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Safe way to cut blown down tree

Discussion in 'Commercial Tree Care and Climbing' started by ShawnK, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. ShawnK

    ShawnK ArboristSite Lurker

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    I have an oak tree that has blown down and been uprooted. Is there a relatively safe technique for removing it? My concern is that the root-ball (about 4 1/2 ft diameter) will naturally want to fall back into the hole. How can I let gravity take it's course without taking me with it in the process? Here are the approximate details of the tree:
    -60 ft
    - main trunk about 3 ft tall/ 28" diameter
    - 3 branch sections come off of the main trunk and are approx 16" each at the widest point
    - The tree is laying flat in an open field, and there are relatively few limbs along the trunk until rather far at the top--no serious springpoles that I can see. My plan is to limb it at the top and leave the bulk of the main trunks intact before worrying about separating it from the rootball.

    Any advice?
     
  2. Brock2saws

    Brock2saws ArboristSite Lurker

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    Awwww Man!!

    I've been cutting plenty of blown down trees since the hurricane hit here in Halifax last Sept.

    There's nothing quite like taking that ride after topping out a big conifer at a 45d angle. Hold on Brother, and be sure to cut those limbs flush to the trunk where you think you'll end up once the top comes off.

    And BTW, you'd better bore cut that trunk if there's a severe lean, otherwise, we're likely to read about you in the "fatalities" section.

    All kidding aside. Taking down a tree that's sound and standing straight can be relatively easy, but it still gets some ppl into trouble. Taking out a storm damaged tree is a completely different animal.

    You're description leads me to believe you're handy with a chainsaw. But there's no way I could give you advice on how to tackle a downed tree without saying--leave this one to someone who won't have to ask.

    Cheers,
    BAB
     
  3. ms200

    ms200 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Not a tip here ...... more common sense.... start cutting the top of the tree first, keeping your feet clear and eventually the tree will lift up and back into the hole....................then fell the stump
     
  4. ms200

    ms200 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Believe me 25 yrs experience in windblow :)
     
  5. arboromega

    arboromega ArboristSite Operative

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    cut everything not under stress first
    then cut prssure wooduntil you reach close to stump
    make an open face wedge on trunk side to ground
    the when you cut from top side to ground side the log should come off and on a tree that size the stump should fall back into the hole it left...get out of the way
     
  6. rumination

    rumination AboristSite Guru

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    Sounds like some explosives drilled into the trunk right near the base of the trunk would solve your problem nicely.:cool:
     
  7. ccooperabbs

    ccooperabbs ArboristSite Lurker

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    Select and clear suitable ecsape routes, clear debros and obstructions to create an adequate working are and check for small trees pinned by the windblown trees. Relieve tension in these before dealing with the larger one. Look out for dead woood, insecure branches and broken tops in the windblown tree and if any with adjacent trees. Be constantly aware of the likely danger, especially when the tree begins to move. Be laret to the possibility of stem movement caused by pressure of, or removal of, other material. When the root plate overhangs your work position, anchor it back securely before severing the stem. When severing the stem, always make the inital cut into the compression wood. On bent stems and branches, identify where tension and compression wood occurs. Remember that enormous power may be released by cutting into the tension wood of even relatively small material. When there is the danger that the stem may spring upwards, make the final severing cut into the tension wood at least 25mm away from the first (compression) cutand into part of the stem that is least likely to move. A series of cuts may be made on the compression side to relive excessive tension in the stem. When side tension is present in a stem, stand on the compression wood side to make the final cut. At any time when the side tension is considerable, restrain the stem with a winch or similar. When the tsem diameter is greater than the guide bar length, a reducing cut shoudl be made which leaves the remaining portion slightly less than the effective guide bar length.
     
  8. Burnham

    Burnham ArboristSite Operative

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    If you have correctly read the bind, and are sure the rootwad wants to set back into the hole, I'd do it about like this:
    Take about 1/3 of the diameter in an offside cut, then take a slim wedge out of the bottom, making sure you don't cut so deeply as to get the bar bound. Now use a few inches of the bar tip to take out some of the diameter on your side, in alignment with the offside kerf. Then cut down from the top, being sure to keep in line with both kerfs. Use a long bar and only commit as much bar as you must to reach your offside cut, this will allow you to stay a bit farther away from the movement of tons of wood and earth that's about to happen...keep the bar moving back and forth a little as you cut. Watch the kerf of your top cut closely...as soon as it begins to open be ready for stuff to happen. If you get far enough in to do so, pop a plastic wedge tight into the top cut to help ensure you don't get your saw thrown when the stump tips back into the hole. I'd do this cut only a couple of feet from the original ground line to lessen the amount of throw that you'll see if you buck farther up the tree. Be very watchful the whole time...I've had these things move with only a little cutting done...be ready to abandon ship, saw included, if you see the need. On the other hand, I've had them just sit there pretty as you please, no bind either top or bottom as it turned out, OR turn out that the bind was opposite to my read and both ends of the buck point ended up wanting to go down...so watch those kerfs for closure and opening very closely so you can change your plan if the tree dictates.
     
  9. kowens

    kowens ArboristSite Operative

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    why don't you call a arborist?
     
  10. Dadatwins

    Dadatwins Addicted to ArboristSite

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    When dealing with chainsaws and downed trees there is no such thing as 'Relatively Safe'. It either is or it ain't. If you are not sure, hire someone, this type of work does not offer many second chances.
     
  11. ShawnK

    ShawnK ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks!

    I appreciate all of the advice, but when I get a few folks saying leave it to the pros, that's usually the way I go. And if I'm not familiar with some of the terminology or techniques, I know that I may be in over my head.

    I've had experience felling, bucking, and cutting smaller stuff for firewood--enough experience to know that things can happen quick, and that trees weigh a hell of a lot more than you may think when you look at them. I do this because I enjoy it, and not to make a living. The risk of gettin' killed just don't seem fun.

    To those of you who do this for a living--thanks for taking the time to answer posts like this. I know some people may try to tackle these things anyway, but if you keep just one person from becoming a statistic, your efforts are worth more than you know. We had a guy from a tree service out of Texas get killed here in Louisville 2-days ago. Had been working with one of those "fly by night" companies that swarm into towns after a big storm to make some quick bucks. He had 2-days of experience cutting trees--crushed while felling a huge tree with lots of decay, and the trunk split about 10 feet above his head.

    I'll be calling an arborist to take care of this one. It may cost me money, but perhaps I'll just watch and learn....
     
  12. Dadatwins

    Dadatwins Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Re: Thanks!

    Good Job, now look for someone who carries insurance and is licensed to work in your area. Get several estimates and check references to make sure you hire someone qualified to do the work. Maybe someone on this site who lives in your area can recomend someone. Good luck.
     

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