Felling the trees, Caleb Turner, Arborist Extraordinaire

A slice of black locust
A slice of black locust

We had hoped there would be a fair amount of work we (well… more like Will) could do ourselves on the cottage. However, it would be hard to name a more dangerous DIY project than felling a big tree, and our trees weren’t just “big”. They towered 80-100 feet high over the house, growing right up through the phones lines. There’s the obvious risk of getting crushed by a falling tree. Trees can twist as they fall and make all kinds of other unexpected moves, especially if a random gust of wind appears. Add a chain saw to the mix, and—well, you get the idea. It’s not a job for the faint-of-heart. We were lucky Caleb Turner agreed to take on this project.

Local Wood Local Good
Local Wood
Local Good

Wisdom of Arborist

  • Never cut on a breezy day
  • It is easier to cut up a fallen tree if you do it when the leaves are missing
  • Grab the chain saw handle with an encircling thumb on your right hand and never release it during a cut.
  • Stay away from hollowed-out trees, especially if they’re big. They are extremely unpredictable and dangerous to fell.
  • Gas up the saw before beginning a cut. Never run out of gas halfway through a cut.
  • Once you start working, don’t stop until the tree is down. You don’t want the tree to fall while you’re taking a break.
What does an arborist wear??? Safety Gear!

Safety isn’t a throwaway word when it comes to felling trees and running chain saws.

You must take it seriously. There are a few absolutely essential safety gear items you need to wear for any chain saw work.

Loggers helmet: The helmet protects you from falling branches, a major cause of logging injuries. Earmuffs and a face screen protect your ears and eyes. Safety glasses keep the dust out—you don’t want something in your eye in the middle of dropping a 4-ft.-diameter cottonwood.

Kevlar chaps: Kevlar fibers will stop a chain instantly should you happen to drop the bar against your leg. It’s the best logging safety device developed in the past 30 years, and it’s a rare (and foolish) pro that doesn’t wear them.

Felling wedges: These wedges will prevent your saw from getting pinched during a cut.

Planning the cut or how to fell a tree

#1- Estimate the fell zone. Trees are taller than you think and reach farther on the ground than you’d expect (maybe all the way to your shed). You can estimate where a tree will fall by using the “ax handle trick.” Hold an ax handle at arm’s length, close one eye, and back away from or move toward the tree until the top of the ax is even with the treetop and the bottom even with the base. Your feet should be about where the treetop will rest after falling. It’s just an estimate, though, so allow extra room if there’s something it might fall on!

#2 Clear a cutting zone.

Even when you’re sure which way the tree is going to fall, you’re still not ready to fell it. Cut away any brush around the trunk and clear two escape routes on the “non-falling” side of the tree. They should be about 45 degrees away from each other in opposite directions. The last thing you want is to trip while walking away from a falling tree.

#3 Size up the tree

Start by studying the crown of the tree. Look for dead branches that are broken but attached, or actually broken off and supported by other branches. Don’t even think about cutting down the tree yourself if you see any danger upstairs. You’re bound to knock a branch loose and have it fall on you.

Next look at the lean and the branch loading. If it’s obviously leaning in one direction or heavily loaded with branches on one side, that’s the way it’s going to fall. Forget the myth that a pro can drop a tree on top of an empty beer can. If it’s perfectly straight and evenly loaded—maybe he’ll get close. But if it’s loaded or leaning, he won’t have a chance.

Are there any buildings, fences, power lines or other things you care about in the felling zone? If so, skip the felling and call a pro.

ENTER CALEB TURNER

arborist extraordinaire
arborist extraordinaire
Caleb Turner portrait of a tree guy
Caleb Turner portrait of a tree guy

 

Caleb Turner arrived with his crew on a very cold winter weekend to tackle the locust trees.

Caleb Turner- high up in the tree
Caleb Turner- high up in the tree
Caleb Turner with his trusty chainsaw- 80 feet high
Caleb Turner with his trusty chainsaw- 80 feet high
Caleb Turner in tree, communicating with the ground crew
Caleb Turner in tree, communicating with the ground crew
Caleb Turner on final stages of the cut before the tree falls
Caleb Turner on final stages of the cut before the tree falls
Caleb Turner, beginning the second cut
Caleb Turner, beginning the second cut


Tom Ingersoll’s
truck arrived to load up the felled trees.

Caleb Turner directing traffic when Tom Ingersoll of Ingersoll Land Care, Sheffield MA arrives on the scene
Caleb Turner directing traffic when Tom Ingersoll of Ingersoll Land Care, Sheffield MA arrives on the scene
The claw being guided by Caleb Turner
The claw being guided by Caleb Turner
Will Conklin operating the crane, removing the severed limbs
Will Conklin operating the crane, removing the severed limbs
Tom Ingersoll loading cut trees onto truck with big claw
Tom Ingersoll loading cut trees onto truck with big claw
Loading Tom Ingersoll's truck
Loading Tom Ingersoll’s truck

 

The final bite…

THE CLAW!
THE CLAW!

4 thoughts on “Felling the trees, Caleb Turner, Arborist Extraordinaire”

  1. Looks like your tree guy bucked up the tree into short pieces. Too bad he didn’t cut it into board lengths. Black locust is an awesome wood and you might’ve had some incredible boards to use on your new construction. Oh, well.

    1. I know- what a shame. Actually a lot of the wood that was cut in short pieces was cut up by the company that National grid outsourced who came and then left, leaving the job unfinished. The work that Cal and his team did was board length. Tom Ingersoll – the guy who carted it away couldn’t wait to get his hands on the wood. It is amazing how strong and resilient it is. We have a yard full of these pesty trees and will make sure that they get cut u p properly next time. This particular job was tricky due to the phone wires.
      What I didn’t include in the blog post was the sudden winter squall that came up when Cal was 80 feet high. He said he had been in pretty tenuous situations but that squall made his super scared.

      Best to Bonnie and the kids…so nice to hear from you.

  2. This is great, Susan.
    Love reading all about your new life in the woods. Awesome!
    XOXO to all, me

    1. Thanks Nina!!!
      It is quite an adventure- if you want to camp out in our back yard we would love to have you- there is a brook that runs thru the property- however we seem to have visits from the bears….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *