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Best Tool for Girdling ?

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by peakbagger, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. peakbagger

    peakbagger ArboristSite Member

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    Hi All, I bought an 80 acre lot that got hammered by an ice storm back in 1998. It was mostly sugar maple but regenerated in some spots to almost total beech. There are many healthy mature beech that survived the ice storm but the regenerated beech is loaded with beech blight. There still are some young sugar maples, white and yellow birch so my hope is to encourage them until they can go dominant. I plan to cut the beech I can get to for firewood but there are many pockets that are inaccessible. My plan is to girdle them as if I dropped them it would create way too much fuel on the ground as the stands are quite dense.

    Its a bit of hike up to the spots so lugging a chainsaw with me is not a preferred option. I have used a handsaw but its slow. Anyone have any suggestions on the best tool?. I have seen a specialized rig that has a blade that is dragged around the trunk but that sure looks like if might be good for young trees but not so sure on bigger trees. The one rig I am considering is a Lancelot carving tool http://katools.com/lancelot-squire-combo-kits/ which is essentially a chainsaw chain mounted on a disk that hooks up to an angle grinder. I have a portable angle grinder with two battery packs so that seems to be the best option.

    Any other ideas?

    Note some folks advocate just dropping them all and painting the stubs with chemicals but there is private well downhill so politically its best not to go that way. The forester that did my management plan is advocate of girdling over cutting as he feels there is less chance of sprouting.
     
  2. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hatchet for girdling. Beech will stay green for a year or two after you girdle them. I think that is why it works so well without them sprouting because they use up all their sugars before sprouting from the roots. If you girdle them with the single width of a chainsaw they will often overgrow that girdle. If you're using a chainsaw or a grinder with the wheel make sure you double girdle two cuts about 3in apart. The only concern I have with using an angle grinder is if you go around the wrong way it will kick back at you. Not as bad as chainsaw kickback but getting tired at the end of the day not paying attention to what you're doing it could bite you pretty bad. Of course so can a chainsaw. Another option would be looking at getting a small top handled saw they're very light and easy to carry around.

    I'd also consider basal bark spray. I know you said you are concerned about the well... but if you use the products appropriately and leave a couple hundred feet of one of the best water filters in the world (a forest...) between your treatment area and that well, the risk of contamination is extremely extremely low. I'd say no risk...but there is no such thing...if there were this would be one such example.
     
  3. Hoodiegadoo

    Hoodiegadoo ArboristSite Member

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    I use a small lightweight top handled climbing saw ms193. And an estwing hatchet.
     
  4. Duce

    Duce Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Log Wizard or similar.
     
  5. kimosawboy

    kimosawboy ArboristSite Operative

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    For anything up to 12-16" a manual girdler works fine.. You might be able to pick up a nice aluminium one (but back when I was doing it they were rare) or you can make one out of plywood or the like and use a bandsaw blade.. They work great with just one strip.

    Or you can bet a power girdler, that is basically a backpack chainsaw with a flexible wand that has a very nasty/scary cutterhead on the end... Super fast, real deep cuts, but if you do not pay attention it might bite you. You can see the machine and powerhead in this video..

    G Vavra
     

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  6. peakbagger

    peakbagger ArboristSite Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. The bark spray issue is far more political than practical. Its a very "green" town and a hiking trail runs past the worse infestation so plenty of "eyes" on whatever I do. I will probably post a laminated sign explaining TSI to keep the phone calls down to a minimum.

    There is some evidence of prior TSI work that looks to have used a chainsaw.

    If I do use a Lancelot rig I was planning to make a guard for it to limit the blade exposure.
     
  7. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Be careful with girdling trees along trails. I'm not claiming to know ... but I'd be afraid you expose yourself to liability if a tree that you girdled and left standing dead along the trail falls and hit somebody.
     
    rarefish383 likes this.
  8. peakbagger

    peakbagger ArboristSite Member

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    Not a legal issue in NH, there is very strong protection for private property owners in the state from folks getting injured. As long as the land is not posted, the public enters the property at risk and cannot sue for any damages due to getting injured. There have been multiple attempts over the years to bypass the statute and the courts have thrown everyone out. I do plan to leave a buffer between the trail and the area I plan to do the girdling. If I pull it off, at some point I could easily just drop the beeches along the trail with the saw but that will be quite a few years.
     
  9. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Post it and basal bark spray.
     
  10. MJC

    MJC ArboristSite Lurker

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    I've heard a length of chain works pretty good slung around the tree and run back and forth. Sounds like a bit of work though.
     
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  11. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I've seen a tool designed to help pull the saw chain around, but can't find a link now. Looked sorta like an oil filter chain wrench like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    You could also try a bicycle...
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. ray benson

    ray benson Tree Freak

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    Park manager at a local county park uses a small chainsaw. He cuts 2 rings around the tree through the bark about 6" apart.
     
  14. peakbagger

    peakbagger ArboristSite Member

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    A follow up, I got the Lancelot carving blade with the higher cutter count for my angle grinder. It works quick but as others had warned it can be a handful. I think I just need to modify the blade guard on the grinder to limit the depth of cut as that's where it can get "grabby". What happens is currently it can grab into the tree and sink the head deep which can cause loss of control and also chews the battery life up on my angle grinder. By putting in an extension on the blade guard I can limit the depth of cut so it cant grab and reduce the load on the grinder. The actual cut takes seconds if there is access to the full diameter of the trunk.
     

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