Tag Archives: cutting a tree down

Tree felling 101

As mentioned in the last post, I don’t have loads of cash to throw at removing these trees. So, I do it myself. What I have had to build and experiment with is Tree Climbing spikes. These little buggers help you to climb stupidly high in order to get to the tops of the trees for cutting. They are effectively just a long spike protruding from the inside curve of your boot, which you kick into the tree to give you grip. Put a rope around the tree to hold on to and go.

Obviously, climbing harness, carabiners, safety ropes and such must accompany you!

DIY Tree Climbing Spikes
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes 2
DIY Tree Climbing Spikes 2
Tree Climbing with Spikes DIY
Tree Climbing with Spikes DIY
Up a tree to secure a cable
Up a tree to secure a cable
Cable secured
Cable secured
I ALSO WANNA CLIMB DADDY!
I ALSO WANNA CLIMB DADDY!

On most of the trees that I have recently felled, I was allowed enough space to let the tree fall where I wanted it to. To do this I climbed the said trees and secured a long strong cable at about two thirds of the way up. I then fastened the other end to the Jeep ( normally snaking around the base of a tree in the direction I wanted it to fall) I loaded the Jeep with bricks and rocks to weight it down for more traction, put it into Low Range and pulled the tree as tight as possible. I then fired up the chainsaw and cut out the ‘V’ near the base of the tree in the direction I wanted it to fall. I I then cut around the sides and back of tree until I heard the tree shift and start to lightly click as the heartwood fibres took strain. I then sprinted my ass off to the Jeep, started it up and pulled.
Some times I’d have to repeat the last 2 steps a few times before the tree gave way. (Better safe and tired than sorry) The tree would begin to shift under the torque of the vehicle and start coming down. I would keep the tension on the cable for as long as possible to ensure that the tree fell exactly where I wanted it. Even on the badly leaning trees I was able to land them near on perfect.

20140504_11103620140504_11100620140504_120802inthetreescobhouse.wordpress.com tree removal

Cob house Inthetreescobhouse grass roof

MY NEMESIS:

The last tree on the menu on Sunday had been giving me a worried finger for a long time. I
It had been shaped by the prevailing South Westerly wind to curve from it’s base to midway and then straighten up but keep all of it’s weight and foliage on the wrong side.
Cutting it at the base meant dropping it possibly on the house and definitely on the neighbor’s fence and chicken coop.
No vehicle in my reach would be able to pull it over against it’s strength and weight.

So, suck it in, climb and cut..

Mr Nemesis
Mr Nemesis
Rather high,  Mr Vertigo.
Rather high, Mr Vertigo.
And the wind started picking up!
And the wind started picking up!

It took me about an hour before I started to cut up there with the chainsaw. Life at that height is a different world.
I even phoned my wife to come and give me moral support!
I managed to cut all the weight off the tree to then cable it and cut/pull with the Jeep.
Done. Yay!

My girls coming to give me moral support! I was trying to pretend I was on a ship's mast by singing a sailor's songs!
My girls coming to give me moral support!
I was trying to pretend I was on a ship’s mast by singing a sailor’s songs!
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In the trees.?

We decided to call our little piece of freedom this for 3 reasons.

* We’re not “in the money”

* Our heads aren’t “in the clouds” anymore, though they aren’t buried in the sand either.

* there are lots of trees…..

………..* also, one day, hopefully soon, I’ll build a main bedroom in the three trees above the current main bedroom to give all 3 kids their own rooms. Then Anel and I will be “in the trees” [read: Treehouse Sanctuary, away from the wild animals below!]

View upthe drive before felling
View upthe drive before felling

We have mainly Bluegum trees (Eucalyptus) growing on the land as they were introduced by the original owner of the farm and planted as a windbreak in rows. I guesstimate that some of the older trees must be around 80 years old.

Bluegum trees do not have particularly deep root bases, grow up to 40 metres high and have a rather irritating habit of falling over.

As there have also been a few fires that had come through the land previously, scarring the bases of some of the taller trees, a few trees had weaker or rotted sections.

Scary to think about when standing under them in high winds.

I have been wanting to clear a few more trees from the house area for a while as I am not too keen to catch a 4 ton log before it rests on the roof.

Two leaning problem trees
Two leaning problem trees

Removing problem trees is normally a Very costly affair if you get the experts in.
In my case, the two trees in the photo above would have cost me around R6000 or $500 EACH to remove. In the trees, not the money, remember?

So called professional tree fellers in our area also do not even carry a 100% property safety guarantee and insurance for their work.

I knew this from the beginning of our plot life so I am not sitting here with a worried finger up my bum, I’m just saying…