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Archive for January 12th, 2015

I hope that doing hard things on New Year’s Day will not become a trend. There was a white ash tree in my side yard that leaned significantly toward my neighbor’s house and about 25 feet away from the corner of his house. The tree had split half of its main trunk into our yard about 5 years ago during a drought. There was very little wind when it happened, just hot dry air. That left the other half of the trunk leaning predominantly over his house. Recently I gave him permission to take down the largest limb that extended halfway across his roof. I did not want to risk removing it and perhaps felling it on his roof. With three friends pulling on a rope he climbed 10 feet up into the first fork and fell the limb, completely missing his house. The tallest part of the trunk, some 60 or 65 feet tall still leaned over his house. The day he removed the one limb I noticed the end approaching. On one side of the bottom most fork were large white patches that I determined must be fungus eating away at the moist rot in the fork. If I didn’t take it down it would come down on his house for sure and the other half could reach my house as well. Weather and health and sons to help did not come available until 1/1/15. The most time consuming part of the job all the way through was getting rope over the appropriate forks for me to prusik up or for the truck to pull the branches down. The first two pictures show me standing in a fork about 40 feet up just after felling the first high limb successfully.

Upthetree2 Upthetree3

I don’t know which makes me more nervous, getting involved with the chainsaw that is near or above my head or the limb that I’m removing with the saw. Two of my boys did an excellent job yanking the limbs away from me and my neighbor’s house and even the other trees in the yard. It took nearly 8 hours to climb, rope a limb, cut, move, and repeat, and finally descend. Proper tree climbing and removal equipment would, of course, make this all go more quickly with less risk. This is the third time that I have done this operation and almost certainly the most risky. I really think that should quit now. Coming down was fun though.

Uptree8

We took down the main trunk just above the bottom fork before quitting for the day. That left just the left most branches. We took down the left most branch one evening after work. There was only this large, hard leaning middle branch on the left fork. I knew it would be hard. We planned and deliberated and tried the next Saturday. Notch, pull, back cut, pull harder, and then it fell on my house. The tops of the branches were all that reached but they could have done damage had it not been for the large limb on the Catalpa tree that took the brunt of the blow and eased it down onto the gable end as it came to the ground. No harm was done to the house but it uglified the Catalpa real fine. With the huge success of the first two days of cutting and the moderate success (no hospital, no repairs needed, no equipment breakage, just a branch down we hadn’t wanted down) the last day we only had the last 15 feet of double trunk to raze. Given the risks and the fact I like trees in my yard I had second guessed myself several times during this project, but when I fell that last trunk section it split in half when it hit the ground. Out came water and it was coated with mud inside. There was a reason for the fungus patches on the bark. We had with the prayers of friends and help of God, the pickup truck and my two sons’ help, and various pieces of equipment gotten the tree safely on the ground. Considering how ash splits when stuck wrong, it makes me wonder why bats are made from it. I guess I’ll have to research that. Perhaps I should take a easy stroll in the woods next New Year’s Day.

 

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