While some trees are easier than others to cut down, there will always be the difficult tree jobs that need a heavy duty pulling rope to pull the tree away from high voltage lines or a house and buildings or any other valuable property.
In our Tree Pruning and Removal business we have cut down thousands of trees and each one represents its own unique challenge!
While the easy tree removals can go fast, sometimes it can take quite some time to take every precaution to be sure everything is right before we start to cut on a big tree that is leaning the wrong way and toward a house.
The Height And Location Of This Tree
This time we needed to cut down a massive dead ash tree that was leaning towards a road and the neighbors house across the road. We would need to use our heavy duty pulling rope
and tie it to a tractor to help pull the tree!
The tree was about 120 feet tall and 45 inches in diameter at the base. The first big branches were about 40 feet high.
It was located just off the road along the edge of the woods.
The owners house was about 300 feet up the gentle mountain slope. We would put our ropes in the tree and pull it in that direction.
We just needed to get the tree on the ground so it doesn’t fall down in a storm and tear down the power lines or hit the neighbors house.
A Heavy Duty Pulling Rope That Can Be Used
2 popular ropes for this type of work are a Samson Promaster 3 strand braided rope and a polyester Arborist Bull rope.
The Samson Promaster rope is popular for rigging and pulling. This rope is especially designed for lowering limbs from trees but can also be used to pull them. It has 3 strands braided together, and is extremely abrasion resistant, which makes it great for using natural branch crotches for rigging to lower limbs.
The Bull rope has a nylon core with built in resistance to moisture, sunlight, oil, and tears. Its polyester sheath is covered with an urethane coating to protect against rough surfaces like tree limbs and rocks or debris on the ground. It completely covers the nylon core helping to protect it.
Fastening The Rope To The Tree
We drove our bucket truck towards the tree and its boom reached about half the way up it.
Then we fastened our 2 heavy duty pulling ropes to the tree by using a bow-line knot in each rope. Each rope was tied to a different place for optimal pulling strength and straightness.
For dead and leaning trees it’s safer to pull with 2 ropes to help prevent it from breaking apart to soon and to keep it from twisting and falling off to the side.
The Equipment To Pull The Rope
Working on a mountainside it can be difficult to find a path long enough to drive on and still have enough room to be far enough from where the tree will land. So we need to use pulleys fastened to other trees to change the direction of the rope.
The pulleys are fastened to the base of another big tree by using a sling or chain which wraps around the tree and the pulley hooks onto the other end of the sling.
The Samson 3 strand rope reached to the driveway and around a pulley fastened to a tree. Then it was tied to the truck, which had room to back down a driveway and pull the rope.
The Bull rope went around a different pulley and was tied to our John Deere tractor.
The tractor was on a different path in the woods and closer to the tree.
A huge advantage we gain from using a pulley is we can hook it in the direction we want the tree to fall. Then the pulling tractor and truck can be anywhere there is a level or cleared area to drive.
Tightening The Ropes!
I was driving the tractor and a co-worker was driving the truck while the boss was going to cut the tree.
After each heavy duty pulling rope was tied to the truck and tractor we each slowly drove until they were tight and the tree top moved a bit.
Then we backed off slightly so the chainsaw doesn’t pinch as the notch is being cut. After double checking the knots in the rope we are ready to start cutting!
Cutting the Notch
Since this tree was in the woods it can sometimes be difficult to see the guy cutting through all the underbrush and other trees. From where I was on the tractor I was able to see as he cut the notch into the trunk.
A notch is often cut about 2 feet from the ground and about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through the trunk, it often depends on how the tree is leaning or where the majority of the weight is in the tree.
This tree was fairly straight so we cut about 1/3 of the way through. Starting about 2 feet from the ground with the first cut, then going up about a foot and starting the second cut, which angles down and meets where the first cut ended.
After the notch is cut and removed, he begins cutting on the backside of the trunk. We keep tension on the rope and as the top slowly starts to move we keep driving to pull on the ropes!
After a little more cutting, we pull faster and the tree goes over center and begins to fall on its own!
Creaking and snapping as it picks up speed the remaining uncut wood at the notch finally gives up and breaks with a sharp crack!
The dead ash tree is headed for the ground! Crashing into the underbrush and creating a cloud of flying leaves and sticks!!
Now I can get a much closer look at how big this tree really is! If somebody wants to cut firewood from it they will be busy for a long time!
Putting Tools Away
When the dust clears and the tree is settled, we wade through branches to untie our ropes and wrap them up. Unfortunately this time the one rope was beneath a heavy branch of the tree, so we had to cut a section of wood away so we could get to the knot in the rope to untie it.
The pulley and sling is sometimes buried beneath branches, so that needs to be located and unhooked from its tree and put in the truck for the next time.
The STIHL chainsaw is put away and the tractor is chained to the trailer and the job is finished! Another day of work done, time to head home for supper and enjoy an evening with my family!
Thanks for reading! If you have ever cut down a tree or have a favorite rope for pulling trees, I would welcome you to share your experience!
Your Arborist Friend: Justin