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Dropping a Tree


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So there's a 120' poplar that's over 3 feet in diameter needing to come down. lotso space to drop it, but it HAS to fall in one direction.

Unfortunately, it leans in the wrong direction. Maybe 2 or 3 degrees.


So SOP: climb tree, place line 50 feet up, tension slightly with come-along, notch as normal, ratchet up tension, then do back cut?


makes sense to me, but then again, i'd like other opinions. it's a big tree!

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I worked with a tree removal company in college. To remove a tree that size without making a big mess you need a tree climbing belt, tree climbing boot spikes, rope, and a chainsaw long enough to cut through a wide tree.


You start at the bottom and limb it as you climb up. Once you get to a point where you cannot climb the tree anymore you want to rope it off the top and have some ground men pull the top away while you top it with your chainsaw.


After topping the tree you downclimb and cut it down one roll at a time being careful not to cut your own lanyard. That is how we used to do it... dropping them all at once creates a huge mess.

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If the tree goes the wrong way, consequences?


Can you see decay at the base of the tree? Further up the tree?


Setting a rope to pull helps. It should be at 2/3rds tree height.


What kind of insurance do you have?


Here's a much better description of procedure and technique than the youtube version.


Felling Technique


Have you cut down small trees where not hitting targets was important. If this 130 foot tree is your first one you may want to hire somebody who has experience felling trees.

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thanks feck, much appreciated.


i have dropped a few trees before, including some 80 foot maples hanging over an office building with climbing and rigging involved (sectioned top down). i just haven't encountered something with this girth before! coupled with the reverse lean, it was a bit intimidating at first; there's no way it could be dropped in the right direction without mechanical aid, ie wedges and pull ropes.


to answer your questions:


consequences, a crushed residence;


no visible decay, based on initial observations;


good insurance;


and yes. 20" diameter maples.


i think i want to keep the notch a little less deep, and really work the back-cut slowly, with wedges and a come-along as mechanical aid. seems reasonable....


thanks again for the input.



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To remove a tree that size without making a big mess you need a tree climbing belt, tree climbing boot spikes, rope, and a chainsaw long enough to cut through a wide tree.


Ok, I just bought those at REI. See how shiny they look? I'm ready to chop down the tree!


REI + PHD what more do you need!

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While climbing a big tree you generally need a couple chain saws. The first one is a climbing saw with a top grip. In theory you can use this one handed, but it's still something you should do rarely. One handed chain sawing violate ANSI Z-133 standards for safety.


Stihl 200T


Once you have smaller sections out you send that down and have a larger saw (Power and bar length) sent up.


It's dangerous work. Be careful about random Internet searches for information


Here are a couple sites you can thumb through for information. They are professional organizations in existence since the 30s.






On the other hand you can also get advice from people like this





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It's DAMNED dangerous work.


Added an extra word in there for you, and easily hired out to an expert too. Doing more of it will get you the experience to do it safer, but that's why you hire it out, most of those tree guys do it cheaper than I could imagine doing something similar for. Watching an expert work his magic is amazing. .....jus' saying'.....

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I ran tree crews in heart of downtown Chicago removing large diameter (4'+, many lightning-struck) trees for a couple of years and dropping a tree of 3'+ diameter with any significant back lean is serious business. You need to get the wedging (segments) math spot on, use the appropriate aluminum / steel wedges, and not over tension the line if you use one. Then there's the matter of tensioning line diameter - it has to be sufficient to the task - your typical wank come-along isn't going to cut it. We typically used 1-1/14" bull ropes tied off to a semi truck for the task, again with a delicate touch as you don't want to over tension it and blow the hinging. Rope also has the added benefit of dynamic tension as opposed to the static tension of wire.


In reality it's a big job with a lot of stuff to assemble to do it right and you need reliable help who know what they're doing so I'd also vote going with a pro crew who cuts large [deciduous] trees on a daily basis...

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thanks for the advice. we are lucky in that we've got a clear open field to drop it into, so it doesn't matter on the mess.

good videos on youtube, dealing with various problem trees and techniques.


youtube your drop...be sweet to see a 120 footer take a crash...

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