hollow tree?

    Go to and search for "tree falls wrong way", and then decide if it is worth doing yourself. Plus, the videos are entertaining. Here are a few links to get started:

    tree falls wrong way - YouTube <<==== This one looks appropriate

    Amateur Tree Felling Gone Very Wrong.mp4 - YouTube

    Tree Falls on Cottage 3GP - YouTube

    There are lots more entertaining and tragic examples on youtube.

    If you can safely climb high in the tree you could take it down in managable pieces as already suggested. Loop a rope through neighbouring crotches and a helper to lower the branches. Use at least two ropes to control the fall of the final large stump.

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