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Using a truck to pull a tree down

Discussion in 'Commercial Tree Care and Climbing' started by Marky Mark, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. Marky Mark

    Marky Mark Hell's Kitchen Trapper

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    I was wondering if using a truck to pull a tree down while cutting it is an acceptable practice???

    Me I would never do it but it seems some climbers feel it's a safe quick way to get the job done cheaply. Instead of a climber chunking it down just tie a rope to it and have it.
     
    DDM likes this.
  2. sperho

    sperho ArboristSite Operative

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    Whether or not it's an acceptable idea to me would depend on how big the tree is....
     
  3. Ed*L

    Ed*L AboristSite Guru

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    I use a truck & 9000lb winch quite frequently. I'll get a dozer if I feel the tree is to large for the capacity of the truck & winch.
    But, I'm not a climber and I'm pulling over leaners that are in the woods or a fencerow.
    I don't think I would do it if the placement of the tree was extremely critical. Not pulling exactly in-line with the hinge could have some bad results.

    Ed
     
  4. grizzly2

    grizzly2 ArboristSite Operative

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    Just like everything else, there's a time and a place. I've seen guys using a truck to pull a tree over and the tree was at least three times the weight of the truck. Now, I realize that the leverage is there, but if something goes wrong, say goodbye to the truck. It's not a preferred method of arboriculture, but yes, it can be used. Me personally, I'd rather tie the tree off to a 5 to 1 or a come-along and take care of it. That way, if crap goes bad, it's one less thing that you have to worry about.
     
  5. Grace Tree

    Grace Tree Impossible Access

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    I've pulled lots of trees with a truck. In cases where you need positive pulling force to continue for more than the initial fall of the tree it's probably one of the most effective methods. A winch, fiddle blocks or come-along isn't going control more than the first few feet of fall. To me, pulling a tree with a vehicle always looks kind of amateur so we rarely do it unless it's the best method. I'd rather set blocks and a winch and crank the tree. It's a bit more peaceful and I think it looks more professional. There can be some weird forces involved if the puller is a little over zealous so we usually make a high stump cut and snub up the trunk to the stump with straps. The only "no break" rule we have is that the faller must have eye contact (rear view mirrors) with the driver. No whistles, relay signals or radios. Driver has vehicle running and in gear with his foot on the brake and moves only on the fallers hand signals.
    Phil
     
  6. CoreyTMorine

    CoreyTMorine User Formerly known as BlueSpruce

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    Pulling with a truck, tractor or skidder is one of the most efficient methods available for getting a tree to go exactly where you want it to. I often pull off to one side of the lay, in order to compensate for lean or limb weight, also so you don’t hit the skidder if the cable is to short. The real benefit of pulling comes from rigging low on the tree, I just put my forks up and climb on top of them, this gets my line about 14’ up. From this height I can pull 3 tons of lean or limb weight right over, and because I’m tied in low I can keep up with the fall, and pull the tree a little more towards me even after it is falling. With a skidder winch at 12 feet there isn’t to much I would be scared to pull over, regardless of side or back lean.

    Just imagine being able to push a tree with 9000 pounds of force at 10 feet up. That is alot of force!

    Both the cutter and the puller must be experienced with this procedure.

    It can be a disaster, but that is true of everything in our world. Falling a tree with a pull vehicle is only unprofessional if the people doing the work are not proficient. But for two workers who are familiar and well practiced it is one of the fastest, most accurate tools available to us for falling trees whole.
     
  7. luvthetrobag

    luvthetrobag ArboristSite Member

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    I'm a big fan of this method as well and agree completly with your last paragraph. To many times people try use to much force to get the thing over which can lead to many problems. The basic idea is to walk the tree over with just as much pressure as needed. Not rip it over. Its all about making a perfect notch, and then cutting to a perfect hinge.And letting the truck slowly and evenly pull the tree so it can fall in to the notch. Its a valuble tool but it still has its limits. Ive seen guys smash things because the swore there beefed up truck could pull some rediculous leaner where they wanted it.
     
  8. Tree Slayer

    Tree Slayer ArboristSite Operative

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    Where is it written that pulling a tree over with a truck is not a preferred method of arboriculture? We pull trees over all the time from using a skid steer to a triaxle log truck with a 1" bull rope, all depends on how big the tree is. anything hairy, over a house or anything else that could be hurt by the tree being removed has a truck on it.
     
  9. stihlaficionado

    stihlaficionado Tree Freak

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    I used a pick-up to take down a 25 ft pine in the front yard. Didn't quite get the distance calculated right and put a 3 inch dent in the cab...Good thing
    I don't do it for a living...:deadhorse:
     
  10. tree md

    tree md Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Using a truck to fell a tree is absolutely the best method to drop one on a dime. The trick is to get a pull with the truck then set the breaks. Have your groundies get on the rope after you have the pull with the truck. Your notch is critical. I have had huge tops, leaning over houses pulled off of me with a truck. If a tree is leaning in the wrong direction I like to get a rope about 3/4 up the tree, get a pull then inspect it. If I can get it standing straight up and down I know I can hinge it over. Let up tension and cut you notch no more than 1/3 through the tree. Once you get another pull and inspect, you will see you can get it over a little further with the notch cut. Get back and make a good consistent cut as you hinge it over, watch the top and make a controlled fell. No need to keep pulling with the truck as it comes over, just use it to anchor the tree, have your groundies pull it over with a good, steady even pull.

    When I split two ornamental shrubs spread out and spaced about 3' apart with the trunk of a 90' pine no one thought I looked unprofessional. On the contrary, they were quite impressed.
     
  11. Wismer

    Wismer ArboristSite Operative

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    I think any one who has access to heavy machinery to pull down trees would use it in a tricky situation.

    I'd rather risk looking "unprofessional" and use one of my tractor's than drop a tree one something it shouldnt be on.
     
  12. Wismer

    Wismer ArboristSite Operative

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    Well put tree md, Personally I think it looks quite professional to have the machinery and do a good job.
     
  13. Magnum783

    Magnum783 AboristSite Guru

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    Agreed the only part that would make you look unprofessional would be the using them when they don't need to be used or using them and not using them properly. I just wish I had all the equipment you guys have mentioned. I think using one is a great idea one more card in your deck to help it go exactly where you want it. As Ekka says "spot on"
    Jared
     
  14. treeman82

    treeman82 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Personally I prefer to use my winch and a 4:1 than a truck. I know that I won't overload the system, but at the same time I know I'll have plenty of pull and won't be getting dragged backwards if the tree goes the wrong way. On the other hand, if I had a 1" bull rope and a 10 wheel dump truck then I'd have a far different attitude.
     
  15. DDM

    DDM Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Just yesterday we used a Skidsteer connected to a 3/4" bullrope to pull overa 48" dbh 40' foot tall trunk the had a back lean.Big wood like this we usually always connect the skidsteer to.
     
  16. SilentElk

    SilentElk ArboristSite Operative

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    I have pulled over alot of tree's and saved a lot of work. I have pulled them over up to 115' measured height and 60"+ diameter cottonwoods. The biggest were in feilds and to help direct them about from large haybales.

    Dont get me wrong, this isnt for the faint of heart and I cant imagine trying to train a guy how to do it. But in the right situation it can take a tree down fast safe, and right whre you want it.

    Not having a bucket truck or manlift will get you creative in a hurry.
     
  17. TimberMcPherson

    TimberMcPherson Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The limiting factor is using a vehicle is traction. My tip truck is 4wd and with a couple tonnes of mulch on the back it grips well, Something to watch for is that when a line is up in a tree and you pull forward the rope does slightly lift the rear of the vehicle if the tension builds, severly limiting traction when its needed most.

    I give the tree a test pull before any cuts are made to be certain of the outcome. Im more inclined to chock all 4 wheels and use a tirfor. Easier communication and feel, and I feel it offers better control.
     
  18. Treeman587

    Treeman587 ArboristSite Operative

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    I do it all the time. I have even pulled a tree from a corner through other trees. All this talk about time and costs etc. How about 3 hours worth of climbing compared to thirty minutes of rigging and felling. I use a 12000lb winch on the front of a 3/4 ton pickup. I usually set two bull lines also. With a winch the operator can see exactly what is going on a lot better than someone in the cab of a truck. No bore cuts here though. Make a normal backcut and watch the stretch of the lines and you can pull some big stuff over
     
  19. grizzly2

    grizzly2 ArboristSite Operative

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    As I said before, I have and will continue to use this method. Mainly my point was that there is a time and a place. As far as being an arboriculturally sound practice, I stick with my original statement that it is not. It is a controlled force issue, to me. Yes, experience dictates how much force is enough, but it is the acquiring of that experience that creates problems. To me, professionalism is utmost. If you've done it before to great success, super, keep up the good work. If you've never done, and are reading this thread for 'ideas', then back away, put the truck keys down, and figure out a different way.
    It comes down to a different mentality. When I worked for The Care of Trees, using vehicles / equipment to pull trees over was a giant no-no. Is this an over-the-top safety issue, possibly. Does that mean that I'll never do it again, no. I simply feel that on my jobsites, I'll reach for a fiddle block, 5 to 1, or a come-along. Many times, I've used the chip truck or bucket truck (with bucket stowed) as my anchor for the rigging if no other suitable spot existed. But the truck is turned off, it is simply my anchor.
     
  20. a_lopa

    a_lopa Overhead downunder

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    Its not a problem Marky,like everything in life just know your limitations.One guy got his foot crushed recently by bad procedures during a crane job(no guessing who)

    If you google his name it might help.
     

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