Friday, February 3, 2017

Tips for Felling and Replacing Trees

~ This is a featured post. ~

If you remember back in the summer I had a blue spruce tree replaced in my front yard.It took me a while to realize when a tree had outstayed their welcome, and when to enlist a professional to get the job done. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting for my readers to hear from The Tree Center on tips for cutting down and replacing a tree. 

Sometimes, a tree just has to go. It may have grown too large for your garden and the surrounding neighbourhood, or it may have a disease that means it’s dying and poses a risk to other trees, or it may already be dead and pose a falling risk to neighbors and yourself. 

It's not a decision to be taken lightly, and if the tree is particularly large, you shouldn’t fell it yourself – call in a professional; The Tree Center will be able to recommend an experienced tree surgeon. If the tree has a trunk diameter smaller than 10 inches and is under 20 feet tall, however, you could fell it yourself with a handsaw. Let everyone in your neighborhood know about your plans first, as some may feel the tree is partly on their property.

Safe felling
Look at the area around the tree for anything in the way – a car, wires, furniture – and move it to safety. Then look at the way the tree naturally angles – this is the safest direction it should fall in.

You should make sure that there are no big jutting branches that could trap you or break anything as the tree comes down; if you suspect that there are rotten areas in the trunk, stop immediately and call in the professionals!

Work out two escape routes – one either side of the expected line of fall – and make sure these pathways are clear. This is an all-day job, usually, so take your time. Rushing causes injuries!

The first cut
This first cut is the undercut and it’s a v-shaped notch – 90 degrees, ideally – into the trunk. The notch should be facing the direction you want the tree to fall in and it should cut into the trunk’s diameter by about a quarter. If the tree’s diameter is less than six inches, you may be able to cut all the way through, but make sure you have lots of people around to help.

The backcut
The backcut should be made about two inches above the hinge part (the point of the V) of the undercut. Never make the backcut lower than the undercut as you could cause the tree to fall in the opposite direction and this is dangerous! These two cuts help you to control the direction of the fall.

Once you see the tree beginning to bend and fall, move right out of the way. Falling trees can bounce, so don’t risk it!

This is where you remove branches coming off the main trunk, starting at the bottom of the trunk and working upwards. Stand on the opposite side of the trunk as the branch you’re working on so it doesn’t fall on you and don’t attempt to remove any branches that are propping up the main trunk.

Now you have your bare log! You may decide to use it for firewood, or you may just want your local authority to come collect it – it’s up to you!

Replacing the tree

If you’ve decided to have the stump ground out, be aware that the intricate root system will still be in place. This system could interfere with and block the progress of a new root system, so you may not be able to plant a new tree directly on the site of the old one for some years. Your best bet is to choose another location five or more feet away and then make sure you take extra care of the new tree until it’s completely established. 
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