Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tools Of The Trade

I acquired a few chainsaws in a complicated deal a while back, so now my stable is complete. Clockwise from top are the Husqvarna 335XPR arborist saw, a flyweight little ripper with tons of power for limbing and working in trees. Next is a big Stihl 041 that now has a happy home with my sister's contractor Mark near Ottawa. Then comes the big Husqvarna 385XP professional forestry saw. Depending on where I am with it, it generally is the largest capacity saw for at least 20 miles in any direction - 85cc, with 6.5hp of brute cutting power. And last is my trusty Husqvarna 353, a top quality mid-size saw, which has seen a lot of work in its life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Of Notches and Backcuts

These two shots are a typical example of my work. First photo is the trunk with completed notch and backcut. A proper notch should ideally be one-quarter the thickness of the tree, but can range anywhere from 1/8 to 1/3 of the trunk diameter. This one looks to be about 1/3. Backcuts should always be above the top of the notch, a minimum of 1/2" up to about 2" over the notch cut. In this case my backcut was closer to 2" over the top of the notch, perhaps even higher.

The second photo shows the tree after limbing, before bucking. I was aiming to where I was standing taking an earlier photo of the tree, which was between the little yellow flower fan and the orange husky chainsaw case. Ummm, you be the judge of my accuracy! The tree was bucked into two logs, the main trunk about 22' long and the upper about 10' long, both which will be used in my treehouse.

A count of the annual growth rings put this tree at between 57 and 61 years of age. For some reason I thought that these trees were quite a bit older, perhaps planted in the 'twenties or 'thirties, but the rings don't lie, they began growing around the very late 1940's. I am wondering if these trees started from cones that fell from existing trees that had eventually been removed, or if the property was bare of trees when they first took hold, or were planted.

Monday, November 2, 2009

And Then There Were Three (Prologue)

The number four tree slated for removal, notice the sparse nature of this tree compared to number three to the immediate left.

The landing zone. I have to fell this tree directly toward where I am standing with the camera. my estimate is it should just reach the edge of the concrete paver patio.

Succesful felling. The tree dropped exactly where I wanted it to.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation (Part 1)

Just as in real estate, one could say the three most important rules of taking care of trees is location, location, location. A new tree could have everything going for it, but if the location is unsuitable or poor, you might as well chop it down in twenty years or so.

Such is the case of the 'little' Blue Spruce located on our front lawn. As can be seen in the photographs, it stands on the north side of and directly behind a row of six large Norway Spruce which block most of its direct sunlight. Compared to other Blue Spruce in the area, it is appears very sparse, thin and lethargic. So the options are A) let it continue growing into an ugly tree, B) fell it and remove it, or C) move it to a more suitable location.

As I am always up for a challenge, I chose option C. My preferred method will be hand digging and trenching, and if all goes well, excavation and removal by hand. This however is the largest single tree relocation I have ever attempted, the tree is well over twenty foot tall, with a six inch diameter trunk. Stay tuned for more!

Friday, October 30, 2009

And Then There Were Three

Here is a recent photograph of three beautiful White Spruce located along the East side of our property toward the rear of the lot. Each tree is sixty years old, and they are roughly 55 to 60 foot tall.
Probably the compelling reason that the three of them look so good together is the fact that I have recently culled one, whose trunk is evidenced in the extreme bottom right corner of the photograph. Yes, I cut down trees. Number four was not quite as tall as these three, and rather spindly, with none of the sweeping branches of number three that you see in the photo. It looked rather ugly, and besides, I needed both a twenty foot heavy log, as well as a 10 footer for the treehouse. But bear in mind I am not entirely evil, as I have a plan, which will see a very nice tree that is situated very poorly to a much better location roughly 5 to 10 feet to the right of the recently felled number four.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tales of Tall Trees

I love trees. Well that is really an understatement. I really love trees, now to the point of being a healthy kind of addiction. I don't really know when my love of trees began, but probably had something to do with a few years growing up in West Africa in the midst of an old rubber tree plantation, and always have the fortune of living in a neighborhood with plenty of trees around. My addiction has been fueled by a fair number of things, including the release of a truly magnificent book entitled Meetings with Remarkable Trees by Thomas Pakenham, our purchase of a wonderful older home with a very nice collection of trees including Norway Spruce, White Spruce, Birch, Ash, and Black Walnut on the property,Meetings with Remarkable Trees as well as my growing interest in treehouses, including beginning the construction of one myself.

This blog will be a diary of sorts, covering anything and everything I do or see that is related to trees. Please note that my love of trees is sane and rational, which means I am actively involved in management of trees on property I own, be it planting, relocating, or even removal. I own a chainsaw, and I am not afraid to use it. I also do some rather unconventional things, like hand dig and relocate mature trees rather than cut them down. I have opinions as to how and why I do things with the trees I care for, based on logic, science, anecdote, and experience.