Too many trees getting hung up

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DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
For the past 10 years or so I’ve been cutting firewood on my property. Usually I cut trees along the sides of my tractor trails, or not too far from the trails. I cut down storm damaged or dead/dying trees.

Recently I’ve been cutting a bunch of EAB ash. That’s taken me off the trail more and into the woods. I’m pretty good at aiming the tree with a wedge or two, but I keep hanging up ash in other trees.

These ash are tall with a big canopy. And many have double or triple trunks. I’m cutting in the woods with very few clear spots to actually drop the entire length of the tree without hitting another tree.

So I end up getting the tree hung up, then cutting off sections at a time as the trunk spears into the ground each time. Finally bringing the tree vertical again, and then usually it falls over in the opposite direction.

The other thing I do is clear the tree of the stump, then pull it out of the other tree with my logging winch. This works, but it also tears up the other trees a bit.

So my question is what kind of cut can I make so the tree being cut won’t get hung up? I’ve seen a cut where the tree kind of twists on the way down. That might be an option.
Also there’s a cut where the tree jumps off the stump. That might help also. And ideas?

I have hundreds of ash left to cut, and am tired of each tree taking so long to process. So far I’m just cutting dead or mostly dead ash. Then I’ll let the rest of the ash get to that point and cut them. I’m thinking it will take me 5 years or more.

There are also quite a few dead ash that are too far gone to cut. And those will be left for the wildlife. When the tree has lost its bark and smaller branches, I keep my distance.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
4,474
SE North Carolina
I’m no expert, amateur is a stretch… but any cut that jumps or twists off the stump just doesn’t seem safe unless you are setting it up then pulling it over with the wench. So that’s my suggestion. Get a sling shot and a redirect pulley. Shoot up a rope. Secure the pulley. Pre tension. Make the safe cut. Got back and wench it over. If it gets hung wench some more.
Again my advice come with no real experience just watching lots of trees being cut on YouTube so when the next hurricane hits I’m not a post storm casualty.
Evan
 

ericm979

Feeling the Heat
Nov 2, 2018
339
California
If you don't have one a self releasing snatch block (or two) makes those complex winch pulls easier and faster.

If the trees are going where you aim them there's not much else you can do to keep them from getting hung up.
 
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DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
The trees are falling in the general direction I want them to, there just aren’t many good options for spots to fell them. And the ash are so damn tall they get hung up on something.

I have the biggest issue with the smaller trees. Maybe around 16” diameter and smaller. I don’t think they have enough weight/momentum to crash through the other trees on the way down.

I would like to get some block and pulleys to redirect the winch cable. A lot of times I have to pull the tree towards me, and that’s scary.

About a month ago I was pulling an ash down with the winch. The tree was coming towards me but I had plenty of room. Well, the ash got caught on a pine tree on the way down, and pulled it down with it. The pine tree landed a little too close to me. No bueno

I’ve seen pulleys that can be strapped to a tree. That might work. It just needs to be rated to handle like 5,000 lbs or so. I don’t know how much force the cable is putting on the trees, but it’s enough to bring the front end of my tractor off the ground when pulling big trees.

Maybe pulling the tree sideways I could roll it out of the tree it’s stuck in.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,129
NW Wisconsin
Every tree is different. Sometimes rolling them off the stump is better, but you damn well better know what you are doing.
Just keep winching. I hve cut trees in thick woods before, and sometimes that's all you can do. I have cut rounds off the bottom until there is simply nothing left when the canopy is thick enough. Nothing like bucking and limbing a "standing" tree as it shrinks in size.....

Be careful.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
18,593
Philadelphia
Hey Don, if you manage to get the tree to jump off the stump, won't it just pole into the dirt aside the stump, and leave you with the same problem?

A narrow face cut, anything less than 90 degrees, should cause the hinge to break before it reaches the ground. If you're looking to break the hinge before it gets hung up, then you're playing a game between knowing the angle at which it will get hung up, and trying to be sure the tree has picked up enough momentum before that point to actually generate sufficient force to snap the hinge.

Sounds tricky, unless they're already moving fast and near the ground, when they start to hang up. That's usually not the case, as by that point, they'll snap their own tops off and keep moving.

The only other thing I'll note is that badly-formed face cuts, in which one face of the hinge is over-cut past the other (eg. lines don't cleanly meet) will usually snap off early. This is usually considered very bad, as you lose directional control of the tree way too early in the fall, but it would give the effect you are seeking. Personally, I wouldn't do it, way too many dangerous things could rain down from above in the woods, if it goes the wrong direction.

There was a past member of this forum paralyzed by a falling branch. Happened about the time I joined the forum. As I remember it, he was a very experienced cutter, and the one that got him actually wasn't any mistake he made on the tree he was cutting. But a branch came down from an adjacent tree, as the one he was cutting began to move, and it got him on the noggin. @begreen, or others who were here before me may remember the story better. Just be careful when cutting in the woods, and always keep your eyes up, when felling.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,667
Eastern Ontario
It is going to happen a tree will get hung up especially in a thick
grove that has not been cut in many years. When this happens to use
we always winch the tree down . Better to do a little damage to surrounding
trees that get yourself or someone else hurt. Just my nickels worth
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
18,593
Philadelphia
We would usually hook the lower trunk to a tractor, and pull opposite the direction of fall, with a strap or chain long enough to keep the tractor out of the skid path. When that fails, we'd try perpendicular to the fall. Requires a big tractor for a big tree, but always got the job done.

I watch pros using the same technique, but with a winch to an anchor tree. They use a 4" or 6" wide nylon strap on the anchor tree to minimize damage.
 

DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
I’ve watched a bunch of videos on YouTube about the different types of face cuts. I seem to have good luck with the face cut that’s like a large square chunk taken out. I forget what it’s called.
The other cut I have decent luck with is doing a face cut, plunge cutting to the back and leaving a trigger.

My thing is I have much better luck winching the tree or cutting it again while it’s hung up if it drops off the stump. If the tree stays on the stump sometimes the winch isn’t enough to tear the remaining hinge wood.

Tractor is a diesel Ford 3000 with a loader and Farmi winch. It’s only 47hp. I can pull quite a bit on the ground with it, but sometimes it won’t pull a big tree down without pulling the front end of the tractor off the ground a couple feet. It’s kind of scary, so I try not to do that. Lol.

Re woods safety. Many years before I was born (I was -32 years old) my grandfather died in the woods when a tree struck him. He was cutting trees for a power line project. There was a guy with him, and the tree he felled didn’t go exactly where he expected. My grandfather was in the path. Of course people didn’t wear helmets or any other safety gear back in ‘52.

The point of the story is, I try to be safe in the woods. And I know that things can happen even to people a lot more experienced than myself. I try to stay on my toes.
It’s funny, because some say to always keep your eyes on the saw. And then others say to always keep your eyes on the tree you’re cutting. I think both can kill you.

So maybe I’ll have to just keep winching them out. Unless something freak happens like the winch cable breaks, that’s probably the safest way I guess.
 

DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
Thing is usually I cut down maybe a dozen trees a year. Depending on how much wood is already on the ground. This year I’ve cut down around 30 trees so far, with a lot left to cut.
If I can get enough decent logs I want to have to ash lumber sawn up. The Amish guy down the road from me says he’ll saw them up for 30 cents a BF
 

ericm979

Feeling the Heat
Nov 2, 2018
339
California
I prefer the tree to break all the fibers as its going down. Coming back to cut them can be a pain and you can pinch the saw. Once the tree is past 45 degrees or so its path is already determined.

This is the self releasing snatch block I have: https://stewardshipsuppliers.com/co...1/products/igland-self-releasing-snatch-block

It's about the best price I could find one for one. This design has two good features: no gap for the cable to get stuck in, and the tang on the end. You use a strap with loops on the ends to go around the tree. Bring one end through the other loop and out to the snatch block. Pass it through the hole and hook the loop on the tang. It's quick and secure. The block also has chain slots that you can use with a chain choker but that is hard on the tree. The straps can be found from places like US Cargo Control. I got reinforced loops but those make it harder to get the loop around the tang and make it stay put, so get non reinforced loops.

Also rig this snatch block so it's upside down with the latch on the bottom. The log reaches it, trips the latch and then the cable slips off the pulley.
 

DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
Ok very cool. Yes I need something like that. It’s expensive, but I think it’s probably worth it.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,373
Downeast Maine
Get a partner to operate the skidding winch while you make the felling cut. The only other way would be to buy a bucket truck or some climbing gear. I would also not suggest bucking a hung up tree, use your winch to pull it down and then process. Our woods are thick and predominantly spruce-fir and almost every tree gets hung up on something, very few fall cleanly until I get a clearing established or when I'm cutting the tree line back. Even with the winch and a partner sometimes trees still go where they want to go.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,373
Downeast Maine
Here's some videos showing self releasing snatch blocks in operation:



That is handy. I mostly use my snatch blocks for directing the trees down to the ground. This is the first time I've ever heard of this self releasing snatch block.
 

DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
I was pulling the winch cable around a tree today to try and pull from a different direction. I finally found the end of the cable. It came off the drum. Lol

I thought it was supposed to have a piece on the end of the cable to keep it from coming off all the way. Apparently either that piece isn’t there, is broken, or it wasn’t attached to it. First time in the 10 years I’ve owned the winch that the cable came off though.

The first tree I dropped today fell without issues. The whole tree was dead (no leaves), and the top branches broke off on the way down. Half that tree is 20% MC or less.

The second tree I dropped got hung up. It was half dead (still had some leaves), and must have been flexible enough to get hung up instead of breaking.

It’s interesting because on the dead trees the wood is a darker brown when I split it. This is typically the wood that has a lot of EAB tracks around it.

I only have short periods of time I can work on tree felling and firewood. An hour here and an hour there. Lately I’ve been using an Echo battery chainsaw for a lot of the work. I’ve always been a gas chainsaw guy, and still have my Husky for big stuff, but I’ve been using the battery saw for a lot of things.
The Echo is surprisingly good for plunge cuts.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,373
Downeast Maine
I was pulling the winch cable around a tree today to try and pull from a different direction. I finally found the end of the cable. It came off the drum. Lol

I thought it was supposed to have a piece on the end of the cable to keep it from coming off all the way. Apparently either that piece isn’t there, is broken, or it wasn’t attached to it. First time in the 10 years I’ve owned the winch that the cable came off though.

The first tree I dropped today fell without issues. The whole tree was dead (no leaves), and the top branches broke off on the way down. Half that tree is 20% MC or less.

The second tree I dropped got hung up. It was half dead (still had some leaves), and must have been flexible enough to get hung up instead of breaking.

It’s interesting because on the dead trees the wood is a darker brown when I split it. This is typically the wood that has a lot of EAB tracks around it.

I only have short periods of time I can work on tree felling and firewood. An hour here and an hour there. Lately I’ve been using an Echo battery chainsaw for a lot of the work. I’ve always been a gas chainsaw guy, and still have my Husky for big stuff, but I’ve been using the battery saw for a lot of things.
The Echo is surprisingly good for plunge cuts.
the torque on an electric motor will beat a gas motor any day, assuming they are in the same power/size/weight class. I want a battery saw pretty bad, especially for building farm structures with rough cut lumber. My rough cut 4x4's are just a bit too big to be cut by any of my circular saws without multiple passes.
 
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DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
I use my saw for stuff like that too. I was adding a lean to (for straw storage) onto my daughters chicken coop yesterday. I took the battery saw with me to cut the lumber.

My chainsaw and weed whacker share the same battery size, so I have a backup for the saw. The weed whacker can use the battery for hours and still have juice. The saw uses it in about 20 minutes of continuous cutting.

Project farm on YouTube did a review of battery chainsaws. Good info on the different models and what they offer.
 
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ericm979

Feeling the Heat
Nov 2, 2018
339
California
My Uniforest winch has paint on the cable to indicate the point you're supposed to stop pulling it out. They want you to leave a few turns on the drum. The paint mark is kind of faint and next time I retension the cable I should add to it. Though it's still going to be hard to see when you're pulling from the end of the cable 200+ feet away.

If I was buying a small saw now I'd get a battery saw. I'd like one for brush cutting where I'm constantly stopping and starting the saw. It's too bad the Stihl battery saws cost so much once you include a couple batteries. I have seen professional powerline clearing crews using them.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,373
Downeast Maine
I'll probably just get a Dewalt saw because I have a ton of 20v and 60v batteries. My winch cable is a bit on the short side, about 150' and I did pull it out once. It has a clamp on the end, but yeah, a few turns on the drum is for the best.
 

DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
I’m going to paint some marks on my cable so I don’t make that mistake again. Although if I’m 100’ in the woods I might not see the marks.

I got the Echo saw because it had good reviews, and was only 300$ at HD. Plus it would use the same battery as my weed eater.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
4,474
SE North Carolina
I’m going to paint some marks on my cable so I don’t make that mistake again. Although if I’m 100’ in the woods I might not see the marks.

I got the Echo saw because it had good reviews, and was only 300$ at HD. Plus it would use the same battery as my weed eater.
I just got the ego electric saw because I needed a second batter and it was only 100$ more to add the saw. First run it ran fine. Slow compared to my gas versions but I was cutting and ripping big wood. 12-18” oak and pine. The chain even though it’s 3/8 the cutter looked more narrow than my other 3/8 LP chains. Nice to have but not really impressive.
 

DonTee

Minister of Fire
Dec 1, 2021
695
Upstate NY
I’ve noticed my battery saw is much more sensitive to having a dull chain than the gas saw. Meaning it doesn’t cut worth a crap with a slightly dull chain.
I got a knock-off 2-1 sharpener for the Echo (5/32 pitch), since it’s my only saw that’s a 3/8LP chain. I have a 2-1 sharpener for my other saw that’s for 3/8 regular chain.

Basically I sharpen the chain at every battery charge. Just hit each tooth 2-3 times. Keeps that sucker extra sharp.

My Echo came with an Oregon PX series chain. It has the low kickback ramps. I got an Oregon VXL series chain for it that’s a little better.

I use Oregon EXL chain on my gas saw.
 

Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
1,497
Western Washington
On a logging skidder you tie a knot in the cable and hook the other end to a big stump and drive away until the knot comes tight in the stop then pull it out and cut your tail off. Not sure if you understand what I’m saying but that keeps it from coming out. Do this a lot at both ends actually. The end knot keeps the choker bells on. Spinning ash won’t work very well. It works with heavy limbed on one side conifer and I’ve used it to fit between buildings. I’ve also used undercuts to make the butt drop downhill on steep ground to help it stay on the hillside. Large timber on very steep ground will end up hundreds of feet downhill if you don’t get creative and a lot of clever techniques save a massive amount of time and energy. Basically a high stump with steep angled undercut and you have to cut all the hinge wood as it’s falling will force the butt of the tree slide off to the lower side of the face. Jumping the stump is simply making another small undercut in the front and again cutting all the hinge wood as it’s leaving . This is used a lot to jump a pinched motor. I’ve only done all this with humbolt type undercuts and not sure they will work very well or at all in your circumstances. Angling your slices as your piecing a hung up tree down can help it roll out so your not working underneath it. Hope any of this helps and please be safe
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,373
Downeast Maine
I've used a cant hook to roll stuck conifers caught in another conifer, but it's not my favorite method.