How would you fall this?

D2Cat

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
L305DT, B7100HST, TG1860, TG1860D, L4240
Mar 27, 2014
11,085
2,298
113
40 miles south of Kansas City
Use your backhoe to dig out the root hole some. Then hire someone to cut the top of the tree off. Let it rock back into the hole and leave it alone.
 

Crash277

Well-known member

Equipment
BX23S
Jan 17, 2021
796
594
93
Canada
I'm just wondering here.. because without being there and seeing it in person I have no idea what it might or might not do. Not enough experience! Certainly not a lumberjack!😁

What if you were to start cutting the roots on opposite side of the fall.. taking pressure off so it doesn't want to spring back, or are the ones towards the fall aiding in the spring? I'm not sure if this is an even more dangerous situation to try or not but at least the tree couldn't spring back.

If not feasible at least I'm sure to find out why not. 😊

cutting roots is hard on the saw. dirt dulls the chain pretty darn quick.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Dieseldonato

Well-known member

Equipment
B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
723
424
63
Pa
cutting roots is hard on the saw. dirt dulls the chain pretty darn quick.
Dulls the chain, wears the bar nose, rails, sprocket ect.....
Had another thought, instead of a straight undercut. Vee the undercut like you would notch to fell a standing tree. Then proceed to do the top cut. This should give you the advantage of using some hinge wood to help it stop from being an abrupt stand up. I have mixed feelings about the poll saw. You would almost have to do a side cut on the opposite side you would cut from to thin the tree to where the poll saw could handle. But it would keep you father from harms way. Always something to be aware of.
 

fishpick

Active member

Equipment
BX24 & L4760HSTC
Dec 16, 2017
107
174
43
The High Taxes part of lovely NY, USA
Well - assuming tomorrow is not another day of rain I'm planning on heading down to the end of the field in the afternoon to see what I see and maybe try to pull the top side-a-ways to get the whole thing off the berm. Regardless - I'll take pics and post where ever I end up!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

fishpick

Active member

Equipment
BX24 & L4760HSTC
Dec 16, 2017
107
174
43
The High Taxes part of lovely NY, USA
UPDATE : I aint doing NUTHIN for a bit - took a walk last night and that end of the field is standing water - no way am I hooking a chain on that monster and trying to pull it from the upper reaches sideways... I'd then be posting "can i use a winch to the partially down tree to pull my tractor out of the mud" threads...

It's a mess down there now - also - a top of a dead tree came down where I need to pull from as well - so - FIRST I need to clean that up... after things dry out. I will update this thread - but it won't be for a bit - as more rain expected tomorrow and Sunday.
 
  • Sad
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

NCL4701

Well-known member

Equipment
L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500, 16kW IMD gen, WG24
Apr 27, 2020
1,597
1,891
113
Central Piedmont, NC
I’m not familiar with cottonwood so I don’t know if it’s the kind of weak wood that snaps easily (like tulip tree poplar/tupelo) or something that hinges well such as white oak or gum. Regardless, I’d pull it down if at all possible being the top appears too far up in the air to practically work it from the top down unless you drag a spider lift down there.

Problem with pulling it down is it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do that with a single line pull with a 6000lb L4760. My L4701 is the economy model but also runs about 6000lb with loaded rears, loader, and boxblade. You may be able to pull more if you’re running R1’s as mine is on R4’s. Otherwise, max drawbar should be similar. I seriously doubt you’ll do anything other than dig a couple of holes on a single line pull as it’s unlikely you’ll be able to apply more than around 4000 to 5000lb line pull with a 6000lb 4WD tractor on dry well compacted soil, less on soil with a lesser shear factor. That’s not likely to move it.

If you can incorporate a snatch block to double your line pull, I suspect you could pull it sideways and put it on the ground by hooking onto it somewhere in the left part of the circled area. Worst case, if it’s a pretty weak wood, you’d break the top out of it so at least it would lose some weight.
1CBDC81B-DA05-4BA3-B31D-5D6065129500.jpeg

The suggestion to bird mouth cut on the bottom and cut from the top to make a hinge would be my plan B but only if it’s not a weak wood prone to snapping and only if I had a saw bar long enough to go all the way through the trunk in one pass. I would also assume one or both trunk sections would attempt to kill me at some point in the process, which is why I’d spend the money on some additional rigging and pull it down if I didn’t already have appropriate rigging.
 

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
601
722
93
Deep East Texas
I can only suggest how I would handle it. First remember Cottonwood 'wood' is brittle and can be unpredictable. From what you describe it sounds as if the root ball is still entrenched and heavy (good of you to realize that). Part of the trunk is resting on a berm. The limbs on the upper part of the tree do not appear to be supporting much of the weight BUT will cause it to roll if not removed.

I don't see pulling the tree with the equipment you have as a viable solution. And I can tell you from experience once you cut the trunk the root ball WILL re-seat and take whatever trunk not cut with it.

Still...this can be done safely.

I would first use a pole saw to remove all the limbs underneath. This will prevent the top from rolling when released and also insure that all the pressure is consistent and predictable. In this case, all of the wood on top will be under tension. All the wood underneath under compression. Knowing this we can deal with it.

Personally... I would get up on the berm if it provides stable footing. Take the time to clear off an area that will allow you an escape route (VERY IMPORTANT). To the right of where you would make your cut on the trunk wrap the trunk for a short section with a chain or tow strap to contain a 'Barber Chair' if that should happen.

You need to establish an under cut.... but I don't like to start from the bottom up with brittle woods. Instead.... I always want 'holding wood' working for me. If you start from the bottom up or cut a 'V' in the bottom you will increase the tension on the top, which may result in the trunk splitting.

What I do in cases like yours is to 'plunge cut/bore cut' through the trunk half way up and cut downward creating a kerf. STOP a few inches before reaching the bottom. This leaves holding/supporting wood. Now drive a wedge in each side of the trunk 6"-8" above the bottom of the kerf. This will keep the kerf open and prevent the trunk from pinching the saw bar later.

Next... go back into the kerf and saw upwards.....stopping a few inches from the top. Be ready to move back out of the way if the trunk should 'pop' at anytime. At this juncture you should have the majority of the center cut out and holding wood...both top and bottom.

Now we go back to the pole saw. Come up from underneath and remove the holding wood under the wedges. The last step is to go on top (cutting from the top down) to 'Release' the holding wood there.

Be ready to move. The trunk to the right of the berm is going to fall and when the top hits the ground will push it back towards the berm...but should not pinch your saw. The root ball portion is very likely to rise quickly...but you should be out of the way because of the length of the pole saw.

Once the top is on the ground you can pull that section down off the berm with your tractor and buck it up per normal practices.

If you don't have a saw with a bar long enough to make a plunge cut though the trunk or do not know how to safely make a plunge cut (without kick back), then dispense with all the above. Safety first!

Look at the tree carefully and plan that way too. You seem to have a good understanding of the situation...but don't take any chances. If at any point you start getting that 'scary' feeling in your stomach....its probably for good reason. Better to change plans or hire a pro than to get hurt.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

fishpick

Active member

Equipment
BX24 & L4760HSTC
Dec 16, 2017
107
174
43
The High Taxes part of lovely NY, USA
dunno why it turns when I post it. But this was today to look at things. It’s just soup down there. No way I’m pulling on anything for a good long while.
also couldn’t get pics of the base and berm because my work boots would have given me wet feet as there’s about 4” of standing water to get back there…. Ohh. It’s raining now too.
76A4FA63-F141-4B01-B81A-8AA35748442B.jpeg
 

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
601
722
93
Deep East Texas
dunno why it turns when I post it. But this was today to look at things. It’s just soup down there. No way I’m pulling on anything for a good long while.
also couldn’t get pics of the base and berm because my work boots would have given me wet feet as there’s about 4” of standing water to get back there…. Ohh. It’s raining now too.
View attachment 81727

Yeah, that is seriously wet and soft. Definitely wait until things improve.

tree bermPN.jpg
 

GreensvilleJay

Well-known member

Equipment
BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
5,617
1,988
113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
re: picture taking on socallled 'smart' devices....
if you can, find the 'lock orientation' or whatever the phone OS calls it, in some 'settings' options. Once 'locked' phone will take normal pictures.

re: the 'project'... I'm thinking wait until mid winter ! That ground is seriously SOFT ,even if the tractor can drive on it (in ??) YOU can't safely get out of the way if the trunk spins fast towards you...
Looks like nice soil though !
 

fishpick

Active member

Equipment
BX24 & L4760HSTC
Dec 16, 2017
107
174
43
The High Taxes part of lovely NY, USA
Week of no rain and lots and lots of wind! Thing have dried out considerably so I kicked around a bit. Here’s some of the pics everyone was asking for.

C851BDE2-11A5-4137-8E22-4F83DAA866C0.jpeg

From root ball. Looking up the trunk on the berm.
5352FAE5-1BFF-41A8-81B0-77C91C8F043C.jpeg

Point where the trunk rests on the berm. My leg is in there for reference. You can see there’s nothing under there to the right
930EFB75-F00B-4D1D-B317-8457DDEAA41D.jpeg

From where it rests to the ball is 15-16’. Measured it off today.

and here’s where I’m at. I have a strap and a chain ready to go tomorrow. Giving things one more day for sun and wind. Supposed to rain Tuesday. So tomorrow around 4 my wife will be my spotter and a lot of chain and distance to reduce the angle and keep me from the tree will see if my L4760 has a chance in hell moving it off the berm. Only needs about 16” to come off. Will see. Hope is not high.
3D5FA40B-D7F7-449F-B7B0-1AC2C45FBC19.jpeg


if it doesn’t move then I’m going to notch under in-front of the berm and then plunge from the top and slowly cut / nibble from the top down - there’s a safe space behind the berm to dive for cover when things start to go. Just gonna go slow and let time and gravity do their things.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

RCW

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2360, FEL, MMM, BX2750D snowblower. 1953 Minneapolis Moline ZAU
Apr 28, 2013
6,964
2,215
113
Chenango County, NY
Ouch. Hopefully the tractor can pull it.

That spot you’re considering to notch on the bottom with a conventional back cut on the top has a lot of tension and compression forces on it.

It is very much apt to barber chair on you, especially being cottonwood.

Essentially means the tree will split on the back cut, and send part of it up straight up toward your chin …happens REALLY fast with great force.

It can also roll around as it splits. Hard to get away from, as it can be hard to predict which way the shit split could happen.

Unless you have experience with a potential barber chair circumstance, I can’t recommend you try that. Bore cutting, and a couple other techniques can alleviate the danger, but those are not suggestions you make over the internet….

Not trying to be an alarmist. I’ve had many ‘chair on me. Sometimes unanticipated, and some done on purpose. It’s a dangerous thing on a big tree.
 
Last edited:

RCW

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
BX2360, FEL, MMM, BX2750D snowblower. 1953 Minneapolis Moline ZAU
Apr 28, 2013
6,964
2,215
113
Chenango County, NY
If you were to successfully cut it off, I need to also point out that it’s possible the limbs in contact with the ground can thrust the butt-end of the tree directly back at you. I’ve seen upright trees springboard back 30 feet or more beyond the stump they were cut from.
 

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
601
722
93
Deep East Texas
Ouch. Hopefully the tractor can pull it.

That spot you’re considering to notch on the bottom with a conventional back cut on the top has a lot of tension and compression forces on it.

It is very much apt to barber chair on you, especially being cottonwood.


Essentially means the tree will split on the back cut, and send part of it up straight up toward your chin …happens REALLY fast with great force.

It can also roll around as it splits. Hard to get away from, as it can be hard to predict which way the shit split could happen.

Unless you have experience with a potential barber chair circumstance, I can’t recommend you try that. Bore cutting, and a couple other techniques can alleviate the danger, but those are not suggestions you make over the internet….

Not trying to be an alarmist. I’ve had many ‘chair on me. Sometimes unanticipated, and some done on purpose. It’s a dangerous thing on a big tree.

^^^^^
Agreed.....I can't stress enough do NOT 'notch' as an undercut and attempt to 'nibble' it down from the top (hoping to slowly lower the tree)!

Cottonwood is a whole 'nother animal.

I would use the chain and strap to 'wrap' the section of trunk to the right of where you are going to cut to prevent it from possibly splitting badly (it can happen very fast). Personally I wouldn't release that tree with anything but a pole-saw (from several feet away) after having made bore cuts with holding wood left and wedges (see previous post).

I would also remove all limbs on the underside to relieve some of the weight and to prevent the top of the tree from rolling or kicking backward when the trunk releases. This is not a tree to take shortcuts on.

As for pulling the tree with the tractor:

1. Do so SLOWLY, do NOT attempt to jerk the tree.
2. Make sure your attachment point to the tractor is BELOW the rear axle or the tractor will rotate around the axle lifting the front end or flipping backwards.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
601
722
93
Deep East Texas
If you were to successfully cut it off, I need to also point out that it’s possible the limbs in contact with the ground can thrust the butt-end of the tree directly back at you. I’ve seen upright trees springboard back 30 feet or more beyond the stump they were cut from.
^^^^^

Agreed again....and I warned against this in an earlier reply.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
4,163
1,756
113
North of Pittsburgh PA
^^^^^

Agreed again....and I warned against this in an earlier reply.
If possible I would chain the base of the tree, above the cut point, to another tree to limit movement in the direction where I was standing/cutting.

Just an amateur‘s approach though…I have a lot of chain. 😀
 

Flintknapper

Well-known member

Equipment
L2350DT
May 3, 2022
601
722
93
Deep East Texas
If possible I would chain the base of the tree, above the cut point, to another tree to limit movement in the direction where I was standing/cutting.

Just an amateur‘s approach though…I have a lot of chain. 😀

IF the OP 'limbs' the tree first....it will eliminate any influence they may have to make the tree 'limb heavy' to one side or to push back when they contact the ground. Meaning as long as he cuts the trunk uniformity (saw kerfs) it shouldn't roll, twist or bind. It will/should fall straight down upon release. No need to make the job more difficult than necessary......but all reasonable measures should be taken to ensure his safety.

IF the OP can pull the tree off the berm (rotate it on the root ball) that would the best thing. But that might not be possible.

You always want to be careful with 'blow downs'.....that goes without saying. In this case the project is compounded by the amount of trunk cantilevered over the berm and moreover....the type of tree it is (wood). Cottonwoods can be very unpredictable.

The top of this tree is well off the ground. Many homeowners/property owners are not equipped to reach the branches there and are inclined to either leave them in place or employ dangerous methods to reach them (ladders, tractor bucket, etc).

This is where a good pole-saw is worth its weight in gold. Every time I have a blow down....the first thing I reach for is my Pole-saw. I use it not only to reach limbs...but to keep myself away from limbs under tension....as I remove those. Even if you have to rent one.....it can be well worth it for your safety and ease of cutting.