Fallen Branch Stuck On Both Ends - Help

SturgeonGeneral48

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Help Needed! I have a big willow branch that is snapped, but still attached about 15' up and frozen into a muddy canal below. The part frozen in the canal has 3-4 big branches as part of the crown. The part above appears to be well connected but loose enough that it will pivot down. How can I tackle this? Any advice would be appreciated to not die and avoid my saw from binding and getting stuck. I am not a complete novice, but I've never faced a situation like this and am a bit afraid.
 

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SturgeonGeneral48

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Some more pics would help, attachment at tree, etc. How thick is the ice? What is your end goal?
Sorry, I don't have anymore pictures. It's at a recreational property a couple hours from where I live. The ice will be 100% frozen from surface to bottom of the canal so no issues there. The connection on top is still thick enough that it will support whatever I leave hangining. My goal is to get the branches above the ice out of the canal. I take my boat in there and just need them out of the way.

My plan is to trim everything I can until I am down to the last 3 big branches that are stuck in the ice. Then carefully cut each of those, but I'm worried about tension in those 3 limbs. I'm sure the last limb will have a lot of tension pulling it down and toward the tree. Any advice on the best cutting approach would be appreciated.
 

TheJollyLogger

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Bring 2 saws, to be sure. And I would bring some plywood or something for some traction. As far as cutting wood under tension, it's something you have to feel... remember there could be side tension as well. Use the end of your bar, cut as slow as possible, and just be watching and feeling for any movement, and be prepared for it to go any direction on that last cut. It can be helpful to cut wedges out to lessen the chance of pinching your bar.
 

SturgeonGeneral48

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Bring 2 saws, to be sure. And I would bring some plywood or something for some traction. As far as cutting wood under tension, it's something you have to feel... remember there could be side tension as well. Use the end of your bar, cut as slow as possible, and just be watching and feeling for any movement, and be prepared for it to go any direction on that last cut. It can be helpful to cut wedges out to lessen the chance of pinching your bar.
Thanks for the advice. I will see if I can get another saw.
 

SturgeonGeneral48

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Thanks! I will have lots of help, but nobody I would consider a chainsaw expert. It's also forecast to be extremely cold which provides another layer of fun.
 

CDElliott

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Thanks! I will have lots of help, but nobody I would consider a chainsaw expert. It's also forecast to be extremely cold which provides another layer of fun.
I had something similar and used a manual pole saw to finish the cut from a distance. I did not cut all the way through with the chainsaw but left some wood for the pole saw. Then got back far as I could and finished cutting through with the pole saw. Gave me a little extra distance.
 

dboyd351

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I was going to suggest a polesaw, but a gas powered one. As CDElliott stated, it is a good idea to make most of the cut with a regular chainsaw, then finish the cut with the polesaw from a safe distance in case wood under tension suddenly throws you a surprise.

Also wondering why you appear to be in a hurry to do this. If the canal is frozen to the bottom, can't see you needing to get your boat in there anytime soon. Standing on the ice, cutting limbs under tension, doesn't seem to be such a good idea.:surprised3:
 

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I have cut a lot of leaning trees hung up on other trees but never one with water involved.
Without being there and seeing everything firsthand I would not know where to start.
 

SturgeonGeneral48

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I had something similar and used a manual pole saw to finish the cut from a distance. I did not cut all the way through with the chainsaw but left some wood for the pole saw. Then got back far as I could and finished cutting through with the pole saw. Gave me a little extra distance.

I had something similar and used a manual pole saw to finish the cut from a distance. I did not cut all the way through with the chainsaw but left some wood for the pole saw. Then got back far as I could and finished cutting through with the pole saw. Gave me a little extra distance.
Great suggestion, I will have a pole saw with me and hadn't really thought about how to use it for the main branches. I like the idea of some good separation between me and those branches for the final cut! Thanks!!
 

Tigwelder83

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You probably can't get any equipment close? I too like the pole saw idea if the branch is small enough. My typical plan for situations such as this is to hook it to my tractor winch, and use mismatched cuts to allow it to snap when tensioned. Seeing as your intending to clear a boat path, id actually do it in the summer when 1 end was free with the assistance of a tractor, skidder etc.

Note, if your doing this in the winter, be 100% positive that ice is think enough to support you & the tree.
 

SturgeonGeneral48

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I was going to suggest a polesaw, but a gas powered one. As CDElliott stated, it is a good idea to make most of the cut with a regular chainsaw, then finish the cut with the polesaw from a safe distance in case wood under tension suddenly throws you a surprise.

Also wondering why you appear to be in a hurry to do this. If the canal is frozen to the bottom, can't see you needing to get your boat in there anytime soon. Standing on the ice, cutting limbs under tension, doesn't seem to be such a good idea.:surprised3:
I don't have a gas polesaw, only a 20V Black and Decker, but the branches going into the canal are less than 16" so I should be able to finish with the polesaw. I love the polesaw idea!

I'm not in a huge hurry, but I have a lot of help this weekend. I'll have 5 young dudes in their early 20's and 5 old doobers like me. We had a tornado take down some limbs this past summer and I asked a bunch of friends who use the property to help out splitting, sawing, and attacking the tree in the canal. So it's in the calendar for Saturday despite the fact it will be -7 in the morning. I was going to do some cutting from a boat, but realized that was crazy dangerous and never started the saw. Now I can stand on the ice and free this up,,, with a polesaw,,, from a safe distance,,, dressed warm :)
 

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I may be doing the same thing in a couple days. The branches are now locked in ice on this red oak. If I have time to do it I will update with pics and techniques used. If you don't have another saw buy a spare bar and chain. Worst case scenario is you unmount the bar and chain and remount the spare If you get pinched. Also if you have a Sawzall get some pruning blades and that could help. Doesn't cut as fast as a chainsaw but the inherited risks are minimized.
 

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I don't have a gas polesaw, only a 20V Black and Decker, but the branches going into the canal are less than 16" so I should be able to finish with the polesaw. I love the polesaw idea!

I'm not in a huge hurry, but I have a lot of help this weekend. I'll have 5 young dudes in their early 20's and 5 old doobers like me. We had a tornado take down some limbs this past summer and I asked a bunch of friends who use the property to help out splitting, sawing, and attacking the tree in the canal. So it's in the calendar for Saturday despite the fact it will be -7 in the morning. I was going to do some cutting from a boat, but realized that was crazy dangerous and never started the saw. Now I can stand on the ice and free this up,,, with a polesaw,,, from a safe distance,,, dressed warm :)
Make sure you use winter grade bar oil or else at those temps your oil and dust will gum up the saw
 
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