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Downing A Dead Tree

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#1 olcowhand ONLINE  


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Posted May 01, 2013 - 10:31 AM

The safety word here is simply "DON'T ATTEMPT IT"!   Dad & I took a dead one down today, and I did NOT like doing it.  I had our payloader bucket above me while I sawed into the tree just far enough to allow pulling it with chains & cable to snap the remaining trunk.  The loader bucket was strong enough to protect me from any limb that may have broken off, but most don't have the luxury of having a payloader for protection.  Even a small limb falling several feet can be deadly as a high powered rifle bullet through your chest, so NEVER attempt this!  When this tree hit the ground, every single limb, some up to 10" diameter exploded into tiny pieces.  Leave this to the pro's!

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Posted May 01, 2013 - 10:33 AM

I could not agree more Daniel! There is a reason they call them Widow Makers.

Edited by JD DANNELS, May 01, 2013 - 10:34 AM.

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#3 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted May 01, 2013 - 10:38 AM

I agree 100% on that Daniel. A big pine fell in my neighbors yard a few years ago during a hurricane. The impact shook the house and the limbs that didn't bend when it hit the ground ( up to 4" in diameter) were driven into the earth so hard we had to cut them off below the surface. I have a professional I hire to look after the dangerous stuff. He lays them on the ground and then I look after the easy stuff.

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#4 UncleWillie OFFLINE  


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Posted May 01, 2013 - 11:03 AM

Most dead trees around here are brought down with a strap and a truck.

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Posted May 01, 2013 - 11:42 AM

Back in the early 80's we had a gypsy moth problem that wiped out many red oak tress. I got permission to cut and remove 100's of dead oak trees from a really hit hard area property owners. I was selective in cutting, if I even thought there was a "widow maker" above where I had to cut, I went to the next dead tree. I was lucky a few times, and never got hit. I was young and dumb back then, not so sure I'd take the risks I did then or work that hard to make a few extra $$ selling firewood.

I sure agree with Daniel, surely if its been dead a long time and rotted.

Edited by NJKen, May 01, 2013 - 11:42 AM.

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#6 larryd OFFLINE  

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Posted May 01, 2013 - 12:04 PM

Pro's are the best bet . We have a crew 3 men and a girl that are fast and great . One of the guys is like a monkey all over the tree and cuts it down from the top down piece by piece and no mess when through but are expensive.



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#7 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2013 - 09:01 AM

Yeah, the dead ones are scary. If you can't leave it to the pros, follow all the safety precautions.


I've had to do this a couple of times and my tips are:


Limb the tree first, then cut it down in sections from the top.


Watch for rot. Something killed the tree and sometimes they rot from inside out, so watch as you cut.


Think. Always think. You can't do this job on auto-pilot.


Have helpers and lots of rope.


Have an observer so if things go really badly there's somebody to call for help. 

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#8 HDWildBill OFFLINE  


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Posted May 05, 2013 - 11:09 AM

A good topic to discuss for sure.  I have a big  one I need to have taken down and a couple of small ones.  Guess I had better give Kellan a call.

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Posted May 06, 2013 - 09:03 PM

They are scary. The small lower dead limbs I can cut from a short step ladder , I get those.


The big dead limbs up high, or a dead tree, I call a tree guy, with a bucket truck and Insurance!

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#10 EricFromPa ONLINE  



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Posted May 11, 2013 - 04:32 AM

Don't trust the Local guy that says "I cut down trees all the time,I'm a pro" We had someone come to take out the Big pine in our back yard.It split into 2 tall slender tops about 20 feet up and a big wind storm caused it to split and it was starting to lean.The tree was around 120 foot tall.He fell the 1 top fairly easy but the other one was wanting to fall towards the house.The dumb butt didn't take any of the big limbs off.It had most of it's weight hanging down hill.He tied a climbing rope to the bumper of his car and the bumper tore off.


We almost lost a good portion of the house roof because of a "Local Pro". 



After I went and borrowed the neighbors truck to tie off to we got it to fall.The guy never did come back to clean up the Huge mess of tree branches and stump.



That reminds me I have to get the stump burnt out this year.It's good and dry now but it's a really big stump.I counted the rings,it has 89 rings.Does that mean it's 89 years old?

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#11 shorty ONLINE  



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Posted May 11, 2013 - 06:24 AM

A friend was dropping a tree with his BIL for the wood. After limbing it he was cutting the main trunk down piece by piece. The saw pinched and the piece fell back and knocked him out of the tree. He broke his back. After that it is a little easier to get a pro to put it on the ground.

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#12 maggiewaggie OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2013 - 07:51 PM

The bottom line is: do you want to spend the money on a licensed and bonded pro or spend you money on getting your busted up body put back together...if it can be. Even a small branch hitting you can ruin your control of the saw.
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#13 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted May 13, 2013 - 08:04 PM

Another alternative is what I used to do. Its a big shovel dozer(Allis). I would push the tree in the direction that I wanted it. I had a technique that even let it down slower than free fall. I'd drive up to the tree and at about 8' up I'd dig the teeth into the trunk. Then I'd lock the boom in "up", put it in low and start forward. The tree will start to fall but by that time my belly is on the root ball. I would then have to push the trunk down until gravity would take it the last 45 degrees of fall. I'd then back off, lower the bucket, charge into the roots and lift the root ball clear. Then I'd push it a little more so that it couldn't fall back in the hole. 


I have also pulled trees down with a long 5/8" cable that I have but that is a last resort. When pulling a tree down, always have a second cable that is anchored so that if the pulling cable fails the tree won't fall the wrong way. Good Luck and be safe, Rick

#14 pigsitter OFFLINE  


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Posted May 13, 2013 - 08:27 PM

My rule of thumb is,if I don't feel safe or comfortable dropping a tree I call a pro!


Over the years I've found a local tree guy who will just drop the tree and leave me the rest to clean up,it saves him time and me a bunch of $$$

Edited by pigsitter, May 13, 2013 - 08:28 PM.

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#15 dodge trucker OFFLINE  

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Posted May 19, 2013 - 09:10 PM

yup working in my own front yard back in 07,  had the tree down, but just taking another 6" off the stump, per the rental yard; because they told me that the stump had to be <8" sticking out of the ground,for their stump grinder's guard to clear. Saw bar got pinched, spit out and I dam near became "stumpy" myself, I wound up cutting 3/4 of the way thru the shin just above the ankle when the saw kicked back,  and it happened QUICK!

 I never figured to be filing for SS Disability at 40, but thats exactly where

i was....  now at 45, I finally got a respectable job  again a couple months ago,paying almost what I made at the job I lost from that injury> though I now have to drive 4X the distance to get it.... though unlike the job that injury cost me this job has zero OT available so I am still behind the 8 ball....


I took the tree down because it was splitting down the trunk, starting at the yoke. I was afraid one part was gonna land on the garage and the other on what ever I happened to have parked in the driveway if left standing and allowed to continue cracking

come to find out it had been hit by lightning before I moved in and the PO of my home wrapped a chain around just below the yoke hoping it would "graft" back together; that chain was buried 2-3" below theark, as we were limbing the tree that chain cost me a few saw chains....