How would you fall this?

OrangeKrush

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All good thoughts!

Henro.. not a bad idea, it would make me feel safer after hearing what all could go wrong.😳
 

fishpick

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Current state of the tree.
D470ADBA-7EF4-4449-BC54-56F1FB385364.jpeg


The L4760 did good. Even with the R1s tho - the ground is still soft. Not like the other picture in this thread but soft enough that I could pull but never bog the motor. She started digging into the too moist soil well before we would know if she could move the tree.
That said - I don’t think we were moving it off the berm fully.
So what I did was go at the berm with the loader right next to where the tree was laying on it. Then used a shovel to undercut the berm some where the tree was resting. And then pulled some more.
Tree came down some.
I was then able to get under the thing with the chain saw and cut some of the limbs off that were making ground contact . Then pull some more.
did this 3-4 times. The tree is now more than 1/2 way lower than it was.

now I think it’s position that it’s reasonable to get up there and cut top down in 3-4 foot sections letting each drop and the trunk settle.

I can tell you I have done the plunge cut technique 1 other time. Much smaller tree. Not a cottonwood- which as I and other have said can be unpredictable as hell.
Well - cutting a maybe 4” limb off the trunk with very little pressure on the ground - it spilt in the same manner as a barber chair would. So - yeah. Thrilled it’s in a much more manageable position. Even with that said - I’m taking my time and being super careful!
 
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fishpick

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After less than an hour with my new Harbor Freight electric pole saw (Atlas thing really is impressive for the cost!) All the branches with leaves are off and most branches are back to the trunk. The only limitation really is the short 10” bar on a tree this big.
4BA03381-B6B7-4912-BC78-D653FCCAAF6E.jpeg

After topping out the canopy branches I hooked it onto the tractor again and actually got about 2’ of lateral movement before the ground just let loose and traction was lost.
A lot lower to the ground now.
Next step is to start cutting 4’ sections back from the top and see what happens.
 
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xrocketengineer

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I would suggest that as you cut towards the roots, to make your cuts shorter as the trunk gets thicker and heavier. That would reduce the amount of weight lost as you cut to prevent a sudden upward movement of the tree.
 

Flintknapper

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After less than an hour with my new Harbor Freight electric pole saw (Atlas thing really is impressive for the cost!) All the branches with leaves are off and most branches are back to the trunk. The only limitation really is the short 10” bar on a tree this big.
View attachment 82151
After topping out the canopy branches I hooked it onto the tractor again and actually got about 2’ of lateral movement before the ground just let loose and traction was lost.
A lot lower to the ground now.
Next step is to start cutting 4’ sections back from the top and see what happens.

Good work!

Alternately.....at this point if you wanted to cut an open face 'V' vertically in the near side and a single vertical kerf on the far side (leaving 5"-6" of holding wood/hinge) you could then hook onto the very end of the tree top with your tractor and 'pop' the remaining holding wood/hinge, dropping the entire thing on the ground where you can buck it up.

Whatever you choose, you've got it now. Continue to work safe and only attempt that which you are comfortable with. You'll use that pole-saw more than you would imagine once you get used to it.
 
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RCW

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Yep - great work! You're definitely heading in right direction.

Stay safe.
 
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fishpick

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Good work!

Alternately.....at this point if you wanted to cut an open face 'V' vertically in the near side and a single vertical kerf on the far side (leaving 5"-6" of holding wood/hinge) you could then hook onto the very end of the tree top with your tractor and 'pop' the remaining holding wood/hinge, dropping the entire thing on the ground where you can buck it up.

Whatever you choose, you've got it now. Continue to work safe and only attempt that which you are comfortable with. You'll use that pole-saw more than you would imagine once you get used to it.
Funny you mention that approach. My wife (spotter) and I talked about that very thing last night. While I agree that's a heck of a lot easier... I don't like (nor does she) the position I'd have to be in on the berm to make that vertical kerf cut on the far side given the non-straight line, I can't dive escape route cutting from there would cause... and this tree has proven one thing consistently... just starting a cut in a limb results in some wild ass splitting that you would never expect that limb to do. Case in point - yesterday there was a limb pointing almost straight down off the trunk (point here is almost no torsional forces on this limb). I had already cut off the canopy portion - so it was just a "dangling log" (TWSS).
I was up in the bucket of the loader - cutting with the pole saw horizontal to the ground - so a square log end around 8-9" diameter. A little over 1/2 way through the cut - the whole thing split lengthwise and half "sloughed off" to the ground. So - sure - likely this limb split when it hit the ground - and this just released it - even tho there was no sign of that visible... but... that kind of "what the hell" moments when cutting small parts off this thing made me decide last night that for this tree - no shortcut, no matter how bad I want it on the ground and how much faster that would make clean up, is worth it. It's very easy to imagine on either of those cuts the tree where all the force is still applied doing somethign very unexpected.

What is the diameter of the trunk back at the berm?
Real close to 3'+/- it doesn't matter at that size ;)
 
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xrocketengineer

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This is why this is so scary to me. The branch on the first picture was barely 6 feet over the ground on the far end, bowed down, and maybe 12 - 15 feet high by the trunk and about 4 inches thick . So I was going to cut the branch off with my gas pole saw from my 8 foot ladder, my belly was not sticking much above the top of the ladder and the pole saw was probably at about 45 degrees up cutting on the tree to the right of the first picture. I started to make the cut until I heard the "crack, crack" , I backed the saw away and the far end of the branch was already on the ground. So, I finished the cut when the branch instead of falling down, it went sideways across where the ladder was and the next thing I felt was the ladder falling forwards while I was holding to the pole saw in the middle like the balance rod of tightrope walker. When finally all the action was over, I found myself still holding the saw (engine running) but now sitting on the ladder steps with my feet on both side of the ladder as shown in the first picture. I felt no pain discomfort or anything and everything felt fine. So I my initial thought was that the ladder had gotten closed and I fell. But when I turned over the ladder that was not the case. In the second picture is easy to see that the branch came across and broke both front legs of the ladder, destroying them. So I was fortunate that I was not hurt on the fall but also I was not impaled by the broken and jagged aluminum pieces below.

WP_20170526_17_39_50_Pro.jpg
WP_20170526_19_39_57_Pro.jpg
 
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Flintknapper

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Funny you mention that approach. My wife (spotter) and I talked about that very thing last night. While I agree that's a heck of a lot easier... I don't like (nor does she) the position I'd have to be in on the berm to make that vertical kerf cut on the far side given the non-straight line, I can't dive escape route cutting from there would cause... and this tree has proven one thing consistently... just starting a cut in a limb results in some wild ass splitting that you would never expect that limb to do. Case in point - yesterday there was a limb pointing almost straight down off the trunk (point here is almost no torsional forces on this limb). I had already cut off the canopy portion - so it was just a "dangling log" (TWSS).
I was up in the bucket of the loader - cutting with the pole saw horizontal to the ground - so a square log end around 8-9" diameter. A little over 1/2 way through the cut - the whole thing split lengthwise and half "sloughed off" to the ground. So - sure - likely this limb split when it hit the ground - and this just released it - even tho there was no sign of that visible... but... that kind of "what the hell" moments when cutting small parts off this thing made me decide last night that for this tree - no shortcut, no matter how bad I want it on the ground and how much faster that would make clean up, is worth it. It's very easy to imagine on either of those cuts the tree where all the force is still applied doing somethign very unexpected.


Real close to 3'+/- it doesn't matter at that size ;)
You are the one 'on site' and have the best feel for what is and isn't safe. You have shown good intuition.

Carry on, you've got it.
 
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Flintknapper

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This is why this is so scary to me. The branch on the first picture was barely 6 feet over the ground on the far end, bowed down, and maybe 12 - 15 feet high by the trunk and about 4 inches thick . So I was going to cut the branch off with my gas pole saw from my 8 foot ladder, my belly was not sticking much above the top of the ladder and the pole saw was probably at about 45 degrees up cutting on the tree to the right of the first picture. I started to make the cut until I heard the "crack, crack" , I backed the saw away and the far end of the branch was already on the ground. So, I finished the cut when the branch instead of falling down, it went sideways across where the ladder was and the next thing I felt was the ladder falling forwards while I was holding to the pole saw in the middle like the balance rod of tightrope walker. When finally all the action was over, I found myself still holding the saw (engine running) but now sitting on the ladder steps with my feet on both side of the ladder as shown in the first picture. I felt no pain discomfort or anything and everything felt fine. So I my initial thought was that the ladder had gotten closed and I fell. But when I turned over the ladder that was not the case. In the second picture is easy to see that the branch came across and broke both front legs of the ladder, destroying them. So I was fortunate that I was not hurt on the fall but also I was not impaled by the broken and jagged aluminum pieces below.

View attachment 82175 View attachment 82176
^^^^^^
One of the most common mistakes I see. First working off of a ladder but second, when the limb does not detach and fall straight down as the person cutting assumes it will.

Instead it swings down (far end contacts the ground) then tears loose or person cutting continues to cut. Not realizing the limb (now at an angle) HAS to fall with the butt coming back in the direction of the person cutting. Invariably it takes out the ladder or the person on it.

Second most common occurrence is when a person fails to make an undercut FIRST on the limb. Instead makes the cut from the top nearly all the way through until the weight of the limb takes the limb down but the remaining 'hinge' (wood or bark) lets the limb swing back into the cutter.

Usually these are homeowners with little to no experience and they just don't think about the dynamics.

Other times....it is just the tree itself or the type of wood. Even persons experienced in tree work can be surprised sometimes.

Glad you were not injured. Thanks for sharing your experience.
 
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RCW

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I don't like (nor does she) the position I'd have to be in on the berm to make that vertical kerf cut on the far side given the non-straight line, I can't dive escape route cutting from there would cause... and this tree has proven one thing consistently... just starting a cut in a limb results in some wild ass splitting
Yep - - I liked Flintnapper's advice as well, but doesn't work in this instance.

One - it's cottonwood, and two - tough to get at to actually pull it off.

A miscue with the backcut - not going square and cutting part of your hinge, and all hell could break loose....with nowhere for you to go.

You've taken a lot of potential energy away, but that's a lot of timber. Has a lot left, and it's unpredictable, as you've learned.

Good GREAT choice on your part!! :cool:

You are the one 'on site' and have the best feel for what is and isn't safe. You have shown good intuition.

Carry on, you've got it.
Well said. Agree 100%! Still be safe. :)
 

fishpick

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Here’s where we got today before the storms hit.
C8012FAE-18DC-42DC-B356-F81078248D4D.jpeg

Not a whole lot left. Used the bucket to lift me up to the trunk. I’d make a nice undercut and a side cut that lined up with it for reference while secured to the bucket with a harness and strap. Then I’d climb up on the trunk, have the loader back off, and finish the top cut down - just falls right it the ground.
working in 3’ sections give or take. Small enough that nothing crazy should happen. Big enough there’s an end to the project in sight.
probably 5 or 6 more cuts and I’m done. The rootball and base will stay right where they are and just add to the shooting berm backstop mass as they sit.
Heat index was 103 today when doing this so I actually stopped because I was hot. Wife said I was done anyhow look up. We raced the storm back to the barn!
 
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OrangeKrush

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Here’s where we got today before the storms hit.
View attachment 82178
Not a whole lot left. Used the bucket to lift me up to the trunk. I’d make a nice undercut and a side cut that lined up with it for reference while secured to the bucket with a harness and strap. Then I’d climb up on the trunk, have the loader back off, and finish the top cut down - just falls right it the ground.
working in 3’ sections give or take. Small enough that nothing crazy should happen. Big enough there’s an end to the project in sight.
probably 5 or 6 more cuts and I’m done. The rootball and base will stay right where they are and just add to the shooting berm backstop mass as they sit.
Heat index was 103 today when doing this so I actually stopped because I was hot. Wife said I was done anyhow look up. We raced the storm back to the barn!
Good work fishpick & wife! Cut that thing back to the brush line and paint a nice fluorescent Bullseye on it.. Take That!😖
 
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Flintknapper

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Heat index was 103 today when doing this so I actually stopped because I was hot. Wife said I was done anyhow
(y)

Stop also if your arms/hands get tired. Too many folks try to 'push on' and get finished. That's when mistakes happen. And mistakes with a chainsaw are often gruesome (and expensive).

Looking good.....! Be careful.

Occasionally I have to get my Big Saw out (45" bar running .404 chain) and at age 68, I simply can't run it as long as I could when I was younger. It weighs right at 30 lbs. So taking a rest every 20 minutes or so is the prudent thing to do. Its just not worth getting cut for sake of pride or by poor decision making.

Rest if you need to.

Solo 603a.jpg

Solo_big tree_5.JPG
 
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Russell King

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If there is any chance that the trunk and root ball will stand back up, I think it would be better to not be sitting on the trunk when you are removing a portion of that trunk. I would worry that you’re going to be tumbling down the trunk with a running chain saw in your hands.
 

Flintknapper

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If there is any chance that the trunk and root ball will stand back up, I think it would be better to not be sitting on the trunk when you are removing a portion of that trunk. I would worry that you’re going to be tumbling down the trunk with a running chain saw in your hands.
Not to speak for the OP.....but I think he has pivoted the root ball enough now that it isn't an issue anymore.

However anytime you get in 'trouble' with a chainsaw (I.E. stumble, fall, lose balance) make it your habit to TOSS your saw (whether running or not). Also keep your finger OFF the throttle anytime you are not actively cutting.
 

fishpick

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If there is any chance that the trunk and root ball will stand back up, I think it would be better to not be sitting on the trunk when you are removing a portion of that trunk. I would worry that you’re going to be tumbling down the trunk with a running chain saw in your hands.
A - I'm strapped to it - so it's a ride and then the loader gets me off - no biggie - and the sections I'm dropping are so short now it wouldn't be a catapult event anyhow.
B - @Flintknapper 's first point below also true - so at this point in the project I don't think I'm riding much more than a foot or so. Honestly - when the tree was a lot longer it was a bit exciting, when a section would drop it was like sitting on a diving board ;)
(and before people worry - no - I never wrap your legs around the trunk - incase the trunk side splinters when the section you are dropping pops off - even with an undercut kerf - I "squeeze" the tree between my thighs - learned that from a guy who cut tree limbs away from powerlines for a living)

Not to speak for the OP.....but I think he has pivoted the root ball enough now that it isn't an issue anymore.

However anytime you get in 'trouble' with a chainsaw (I.E. stumble, fall, lose balance) make it your habit to TOSS your saw (whether running or not). Also keep your finger OFF the throttle anytime you are not actively cutting.
C - throwing or abandoning equipment in favor of not needing to visit an urgent care is looked at more as an opportunity to buy new equipment more than anything else :) I have lost a chainsaw to drop because things were not right... and a pole saw that was caught in a limb (still don't know how) that popped off a tree and went down a ravine... I opted to not try an "hang on" and watched it go.
D - If I'm not engaging in a cut - I flip the bar stop forward - so if I do have bad trigger control (or a stick or anything else does) - the saw just makes the angry bogged motor sound anyhow.
 
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Jchonline

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Here’s where we got today before the storms hit.
View attachment 82178
Not a whole lot left. Used the bucket to lift me up to the trunk. I’d make a nice undercut and a side cut that lined up with it for reference while secured to the bucket with a harness and strap. Then I’d climb up on the trunk, have the loader back off, and finish the top cut down - just falls right it the ground.
working in 3’ sections give or take. Small enough that nothing crazy should happen. Big enough there’s an end to the project in sight.
probably 5 or 6 more cuts and I’m done. The rootball and base will stay right where they are and just add to the shooting berm backstop mass as they sit.
Heat index was 103 today when doing this so I actually stopped because I was hot. Wife said I was done anyhow look up. We raced the storm back to the barn!
Nice work, and most importantly everyone is safe.