Felling a tree

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Tue 4 Aug 2015 16:19
One of the things we had to do back in the UK was fell a big double-trunked poplar tree that was destroying a wall.  This was going to cost £1000 to have it done professionally, but how hard can it be?  Here is one way to go about it.
1. Secure the longest ladder you have to one of the trunks.  This will get you about a third of the way up the tree without too much effort.  (You are going to be climbing that ladder many times.)
2. Climb up the rest of the tree until the trunk starts to thin out.
3. Haul up another ladder and screw that onto the trunk so you can reach parts of the tree that won’t hurt too much when they fall on you.
4. Haul up the chainsaw.
5. Clip on so you have two hands free to start the chainsaw (Thank you to Andrea for suggested a sailing harness would be better than a dog lead for this)
6. Try and reach the other trunk and realize that even Arnie Schwarzenegger would not be able to use a chainsaw in one hand held at arms length
7. Take another ladder, strap the chainsaw to the end of it with duck tape, wire up the chainsaw throttle so it will run unaided.  Realize that you are still unable to support the chainsaw/ladder to reach the other trunk
8. Clearly what you need here is a topping lift. Take another line and run it from the end of the ladder to the top of your trunk.  Now you can extend your boom to reach the second trunk.
9. Work down the second trunk chopping it into small enough sections that they don’t destroy anything below.
10. Tie a rope to the top of the first trunk so Andrea and Daniel can pull the section clear and it doesn’t fall on you or the house.
11. Work down the first trunk chopping off manageable sections until you are back on the ground.
There you have it.  All that was left was to repair the wall that was leaning over dangerously, rocking on its base.  Rather than a complete rebuild I pushed the wall back upright using a car jack and fence posts, ground out the mortar where it split along the base of the wall and then re-pointed it.  With the wall standing vertically once more it was just a question of bricking in the gap to make the whole thing rigid again.
The damage a tree can do
Ladders in place, me up the tree sussing it out
The essential tool, a chainsaw on a ladder
After three arduous days there is just a stump
And a big bonfire for Daniel to light