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  1. #1
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    eastern virginia
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    B2100

    Default Cutting trees after Isabel

    Isabel blew a number of poplars and oaks on my property so that they are tilted and leaning on ajacent trees. The root ball is intact so when I tried to cut a notch and back cut, the tree just slammed down on the chain saw bar. I managed to free the chain saw by wrapping a chain around the tree and pulling it free and down with my tractor.

    So my next plan is to cut a notch on the up side of a tilted tree, with one cut of the notch parallel to the ground, and the other vertical. Then on the down side, make a matching cut with the cut in line with the cut parallel to the ground on the other side but not touching so that the whole thing is now held by a thin slab. By cutting the slab from the top side, the tree should slide along the cut parallel to the ground, and come gracefully down.

    My wife thinks I'm crazy to try this, but the tree cutters in the neighborhood are gouging everyone.
    They want thousands of dollars to cut trees, and I can't afford them nor do I want to encourage their greed.
    Any comments or better ways to do this?
    Maybe this should be in the safety forum.

  2. #2
    Super Member Henro's Avatar
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    Few miles north of Pgh, PA
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    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    As you now those trees can act in ways that one cannot always predict...

    Would there be any chance of hooking a chain around the root ball where it is still stuck in the ground and pulling it out with the tractor, letting the tree fall to the ground that way?

    How big are those trees?

    Your idea may work, but I wild be very afraid of what way the tree may spring [if it does at all] when you are standing beside it making that final cut, expecting it to just slide peacefully to the ground.

    The image of a fly swatter keeps popping into my mind... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    You just never know for sure until after the fact.

    Be careful...hopefully you will get some good advice here from those more experience in this area... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Platinum Member GregJ's Avatar
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    Washington
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    Kubota B7500/LA302FEL/4672BH ; John Deere LX277

    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    One thing that I have done that has worked for me is to tie off the leaning tree as high as possible and try to pull it away from the standing tree so it can fall. I take something fairly heavy like a trailer ball or a galvanized pipe elbow and tie it to some 1/4 poly rope. Then I throw it over a limb as high on the tree as possible. Then lower the weight to the ground and tie off the 1/4 inch line to some large rope or cable. Then you can pull up and tie off the larger rope up high on the tree. This gives a lot more leverage so you can pull at a right angle against the tree that is holding it up. This is all, of course, assuming you have the room to do all this. Sometime it the middle of the woods this is impossible. Actually, I use ropes on almost all the trees I drop, just so I can make sure they go right where I want them to. If you use rope though, be carefull you don't pull too hard because if they break you have a nasty sling shot coming at ya.

    Greg

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Kansas
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    2003 BX2200

    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    I helped fell some old/mostly dead pine and cedar trees a few years back at our church.

    One guy "borrowed" a huge dump truck from his truck sales lot. We'd back the truck end gate up to the trunk, someone would stand on the tailgate and hook a heavy chain up as high as we could reach. He'd use the truck to pull the tree over. Then we could safely stand on the ground and cut it into chunks. The only risk seemed to be if the trunk fell on the truck, but it was old and used, so no harm, no foul.

    These trees were 50-60 ft tall, best I can guess.

    Best wishes.

    Ron

  5. #5
    Gold Member
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    Jul 2003
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    MN
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    JD 4010

    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    I'm with Henro on this one.

    I'm not a professional trimmer by any means, but used to spend 9-10 weekends per year cutting wood with my Dad. I did this for 20 years.

    In my opinion, a tree very rarely does exactly what you think it will do. There's always a force being applied that you don't see.

    I was once hit in the back of the legs just below the knees by a branch from a tree that rolled unexpectedly. The force was great enough to make me and a running chainsaw do a complete circle in the air. Fortunately no injuries.

    So--I don't have any techinical advice other than be careful--it only takes a fraction of a second for things to get real ugly.

    Good Luck

    Bob

  6. #6
    Member
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    Sep 2000
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    eastern virginia
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    B2100

    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    Thanks all for the replies. The image of a fly swatter is good--I thought myself more like a bug under a boot.

    The idea of a line is one I considered but the lean is only 20 deg from vertical and the nearest limb is about 40 ft up.

    I can't get a heavy vehicle into the area since these trees circle the leach field of my septic system.

    I may just chicken out and see what next Spring looks like. Maybe an ice storm will clear some of this out.

  7. #7
    Silver Member
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    Feb 2003
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    Cazenovia, NY (25 miles SE of Syracuse)
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    John Deere 4200

    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    I lost 60 trees a couple years ago in a freak storm with 100 knot winds. A few were uprooted but most were broken off 20 to 40 feet up and hung on other trees. I only lost 6 trees in Isabel's aftermath. Arborists here were getting $500 a tree to just drop them. I did them all myself without injury or additional damage. That may not make me an expert, but at least I have a lot of experience.
    I wouldn't try it the way you propose. What you describe is a reversed Humbolt notch, it won't go gracefully and you will have no control over the fall. My preference would be to cut the leaner free using a rope saw or a gasoline pole saw (I have an Echo with two extensions that allows me to cut a 12 inch branch 22 feet up) then when the leaner is free and you can control the fall put a heavy line (I use 3/4 inch nylon) to the highest point you can get to with a throw line. I recommend attaching the line with a running bowline then with appropriate blocks fairlead your line to tension the tree in the desired direction of fall with either a heavy duty come along or your tractor. Then use either a regular or a Humbolt notch on the downside of the leaner to drop. The key is to ensure that you have control of the tree and the drop direction and to take your time. Anticipate the worst that can happen, it usally does. If you need/want additional data on sources for the tools or techniques, send me a personal e-mail.
    Good luck and be safe.
    Bill

  8. #8
    Platinum Member GregJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    Elmer,
    Could you post a picture of this. We might be able to come up with a better solution if we could see what this looks like. I have also opted sometimes to let Mother Nature run it's course on some nasty snags in my woods. The only problem with leaving a tree is that it's going to come down some time and it's a lot nicer to know when it's coming down and not have it come down unannounced. I've seen that happen too and it's every bit as scary. One day at our place, not a breath of wind and all of a sudden a 2 ton alder drops across our road. We were lucky nobody was in the area.

    Greg

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Feb 2003
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    Thurmont, Maryland
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    TC35D w/ SS

    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    A leaning tree requires additional caution when cutting.. the log might push/jump back over the stump from the limbs pushing against the standing tree or sometimes even spin and roll to one side.

    On a leaning tree... "most times" a single cut on the upside.. will get squeezed.. but making a cut on the downside is more awkward.. and depending on the rootball(it sometimes has a tendency of pulling back to an upright position).. the underside cut might squeeze up too.

    Every situation is different.. if the tree & rootball are of managable size.. I sometimes would just use the FEL to finish digging up the rootball.. this will sometimes let the tree fall the rest of the way.. def. safer.

    On leaning trees.. instead of a horizontal cut on either the upside or downside.. I sometimes use a vertical cut.. I start the cut on the upper part of the upside in a horizontal position.. plant the teeth and rotate the cut to end in a vertical position. Now this leaves the section of the log closest to you.. uncut.. I then will alternate cutting from the upside & downside of the uncut section to see which side starts to squeeze.

    It's dangerous work.. please be safe.. and keep observers away from the area.

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    frank_f15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cutting trees after Isabel

    u want to be real careful here, trees that are leaning have all kinds of twist in them and they may not fall where u think they wiil, u got the use of a block and tackle? keeps u out of the way.

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