How to safely take down this partially fallen trunk?

Tithis

New Member
Jul 30, 2020
6
Western Mass
We have a maple tree that had 2 of its 3 trunks fall in some mid summer storms, and the final third trunk 'partially' fell before we could get any tree removal companies out to take care of it. Thankfully all it did was bend a couple branches on the nearby spruce.

Only company to actually both show up and give me a quote said it would be $4k to cut the trunks into stove length logs and remove the brush. We've got plenty of other home repair project that need doing so I'm looking to see if I can do this myself.

So the third trunk is still seemingly attached to the stump about 7-8ft in the air by a fairly small bit of wood. I've got a 12 ft pole saw that could easily cut through it, but I can't see a way of doing it that wouldn't put the saw itself in the path of some of the falling log if it were to come down too quickly.

Best photo I have of the 'hinge'

I was also considering using some ropes and snatch blocks to try and pull out or break the hinge to allow the trunk to fall with me at a safe distance.
I can provide more pictures if needed when I get home.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,116
Eastern Ontario
If you can back a truck up to it put a chain around the tree
at the "Y" and pull it over with the truck
 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,285
Northern Maine
^^^What he said.^^^
 
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Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,784
Marshall NC
That is a good idea, I didn't think of that. Put a chain around that Bad Boy and attempt to pull it away. Might work might not.
If not, that is a real toughie, very dangerous with a saw.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,285
Northern Maine
That is a good idea, I didn't think of that. Put a chain around that Bad Boy and attempt to pull it away. Might work might not.
If not, that is a real toughie, very dangerous with a saw.
I'm not a huge fan of chain but whatever one has to work with. I can't tell from the pictures but pulling it further away from the attachment point might provide a little more leverage on getting it to snap away from the trunk.

If forced to cut it in place start at the top and work your way to the stump.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,032
Palmyra, WI
I wouldn't touch that with a saw. There is one in the woods here - been there for 10yrs, I see it finally dropped over to the ground so I can now get at it. Otherwise the things let loose, and boomerang who knows where, probably right at where would be standing. It could barber chair at the trunk, or split and roll. Never cut over head, which means very little else to do with it other that hook on and try to pull it off the trunk.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,223
07462
I have the same thing going on with an ash tree, cleaned up the one side already, what I did was take as much off of the tree from waist level and lower, then got a heavy rope with my tractor and pulled the rest of it down, wasnt as bad as I thought and not really to dangerous, I just kept pulling the tree towards itself to get the twist then it snapped off no problem.
 

BIGChrisNH

Minister of Fire
Dec 16, 2015
532
New Hampshire
Try to pull that thing over with a truck. If not, you might be able to start from the top and work your way down. Dangerous work though
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,784
Marshall NC
I agree, if the chain won't work I would start at the top and work towards the roots. I think you can do that relatively safely.
 

Nealm66

Member
Sep 25, 2020
196
Western Washington
Start cutting at the top of the tree and work your way to the stump. Keep the main trunk cut ( firewood size) up close to the limbs supporting the weight as you go. Stay in a safe spot as you cut supporting limbs. You will reach a spot where it’s stays off the ground by itself. Fall the remainder in a direction so that it just flops down flat
 

sweedish

Member
Feb 6, 2019
176
Michigan
Find someone with a backhoe or an excavator to pick it up/hold it so the hinge can be cut through, then move the top. Buck that up and then work on the trunk.

I bought a mini excavator with a thumb, it’s very handy preventing and dealing with pinched bars and moving logs/trees. You could probably rent one or hire one to deal with that.
 

Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,501
Midwest
From me in the 'too dumb to know better' camp: This sort of reminds me of a the way a lot of hedge trees come down... they are so bushy and the wood is so tough they usually don't come crashing down in typical 'TIMBERRRR!' fashion, they just sort of roll over on their side - with the trunk actually going UP in the air sometimes.

Pulling on it would be a good start though it appears there is so little wood left, it might not even be supporting anything. Your pull could mean you separate the horizontal part from the vertical part and the horizontal is still 8 feet in the air.

If that comes to pass, assuming it's somewhat stable, like others have said, I usually end up going into the bushy part and start cutting/clearing small stuff - top down, and 'outside, in' - that isn't supporting anything and can easily drop or come out. That gives a little better look at what actually is supporting the trunk. I say 'outside in' because I always try to keep a clear escape path if things start to shift. Don't jump in the middle where branches close behind you or you could get swept up if it starts to twist or move.

Ultimately, you may get down to a 'skeleton' of limbs that are holding the trunk in the air, but at least you'll have a clearer picture of the mess and what branches are holding the trunk and where it might want to go.
 

Nealm66

Member
Sep 25, 2020
196
Western Washington
It would probably be safer to leave it attached and work from the top in. I’ve chopped up a lot of trees in that predicament. That thin slab holding it to the stump should keep it from doing an unpredicted roll
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,462
Michigan
I greatly appreciate all the feedback here. For now I'll probably just whittle it down and make a call from there.
Just notch the base deep, like you were felling it, then pull it over.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,032
Palmyra, WI
Just notch the base deep, like you were felling it, then pull it over.
There was an addition going up at a commercial place down the road. They needed to take out a large spruce and start grading the site. The guy took out a tiny saw with a 12" bar - and I thought well this should be interesting. He notched the base, put in a back cut, of course the saw wasn't big enough, but no matter, brought over the excavator and pushed it over exactly where he wanted it (buildings all around - needed to go - uhm - there). Cut the limbs and dumped those on a dump truck. Notched the trunk 4-5 times and crunched that all up and on the dump truck. Couple hours and everything including the stump was gone and site grading commenced.
Around here dozer and excavator work is around $80-100/hr.
 
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