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Author Topic: Need advice felling trees  (Read 3694 times)

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Offline 101mph

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Need advice felling trees
« on: May 21, 2014, 10:04:07 am »
Hi Everyone,

This is my first post. I hope to learn from the experts here.

I have a cottage in a heavily wooded area and Iím looking to take down some trees. The trees around the cottage are spaced very close together and probably would be considered small (in diameter) by some people here, but they are very tall (over 50í Iíd say).

I would say most trees range between 6Ē-10Ē in diameter, but there are several that are quite large (over 24Ē diameter with a huge canopy).

The problem Iím having is finding a good way to fell the trees without getting them hung up in other trees and having them fall in a direction to keep them safely away from the cottage and power lines. The fact that the trees are also smaller diameter makes using a wedge very tough sometimes.

Some trees are within 10í of the cottage and leaning a fair bit TOWARD the cottage. These trees have me concerned the most (these also happen to be some of the larger diameter ones).

Iíve looked at a lot of videos and have been trying to educate myself in the proper way to fell a tree and to be safe. Iíve dropped a bunch of the ďeasyĒ trees already, but Iím still very much a rookie at this and really need some experienced advice to come up with a plan to keep moving forward.

The equipment I have is a Husqvarna 359 18Ē chainsaw, a plastic wedge, a couple crow bars, a few different axes, and some rope. I donít know if I need to invest in some more equipment or not. Iíve been thinking about purchasing a cant hook to see if that would help in freeing up a hung up tree possibly.

I wish there was somebody that could actually come out on site and teach me how to do this but Iím not sure thatís possible.

So any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.



Offline beenthere

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2014, 10:28:31 am »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum.

Not an easy way to give enough instruction for taking down such trees as you have described without seeing each tree. Most every tree will be different, so a video of one tree won't necessarily work well for another.

If you would go to your profile and fill it out some, then maybe there is a member close and willing to help you figure something out.

We used to do trees by cabins as you describe, but put a good rope up high and had the means to pull the tree in the right direction, or went into the tree and topped it if no clear place to drop it.
Good idea to consider having the electric wires dropped if any chance of bringing them down accidentally.
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Offline 101mph

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 12:13:33 pm »
I know what you're saying.

My property situation looks very similar to the pictures in this thread:
http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,74065.0.html

I'm trying to avoid some of the bad tree falls in those pictures.

I've already considered using some rope to help with some of the direction issues, but most of the time it's just me with no one there to help.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 12:27:44 pm »
Quote
I've already considered using some rope to help with some of the direction issues, but most of the time it's just me with no one there to help.

Make the wise decision, and don't do it without help... You have too many questions of the "unknowns" to be doing this from pictures and videos alone.  Just sayin....
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 12:40:10 pm »
A rope with a come-along can do wonders if you don't have access to heavier equipment. However, trees leaning over a house or power lines are not to be taken lightly. With enough size and lean, they can snap your rope, or drag a vehicle to wich the come along is anchored. Get some help, whether it's a knowledgeable friend, or someone you hire (or someone here on the Forestry Forum who lives near by).  Remember, a profession should be insured for this. A friend may not be - think about where that may leave you if something goes wrong. It doesn't mean a friend can't do it for you, just that you'll want to be pretty confident that they know what they are doing.

The sort of situation you describe is not where you want to be learning the tricks for the first time.

If you are determined to do this yourself, the most important piece of equipment you can have is your brain. I don't know if the Game of Logging training is offered in your area, but it's worth checking into. If that's not in your area, I'm betting there is something similar.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline thenorthman

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 10:27:30 pm »
My first and most important word of advice is... if you don't feel comfortable about it walk away before making any cuts.

In the long run if you do fail, your cottage will pay or you could get maimed or killed, usually all three...

Second, by a couple more wedges, you can always stack em, and you don't really want to be heading to the saw shop with a tree all sawed up waiting for a nice breeze to fall it on the curious neighbors...

Third loose the crowbars, wedges are far more effective.

Forth acquire a come-a-long and some hefty 5/8-3/4 braided nylon rope or better, along with a decent snatch block or two.  with enough rope and a few snatch blocks you can move a mountain, just make sure to learn a few good knots and their uses, start with the square knot and the bowline.  With a snatch block and enough rope you can tie high up in the tree run out to a snatch block tied to something solid (say a stump) and back adjacent to where you will be cutting, then tie off the rope to the snatch block, make your cuts and then reach over and start cranking on the come-a-long, easy peasy one man falling, just have your head about you and plan everything out before hand.

Also you don't necessarily need to have the rope directly inline with the direction of desired fall, a little to one side or the other won't hurt much, this will allow you to use a slightly shorter anchor point if you plan to redirect the rope, if your going for a straight fall, by all means use as long a rope as you can.

Furthermore (gods what a geek)... a peavy or cant hook works pretty good for shaking a hung tree loose, not great but better then nothing, they are also great for many other forms of log moving.

And finally this kind of project should really be done with some kind of supervision, be it a buddy, a disapproving significant other, a neighbor or a professional, at least have someone there to call 911 for you or talk some sense into what your trying to accomplish.
well that didn't work

Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 10:40:03 pm »
 I will 2nd what he just said. Ive seen a few "at home tree jobs" turn ugly. Is there anyone around your area with a tractor or backhoe ? Having equipment, or mechanical leverage will handle your small trees quickly. We tend to do the ugly, 80ft crotched maple's near house's, that gets the blood flowing.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 12:16:34 am »
Like Barge Monkey and The north Man said, if it does not seem safe it is not.  You can not beat the leverage a piece of equipment can provide.  Applying 15,000 lbs (small skidder) at 10' off the ground with a tree pusher is a lot better option than ropes, wedges, or any other hand held mechanical advantage when dealing with trees around buildings, lines, etc.  Personally I hate working around power lines, and having a harvester does not make it feel any better.  Few weeks back a power line trimming company came by to remove a massive poplar that was along side the right of way.  They asked me if I had anything to cut the tree down with - 48" at the butt - I told them if they wanted to use their bucket truck to hook a choker up about 20' off the ground I could use 40,000 lbs worth of skidder to make sure the tree would go where they wanted it to go.  They decided to use the "man with a rope" technique instead.  About half an hour later I noticed a lot of smoke coming from where they were, then a bunch of fire, followed by a whole bunch more smoke and a giant amount of fire.  I was about 1000' away and when the lines started to fall  I was pretty sure one was going to land on my pickup.  I ran as fast as I could in boots and chaps out of there and saw one of their pickups come flying up over the knoll they were behind.  Turns out the "pull the limb with a rope" did not work so well and a big limb fell onto three of the four lines, something like 300,000 volts caused the fire until they burned through and began to fall.  The rest of the day I watched utility trucks come and go while they re-built the line.  Next day they showed up with a grapple and took the tree down the way they should have the first time.  It was only by luck nobody got hurt as there was a guy in the bucket truck when the limb landed on the lines and he had to get down and out of dodge. 
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Offline luvmexfood

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 12:33:13 am »
Welcome and heed the good advice. I have learned a lot from this forum. Before I found it I didn't know their was such a thing as chainsaw chaps. Now I wear mine religiously when cutting.

Bunch of good guys on here.
Give me a new saw chain and I can find you a rock in a heartbeat.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 08:09:42 am »
101mph,welcome to the forum. I agree with the ones that have posted. There is a lot to felling trees.
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Offline thenorthman

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 08:34:33 am »
Like Barge Monkey and The north Man said, if it does not seem safe it is not.  You can not beat the leverage a piece of equipment can provide.  Applying 15,000 lbs (small skidder) at 10' off the ground with a tree pusher is a lot better option than ropes, wedges, or any other hand held mechanical advantage when dealing with trees around buildings, lines, etc.  Personally I hate working around power lines, and having a harvester does not make it feel any better.  Few weeks back a power line trimming company came by to remove a massive poplar that was along side the right of way.  They asked me if I had anything to cut the tree down with - 48" at the butt - I told them if they wanted to use their bucket truck to hook a choker up about 20' off the ground I could use 40,000 lbs worth of skidder to make sure the tree would go where they wanted it to go.  They decided to use the "man with a rope" technique instead.  About half an hour later I noticed a lot of smoke coming from where they were, then a bunch of fire, followed by a whole bunch more smoke and a giant amount of fire.  I was about 1000' away and when the lines started to fall  I was pretty sure one was going to land on my pickup.  I ran as fast as I could in boots and chaps out of there and saw one of their pickups come flying up over the knoll they were behind.  Turns out the "pull the limb with a rope" did not work so well and a big limb fell onto three of the four lines, something like 300,000 volts caused the fire until they burned through and began to fall.  The rest of the day I watched utility trucks come and go while they re-built the line.  Next day they showed up with a grapple and took the tree down the way they should have the first time.  It was only by luck nobody got hurt as there was a guy in the bucket truck when the limb landed on the lines and he had to get down and out of dodge.

Ok that was just awesome...  Stupid people can be so entertaining.
well that didn't work

Offline 101mph

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2014, 08:50:30 am »
Thanks for the advice guys.

Iíve already had a close call so Iím not going to make the same mistake twice. I will definitely be evaluating each tree closely and will get my ďdisapproving significant otherĒ (thatís great :D) to get me another set of eyes there.

Iíll get some of the equipment thenorthman mentioned and see how things go after that.

I already know the trees that I will leave to a professional. It just isnít worth the risk for me to do it. Can anyone could recommend a good pro outfit in the northern lower Michigan area?

Offline timberlinetree

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 06:45:21 am »
For us a rope is the safest way and not just any rope but one made for pulling/ rigging. The size of the rope makes a diffrance too.we sometimes can't or do not have a BIG machine to get to the tree. Machines can be dangerous if something goes wrong. We were working with skidder pushing trees over along a power line row. I was cutting and Joe was pushing. Big ash was giving us trouble,had almost cut thru the hinge and skidder stalled and started running backwards :-\. Scary. When cutting with the excavator one almost slipped off the bucket scary. We have pulled over some monsters with ropes and Roped some big limbs/ tops over houses and never had a problem. There are some gadgets to help get the rope up in the tree which you want to place in the top 1/3 of the tree. Yes there is some clowns out there that will cause a circus. Bailey's who is a ff sponser has gadgets for tree removel. Good luck & work safe!
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Offline thenorthman

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2014, 10:05:54 am »
yep the higher you go the more leverage you will have to pull with.  May have to pull a little farther but it will be easier,  Baileys has a rope come-a-long I've been meaning to acquire for years now, uses unlimited length of rope unlike the cable type where you only get 5-10', which can make life interesting when you run out of pull and still need an extra foot or two.

As a little trick I'll pull all the cable I can off the come-a-long and tighten the rope as much as I can by making a bight and pulling it back on itself (the hook becomes a second block this way) tie it off and the I can start winching with the rope already tight and still have 5' of cable.  Pictures would do wonders but I don't have any...
well that didn't work

Offline Alcranb

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2014, 03:04:40 pm »

Another example of why you let the pros do what they do best. At 59 you can bet it'll be a day or two before he's up on his feet.

CANTON, Ohio - Firefighters used a ladder from an aerial truck on Thursday morning to rescue a
man who was trapped in a pine tree behind a Canton home.

Mark Bagnoli, 59, was a trimming a tree for his parents on 38th Street NW when he was seriously injured and became stuck on a partial limb about 40 feet off the ground.

Captain Dan Reed, part of Technical Rescue Operations Team, said Bagnoli was hurt while trying to cut down a large chunk of the tree.

"All the tree limbs were cut off and he was trying to take the top off, probably approximately a 30 foot section of the tree base, and it came down and struck him," Reed said.

Reed said Bagnoli suffered a fractured leg and there was urgency to get him down as quickly as possible.

"He was in a lot of pain and he looked rather pale. We were concerned he might be losing blood internally."

A fire truck with a 105 foot tall ladder was positioned in the backyard and Captain Reed, along with Firefighter Eric Dyrlund, climbed the ladder and used harnesses to save Bagnoli.

Firefighter J.C. Ward, who initially served as the acting captain at the scene, developed the rescue plan.

"He had injuries. We had to be pretty careful to his leg and hip, so basically it was tie him off to the tree itself to make sure he was secure. He didn't have to worry about falling," Ward said.
Reed and Dyrlund carefully brought Bagnoli down the ladder and he was transported to Aultman Hospital.

The rescue team acknowledged it was a bizarre and challenging rescue that lasted 30 minutes, but they added firefighters never truly know what to expect when they receive a call for help.

"On any given day, you never know what we're going to be into," Ward said.
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Offline Autocar

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2014, 07:57:56 pm »
Try to find someone in your area that can come and show you, if the fellows been around for a while he will know when to walk away for safety reasons. I don't want to sound like a know it all but its better to get professional help then end up in a wheel chair and that would be if your lucky. Every tree is different just when you figure you have see it all one will show you a new way to get hurt.Welcome to the forum and to be honest when I first got into logging I made numbers of mistakes but some how I slipped by with out getting killed you learn by your mistakes. Out in the woods not near power lines or buildings . Be safe and good luck.
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Offline gullydweller

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2014, 08:32:17 pm »
I'm no professional, but for the stuff I do, you can't beat the masdam rope puller from Bailey's it is the rope pulling come along that was referenced earlier.  Pretty affordable too, $50-60 for the puller and then whatever the 1/2" three strand rope is.  I think I have the 150 ft hank and it has been long enough for me to stay well out of reach of the tree.  Use it to help persuade the easier trees and call the professional for the rest. 
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Offline lumberjack48

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2014, 10:46:04 am »
When a person knows nothing about falling trees,its hard to put the 1000 and one things that can go wrong.

I would go up to the local pub and get to know the bar tender, he'll know the best man to get to come and help you out.
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Offline BEEMERS

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2014, 11:31:22 pm »
Id say you got the advice you asked for.Where you live in Northern Lower? Give me a location?

Offline 101mph

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Re: Need advice felling trees
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2014, 12:35:07 pm »
Thanks for the ideas and advise guys.

I'm near Kalkaska.