Monday, May 18, 2009

Tree Surgery Post 2: Like Father, Like Daughter ... or The Nut Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

This is the tree that I took pity on 20 years ago when it was a wee tiny thing. It wasn't a problem back then and I let it live, only cutting the occasional overhanging branches off to protect my blueberries.
Somewhere along the way, it did a growth spurt and became too tall to prune easily. That allowed it to grow even higher and shade my blueberries and now grapes entirely too much. It had gotten so large that pruning involved me up high in the tree (dangerous) and any pruned limbs would fall onto my delicate blueberry bushes... so I decided to take it out.

It's a laurel oak, known for fragility and short (in tree years) lives. My job was to drop it not on the old truck, barn, or BBQ platform. That's the old grill in the left bottom corner, it sits upon a little wooden platform that I did not want to crunch ... or have to move.
It's not THAT little after all.

I like to add a little direction when I fell a tree in tight quarters, and since I had two trees to fell this day, I took the easy one down first. That allowed me to use it as an anchor to apply tension on the tree in the direction I wanted it to go.
To do that, I hooked a Come-A-Long jack to the fallen, bucked log and then ...

... tossed a rope around the tree to take down. Hooking the rope to the Come-A-Long jack allowed me to apply a directive force to the tree to guide it down. The target area was tight and I didn't think I should rely on my notching ability alone.
This was done after the notch was cut. You can see it high up on the tree ... about chest high ... (not for you Cindy... more like head high.)
I usually cut my trees high like that so a nice tall stump remains for the woodpeckers to attack in the years to come.

It worked like a charm as you can see in this arboraerial photo.
The old grill is just visible through the leaves and the platform and all it held came through unscathed.

Emma found the ladder and was up it like a flash. She's so daring ... must get that from her mother.

She certainly didn't get it from me.

Sometimes hugging a tree can save your life.
Y'all be safe out there, ya' hear?
Tomorrow: A video view from above for wordless Wednesday.


Bill said...


You win, that is just too high for me. I don't mind standing on my 12 foot ladder on the roof but, c'mon, I can't compete with that!



Anonymous said...

I believe I said something along the lines of, "Dude, Jr., I bet that now that he's got Emma's picture, we won't be on Pure Florida..."

- Jonathan

cndymkr / jean said...

wow. Just wow. I got dizzy just looking at the both of you up that high.

Hurricane Teen said...

Love how the only tag on this post is "Stupid Things I Have Done." May I say that, by your standards (Exhibit A: Old Truck vs. Wasps), this was fairly benign.

I have gotten into tree climbing myself recently...Though I think our rigging is a little safer.

edifice rex said...

Geeez, everytime I see you and your ladder escapades, all my years of OSHA training starts swirling crazily through my head.....aaah! I need to go lay down!

ChrisC and JonJ said...


Robert V. Sobczak said...

That's treacherous country up there in Pure Florida, or North Country as I call it. (I'm typing from Naples (Florida not Italy).

Kittikity said...

If your nuts are falling out of the tree, then you need to be more careful with that chainsaw..

Rurality said...

I think you must be 1/2 monkey! ;)

Mark said...

FC, all kidding aside, I have to remind you that gravity works, even in Florida. I can tell you from personal experience that a fall from even the lower rungs of a ladder can result in serious injury. My orthopedic surgeon can give you the details, and I can provide the sling if you ever need it. I know you're careful, but remember, there's a reason they call it an "accident."

cinbad122 said...

Like I haven't heard that before! Don't get short with me...

roger said...

that's a MIGHTY tall ladder.

how long will you keep a broken bbq and "retired" truck?

Floridacracker said...

Y'all do realize that getting in your car every day and driving to work is 1000 times more dangerous than what I am doing here.
If we were all as focused while driving as I am in a tree, there'd be a lot less auto accidents.
I'm just saying ...

Not a competition bro. Yours would win for ease of carry tho.

Well, when in opposition, beauty trumps brawn dude, however, you and Jr are on the menu for tomorrow.

Better to be dizzy looking at the picture than dizzy in the picture, huh?

I almost didn't use it and sorta wish I hadn't as I don't view it that way at all. I agree with your point.

That's what OSHA will do to ya.

Chris and Jon,
Can't live with em, can't keep em outta the trees!

You southerners!

Hah! LOL!

About 98% ape DNA actually.

I appreciate that. That knowledge is what makes me so careful and such a planner for these challenges.

Heehee! Could not resist.

Floridacracker said...

broken bbq is headed to the landfill. broken truck has a permanent place here. can't explain it.

amarkonmywall said...

Did you ever build that girl a tree fort when she was a child? I'm thinking we might need a tree house of sorts once in NC. My tree guys are coming today but I doubt they'll let me climb their ladder...

Thunder Dave said...

You guys are off the hook!

Hey what do you charge to rent that ladder out, I have a feeling we may need it someday! ;-)

Miz S said...

I think I've said this before: THANK GOD MRS. FC IS A NURSE.


Uh, FC, for real, a tree's bole is measured in inches dbh; diameter breast height.
D.B.H. (Diameter Breast Height)
Definition: Tree diameter at breast height. This has traditionally been the "sweet spot" on a tree where measurements are taken and a multitude of calculations are made to determine things like growth, volume, yield and forest potential.

Tree d.b.h. is outside bark diameter at breast height. Breast height is defined as 4.5 feet (1.37m) above the forest floor on the uphill side of the tree. For the purposes of determining breast height, the forest floor includes the duff layer that may be present, but does not include unincorporated woody debris that may rise above the ground line.
Also Known As: DBH - Diameter at Breast Height
Examples: DBH is the most frequent measurement made by a forester using either a diameter tape or tree caliper.