Down come the dead Eucalyptus!

Lift set up and ready to begin!

Today we went down to Phoenix to remove 2 dead Eucalyptus trees for a homeowners association. We were hired to just “drop” the trees but agreed to also cut the trunks into pieces to make it easier for the association to dispose of the wood. The first tree was in a space that was a little too tight to notch and drop, so we had to cut the tops off the tree before felling it.

Rope tied to the top of the tree!

After the rope was secured to the top of the tree, I notched the branch with an open-faced notch (see further below) and made my back cut. At this point I am still about 20ft off the ground in the bucket of my lift. I then backed the lift away from the tree and told Shannon to pull!

Shannon pulling hard to get the top moving!

There it goes!

After we got the top cut off, I came down lower and notched & dropped the lower part of the trunk. After that it was time to notch and drop the main trunk from the ground. There was a short enough piece left that it was hard to get it to tip – I had to saw out the center of the hinge! We spent an hour cutting up the trunk, the dried Eucalyptus was very hard.

Off to the second tree! This one had a nice open space and I only needed to cut off one limb before we were ready to notch and drop the whole thing from the ground. This is one of the bigger trees that I have dropped like this. The diameter at breast height (DBH) was probably about 30″.

I again tied off a rope (this time the 3/4″ bull rope) to the top of the tree. Then Shannon secured the Port-A-Wrap (a friction device used to lower pieces of wood out of a tree) to the back of the van. We do this so we don’t get knots that are too tight to untie. The Port-A-Wrap can be tied off so the rope will not slip, but will not get too tight to loosen.

Next I notched the trunk. I used an “open-face” notch for more control. With a traditional 45 deg notch the hinge will be forced to snap when the tree is about half way down. With an open-faced notch the hinge will not snap until the trunk is all the way down, or most of the way down, depending on how open it is. These notches are usually cut between 70 and 90 degrees. Below is a picture of my open-faced notch and back cut on the big Eucalyptus – ready to pull!

Open-faced notch and back cut in the big Eucalyptus!

Everything is set up and ready to pull!

I got off to the side and gave Shannon the go-ahead to pull the tree over with the van. I got a couple pictures of the tree as it came down. The one below shows it as the trunk hit the ground. Look at all the dried branches just exploding off the trunk. See the dust cloud? What a HUGE CRASH! The ground just shook! Shannon said he could even feel the tremor inside the van! We always say “All’s well that ends well” and this one did.


When the trunk hit the ground, most of the branches broke off of it. We were interested to see the grain pattern in the base of one of the branches. No wonder Eucalyptus is such a hard wood to work with hand tools!

Imagine hand-planing that!

Now that the second tree was on the ground we needed to piece it up. This thing was BIG. We sawed for an hour and ended up having to pull parts of the log with the van to roll it over. We like to cut part way through, then roll the log and finish the cut. That keeps the chainsaw chains sharp as they stay out of the dirt. Here is Shannon cutting up some of the smaller limbs.

Shannon cutting up some of the smaller limbs.

Tomorrow we go to Phoenix again to remove a 60′ tall Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) with a crane.