Out With The Old…

Having a tree removed can be a spendy proposition. Having a huge tree removed will be spendier still. Having a huge dead tree that has to be rigged either by crane or climbing moves the decimal point to the right. The cost of having a huge dead tree looming over a house removed will make you recoil.

When a tree croaks, the life process has ceased, and the moisture content exits the stage. Decay begins to take the place of sound wood and while this makes the wood lighter by some degree, it doesn’t act the same during the removal process.

Rotten (decaying) wood doesn’t really bend, it just sorta implodes/explodes when you lay into it with a saw and any control you had when it was alive and sound is long gone and it pretty much just falls into the rigging guided by an artificial pull or the natural force of a sudden gust of gravity.

I once showed a picture of a creepy long-dead tree I had removed to whom many would agree was the best professional timber faller on the planet. He asked me where I was standing when I made my cut. I told him I started cutting about 75’ up. He handed the picture back and said “Son, THAT is a snag, and we don’t climb snags!” Kinda’ made me rethink my decision about being a climber for a living, for a little while anyway…

The big dead rotting cottonwoods along the Almeda fire scar are a good example of the transition that takes place when sound wood turns to punk. This is evident by the fact that most of them have puked their tops about halfway up.

The technique for climbing, rigging and removing rotten wood is worlds different than when it is sound. You can not rely on integral strength. You must roll the dice. You must take chances. Taking chances will cost you more, hence this article. Some wood, before it decays into mush, can become “harder than the hubs of hell” as it lignifies upon death. Dead madrone for example, turns to stone before it rots. Your climbing spurs only go in about a quarter of an inch after a firm stomp, and your saw just skips around a bit before it starts diggin’. Climbing and wrecking dead madrones will make you old before your time!

This all comes back to keeping your tree alive. No tree will live forever, but it will be more cost effective to help it outlive you. Find out what kind of tree you have first. Next, find out what the tree needs in the form of water, elements temperature and space. Provide those elements at the right time and right amounts and put me out of the removal business. Simple, no?

No more pruning of conifers that are susceptible to beetle attack for the next 5 or so months, but deciduous and evergreen hard and softwoods are doable throughout the summer months.

As always, plant high and often…

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