how can I pull a downed tree, on a hill, safely away from my cabin (diagram included)

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luckydraw

luckydraw

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Hi all, first time here – happy to find this forum.

I have a property that has a large downed tree next to the cabin. In fact it only missed it by about 6 inches! I would like to start chopping up the tree but it could be unstable and I need to get it on the flat ground first (there is a hill immediately behind cabin).

The tree is all the way bent over but it still hanging to the root ball system. It has two main trunks sticking out, one of which is very close to the cabin. The entire area behind the cabin (where the trees are) is a hill with about 25 degree slope.


Theoretically I have all the tools in my arsenal to move this but I really need to make sure if it starts to roll, its not going anywhere near the cabin. I have 10Ton and above snatch blocks, soft shackles, tree straps, winch dampers, and 2Ton and 4Ton pull along winches. I also have access to a 12,000 lb harbor freight 12VDC electric winch. That is plenty powerful but I can't get to the location with a vehicle. I don't know if its possible simply to put that kind of a winch's mounting plate to the back of a large tree, or if that's a terrible idea. I'd rather just use hand winches if its going to be possible, even if it takes longer. I'm just not in love with the idea of pulling possibly 8000 lbs of tree where I need to be right in front of the winch to operate it. The electric one can be operated remotely.


I've attached this rough diagram of the situation (not everything is "connected" on there, I'm trying to figure out whats best). One thing I've also really been wondering is this:

if a pull along winch is rated "2ton" and I attached that to the anchor tree with a snatch block and double line, and then on one of those lines at the downed tree, put another snatch block, and route it back to a 2nd tree as an anchor (I guess this is called triple line?), I am increasing the power at my pull along, but is the total stress at the pull along reduced? For example if the tree is 5000 lbs, is using a 2ton pull along sufficient if setup double line, or triple line, because it reduces the tension at the pulling end of the winch?


I may be overthinking and confusing myself, I just have a lot of questions:


- Most diagrams I see show the winch on a vehicle, but in this case the winch would be on the other side near the anchor. Does this affect the location of the snatch blocks?
- How can I set up a safety system here, so in case the winch line breaks, I still have rope preventing the tree from rolling
- If I wrap the rope around near the middle/ lower part of the fallen tree, can I simply loop it around 3 or 4 times as shown in diagram. Will this reduce the the working load strength of the rope?
- Do I use tree straps on the downed tree instead of wrapping rope around it a few times?
- Where do I connect to on the downed tree? It's basically two trees in a Y shape, and a large root ball. Do I connect at two different spots?
- Do I use two separate winches in different locations?
- All the connectors (snatch blocks and shackles) are rated for plenty of weight. What I'm also wondering about is the rope, since it's "working strength" is 1/5 of breaking strength. The hand pulleys only use 3/16" steel cable and I think that may be a weak point here. I don't know the weight of the tree but my friend who works with trees says we should rig it expecting it to be up to 10,000 lbs. I don't think its that much but I don't want to take any chances. My guess would be it's around 7 or 8k.



I really appreciate anyone's help here. I'm a visual person, so I'm going to have to see a diagram of what I'm doing before I do anything.

Please not the diagram is not drawn to scale! However I can say the distance from the anchor trees on the left to the downed tree is about 50 feet
 

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3000 FPS

3000 FPS

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I would roll the tree over so that the short trunk of the tree is no longer behind the cabin. Use a winch for that attached to another tree. I have done that plenty of times.
Once you have it cleared of the cabin, I would then take a truck and drag it up to the flat area for cutting.
If you have to cut it loose from the root ball then cut it so you can roll it.
 
luckydraw

luckydraw

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@3000 FPS @ArtB thanks for the responses. Any recommendations in how specifically I might do my setup to roll it over away from cabin? Can this be done with the hand puller or do I really need the electric winch? There's no vehicle access here.


I'm looking at some PolyDac rope and different sizes state these specs:
  • 1/4 inch - 1,300 lbs. (260 lbs.)
  • 3/8 inch - 4,047 lbs. (809 lbs.)
  • 1/2 inch - 5,875 lbs. (1,175 lbs.)
  • 5/8 inch - 8,946 lbs. (1,789 lbs.)
  • 3/4 inch - 10,192 lbs. (2,038 lbs.)
  • 1 inch - 17,000 lbs. (3,400 lbs.)
  • 1 1/2 inch - 34,000 lbs. (6,800 lbs.)
  • 2 inch - 62,000 lbs. (12,400 lbs.)

However I don't think anything more than 3/4 inch would fit through the hooks. If that had a 2000 lb working limit, and the load was 6000 lbs, does that mean I'd have to set up a triple line so no tension line is under more than 2000 lbs? Seems like the working strength is really low compared to the breaking strength of rope.
 
TNTreeHugger

TNTreeHugger

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Hi all, first time here – happy to find this forum.

I have a property that has a large downed tree next to the cabin. In fact it only missed it by about 6 inches! I would like to start chopping up the tree but it could be unstable and I need to get it on the flat ground first (there is a hill immediately behind cabin).

The tree is all the way bent over but it still hanging to the root ball system. It has two main trunks sticking out, one of which is very close to the cabin. The entire area behind the cabin (where the trees are) is a hill with about 25 degree slope.


Theoretically I have all the tools in my arsenal to move this but I really need to make sure if it starts to roll, its not going anywhere near the cabin. I have 10Ton and above snatch blocks, soft shackles, tree straps, winch dampers, and 2Ton and 4Ton pull along winches. I also have access to a 12,000 lb harbor freight 12VDC electric winch. That is plenty powerful but I can't get to the location with a vehicle. I don't know if its possible simply to put that kind of a winch's mounting plate to the back of a large tree, or if that's a terrible idea. I'd rather just use hand winches if its going to be possible, even if it takes longer. I'm just not in love with the idea of pulling possibly 8000 lbs of tree where I need to be right in front of the winch to operate it. The electric one can be operated remotely.


I've attached this rough diagram of the situation (not everything is "connected" on there, I'm trying to figure out whats best). One thing I've also really been wondering is this:

if a pull along winch is rated "2ton" and I attached that to the anchor tree with a snatch block and double line, and then on one of those lines at the downed tree, put another snatch block, and route it back to a 2nd tree as an anchor (I guess this is called triple line?), I am increasing the power at my pull along, but is the total stress at the pull along reduced? For example if the tree is 5000 lbs, is using a 2ton pull along sufficient if setup double line, or triple line, because it reduces the tension at the pulling end of the winch?


I may be overthinking and confusing myself, I just have a lot of questions:


- Most diagrams I see show the winch on a vehicle, but in this case the winch would be on the other side near the anchor. Does this affect the location of the snatch blocks?
- How can I set up a safety system here, so in case the winch line breaks, I still have rope preventing the tree from rolling
- If I wrap the rope around near the middle/ lower part of the fallen tree, can I simply loop it around 3 or 4 times as shown in diagram. Will this reduce the the working load strength of the rope?
- Do I use tree straps on the downed tree instead of wrapping rope around it a few times?
- Where do I connect to on the downed tree? It's basically two trees in a Y shape, and a large root ball. Do I connect at two different spots?
- Do I use two separate winches in different locations?
- All the connectors (snatch blocks and shackles) are rated for plenty of weight. What I'm also wondering about is the rope, since it's "working strength" is 1/5 of breaking strength. The hand pulleys only use 3/16" steel cable and I think that may be a weak point here. I don't know the weight of the tree but my friend who works with trees says we should rig it expecting it to be up to 10,000 lbs. I don't think its that much but I don't want to take any chances. My guess would be it's around 7 or 8k.



I really appreciate anyone's help here. I'm a visual person, so I'm going to have to see a diagram of what I'm doing before I do anything.

Please not the diagram is not drawn to scale! However I can say the distance from the anchor trees on the left to the downed tree is about 50 feet
Call a professional to do the job... one with insurance.

PS. actual photos would be nice. love to see what part of that tree landed 6" from the cabin
 
luckydraw

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@TNTreeHugger @cookies Here's a picture of it. I know it's not the best angle to see it – I'll try to find another thats closer and head on. (edit.. found an additional image head on I added)

The orange arrow is showing where the root ball is

The yellow arrow is pointing at the secondary main branch. The blue arrow is pointing to the main branch which missed the roof line by less than a foot.
 

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cookies

cookies

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I would cut from the top of the tree towards the root ball making small sections manageable by hand if necessary. When I got to thicker trunk I would use large coarse threaded eye bolts screwed into it using rope + a pulley or block and tackle to safely lower down the hill and keep them from rolling down the hill un controllably after cutting off. then drag away.
 
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Call a professional to do the job... one with insurance.

PS. actual photos would be nice. love to see what part of that tree landed 6" from the cabin

This ^

The pro will have or rent the heavy equipment to ensure the tree does no harm to the cabin. And if it still goes pear shape, the insurance will cover you.
 
3000 FPS

3000 FPS

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I would cut from the top of the tree towards the root ball making small sections manageable by hand if necessary. When I got to thicker trunk I would use large coarse threaded eye bolts screwed into it using rope + a pulley or block and tackle to safely lower down the hill and keep them from rolling down the hill un controllably after cutting off. then drag away.
Cookies has a good idea. Just cut it up into small pieces.
 
luckydraw

luckydraw

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I appreciate the work involved and don't mind calling a professional if I could find a reasonable quote. One guy said $800 but then didn't seem to want to do the job. Theres only a 3 foot wide pathway to it and no big machines can get there. That being said, I am careful and willing to take the time to do this right.

I can cut it up all myself - was thinking more along the lines of what @cookies said. I suppose small enough pieces wouldn't have much impact, but I wouldn't want cutting off a significant piece to cause a sudden upward "sling" that might cause a roll.

I don't think it even needs to be winched very much, just secured so it doesn't roll, and then cut off piece by piece.

I added one more shot I have from a drone view (I think the best view to really see it)
 

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cookies

cookies

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For 800 bucks i would cut it into small sections and leave them next to the house at the bottom of the hill. To cut that into large sections and move it up the hill would be a more expensive endeavor, probably double or more considering your statement of lack of access for machinery without further work.
 
Captain Bruce

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I would roll the tree over so that the short trunk of the tree is no longer behind the cabin. Use a winch for that attached to another tree. I have done that plenty of times.
Once you have it cleared of the cabin, I would then take a truck and drag it up to the flat area for cutting.
If you have to cut it loose from the root ball then cut it so you can roll it.
No neighbours with a tractor? small dozer? Mini-excavator? Diesel fuel is a wonderful thing.......
 
luckydraw

luckydraw

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No neighbours with a tractor? small dozer? Mini-excavator? Diesel fuel is a wonderful thing.......
There are, but no access to the location! Don't get me wrong, I love the setting - but because of the creek there is only a walkway (from the side) to the cabin, and the hill behind it, creek in front)
 
Bearcreek

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I appreciate the work involved and don't mind calling a professional if I could find a reasonable quote. One guy said $800 but then didn't seem to want to do the job. Theres only a 3 foot wide pathway to it and no big machines can get there.
It's not so much the work that's expensive as it is the skill and equipment to do the job without further damage to property. That's not something that can be had from folks on the internet, at least not without a previously acquired, practical knowledge of the basics. The guy who bid $800 probably decided he underbid the job or overestimated his own capabilities.

Based on pictures (which can be quite deceiving), that looks like a fairly simple job, but there are too many variables on something like that to accurately and completely diagnose via photos. Basically, those can probably be either tied off at the top and taken apart from the bottom in small sections or possibly rigged up and lowered in larger sections from the top. No way to tell without being there.
 
luckydraw

luckydraw

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@Bearcreek thanks for the input, I see what you're saying. The top of the hill is flat farmland but that isn't my property. The lot technically ends somewhere in the middle of the hill I believe
 
Oletrapper

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Good morning Lucky, Maybe not so lucky. lol
In my younger days, I have removed several very similar to yours. First, let me say that the root ball is not going anywhere. If it were to do so it would already have done it. I find it very strange that this is a sycamore. They usually do not grow on hillsides because of their need for lots of water. If it is indeed a sycamore, it has a water source. Underground spring or hillside run off more than likely.
I looks like the trees top branches have already been removed?
From what I can see in the photos, I would do this.
As Cookies said earlier, start cutting small pieces. Maybe a foot long. Lots of cutting but the safest way to proceed.
Start on the far left trunk closest to the downed triplex electric line/cable. The trunk that is up in the air. Take it all the way back to the root ball , removing as you go. I would then work on the tree to the far left of the elevated trunk. It appears to be a separate tree next to the root ball. Get it out of the way. Again in small pieces.
If your worried about the root ball moving, (and I don't think it's going anywhere) just tie it off with rope to a tree on the uphill side as close to the downed sycamore root ball as possible. 1/2 to 3/4" rope should be plenty.
Then start on the trunk that is on the ground closest to the cabin and work it back to the root ball. Small pieces again. Remember, the more you remove, the less everything will weigh. The trunk on the ground will be the most difficult as it is laying on the ground. If there is a spot where that trunk leaves the ground, support it with cut pieces of the first trunk. Once your back to the support you will be clear of the cabin. If your chain hits the dirt, it is done for the most part. Please post more photos as you proceed. Sure wish I were closer as I would be more than happy to help. Take your time and everything will be just fine. :)
Have a good day. OT
 
John Stryker

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It looks like fairly large diameter wood; so bucking it into firewood lengths would even be hard to handle on a slope. Your idea of cutting off short pieces at a time while secured should work, and using the multiple wraps of rope idea to roll it away from above the cabin. If you started with the lowest parts on the left side, eventually you will have the stuff closest to the cabin cleaned up. Then you could leave the remainder of the wood farther up the slope to decay naturally if you wanted to. Rotting logs make excellent wildlife habitat and add to soil nutrients.
 

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