cutting down 2 trees


Old 09-14-05, 07:18 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 16
cutting down 2 trees

i believe i can do this with no problems, but i wanted to hear your advice before I begin. I have 2 skinny, tall pines in the middle of my backyard that are blocking my satellite dish reception. There is no place else to put the dish, and cable is not an option, so I have to get rid of these 2 trees. They are about 10 inches in diameter and maybe 50 feet tall. The satellite guy is letting me borrow his chainsaw to fell these suckers. The only problem is that my house is about 40 feet from these trees, so they have the potential to damage the house if they fall the wrong way. This is what I am thinking:

Take a long, thick rope and tie it around the pine, then run it out to the back of the yard and run it around a tree, then bring it back at a 90 degree angle from where the tree is. My buddy can pull on this rope to keep tension on the pine in the direction that I want it to fall.

Cut a notch in the direction I want it to fall, cut the notch about 1/3 the diameter of the tree

Cut down at an angle from the back part of the tree (on the opposite side of the direction I want it to fall). Cutting down at this angle will allow the tree to peel away from the base and fall in the direction of the notch and rope.

the back of my yard has nothing of value, so the tree can fall wherever it wants. Then I can cut it up and haul it away.

repeat this process for the other pine.

any thoughts? I know that having a professional come is the best way, but that is pretty $$$ and I just bought a new house, so money is tight. Since my yard is so wide open and I have no fences or neighbors houses to worry about, I am thinking this won't be too terribly bad.
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Old 09-14-05, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: somewhere down in texas
Posts: 506
sounds like a pretty good plan to me. be sure to tie the rope as high as you can to the pine. also, cut slowly as you get to the center of the tree so you can let it break over as slow as possible. be prepaired to turn loose of the saw and back off if it binds. the saw can be repaired easier than you body.
we usually try to cut the trees up high first so there is less mass coming down at once. then we cut off the stump.
Old 09-14-05, 09:24 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
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My first bit of advice which is not a joke is to check your insurance coverage to see if you have coverage if something were to get damaged or someone got hurt.
Your plan is basically good but there are a few things that need refinement.

First is that Kerry's idea of tying the tree up high is very good.
It would reduce the amount of force needed to pull the tree away.
Make the cut at waist level where it would be easiest and safest.

Second is that you might be underestimating the amount of force required to pull the tree in the direction you want it to go.
If you are trying to pull on a tree that big, a snatch block is needed because of the restriction the bark places on the rope. The harder you pull, the more the rope tries to dig into the back of the tree.(A snatch block is a pulley that the pull rope goes through and is anchored to the base tree.)

Another is will you have a plan for a pinched saw blade?
Sometimes before the cut is complete either a miscalculation or a shift in the wind will leave you with a running chain saw that is stuck in the tree.
You will need either a wedge, a winch to pull on the tree or some other method of recovering your saw without damage.

Next is the force of the wind.
Even the slightest breeze could outpower your friends pull by many times.

Honestly, I rarely ever discourage anyone from diy.
Although what you plan to do sounds easy over a cup of coffee (or something better ), there are a few things that could go wrong.
I am not sure if I covered them all.

Oh ya, safety equipment, especially if not experienced is a must.
Helmet, faceshield, gloves and mesh front pants are needed.

I live on a rural acre and a half that is two thirds cottonwoods and maples that tower over my two story house.
Because my house and out buildings are so close I use a truck mounted winch to pull the trees and with this set up, also wait untill there is no wind.

After having said all this my advice to you is to hire a certified arborist who will be insured and pay him/her a couple of hundred bucks to lay the tree down and then go to work yourself to cut it up.
Old 09-14-05, 10:45 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 18,567
I was part of taking down 300 trees to clear the lot for my in-laws lake home. By the time we finished, we felt pretty good about our skills. The very last tree did not cooperate at all and we bounced it off the power lines. Fortunately, they did not break. I agree with the above post about checking your insurance coverage first. If you still want to do this yourself, I would have several strong guys on the end of that rope - it takes a lot more force than you think it will to influence a stubborn tree to fall where you want it.
Old 09-14-05, 08:34 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 16
how about instead of having someone pulling the rope, i tie it to the trailer hitch on my 4x4? the trees are already leaning the direction I want them to fall in...most of the branches are on that side as well. i will definitely do it on a day with no wind.
Old 09-15-05, 06:16 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 16
just an update
i cut both trees down today. it was easy as pie. cutting them up afterwards sucked though!
Old 09-16-05, 04:11 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 65

I know that you already have the trees cut, but wanted to offer a little advice for later.

Go to Home Depot and buy a "come along". YOu tie a rope to the tree you are cutting down and attach it to the come along (which is attached to another tree), and you can crank the tension so that the tree leans in the direction you want it to fall.

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