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Author Topic: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees  (Read 1789 times)

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Offline maple flats

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Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« on: October 24, 2017, 09:14:36 am »
I have 2 trees, a large maple and a large cherry to take down. The large maple (about 36" dbh) and the cherry (about 30" dbh) both have large cavities in the trunk. I'm trying to decide how to safely take them down. I don't have enough on any side to cut a dependable hinge nor is there enough solid wood to use wedges to push either tree over. I'm thinking I might use a ladder to hook a good cable up high, then pull from over 100' away using my brother's 10,000# skid steer with a 8800# pull logging winch on it, with my brother running the winch as I cut the tree. Still studying that idea.
I need to remove these trees because I putting in a storage barn with a blacksmith shop on the back, a lean-to roof for farm equipment on one side and a walk in cooler for syrup storage on the other which would be destroyed if the trees fell in it in the future. Both trees are in the woods, but in the middle of an old "junk yard" from a previous owner. I've cleaned some up but there's still lots of old broken glass and rusted tin. This is likely from long before the 50's because I used to spend time in these woods when I was 10-15 and the dump was old then.
Any suggestions? As mentioned I have access to the 10,000 skid steer with a Fransgard V4000 winch on the back, and an 8000# excavator. For the last 8 years or so, I've used the excavator to push up about 10-12' high to get trees to fall in the right direction instead of wedges but these would be fool hardy to try that way. Each has a cavity from the ground up, the maple has maybe an opening of 10-15" into the cavity on one side and it appears the remaining live wood is only 4-6" thick the rest of the way around. On the cherry, a similar spot in the trunk, but while the center is soft it has not yet rotted away, so on that I don't even know how much good wood it there. On the maple the hollow extends up about 8-10' and on the cherry the dead face goes up maybe 2' higher. This being said, the upper part of the trees look somewhat normal, no major dead or dying limbs.
I suspect something either in the dump or maybe an old logging injury caused the damage, but that was long before I owned it.
I have completed courses 1 an 2 of the Game Of Logging, but this is beyond the scope of what I learned in those.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline Weekend_Sawyer

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2017, 12:35:55 pm »
Hollow trees that big are scary.

I would try and get a price to have someone drop them for me.

Jon
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Offline TKehl

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 01:24:20 pm »
I think I'd get a quote on a "cut and drop" from a tree service before proceeding.  They can be pretty darn reasonable especially if there is good access and can be dropped in large sections.

These are big enough that I don't know if I would cut them.  If I did, I would proceed with extreme caution.  Maybe a plunge cut to see how much good wood is really there and a large wedge.  The re-evaluate the tree service bid.

I agree with pulling the trees over if you do decide it yourself.  I would want to be away from the trunks as much as possible.  Cut a bit, pull, if it doesn't come over slack the line, cut a bit more... repeat as needed.  Go slow.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 03:20:32 pm »
If access is good then it wont take long for someone with a bucket truck to take the tops out and lay the trunks  on the ground. That would be the safest option.

Otherwise


I agree with pulling the trees over if you do decide it yourself.  I would want to be away from the trunks as much as possible.  Cut a bit, pull, if it doesn't come over slack the line, cut a bit more... repeat as needed.  Go slow.

Yeah, this sort of thing. Set the rope first and just take the slack out. You don't want to be cutting when there is tension on the rope as that can cause the tree to come apart in an unpredictable way. If you are 2 tree lengths away working the winch and the trunk snaps in 1/2, at least it wont fall on your head. Then do a very shallow notch, even if the middle is missing, the two sides should still act as hinge wood. Then make a back cut, wedges and the rope to support the tree.

Next walk around the long way to your winch and give it a pull. If it wont come over, ease off the tension and whittle a bit more. Don't walk through the fall zone once you've started cutting.

But it really depends on how hollow the trunk is. If it's only just holding the tree up as things are, the hinge wood can collapse before it should, and then things go pear shaped fast. Having the rope set and a light tension on it still gives some direction control, and of course make sure you have clear escape paths planned.
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Offline Riwaka

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2017, 03:56:55 pm »
If you are not going to blow out the neighbour's windows with the shock wave or otherwise have a swat team or TAF, FBI, DHS etc called out, you might consider explosives if the conditions are right, otherwise it might be an expensive bind the tree at the bottom and lift the top off piece by piece with a large crane.

Explosives


High arm bucket and tree rigged (but not under tension) to skid steer to control fall away from high bucket if the butt does collapse.
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Offline Stuart Caruk

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2017, 05:13:18 pm »
Hard to go wrong with explosives. 4 or 5 wraps of primer cord would probably be fine on a rotted tree.
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Offline luvmexfood

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2017, 05:27:11 pm »
Would it be feasible to rent one of the pull behind bucket lifts and go up in the tree and cut your way down.
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Online mike_belben

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2017, 05:56:31 pm »
Pics. 

Consider drilling some holes to see how much solid vs dirt wood you got in there.

Offline maple flats

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2017, 07:24:12 pm »
No chance for a tree bucket truck to get close enough. I think I'll follow TKehl's approach. I studied it closer today, it appears the maple may have enough solid wood to cut a shallow wedge' Then I'll get the winch cable up at least 25' in the tree. I'll have my brother put some light tension on the cable, then I'll cut from the back about 6" in, stand well back and have him pull. If it won't come, I'll repeat maybe 4" deeper with light pressure and the get away and pull again. I'll keep repeating until it's down, then I'll repeat with the cherry using the same method. I think both are solid enough to allow a shallow wedge cut to help it go in the right direction. I'll try to get pictures after they are on the ground.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2017, 07:32:44 pm »
Don't pull hard with the winch . When I drop a dead or problem tree I snug up the cable cut a wedge out and hinge it on each side . cut and leave a good hinge then pull it down . Most times the weight of the cable will pull it down without any more pulling .
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Offline GAB

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2017, 07:46:17 pm »
Using a winch to tug on it is great, however once it starts to go you can not reel in the cable fast enough therefor you lose control.
Be careful.
Gerald
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Offline Maine372

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2017, 09:01:16 pm »
you got a 10k lb skidsteer? build a road to the tree, get a bucket truck got to get them on the ground for you. well worth you not taking on the risk to have the guy with the training and insurance do it. and he will appreciate the not beating up his truck.

Online mike_belben

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2017, 09:04:32 pm »
Park the skid steer at an offset to the tree and make sure hes got some get away room to zip backwards if the tops are comin at him.  Itll also help keep it pulling as the cable slacks, as mentioned.

Offline Ianab

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2017, 09:49:19 pm »
Park the skid steer at an offset to the tree and make sure hes got some get away room to zip backwards if the tops are comin at him.  Itll also help keep it pulling as the cable slacks, as mentioned.

Or even better, get a longer cable (or 2)

And make sure you brother KNOWS the plan, he only winches when you have walked clear and given him the "go" signal. If it doesn't come down first time, he needs to slack off most of the tension and wait while you cut some more, get clear again, and another go signal. There is a chance the tree will break apart or barber-chair when it's pulled. As long as both of you are well clear that's not a big problem.

Quote
Using a winch to tug on it is great, however once it starts to go you can not reel in the cable fast enough therefor you lose control.
Be careful.
Gerald

Agreed, if the hinge wood is compromised it can break off early, the cable has gone slack, and gravity is left in charge. But if everyone is clear and it's falling in the right general direction, it's OK. Be very careful if you need accuracy in the felling. (you might not get it)
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Offline maple flats

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2017, 08:43:58 am »
The winch cable is 165' long and he'll be at least 125' out away and he can easily drive forward to get farther away, in fact once he gets set I might just have him drive a little rather than operate the winch. Both trees are under 100' tall and if either goes sideways nothing will be harmed except maybe some junk or a beech or hemlock. The ground is just too soft to get a bucket truck in there and it would take far too much to build a road. His skid steer is on high flotation tracks and he can drive thru wet areas and even cross swamps with it. He has an ASV 85 PosiTrak which only puts 3.5#/sq inch on the ground. The pull would be towards a seasonally wet area, but even in a drought it is still quite damp. In that area I can only drive my 4x4 tractor in the winter and then only if the ground freezes.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline BigBurOak

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2017, 10:59:51 am »
The way I always does it is cut and run or climb up and cut from the top down.






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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2017, 07:50:26 am »
Drill a hole in the bottom, but a 5 pound jug of tannerite in it, and shoot it with a 30.06 from 100 yards out. Problem solved.
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Offline GAB

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2017, 08:02:55 am »
Drill a hole in the bottom, but a 5 pound jug of tannerite in it, and shoot it with a 30.06 from 100 yards out. Problem solved.

Might work, however it may leave him with other less desirable consequences.
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Offline maple flats

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2017, 06:42:13 pm »
We're going to try dropping the trees the week after next. It turned out I remembered the issues wrong. The maple tree is far more solid in appearance, the bad part has almost closed up. I still don't trust the integrity of the trunk. That one goes first. The the cherry was the worst one, when I walked up to check it, I actually pulled a rather large chunk of rotted center out by hand (about 12" across and 7' long. It came out about from about a foot to about 8' up in one chunk. The bad portion higher up hung in there. I guess one thing is in my favor, both trees have their best face on the side I want to make a hinge. I'm just hoping I can get it with my bigger saw with a 34" bar (Husky 365) and full skip chain. Cutting rot is like hitting dirt, you lose sharpness real quick. My other 2 saws are a Husky 359 and I'll put my 24" bar on with full skip, and my 543XP but my longest bar for it is their std 18". If the 365 dulls too soon, and I feel the tree is still supported well enough I'll put on a new chain. I think I have just 3 for that saw. For the 359 24" I only have 1 chain, but changing down to a 20" bar I have 20+ loops. Some way or other I won't run out of sharp chain on this project.
My brother and I have worked together for a whole bunch of projects, we always work out our signals ahead of time.
I'll move over 150' away, out the back side before I have him pull.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Online teakwood

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Re: Looking for a safe way to drop 2 problem trees
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2017, 09:40:39 am »
i don't think that you will have to change chains within the one cut. maybe she dulls a little but you will be good to finish the cut