Tractor assisted tree felling.

   #1  

Bullwinkle123

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Southern VT
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Kubota MX5400HST, Z724XKW-3-54
I have this shed...

DSC_9324.JPG

Scenic, no? I've always enjoyed the way it's nestled into the trees. Or I did until trees started falling on it. Time to clear them.

There is a hill behind the shed. Most of the trees that grow there lean a bit toward the shed.

To the left of the shed just behind that far left magnolia are 2500 gallons' capacity of buried propane tanks. There's probably 15+ feet between the building and the tanks. So if I want to fell trees to the left of the shed I have a "lane" in which they need to fall. It's not narrow, but it exists.

A lot of the trees are small, no problem, I can even push them over in the intended direction with just my body. The larger ones aren't monsters, probably 8-10 inches max, though that's a lot of weight in beech and birch, but clearly care is required. Maybe I'll have to hire most of it out if I can find a professional I trust, though they're few and far between these days (a lot of bad contractor stories of late). I'll be making calls when the snow clears.

I'm not a cutting expert, but I've been cutting trees for decades and have managed not to injure myself, so I'm reasonably careful. I have no block/tackle gear, I'd have to buy things to do this. I have no winch or related attachments for my tractor.

I'm thinking of using straps/cables of some kind to pull the trees in the right direction so they miss the building. The problem is that there is nothing good on the downhill side of the shed to use as anchors. I.e. there are no big trees in any reasonable distance on the other side of the driveway in the picture. If I want to use trees as anchors they'd be to the right and left of the shed (in the woods), forcing me to pull the tree somewhat parallel to the slope instead of largely perpendicular. They're also no larger than the trees I'd be taking down.

So my question is: can I use my tractor (About 3.5 tons with FEL+attachment and nothing on the 3ph) to provide the .... nuanced downhill forces ... and get these trees to fall to either side of my shed? Or is it simply a fool's errand even with sufficiently long straps and I should stricly hire a pro, if I can find one. Would I even trust them to climb the trees to cut them down? Or would a crane be required?

Btw, the shed contains a generator and some substantial electrical switches. This is not a garden shed.

Okay, let the wisdom and memes flow. I'm expecting that wanting to do it myself, for any large trees, is probably not the right thing, but I had to ask since I have this tractor and it'd be nice to save some money. Obviously either way I'll clear out as much small stuff as I can. Pointers to the kinds of rigging blocks I might use and where to buy them also appreciated. Or maybe this is the year of the logging winch setup for the 3ph. You tell me.
 
   #2  

Captain Dirty

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Eastern Mass
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Any tree that grows between the shed and the hill behind it will curve or lean toward or over the shed as it competes for the light coming from the open field. With expert notching, it is theoretically possible to fell a leaner at right angles to the lean. You have disqualified yourself as "expert", and with a valuable generator shed at risk, it is not the time to experiment with dutchmen, reading the crown's mass, etc. "Pulling" a tree down with a vehicle is fraught with risk. Usually the vehicle and line are used to put tension on the tree to move the center of gravity out over the notch and initiate the fall. Once started, the line goes slack providing no control, and gravity and the mechanics of the hinge take over. Driving away fast enough to keep the line taut is, in my opinion, foolhardy.

I suggest your first step is to remove the small (<6"?) stuff you are confident about; then re-assess. (I do not know what piping, venting, etc on the propane tanks may be above grade. Perhaps you could use the smaller logs to build protective cribbing around them in case the trees curve more than the lane you mentioned.) When I try to fell a leaner say at 90° to the lean I will rig a guy or "preventer" at 90° to the direction of fall and away from the lean (uphill in your case). Hopefully this line will remain taut during (most of) the fall and prevent the tree from falling towards the lean. As the tree falls this line will describe a cone and that cone should be free and clear for the guy to work as intended.

The line mentioned is not clothesline; I use 5/8" to 1" line, often doubled, and have shackles, blocks, pullers (come-alongs), chains, and slings and a neighbor who has more as well as some knowledge and experience. I am reluctant to tell you what to buy. The son of a friend went to purchase some gaffs; when they were placed in front of him, he asked how to put them on. The counterman immediately grabbed them back, "If you don't know, I'm not going to sell them to you." As you re-assess after clearing what you are comfortable with, you may decide it is better to hire a well-insured contractor whom you can watch to get some pointers. When in doubt, hire it out.
 
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   #4  

4570Man

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If the line is hooked close to the top I’ve pulled hundreds of bigger trees than that. But you don’t want to just hook the strap as high as you can reach.
 
   #5  

tradosaurus

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Come-a-longs and tree straps? wrap tree strap to tree you want to fell and tie off to another bigger tree if possible.
apply tension and start cutting.
 
   #7  

hslogger

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western oregon
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Captain Dirty is right on target. Discretion is the better part of valor. Money asside, remove it from the equation for the moment. The idea of hiring a certified insured arborist or insured logger is to minimize risk. You hire them to insure they will do the job flawlessly. Yeah maybe you and joe and moe can pull it off with a bunch of blocks and line, using something placed for a deadman anchor.Maybe you are lucky, maybe you aren't. I have worn both hats, proud homeowner, residental aborist, and hard core PNW timber faller. Some stuff you gotta walk away from and hire someone who knows exactly what they are doing and can cover the loss if They screw up.

I wouldn't be all that concerned about the buried tanks but the pipes and gauges and fittings might be damaged by stobs poking down in to the ground. You can crib the heck out of it, put down rubber tires, sheets of plywood, dead pickups and refrigerators.......etc
 
  
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#8  
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Bullwinkle123

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602
Location
Southern VT
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Kubota MX5400HST, Z724XKW-3-54
Yeah, I guess I've concluded I'll do the little stuff and leave the dangerous stuff for the pros.

Now if I can just find someone qualified, which is way harder than it should be in a state with many exports derived from trees.
 
   #10  

Buppies

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Beautiful picture thanks for sharing
 
 
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