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  1. #1

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    Any members who have experience cutting down trees on here?

    We have (or more exactly, my partner owns) a rather large terrain for local standards, a large part of which is covered with big trees. My partner wants to cut down most of them, and for reasons that escape me not just the dead ones.

    The one of which I do understand it should probably go is a Robinia on the edge of the "forest" (which grows on the terraces that once covered the flank of the ridge we're on, leading down to a small canalised river). It's very decorative given it hangs over the prairy plateay at an overal angle of about 60° from vertical - it looks like trees you see in Japanese prints. It's an eye-balled 40-50cm diameter at the base but not yet very tall; it should remain well within our prairy if it comes down the right way.

    And therein lies the problem. It grows not far from a limestone wall (probably thicker than the trunk of the tree) that delimits our property but that also holds up/back the ground of our terrain at this location. And the tree isn't straight: it grows at an angle towards the wall for the first 3-4 (maybe 5) meters and only then the trunk turns south, more or less parallel to the wall. I think it'd be a very bad idea to let it fall on the wall, and risk damaging that ageing structure or the newly redone alley with a storm drain that runs right under and along the wall.
    There's probably more weight in the properly aligned trunk section, esp. now that the tree is in full leaves and is growing seed. If I could cut the trunk at maneheight in a single, vertical cut the entire tree should fall straight down and probably stay clear of the wall ... but that's not how chainsaws work. Mine is an 1800W electric (wired) that should be able to do the job but only because gravity is going to help. The big question is though in what direction the trunk will start to break and topple. I doubt I can influence that much through the orientation of the cutting plane and I fear that I'll be creating a hinge that 's perpedicular to the direction of the strain along the trunk, IOW that the tree will topple towards the wall. I have even less of an idea where I could stand to stay clear of the thing when it starts going down...

    I brought all this up to my partner, only to be told that "if I don't do it, she will" ...

    I'll attach a few pictures if anyone thinks they can offer some advise.

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  3. #2

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    Best left to a pro imo

  4. #3

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    I have cut down the odd (dead) tree on my family's plot, though not for the reason you state. I haven't fully visualized what's happening with your tree, so a pic would help. Initially, I would try to cut it in sections, if possible (from the top down, obviously).

  5. #4

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    Unless your limestone wall extends several feet below the surface, the tree roots are what is preventing the soil from sliding downhill, not the wall.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB
    Any members who have experience cutting down trees on here?

    We have (or more exactly, my partner owns) a rather large terrain for local standards, a large part of which is covered with big trees. My partner wants to cut down most of them, and for reasons that escape me not just the dead ones.

    The one of which I do understand it should probably go is a Robinia on the edge of the "forest" (which grows on the terraces that once covered the flank of the ridge we're on, leading down to a small canalised river). It's very decorative given it hangs over the prairy plateay at an overal angle of about 60° from vertical - it looks like trees you see in Japanese prints. It's an eye-balled 40-50cm diameter at the base but not yet very tall; it should remain well within our prairy if it comes down the right way.

    And therein lies the problem. It grows not far from a limestone wall (probably thicker than the trunk of the tree) that delimits our property but that also holds up/back the ground of our terrain at this location. And the tree isn't straight: it grows at an angle towards the wall for the first 3-4 (maybe 5) meters and only then the trunk turns south, more or less parallel to the wall. I think it'd be a very bad idea to let it fall on the wall, and risk damaging that ageing structure or the newly redone alley with a storm drain that runs right under and along the wall.
    There's probably more weight in the properly aligned trunk section, esp. now that the tree is in full leaves and is growing seed. If I could cut the trunk at maneheight in a single, vertical cut the entire tree should fall straight down and probably stay clear of the wall ... but that's not how chainsaws work. Mine is an 1800W electric (wired) that should be able to do the job but only because gravity is going to help. The big question is though in what direction the trunk will start to break and topple. I doubt I can influence that much through the orientation of the cutting plane and I fear that I'll be creating a hinge that 's perpedicular to the direction of the strain along the trunk, IOW that the tree will topple towards the wall. I have even less of an idea where I could stand to stay clear of the thing when it starts going down...

    I brought all this up to my partner, only to be told that "if I don't do it, she will" ...

    I'll attach a few pictures if anyone thinks they can offer some advise.
    If this is what it looks like then I'm with Wintermoon and P C..I've cut many and from experience you need a few exits when dealing with leaning trees... to make it lean the other way you need mechanical devices to re direct the fall...winches etc..or, start cutting from above as Peter C suggests.....and, wind is your enemy!

    Be careful.....

    Ray

  7. #6

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    I’ve done a LOT of tree lopping in my life. I recommend getting pro help or getting a competant friend that you personally know and trust to help.

  8. #7

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    hundreds of these vids are on youtube

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasranney
    Unless your limestone wall extends several feet below the surface, the tree roots are what is preventing the soil from sliding downhill, not the wall.

    Yes! Cutting down the tree would risk the wall and the slope falling on the newly redone alley with a storm drain. Rainfall is increasing; storms and floods are becoming more common. Trees hold things together. Leave them be.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasranney
    Unless your limestone wall extends several feet below the surface, the tree roots are what is preventing the soil from sliding downhill, not the wall.
    The wall runs perpendicular to the slope, so it only has to hold back the a relatively small amount of soil. As I said, this part of the ridge was terraced (for agriculture) using smaller limestone retaining walls and nowadays evidently the vegetation on the terraces. The bit that reaches the top of the wall is actually edge of the highest terrace, what I called the "prairy plateau" earlier.

    I am perfectly aware of (some of!) the things that can go wrong, and of Murphy's law. Exactly the reason why I asked here...

    A few (...) pictures; I think it's clear that cutting in sections from above is going to require some heavy equipment or acrobatics:

    tree cutting-img_7743-jpgtree cutting-img_7742-jpgtree cutting-img_7744-jpgtree cutting-img_7745-jpgtree cutting-img_7746-jpg

    The top of the wall is somewhere behund/underneath the bright green weeds and shrubs; the visible wall belongs to the neighbour across the alley:
    tree cutting-img_7748-jpg

    tree cutting-img_7747-jpgtree cutting-img_7749-jpg
    tree cutting-img_7750-jpg

    My partner already has a local acquaintance who offered to cut down the dead trees with a friend or two who are experienced in doing this, and take away the logs, all for free in exchange for the wood. Thing is we don't know when they'll make an appearance. In the 3x they've been here they also managed to take down our only and perfectly healthy beech tree, supposedly so they could take down a much lighter ash tree (I may have been very graphic in expressing my thoughts about that).

    tree cutting-img_7752-jpg
    (beech tree is the big trunk, the ash can be seen behind)

    They do have winches and so on.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Rainfall is increasing; storms and floods are becoming more common. Trees hold things together. Leave them be.[/COLOR]
    Thing is we've already had 1 tree break in a storm in 2019, a few months before we entered the property, there's a huge, really old-growth sumac stump that's growing a new canopy at about 3m high where it broke I don't know when, and the tree we're talking about is clearly a prime candidate for being uprooted. The only positive thing I can say about that is that most storms here come from the west so it should be blown into the terrain but it's still something that's probably best avoided. The dead trees are other disasters waiting to happen.

    The idea is also to put in smaller and more interesting trees, which we'll try to keep at a manageable size if necessary.

  12. #11

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    Robinias are lovely trees, have dense and hard wood, but have some of most horrific spikes that will cut you easily. Taking that tree down looks feasible, cutting it up into firewood size pieces and small parts for disposal is another thing. Once the tree is long gone and the roots are still in the ground, it wants to make a comeback for a couple of years. You have to keep an eye on it if you dont want it to come back again in that spot.
    Tip: regain your watch first prior to cutting that tree.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotpepper01
    Robinias are lovely trees, have dense and hard wood, but have some of most horrific spikes that will cut you easily.
    Are you referring to the thorns on their branches, or to the way the wood might splinter?

    I know about the firewood properties: I use it as a local alternative to mesquite for cooking (but I have an actual honey mesquite taking shape in a pot ) and the species has been present here long enough that the beignets made with their flowers are a known delicacy in the region.

    Cutting the thing up once on the ground into manageable chunk is just going to be work that can be done in bits and pieces - but we will need to clean a section to have a passage way so we can reach our gate.

    The watch is back on my wrist - it was there as a reference to size (it's a 40mm Parnis "hommage" watch, not a full-size Panera )

  14. #13

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    My Dad was a professional logger for much of his life, until a "widow maker" left him comatose and alone far from home, ending his career as a woodsman and nearly his life: and changing his personality. My brother is a career forester of some standing who has devoted his life to the careful utilization of Pennsylvania's legendary forests. Both would give the same advice: get experienced, professional people to do what is necessary. Pay what is needed. Not everyone with a chainsaw has the experience and training to do what needs to be done with your leaning trees.

    Leaning trees are not inert, they are storehouses of opposing energies. The compression forces on the lower side are balanced by the tension forces on the upper. ANY change in that balance can cause unpredictable consequences. Trees can "kick" with astonishing force, in any direction, and do so at blinding speeds. Repeating: Get experienced and well-equipped professional help.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Leaning trees are not inert, they are storehouses of opposing energies. The compression forces on the lower side are balanced by the tension forces on the upper. ANY change in that balance can cause unpredictable consequences. Trees can "kick" with astonishing force, in any direction, and do so at blinding speeds.
    Thanks! That's what I thought. Had the tree been straight though I just might have given in, clean the area around the base and proceed to make a vertical cut very slowly, working about as high as possible and hoping to reach a point where gravity would start to help, step back, and see what happened...

    Anyone know how likely this tree is to come down of itself? It's evidently been there a while. Taking just a good part of the top out (which would cause the canopy to spread out in a properly vertical tree) is probably not a good idea either?

  16. #15

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    I don’t think you can safely cut that tree without a guy in a bucket.

    You can risk it and see what happens. Maybe you’ll be fine, maybe the tree will kill you. Maybe it’ll kick towards you and shatter your forearms and you’ll never play guitar again, or maybe you’ll be fine. Hard to tell with that lean.

  17. #16

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    After having reached a certain level, I am seriously considering making a living from tree surgery. My method is new, thats why i call it tree revolution, it will target specially people with zero knowledge, who thinks trees are too complicated. Since i learnt that tree-felling is way easier that what it seems if u approach it the right way. i have a partner who is expert in online marketing , so i can be promoted in the first positions of google., many skills, new method, revolutionary, since its very different to the rest.

  18. #17

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  19. #18

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    No way I would try it myself or family, friends, or "friends who already did" etc. I always look for a professional when it comes to cut a tree. Serious skill set, for different cases, pro tools, liability insurrance etc, those are all requirements...

  20. #19

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    Just a note, a friend I know who is a long time pro once had his chainsaw kick back and catch him in the head.
    As I said before, hire a pro, this isn't a do it yourself oil change on your car.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    After having reached a certain level, I am seriously considering making a living from tree surgery.
    ))
    Is your real name a word that looks like the Dutch and German words for wood/forest?

    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    Just a note, a friend I know who is a long time pro once had his chainsaw kick back and catch him in the head.
    Was that before chainsaws had a quick-off feature? Mine does and it's truly instantaneous (probably easier to achieve than with an ICE model; it's a *lot* lighter too).

    Thanks again for all the advice. Sadly I'm not the one who'll be taking the decision whether or not this will be done by a 3rd party.

    Just for reference, I've seen prices going up to 7k€ for taking out (and removing) a single tree. I'm not going to pretend I can assess whether that's a reasonable sum or not, but it's a lot of money to address a problem that for the moment exists only in the head of a single person (roughly the cost of replacing the old, single-paned windows near the top of the list of actual issues).

  22. #21

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    High cost maybe an excuse to avoid cutting the trees altogether... You may regret it once they are gone. We had to cut a bunch of them at my parents house after a storm cause a couple of them fell down or broke and the house was in danger .. the place isn't the same after that. Having trees around is an irreplaceable luxury and beauty to behold..

  23. #22

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    Totally agree, and I was surprised not to get the usual "what are you rambling about again" response the other day when I remarked how this one was unique and looked a bit like trees in Japanese prints (with their canopy in "layers" ... some kind of cedars?).

    Safest and cheapest option is probably to check our insurance cover and wait if it does come down in a storm one day. There's a local organisation to help property owners with repairs and maintenance "done right" (the joys of living in a village with "monument status"...), should that wall get damaged.

    According to the current internal decrees that does mean no additional fruit trees in that part of the garden, and probably also confines my mesquite and (pacific) dogwood younglings to the containers they're in...

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    Just a note, a friend I know who is a long time pro once had his chainsaw kick back and catch him in the head.
    As I said before, hire a pro, this isn't a do it yourself oil change on your car.
    Yeah, I was cutting down a tree and accidentally knocked the chainsaw into my knee down to the bone. At the hospital I asked the doctor, "Is all that yellow stuff puss?" He said "No it's just fat. Haven't you ever cut up a chicken?" Then he said "You must keep your saw very clean. Usually these wounds are very dirty, yours is squeaky clean."

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB
    ))
    Is your real name a word that looks like the Dutch and German words for wood/forest?
    Call me Hieronymus.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Yeah, I was cutting down a tree and accidentally knocked the chainsaw into my knee down to the bone. At the hospital I asked the doctor, "Is all that yellow stuff puss?" He said "No it's just fat. Haven't you ever cut up a chicken?" Then he said "You must keep your saw very clean. Usually these wounds are very dirty, yours is squeaky clean."
    If you were wearing your work boots, I guess where know where the phrase “Puss in Boots” comes from…

    Asking people on a GUITAR forum for chainsaw advice seems like a fool’s errand. I like using a chainsaw—Husqvarna 18”—with all the proper protective equipment. When I had about 4 large trees—that size or larger—cut down on my property in the ‘00’s I hired a guy to take them down, then I cut them up once they were on the ground. That’s what I’d do.