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  1. #1
    Elite Member zzvyb6's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    michigan
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    jd 1070

    Default How to top a tree safely.

    I had a few 40 - 50 ft scotch pines blow down in a wind storm last week. Fortunately didn't hit the house but almost. There are still 2 standing 15' from the house and garage. Don't want a next time issue. Insurance won't pay a cent unless they are sitting on the roof.

    I'd like to top them (remove 15' from the top sections). Any thoughts on the best way to do this without getting hurt or killed?

    I have ladders, saws, rope, chains, etc, but I'd like to know what procedures to follow (saw cut(s), depth, ladder security, call a tree service, etc).

    I won't rule out the tree service, either.

    Thank you.
    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "Me" if you want to jumble it up a bit...

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    May 2008
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    412
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    LaCrosse Florida
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    Farmtrac 360 DTC with FEL

    Default Re: How to top a tree safely.

    Please,don't try to do any tree work off of a ladder, if you have some experience and can climb the tree with hooks or know how to use ropes to pull yourself into the tree that would be the way to go, if not hire someone reputable to do the job. Working for the power company I can't tell you how many people I have seen hurt through the years trying to do tree work off of ladders, it's just not worth the chance of hurting or dis-abling yourself. Hope this info help's.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member AchingBack's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    Southern Oregon
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    Mahindra 2615HST
    I thank God for these gifts: 2005 Mahindra 2615 HST w/loader, (485 hours), and 3710 backhoe. Markham tooth bar, Bush Hog SQ60 rotary cutter, Bush Hog 3507 angle blade, Bush Hog LLR84 landscape rake w/gauge wheels, Rankin loader mounted forks, Paumco Quick Spade, Agri-Ease 3 point log splitter.

  4. #4
    Elite Member
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    Jul 2006
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    Northwest, WA

    Default Re: How to top a tree safely.

    Quote Originally Posted by zzvyb6 View Post
    tree service
    I hate heights.
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  5. #5
    Platinum Member ampsucker's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    569
    Location
    Southeast Kansas
    Tractor
    BX24

    Default Re: How to top a tree safely.

    got any friends with access to a bucket lift truck?

    i have a buddy who works for a utility company and they can use the trucks after hours.

    some kind of a deal like that would get you a do-it-yourself price (case of brew perhaps?) and a good margin of safety...

    also, be sure to read up on the arborist message boards for tips on how to section and lower down branches safely.

    amp
    Kubota BX24 (loader, hoe, 60" belly); Ford 800 tractor; Scott's/Deere 42" mower; 5' and 6' rear blade; 54" Howse tiller; 20' 7,000 lb carhauler trailer; 2 other trailers; 5' dethatcher; 10" single bottom moldboard plow; middle buster plow; 600 lb roller; 3pt auger; front tire chains; Stihl and Honda small engine equip.

    Growing with you season by season.

  6. #6
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
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    Grants Pass, OR
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    JD TLB 110

    Default Re: How to top a tree safely.

    Think hard about just felling the trees and planting something else.
    40 Acres on a hill - fantastic view. JD 110 TLB, 4-n-1, 12" bucket, 18" bucket, Addington thumb, rock bucket (doubles as root grapple)

    Not only do we not understand the universe, if someone explained it to us, we would not know what he was talking about.

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  7. #7
    Super Member
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    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
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    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: How to top a tree safely.

    I would think that removing the top 15' of a 40 -50' tree would kill it anyway. Why not just drop it? Or am I misunderstanding and you want to top it to aid in dropping it?

    MarkV

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Treemonkey1000's Avatar
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    Renton, Washington
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    Kubota L3750

    Default Re: How to top a tree safely.

    Topping Evergreens is not a good plan. The new top starts growing new branches that grow upwards. Those new tops or branches don't have the strength of the original top. Then they snap off in the next big wind or ice storm.
    If you are still going to do it have the top stump cut at an angle to drain off water. The water sitting up on that cut top starts a rotting process which will work it's way down. It also allows bugs in.
    Nature has been topping tree's for thousands of years. Those tree's do last a long time. You are smart to try to minimize any future problems. Another thought would be to have the tree "thinned". A climber will go up and thin out branches to reduce the wind drag. That will decrease the whipping in the wind which can snap tops.
    Unless you have a lot of hours sitting in a climbing saddle and climbing hooks I wouldn't think you should try it. Some rental companies won't rent basket lift rigs if you tell them you are going to try and do tree work with them.
    After rereading if you only have two left just drop them entirely and plant something sturdier and further away if you plan to let them get tall. Are they southern exposure type of trees to minimize summer heat? If you want them for that then plant Juniper ?arbor vitae type trees that stay fairly short. They can be good wind block and privacy plants. Pine is really pretty soft to top and let new shoots grow up as mentioned before.
    Last edited by Treemonkey1000; 05-10-2009 at 12:44 PM.
    1st Peter 1:6-9

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: How to top a tree safely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Treemonkey1000 View Post
    Those new tops or branches don't have the strength of the original top. Then they snap off in the next big wind or ice storm.
    Good point Monkey, and Scotch pines are the worst for that.
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  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: How to top a tree safely.

    Best way to top a tree is to call a professional with all the right equipment and who has all the proper insurance.

    I know we all want do do things on our own but, but I think we at times need to step back and hire people at the price of our own safety.

    Many people have tried to save a buck and then either kill themselves of end up in the hospital or wheelchair for life.

    It's sorta like this gas saver vehicle debate of BIG SUV's. When it came time to buy my wife a vehicle she wanted to get a gas saver, but I bought her the biggest SUV they make.
    Shortly after that she was hit head on by a hit and run and she never got a scratch.

    See I could have save money on fuel, but at what price?

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