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With more than a couple of years of messing with trees and chainsaws, I still get fooled. Yesterday I noticed a dead cherry along a fence that needs rebuilding. I figured I might was well drop it now rather than rebuilding the fence only to have the tree come down on it.

One branch of the cherry was under a branch of a neighboring tree but the connection didn't appear to be tight so I thought that as I dropped the tree, everything would just come loose. I made my hinge cut and back cut and while the tree leaned nicely, it didn't want to drop so I shoved a wedge in and tapped it. Gravity wasn't working so I pulled the wedge out and cut a bit more. Nope, still not enough help from gravity. I knew that the one branch couldn't be that much hold but that's the one reason the tree wasn't on the ground.

I could toss a cable over a fork so I did that and stretched it out behind another tree and gave it a tug and things came down just where they should. All was good until I looked up and noticed the branch from the neighboring tree was now split and hung in a third tree. I think the branch was actually being propped by the cut tree and when the cut tree came down the branch had enough of a defect to be weak.

It reminded me to always look up after dropping a tree- you never know what's ready to fall on your head. I looked at that tree several times from several angles but never figured the propped branch would be unstable.

You never know when dropping trees, even ones that appear simple.

Treefarmer
 

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Reminder posts like this are never a bad idea, thanks treefarmer. :thumbup1gif:

Lost a good friend of ours to a very similar situation 8 years ago, the day before Emma was born as a matter of fact, and he too was a very experienced woodsman.
 

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I have to tell a pine across a path I'm not sure best way to do it.
We're not home otherwise I'd take a picture but it's like large one downhill on right in drawing, maybe 18" diameter.
Cutting trees can be very dangerous.


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I have to tell a pine across a path I'm not sure best way to do it.
We're not home otherwise I'd take a picture but it's like large one downhill on right in drawing, maybe 18" diameter.
A tree that big can really hurt you, so please wait for a second opinion. Here's what I've done with similar trees when my 16" bar could cut completely across from one side (~14"). If you don't have quite a bit of chainsaw experience, get help. When side stresses are involved, intuition is very important. That only comes with practice!

"Walk up" the log by cutting 3 foot segments from the bottom, slowly bringing it vertical enough to allow one of the supporting trees to be cut safely.
- Identify any potential side pressures and work from the side offering the safest standing position in case tree buckles during cutting.
-- Assess how movement might pinch the bar to determine the geometry of your wedge and undercut
- About three feet from the root ball, cut a narrow wedge from the top, no more than 1/3 through
- Slowly undercut beneath the wedge, stopping to assess the stresses at least twice. Tilt the end of the bar downward slightly, because your side of the cut may close off as the log begins to buckle (assuming you're on the "safe" side). You want a higher cut on your side.
- If possible, leave about a one inch uncut hinge and attach a pull chain or cable near the cut to break it. You might also use a board or smaller log for leverage to pry the log sideways. The obvious goal is to keep your legs from getting trapped under the log.
-- Otherwise, that final cut is exremely dangerous. Ensure you have solid footing and a clear escape path. Cut just a little at a time and watch closely how the log is reacting to each cut. It should be bending away from you and sagging until it finally gives way.
- Repeat at three foot intervals as long as it's safe to do so.
 

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I look up now, all the time, after dropping one. I had a somewhat close call some time back and ever since, its stuck with me.
It doesnt take a very large branch to seriously injure or kill you.

Ive got a leaner now that Ive been trying to figure out the best way to deal with it.
Right now, my best idea is to get a rope around the top, or 2/3 up anyway, and attach a chain or three, and a hand winch anchored to a larger healthy tree and pull it out of the tree its hung up in.
The good thing with this is that the tree Im trying to get on the ground is Ash, and has been dead for some time. The upper branches on these are usually very brittle.
Its hung up in a very healthy Hickory, so only minimal damage should occur.
The other idea, which I cant do, is to get a truck or large tractor and pull at the base, away from the direction it fell.
Well, I could get my truck in the field, but the farmer generally doesnt appreciate that kind of stuff, so I try to keep off the field with anything but my tractor. Hes a great guy, and I suspect he might say ok, but I know he is very apprehensive about anyone driving on his field due to issues years ago, so I just dont ask since he is nice enough to let us burn excess wood in the field during Winter.

I have read of guys using a Cant Hook to rotate a tree out of another, but this Ash is too big for that. Likely 80' tall, 20+ inches at the base. To top it off, its got a nice bend in the trunk in the middle/upper 3rd of it. This is where I was going to try to attach the chain/cable.
 

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I look up now, all the time, after dropping one. I had a somewhat close call some time back and ever since, its stuck with me.
It doesnt take a very large branch to seriously injure or kill you.
My Dad drilled it into my head to look up as you are cutting for 2 reasons. Widow makers and you can also tell a lot better how the tree is going to fall, much better than looking at the trunk.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A winch or cable pull can work

A tree that big can really hurt you, so please wait for a second opinion. Here's what I've done with similar trees when my 16" bar could cut completely across from one side (~14"). If you don't have quite a bit of chainsaw experience, get help. When side stresses are involved, intuition is very important. That only comes with practice!

"Walk up" the log by cutting 3 foot segments from the bottom, slowly bringing it vertical enough to allow one of the supporting trees to be cut safely.
- Identify any potential side pressures and work from the side offering the safest standing position in case tree buckles during cutting.
-- Assess how movement might pinch the bar to determine the geometry of your wedge and undercut
- About three feet from the root ball, cut a narrow wedge from the top, no more than 1/3 through
- Slowly undercut beneath the wedge, stopping to assess the stresses at least twice. Tilt the end of the bar downward slightly, because your side of the cut may close off as the log begins to buckle (assuming you're on the "safe" side). You want a higher cut on your side.
- If possible, leave about a one inch uncut hinge and attach a pull chain or cable near the cut to break it. You might also use a board or smaller log for leverage to pry the log sideways. The obvious goal is to keep your legs from getting trapped under the log.
-- Otherwise, that final cut is exremely dangerous. Ensure you have solid footing and a clear escape path. Cut just a little at a time and watch closely how the log is reacting to each cut. It should be bending away from you and sagging until it finally gives way.
- Repeat at three foot intervals as long as it's safe to do so.
I've done that some- the part I hate is the last cut or two when the tree is getting closer to vertical. My preference with those is to cut above the root ball on somewhat of an angle and pull with a tractor or something with a winch. Depending on your access, you can either pull to the side so the trunk clears the stump or make your cut so it slides over the stump. It can take a pretty good pull, your SCUT or CUT might not have the pull unless you rig a block and tackle. With enough leverage you can pull a lot with a SCUT. On the other hand, I've seen professionals just hook a dang big skidder and winch winch to those and drag rootball and tree backwards until it's on the ground. That's a safe way, if you have enough winch and skidder. Alas, most of us can't call on that size equipment- it sure would be fun to show drive up the driveway with one and try to explain it to the better half.

Anyway you go, a leaning tree is a dangerous tree. We've got several that I've just left to fall on their own. They are just waiting to crush someone and if I'm not close, it won't be me. It shouldn't be anyone else either as they aren't in any public area or spot where family or friends would be.

Treefarmer
 
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