[Palm Experts!!] Have a Palm to remove, but can't just drop it where it wants, and afraid trunk is too-weak to rig from...need advice!!

eye.heart.trees

eye.heart.trees

arborjunky
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Jun 25, 2019
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Tampa-Area
TL;DR-- I took-off my spurs & am on the fence about how to approach this Palm tree, it leans-over the pool yet I need it to be felled the opposite way (if we remove the fencing), or I need to rig it from itself which I am worried Re the trunk handling the forces, it's not dead *yet* but is very weak in its bottom half, am not that experienced with "hazard palms" so hoping for "context" from experienced palm-guys, I mean if it were an Oak with identical decay I would work it for sure, but w/ a Palm I'm uncertain....they seem to flex way more, but if an area isn't wet/healthy tissue then maybe that flexibility goes right-away and I can't have the thing crack when rigging that top, even if it's just the caudex like 2' section, am afraid of overloading that base between my weight & the force of the caught-top even if it's just a ~75lbs max top, palm-tops can be heavy/wet!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Initial plan was to spur-up to the top, remove fronds & 'shave the caudex' as it were, then - using my Safebloc & 5/8" Polydyne, which reallllly makes-use-of the Bloc's friction - to just rig-down the thing, piece by piece, til the trunk was short enough to fell into the yard (ie like under 10'...)

Problem was my initial inspection wasn't sufficient, once fully ready to spur-into it (literally had the Bloc and everything on my belt, ready to spur-in from a ladder which was then to be pulled-away by my friend), I realized just how much wobble there was to it, came down to re-inspect the lower-half of the trunk, and found its damage/decay to be much more significant than initially found:
lower trunking in horrible shape.jpg

^this tree is still alive, but I suspect - once on-ground - that I'll find the bottom half was like 50%+ gone, and the top half is the heavy, mostly-alive part.....thing is "nearly dead" but top is still growing, lower trunk feels dry/hollow (ie lacking the normal flex of palms which, so far as I can tell/feel, is their 'saving grace' when rigging-from them!), so I had to back-off from the job as I wasn't confident the top of the thing could take the forces of me solo-rigging (snubbing, basically) the pieces myself, and there's really lil room to let them run anyways as an above-ground pool is right below.

I want to spur-up and do this, but I just don't have the familiarity with Palms to make a determination on this trunk's integrity, I mean I'd be confident if I could just let the pieces free-fall but not rigging them to the trunk (and then basically snubbing/catching them..), but I think / hope it's just my unfamiliarity with Palms...have seen palms just bend back&forth, hard to imagine one snapping, not this short of one if still alive...I dunno I just am not super experienced with anything but routine palm work, Oaks & broadleafs make up almost all that I do, so hoping for opinions (and thoughts/suggestions/tips/etc!) from anyone here skilled / experienced with Palms!

Thanks a ton, can't say how appreciative I am, project is for a friend and am really hoping the best approach isn't "Remove 3 panels of that vinyl fence and fell it there" :p

Another angle to show it "over the pool", have always found very little ability to "steer" palms' trunk-wood that far-off from its true center-of-gravity, feel like I can aim/control Oak/Camphor/etc far more than Palms..
leaning over pool.jpg
 

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mikewhite85

mikewhite85

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That queen palm looks like a sketchy climb. That said you really don't need to rig anything. You can get to the top, remove the fronds, and firewood it down. What's on the other side of the fence? Maybe you could rent a lift. If not, it may be better to pass on this one. I assume you bid well under 1000 on it. Not worth risking your life.
 
eye.heart.trees

eye.heart.trees

arborjunky
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Tampa-Area
That queen palm looks like a sketchy climb. That said you really don't need to rig anything. You can get to the top, remove the fronds, and firewood it down. What's on the other side of the fence? Maybe you could rent a lift. If not, it may be better to pass on this one. I assume you bid well under 1000 on it. Not worth risking your life.
That was my thought but I would be OK with it if it were a Live Oak, but w/ Palms I'm not experienced enough to know what is/isn't OK!

"Firewood it down", do you mean making salami cuts I'm "aiming"? Or just make a ton of lil cuts/pieces, idea being that none are big enough to bounce&damage anything, significantly at least?

The $$....this is for-friend, not for-profit, literally could make $100, would be dumbfounded if handed over $200, which is of course a crummy position to try analyzing from but right now as I'm just finally getting enough jobs to fill my schedule, well, I figured that I could fit-it-in my schedule, until I got there and realized just how badly the center of gravity was on that top-third of the trunking & that I couldn't confidently rig from that spar!

My friend is now considering other, more experienced & capable outfits to do the job (IE paying retail to a more experienced climber/company than myself) since it's somewhat of an urgent thing for them, so am going to encourage them to at least get 2-3 bids and ask how they'd approach this (IE move the above-ground pool? Just do a crane pick from the street, taking top half?)
 
mikewhite85

mikewhite85

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That was my thought but I would be OK with it if it were a Live Oak, but w/ Palms I'm not experienced enough to know what is/isn't OK!

"Firewood it down", do you mean making salami cuts I'm "aiming"? Or just make a ton of lil cuts/pieces, idea being that none are big enough to bounce&damage anything, significantly at least?

The $$....this is for-friend, not for-profit, literally could make $100, would be dumbfounded if handed over $200, which is of course a crummy position to try analyzing from but right now as I'm just finally getting enough jobs to fill my schedule, well, I figured that I could fit-it-in my schedule, until I got there and realized just how badly the center of gravity was on that top-third of the trunking & that I couldn't confidently rig from that spar!

My friend is now considering other, more experienced & capable outfits to do the job (IE paying retail to a more experienced climber/company than myself) since it's somewhat of an urgent thing for them, so am going to encourage them to at least get 2-3 bids and ask how they'd approach this (IE move the above-ground pool? Just do a crane pick from the street, taking top half?)

By Firewooding it down I mean making 12-18" cuts and just chucking them to the ground.

I think you are wise to pass on the job. I encourage you to consider working part or full time for another outfit with an ISA certified arborist for several years and gain experience in the trade before you start taking on a lot of jobs. I think the palm will go for 600-700.
 
beastmaster

beastmaster

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You have several options I see. First and safest, just chunk it down in easily handled prices like Mike suggested. You could rig it out useing the fishing pole technic, use several pulleys spaced a few foot apart from each other the length of the trunk ending with your safe block. This distributes the force along the whole trunk. The force of a 4 ft price falling throu the safe block is nothing compared to the forces put on the palm on a windy day.
Get a screwdriver and probe the base of the palm looking for soft spots , even hammer it some. It soft mushy stuff that'll cause it to fail.
Why not take a section right in the pool?
Bottom line is your there and it's your ass on the line, but I've never seen a palm break at the base.
 
BC WetCoast

BC WetCoast

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If you've ever seen a palm fail, usually due to erosion, they have an amazingly small root ball, considering the high wind stress that they can be subjected to in the Caribbean or Gulf Coast. The likelihood of that toppling is very low.

Just based on what I see around it, and unless its an optical illusion, it only looks about 30'. I would be inclined to block it down in pieces you can handle.
 
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