Be Careful of Springpoles

Eric Johnson Posted By Eric Johnson, Aug 6, 2007 at 2:21 PM

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  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson
    Mod Emeritus

    Nov 18, 2005
    Central NYS
    Springpoles are typically saplings that have been bent over by falling trees or big limbs. They are an unfortunate byproduct of most tree-felling operations, although you can (and should) take steps to minimize their occurrence. You do that by anticipating where the tree will fall, and cleaning up a place for it before you cut it down. But when you inevitably encounter a springpole, the best way to deal with it is by making a series of progressively deeper cuts into the top of the arch, until it collapses.

    The big hazard presented by springpoles is that they're under a lot of tension and if you cut them in the wrong place, they can easily snap up and hit you. The other day I cut one at the base and it jumped out pretty violently. I was careful not to be in the way, but it could have easily broken my leg if it happened to be in the wrong position. It got my attention, so I thought I would post this reminder.

    From a male perspective, probably the worst thing you could do would be to cut a springpole loose while straddling it, but any part of your body hit by a piece of wood moving that fast is going to feel the pain. Unless you get hit in the head, of course.
  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart LLC Mid-Atlantic Division
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    For sure, for sure. One of those things rocketing right up in front of your face headed skyward will give you pause to reflect I guarantee you.

    And a reason to sit down on a stump for a few minutes until that weak feeling in your knees goes away.
  3. begreen

    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Boy that gives new meaning to a dope slap. Ouch!
  4. Burn-1

    Feeling the Heat

    Jul 13, 2006
    Lakes Region, NH
    I have found a Fanno pole saw is a handy thing to carry around for just this reason alone.
  5. GeeWizMan


    Nov 29, 2006
    Suburbs west of Detroit
    Thanks for the "heads-up" Eric. Next time please give us the warning a little sooner. ;-)
    Just this past weekend as I was cutting off the limbs of a felled tree I got slapped right in the face
    with one of your Springpoles. I was lucky not to get seriously hurt because I was wearing my
    brand new gear.
    It was hot, but after the slap in the face, I was happy to wear the safety gear. :coolsmile:

  6. Bill

    Minister of Fire

    Mar 2, 2007
    South Western Wisconsin
    Last year I dropped a big tree and it landed in a wooded area, what I didn't see was this two inch sapling hiding in the branches. So I start cutting her up and whap it hit me on the forehead and gave me a nice welt. I never saw it coming. That night went down to the local pub and no one said a word. The next night they saw me again and said we were afraid to ask you what happened last night it looked sore. They thought it was funny. If it would of hit my schnoz it would of broke it. Lets just say I am a lot more careful now. Never had that happen before. But always expect the unexpected.
  7. jpl1nh

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 25, 2007
    Newfields NH
    Wow! I appreciate the heads up. Maybe I can learn something here without having to experience it myself! I'm older, just still not sure if I'm wiser yet.
  8. keyman512us


    Feb 27, 2007
    North Worc. CTY MA
    A very good reminder.... from experience hangers and springpoles are loaded mouse traps to say the least.

    As was mentioned a tiny two inch piece of wood can surprise you when you least expect it. Seeing a two inch piece "split" and then straighten out a couple feet is a word to the wise.
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