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Author Topic: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas  (Read 11022 times)

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Offline Left Coast Chris

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Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« on: January 24, 2009, 02:12:23 pm »
O.K......... here's the situation:   Our English Walnut trees have the Black Walnut root stock.  The graft union is generally 1' to 2' above the ground.  The Black Walnut (claro) is of course the choice wood with fantastic colors and great for wood working.    The trees were originally dry land farmed so the bole or stump is pretty deep compared to other orchards.  maybe 2' deep before they are mostly roots.   They tend to have the largest roots coming off the bole about 6" to 12" below ground surface.   Those larger roots are generally 4" to 8" in diameter.

I currently have about a half dozen to remove and instead of sawing the logs off at or just above the stump Im digging out the tree to leave the stump and butt log in tact then pressure washing and sawing all the way through.   

The issue is how to saw the roots off around the stump without wrecking my chain and bar with sand.  The soil is sandy loam with no rocks to speek of.  Many roots I can dig around, wire brush then chainsaw but many I cannot dig all the way around.

Im trying to brain storm a better, faster way to chop the large roots after Ive exposed them by shovel.     I know a backhoe would be the fastest but that would  be too expensive.  I've used a good sharp axe but too much work on a larger scale.
A stump grinder head comes to mind but for a 8" root the wheel would have to be large which would make it too hard to manuver and Im not sure where I would find one.   Also thought of a chainsaw with an asphalt cutting blade or similar blade.  That may be the best idea but they are quite spendy also.   Another thought is a shear of some type, maybe a solid steel rod handle to give it driving power and a used industrial planer blade or other cutter on the end.  Not sure that would handle the 8"ers though.   

Any other ideas?  I do have a 40 Hp Massey Furgeson with three point.  I made a big single ripper with a chisel about 2" wide but that simply hangs up.

Any thoughts are appreciated..... :P
Home built cantilever head, 24 HP honda mill, Case 580D, MF 135 and one Squirel Dog Jack Russel Mix -- Crickett

Offline cheyenne

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2009, 02:32:31 pm »
You want what you want. So why worry about the cost of one chain but I doubt you'll use up a chain.....Cheyenne
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Offline Tom

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 02:44:17 pm »
I know it is a lot of work, but an Axe is probably the best tool to use in this situation.  Keeping it out of the dirt would be the saving factor, so that it remains sharp.
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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 03:28:56 pm »
Cordless or corded 'sawzall' with long demolition blade. I've done this when helping to turn a pine grove into a lawn. Probably take a little longer to cut walnut ....
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2009, 04:02:33 pm »
Grub hoe and axe, but it isn't too speedy.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline isawlogs

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2009, 04:05:47 pm »

 If you have a friend that has a gas powered ciment saw with a carbide blade ...  Something like the TS350 Stihl .. I have the TS360 and it makes taking roots out a simple task . You can always rent one for a day .  ;)
A man does not always grow wise as he grows old , but he always grows old as he grows wise .

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Offline Left Coast Chris

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2009, 12:14:43 am »
Some good ideas.  Thanks. 

It is amazing what a good sharp axe will do.  Keeping it sharp is the challenge and not wearing out while using it.  Even if I get a couple a day its doable.   That is the fall back solution.

The sawzall is a new idea.  I can't reach out to the trees with a cord but an inverter off of a running pickup battery might work.  I will check the amperage.

The concrete saw would be the ticket if I could round one up.  I hate to rent though.  They are highway robbers with the prices they charge.  Our local hardware store charges about half price of the item for two or three days (ouch). 

I,ve tried some other ways also like waiting for really saturated soil conditions then using a three ton come-a-long from higher in the tree to come out to the base of an adjacent tree.  Its fun but quite time consuming .  Another way is if you have a chanisaw with a bad bar and old chain.  You still have to clean the roots the best you can and try to minimally get into the sandy soil.  Too much of the sandy soil and the chain is dusted fast.    One burl buyer came in with a carbide tipped chain on a chain saw.  He said it lasted pretty well but I never saw him burry it in sand either.

Here is one out of the box....... my log splitter delivers 24 tons of downward force.  I thought of mounting it to the tractor and using it as a shear.  It might work if the shear head was narrow enough.  Better yet would be to buy a salvage larger stump grinder head or a threncher used for doing narrow trenches through asphalt.  Narrow it up as much as possible and modify it to run by power take off on the tractor.  Just work your way around the trunk droping the cutter and the tree would come over.

Thanks for the input....... for this winter I will axe one or two a day on the weekends until I get it done.  I will look for an inverter to run the sawzall or a concrete saw for next year. :)

Home built cantilever head, 24 HP honda mill, Case 580D, MF 135 and one Squirel Dog Jack Russel Mix -- Crickett

Offline beenthere

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2009, 12:34:14 am »
A good plan and a rope to control which way they fall will help too. I took down some oak, and just dug out the top roots, and cut through them with the axe. Then put a rope/cable in the tree and was surprised how little pull was needed to bring the tree over and much of the stump outta the ground. I wouldn't have had to dig and chop as much as I did, don't think.

I'm thinkin the axe is your best bet, and by far the cheapest. But puttin some ideas like you have to work, might just be as much fun in the long run.  8)
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Offline dutchman

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2009, 10:28:50 am »
I've had brush hog blades welded to put a harder edge on,
the neighbor is a certified welder.
Perhaps if the axe is working a harder edge on the axe would help.
The resharp is machine grind only, to hard for file work, and don't over heat.

Offline fstedy

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2009, 11:26:44 am »
I've also used the Sawzall with great success when in the dirt. Its simple, easy to setup, handle and the blades are cheap. Remember that old saying (KISS) keep it simple. If you use a concrete saw doesn't the blade tend to clog and cut slow?
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Offline fstedy

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2009, 11:29:52 am »
One thing to remember if you're using electric make sure the tool is well grounded.
Timberking B-20   Retired and enjoying every minute of it.

Offline isawlogs

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2009, 01:34:11 pm »
 Mine looks like the one here on this link ...
                    
                                     HERE
     
 it is pretty much self cleanning . Now ya aint going to saw a root as fast as you would same diameter limb with a chainsaw with this , but you aint going to be filling either.

  Now , how does one shorten the links to one word or so ...  :P

  You could put one of those on a hand grinder and have a go at it too. !
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Offline DanG

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2009, 01:46:41 pm »
How about using the pressure washer to clean the roots and cutting them with the chainsaw?  You could feed the washer with a 55 gal. drum.
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Offline Ironwood

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2009, 08:00:02 pm »
FLADH,

 That is just what I was going to suggest. I feed it from one of those palletized plastic tanks. Water is the, THE best way to get things broke loose and moving out of the hole.

 

 Ironwood
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2009, 08:52:43 pm »
You could also get a chain like this one (cheaper): http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=CB50+30LP&catID=73
or a solid carbide chain, but they cut slower, and more expensive, and need a special grinding wheel. But they do last.
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Offline Left Coast Chris

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2009, 10:00:25 pm »
Those are some more good thoughts.  I thought about the pressure washer also.  I would need some depth to the holes to take the water.  I will also check to see if my pressure washer can pull water or accept zero pressure on the water intake.  You would think a siphon from a 55 gal drum would work.   Another thought along those lines is to cut the root with a water jet.   Industrial water jets do cut concrete.  My 3000psi pressure washer cuts wood but pretty slowly.  Of course you have to have full rain gear on and a face shield since 50% of the water comes back onto you.... :) :D

The carbide coated chain is a good thought too.  I will price them. 

The problem with all of these is that its difficult and time consuming to clean out below the root especially if it is deep.  The pressuer washer sounds better all the time.

Here is another thought I had.   A hand pump hydraulic shear.   One could be made with a cylinder on a "C" shaped frame (stout) then have a remote hand pump like a pump hydraulic press or porta-power.   You would have to figure out a way so that it would not wedge itself......

Good thoughts.... :)
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Offline DanG

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2009, 10:36:09 pm »
Yep, a lot of good creative ideas here, but I think the cheapest and easiest way is to just go to Lowes and buy a bar and chain for your chainsaw for about 30 bucks and sacrifice them to the task.  If you have worn out bars and chains laying around, use them.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2009, 06:50:32 am »
I can see daffy duck with his dry suit on, goggles, snorkel, and flippers toting a pressure washer and battling those tree roots. Sorry, it's early in the morning. :D :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline metalspinner

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2009, 08:04:54 am »
THE JAWS OF LIFE!  ;D  That will take care of those roots right quick. :D

I like the saturated ground and pulling idea.  Or a stump grinder around the perimeter.
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Offline Ironwood

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Re: Best Way to Cut Roots -- Need Ideas
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2009, 08:25:08 am »
Water / mud slurry will flow downhill ( at least here in the east ::)) , keep a deeper hole off to the side you can clean out w/ da hoe. Yes, full rain gear and face shield/ glasses and ice fishing gloves (neoprene).

 Ironwood
There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love to do, there is only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.- Wayne Dyer