Woodpecker Tree Care is dedicated to keeping trees alive and healthy, but sometimes the only thing left we can do for a tree is cut it down. Cutting a tree is always a last resort around here, but with this particular job it was the only option. This gigantic poplar is a hybrid that grows to great height at rapid speed. If it had been given another ten years, it could have doubled in height. Unfortunately, it was planted too close to a house and was dangerously leaning over top of it, so we were hired to respectfully and safely help this 60 foot beauty fall.
Cutting down a tree seems straightforward: hack or saw at the base and yell “Timber!,” right? There’s more skill involved than portrayed in cartoons, especially when it comes to larger trees growing near homes or other structures. Trees fall in the forest all the time, but when they are cohabiting with nearby humans, they need help getting down. There’s actually a lot to consider before approaching the trunk, and with big trees like these close to homes and valuable structures, we have to consider everything.
The most important part of a successful (and safe!) tree fall is to make a felling plan. A controlled and well-planned fall is a safe fall. When making a plan for this job, Rory and Kevin had to consider how the tree is leaning, valuable property to keep the tree away from, the direction the wind was blowing, and how to avoid crushing the house and disposal bed on the property.
This poplar is massive, with a 3 foot diameter, and would do some serious damage if it fell in the wrong direction. Before the chainsaw hits the bark, the team attaches a guy rope to the trunk with a running bowline knot. The guy line will secure the tree and keep it falling in a predictable line. This is especially important when dealing with a tree with a lean, which is more likely to break away from the stump as it begins to move and try to crash the way it’s leaning. When taking down a tree, the team cuts the trunk in such a way that makes the tree behave like a hinge once gravity takes control. This helps guide the tree’s fall away from obstacles, and allows for a safe landing.
Bear that in mind before you start tackling a tree in your yard! It’s important to keep your home (and yourself) out of harm’s way, and trees can be unpredictable if they don’t have help, especially big ones like this.