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Hung up/Snagged trees

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Skier76, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    This weekend, my wife and I spent a lot of time in our woods in VT cutting down some smaller (4-6" diameter) trees. It seems that every other one got hung up. If there was a "y" in a nearby try, I managed to fell the tree dead center of that "Y".

    At first, I tried using the ATV to pull the tree back...but after breaking rope..and a metal cable, I moved to plan b. Plan b was cutting a notch on the side that was leaning, than making a releif cut on the other side until the section sloooooooowly broke and the tree moved down a few feet. I'd often have to do that a number of times before I could A: Pull the tree out of the snag or B it came out on it's own.

    And my "Crown Jewel" screw up the of the weekend: 50' pine that I wanted to drop in a mostly clear area. Long story short, it decided to fall the opposite way I intended....smacking my ATV bridge (after I made about 4 "de-snagging" cuts). The bridge survived. Only damage was to the ol ego. Glad the neighbors weren't home at the time. Guess I need to work on my notching skills.



    How do you guys deal with hung up trees?

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  2. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Skier76, when I tried pulling the tree back it just dug in so I changed my direction an started pulling from the side which did the trick. ( I think the pictures are at the house so I will post tonight. I also used a treesaver,dshackle and a snatch block for winching so I could double my pulling power.

    Skier76; I had them here at work so here we go. The first two pictures are the cherry tree, I did take off about three or four round before pulling it down and like you said it just keep dropping, picture 2868 was my first try (never worked), 2869 I changed my pulling direction plus the location of the treesaver (it worked), picture 2870 you can see the treesaver was changed to a birch tree( the treesaver was first put on a hemlock west of the cherry, the birch is east of the cherry) the rhino was also going east,2872 is the cherry on the ground (my luck next to a rock), picture 2873 you can tell how far I had to drag it before it fell.

    Hope this helps.

    zap

    Attached Files:

  3. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    Skier, it may not be the notching, but the felling. Are you making the felling cut high enough to leave a proper hinge? Reading the lean of a tree is an art; placing wedges in the cut takes a lot of the subtlety out of the situation. Placing wedges in a 6" tree would be a challenge, though.

    While you work on technique, you may want to use some lines up in the trees, to limit their range of falling directions.

    Fortunately, with 4-6" trees? you can just push them over. Or, did you mean 4-6'?
  4. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    zap,
    That third pic; the one with the rounds near the base of the tree describes my weekend! I never thought to pull it sideways. I'll have to give that a shot next time. And get a beefier cable/tow strap.

    CTYank,
    I'll measure the stump this weekend. In fact, I'll try and take a pic of the stump to show you guys exactly how I goofed up. Might as well learn what I can from this one.

    This tree was tall! Tried pushing, but it caused a lot of swaying up top. I was worried it was going to come back on my, so I gave up on that quickly. I "may" have been able to wedge it...if I had wedges. Guess what's on my shopping list this week?
  5. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Yep skier76; I kept cutting thinking it would cut loose from the top, never did so thats when I tried to pull it down(good on the second setup). I still have hung up trees I won't touch.

    Stay Safe
    Zap
  6. hemlock

    hemlock Feeling the Heat

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    That picture made me think - be careful around those root balls, too. I was blocking up a large bow-down last winter, with a pretty big root clump sticking up, and as soon as the release cut was made, the root ball let go as well and came crashing down.
  7. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    I get my fair share of hung up trees. Each one is unique and needs to be looked at carefully. I'm fortunate that usually the falling tree hangs on one side of another tree so I can clear a couple escape paths and cut the second tree in relative safety. But when THAT tree then gets hung up on a third one, its time for the 3/4 ton truck and my 3/8" towing chain. Loop it around the base of the first tree and give it a good yank to pull its feet out from under it. Ususally the second tree gets dragged down in the process, sometimes it doesn't and you have to go figure out the safest way to take care of that one.
  8. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    Back in VT, so I snapped a pic of the stump. I can't find the digi cam; so the BlackBerry will have to do.

    To keep this simple...... I was trying to drop the tree to the left (in the pic)....it went right. I don't think I notched it correctly. I cut a few more smaller trees today and made sure I notched a bit deeper and at more of an angle (tried going for two 45 degree cuts) all the trees went mostly where I wanted them to.

    On a side note, I picked up some felling wedges today...and a pretty sweet Stihl ProMark helmet with a face sheild and ear muffs.

    Attached Files:

  9. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    With hung up trees, I use a chain attached to the hitch on my F350 and pull it out at a 45 degree angle from the base. Neither completely sideways nor completely straight backl.

    Ran into a felling issue this past week. I knew the tree was leaning the wrong way that we wanted it to drop. That, my dad and I agreed on. I wanted to cut a notch the way we wanted to drop it and then cut a horizontal cut on the back side and use wedges to try and get it to drop the way we wanted. My dad wanted to make an angled cut on the backside. We argued a little about it and then I let him have at it. On the backside cut, I could see the gap starting to close and no matter how loud I yelled my dad kept cutting until the saw was stuck. We used some metal wedges to get the saw out. Then, we threw a small line up the tree and over a branch using some fishing weights attached to the small rope. Once over and down the other side, we ran a really heavy rope up the tree to that branch and back down again. We ran it around the trunk and tied a slip knot and made it like a noose around the tree about 50 feet up. Ran the rope to another tree that was in the direction that we wanted this tree to fall. Then, we ran the rope slightly around this other tree and to my truck. We applied pressure with the truck and the tree came down right where we wanted it to. The truck was going 90 degrees from where we wanted the tree to drop so it wasn't in any danger of getting hit. Once we got the rope up there, we didn't even need to use the saw anymore. This tree was about 26" in diameter where we cut the notch.
  10. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    That does not look like a proper notch. Also, did you cut down on the felling cut? That instinctively may seem right, but it is not. You put in the notch on the side you want it to fall then cut straight across, typically about an inch high. Stop when you get to within and inch or two of cutting through the tree, this is the holding wood that controls the fall. As Zap said pull sideways, a come-along also works. Do not climb the tree, throw a line over it then attach a larger rope. If it is caught in a Y you are screwed because it will not come out easily. The only way I found was to hook a chain on the stump end and lift with my Bobcat and slowly go backwards. Be careful.
  11. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    Yep. Now that I look at this a little more closely, that does not look right. It actually looks like the same thing my dad did that got us into our issue during the week. Here is a pic of the result of my dad's felling technique.

    Attached Files:

  12. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    golf,
    Yep, you described it pretty well. It's hard to see in the pic, but I didn't open up the bottom part of the notch enough. Furthermore, I didn't come in straight with the back cut...I came in at a steep angle. Maybe that's why it fell backwards.

    fabsroman,
    Wow! Pretty much what mine looked like, just a bit of a smaller tree. If I had some wedges, I may have been able to get it to fall the correct way. Today, I picked up some wedges.
  13. MarkinNC

    MarkinNC Minister of Fire

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    That is not a proper notch or back cut. I am glad you are ok. I have noticed some instructional video's on Youtube on how to fell trees that would probably help you.
  14. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    I was too. It was a bit unnerving to have that big tree still standing after all that cutting...and knowing only an inch or so of wood was holding it up. That first "time to fix this mess" cut was a bit scary. Only injury was a bit of a bruised ego. But I'm taking this as a learning experience.
  15. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    The best place to learn is where nobody will get hurt or killed and where there will be very little, or no, property damage. I let my dad have his way because the only thing that would have happened if that tree fell the wrong way is that it would have crushed some other trees and been a pain to get it out because it would not have been in the clear. We still got it to fall the right way, but it took a little more work. While my dad was going at it, I moved the truck and everything else out of the way.
  16. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    Amen. I had moved the quad and all the tools. Better to get that stuff all out of the way first.
  17. ecocavalier02

    ecocavalier02 Minister of Fire

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    no offense but thats a scarrrry looking notch. gload everyones ok. lucky the tree didnt fall over with just the notch cut.
  18. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    If you are referring to my pic, it isn't nearly as bad as everybody thinks. I don't care about how open the notch is in the front, just how far into the tree it goes. This notch wasn't even half way through the tree on the horizontal cut of the notch. Where we went wrong was in the cut on the backside. I'll post the pic of the backside.

    Also, just in case the OP doesn't already know this, you need to plan "escape" routes just in case things go wrong. The routes have to be in different directions depending on which way the tree falls, and they have to be clear of obstacles. To the north we had a road and to the south we had the clearing we dropped the tree in. Plus, as long as I am standing by the trunk I feel pretty safe. That is unless the tree drops straight down, but I have never had that happen.

    Edit to add: The tree wasn't going anywhere with the notch that was cut in it. We actually hooked a F350 up to a rope we put 50 feet up the tree and pulled it down with that AFTER the cut you see in the pic was applied to the backside. The tree stood just like that for 30 minutes or more while we ran the ropes up the tree and tied the large one off.

    Attached Files:

  19. rottiman

    rottiman Minister of Fire

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    recently over in the province of Quebec a lad tried to cut a tree that blew over in a storm and uprooted. Wasn't paying attention to the fact that his young son was standing under the up turned root base and when the tree let go the root base shot back up pinning and killing the young lad. Very sad case.
  20. onetracker

    onetracker Minister of Fire

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    i agree with ecocavalier.
    it appears that the natural lean of the tree was towards your dad's saw, correct? that's why it pinched.
    if the notch was a little deeper, the tree could quite likely have fallen in that direction.
    a sound strategy is for a notch is not to exceed 80% the diameter of the tree when viewed from the front. about 1/3 of the depth into the trunk. this makes good sense cuz it leaves ample wood for controling the fall. it defines the first side of the hinge, which is fine tuned on the back cut.

    anyway, this has worked for me in most situations. ymmv

    OT
  21. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    That really sucks. I cannot even imagine that happening. Crazy thing is that I never would have thought that a root ball could drop back into the hole it came from once the tree was cut from it, but it does make sense. Thanks for the advice/warning.

    I actually had my kids with me this week while cutting wood. However, whenever any machinery was running they knew they had to stay in the truck. The only time they were allowed out of the truck was when we were loading up the truck with stuff we had cut. Of course, my 2 year old son got bored and found the sun screen lotion in the diaper bag and commenced to make sure the interior of the truck never got sun burned. I spent an hour cleaning that mess up when I got home. Thought it was going to stain the leather, but once it dried it was all good.
  22. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    My dad and I both agreed that the natural lean was that way. No argument there. We just disagreed on how to go about dropping the tree. Ultimately, it ended up working out. Just not as smoothly as I had hoped. In the end, even if it had dropped the wrong way, it wouldn't have been the end of the world. Just more work getting it out since it would be surrounded by other trees. Then again, I guess it could have gotten hung up on another tree, but at that point I would have probably just let it be. Me, I actually wanted to drop it the way it was leaning just to make everything easier from a felling standpoint. That, my dad and I did not agree on. Then, we didn't agree on how to go about cutting the notch or the back cut. You know the saying "Can't teach old dogs new tricks."

    At the end of the day, nobody was going to get hurt and nothing was going to get destroyed (other than my saw) no matter how this tree fell. That I made sure of, and that is all that matters. Nobody needs to get hurt over some firewood.
  23. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    Fabsroman, that is way too much of a notch, as I think some others have said. Also straight cut the back cut next time.
  24. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    Alright, just so we are clear on this, it was my intent to straight cut the back in the first place. I thought I had already said this in this thread a couple of times. To be more specific, I wanted to make the straight cut on the backside a couple of inches above the horizontal cut on the notch and then use wedges to get the tree to go the way we wanted. That was the entire argument with my dad. What I have learned though is that sometimes, it just isn't worth arguing over things, especially with my dad. The tree could fall wherever it would fall and nothing would have been that bad with regard to this tree. So, it really wasn't worth getting into a heated argument over it. Just a little more work on our part would have been needed if it fell the wrong way. My dad has to learn things the hard way. The "I told you so way." As long as nobody is going to die and the potential property damage is minimal, I just let him go at it. When I have more time, I'll tell you about his plan of attack for a french drain on my house. Simply put, over a 6 foot deep trench without any bracing. Now, that argument he is not going to win because people can die.

    Now, I will admit that I didn't know that the notch should be about one third of the way into the tree. I always figured anything less than half way would be alright. So, at least you guys have taught me that. One third and no more. Now, what if I really don't care which way it falls, or if I just want it to fall the way it is leaning. Can I cut that notch at 50% and then just cut the backside notch until the tree comes down, or should I always fell the tree the same way with the same notch, backside cut, and wedges? I am really going to have to buy that book just to see what it says.
  25. Skier76

    Skier76 Minister of Fire

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    I cut down a few smaller trees using a an open face notch and a straight back cut. What a difference! I guess I just need more practice. Again, a learning experience. Another thing I learned...how to get a snagged tree un snagged by cutting it down in sections.

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