Saturday, September 28, 2013

If a tree falls in your yard.....

will it make a mess?  

Yes, a huge mess.  Twigs and branches everywhere.

Unfortunately our yard had a lot of huge ash trees which died because of that little green beetle, the emerald ash borer.

Several years ago we hired someone to cut down two trees and trim some branches that were hanging over the house.  This lightened our wallet by 1K but it had to be done.  The trees were too close to the house or by power lines for us to even consider cutting down ourselves.

BUT......the trees we needed to cut down are close to power lines or so we gave it a go.


Tree number one was a dead ash tree, kind of close to the house. It was leaning away from the house so we felt safe.  We removed as many of the limbs that we could reach.  This makes the tree lighter and makes the tree narrower when it falls.

We then stood back and tried to figure out the center of gravity (COG) so that we knew where to cut out our wedge.  Once we agreed on where to cut, we flung a rope up in the tree.  Flung is exactly what we did. Casting aside all sense, we tied a hammer to the end of the rope and flung it up into the remaining limbs. The first throw went right over a limb just like we had hoped.  We lowered the hammer a little, then spun the rope around the hammer and rope.  Then we tightened the rope by removing the slack.  Once the slack was gone we wrapped the rope twice around the tree.

Now time to cut.  First R cut the wedge out (about 1/3 of the diameter) and then moved to the back side of the tree and cut almost all the way through the tree.  While R cut, I kept the rope tight and watched the top of the tree for movement.  When R was through cutting, he came over and grabbed the rope, too. We went 1, 2, 3, pull, 1, 2, 3, pull and it cracked and slowly fell EXACTLY where we wanted it to.

The tree fell between our puny red pear tree and a pile of wood from the cut off limbs.

Isn't it a shame that this tree lived all those years only to die within two years of being infested with emerald ash borers.

We cut up this tree and then cut down an almost dead Japanese Lilac tree and trimmed out dead branches in another Japanese Lilac tree.  It's amazing how each tree has it's own smell.  The Japanese Lilac tree smelled wonderful when it was cut.  Black walnut stinks, ash is so so, magnolias have a peppery smell, and that nasty Tree of Heaven smells horrible.


We cut some of the limbs off another dead ash tree.  We used the electric chainsaw on a stick for this part.  This ash tree is located in a heavily treed area and some of the trees had either low branches or dead branches.  Our plan was to prep the big tree and trim all the other trees today and then drop the ash tree on Saturday.

First we cut some low hanging black walnut branches off of two trees.  We decided to cut up the pieces as we proceeded so we wouldn't trip over branches as we worked.  The next tree that needed trimming was an oak tree.  First branch to go was a live low hanging branch about 5 inches in diameter.  No problem.  Cut it up and moved on to two dead branches 3 and 2 inches in diameter.  The 3 inch problem.  2 inch branch BIG problem.  When it broke loose it swung back and hit R right in the forehead and then knocked his safety glasses off and poked him in the face about 1/2 inch below his eye.  Instantly it swelled up like he had been in a bar fight.  He put some ice on it and we picked up our mess and called it a day.

The swelling was instant but later on in the day it started bruising.  The ladies at the coffee shop asked him if I hit him.  He told them that I said he "wasn't working fast enough."  What a guy.

So the plan is to drop the dead tree and cut it up tomorrow.  I also hope that I can finish priming the third side of the shed.  I have about 2/3 of it primed.  Priming actually takes longer than the final coat.  I think it is because it is thin and the final coat is thick and covers better.

Rain is predicted for Sunday so we have to make the best of Saturday's good weather.