A Quick Removal

We’ve been busy with miscellaneous trimming project the last few days. Today we headed out to Aguila to remove a Eucalyptus tree. Several trees on the property are in a state of decline, possibly from irrigation problems in the past. Some Eucalyptus in our area do not seem to be extremely well adapted and often decline after years of good growth. I have spoken with many nurserymen and there is not a consensus on what the problem is with them. One suggestion is that plants grown from seed originating in soils different from ours don’t do well long-term. It does not seem to be strictly species related.

At any rate, we went out to remove one tree and ended up removing two! The owner said we did such a nice job he wanted us to take another marginal one out. Both trees were fairly near “targets” so we had to set a rope and lower pieces. I’ve not shown you this process, so we got a few pictures. I was operating the lift, so I wasn’t able to take any photos myself – Shannon was busy as well, but did manage to get a few.

Clearing the area for lowering

I went up and set a pulley in the top of the middle of the tree in some stout branches. The pulley is an “Arborist’s Block” that is designed for the kind of abuse we give it! I tie it on with a timber hitch, a knot that will not become too tight to untie later (a real concern sometimes, considering the weight we put on the rope!). I then needed to get some of the small stuff out of the way, which I’m doing in the picture above.

Arborist's Block set in the top of the middle of the tree

The top of the branch where the pulley is tied in needs to be removed. This makes our anchor point stronger since there is not so much weight up above the pulley. I can’t explain the physics of it right now, but this can be important! If you would like to write-up an explanation in the comments you’ll get 25 points extra credit!

Another exciting day at the office...

I butt-tied most of the branches on this tree, but did tip-tie a few (this has to do with where the rope is tied – to the butt or the tip of the branch). Every situation is different and I need to take into consideration where the branch will go when cut. Butt-tied branches let the tip swing down, which can be fine as long as there is nothing to damage under the tree (if the pieces are longer than the height from which the cut is made plus rope slack and rope stretch). Then the heaviest part of the branch can be lowered.

With tip-tied branches, the heavy end near the trunk drop straight down when cut, and the whole branch gets caught by the rope on the tip-end. This is great unless the piece has smaller side branches that hit me on the way down! Sometimes with smaller sections we can notch it on top and back-cut the piece on the bottom, then hinge it straight up against the main trunk/anchor by pulling on the rope from below (through the pulley). We are limited by how much pull can be applied to the rope so it only works on fairly small pieces. The advantage is that there is very little dynamic loading of the system and everything is very controlled. That is always nice!

Working my way around the tree...

I worked my way around the tree, cutting off the branch tips with a handsaw and then rigging the bigger branches. We used the big orange “bull rope” which is 3/4″ diameter – it’s bulky but strong! We use a Portawrap tied to the bottom of the tree to apply controlled friction to the rope so we can ease down the big pieces.

The final cut is done! The stump is sitting there loose!

The base of the tree was something a little less than 30″. Shannon made the cut while I loaded up. Then we unloaded to do the second tree (which was smaller but with more “targets” under it. It came down uneventfully!

I still need to get an irrigation post written and would like to cover palm trees and their trimming soon. I’ve got jobs to look at in Phoenix again tomorrow (that’s 3 days this week!). I would also like to write-up some information on the beetles that we have in our area – it is collecting season down here already! Stay tuned…