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Pine tree seen as hazard: What is a cheap permie alternative than hiring tree company to cut it down  RSS feed

 
Hae-Yuan Chang
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Tree cutting is expensive! I figure about $1,000 to take down this pine tree which has had dead foliage for about a year or more. Granted, we would use the logs as biochar or hugel beds, but it is still a hefty amount to pay.

I want to turn the problem into the solution. Some idea a friend has was cutting off the branches (hiring some friends), leaving the trunk, and turning it into a bat house or wildlife habitat? Not sure if that would be still stable, it is close to hurricane season here. Another idea would be to try to bring the tree back to life? Not really sure!

Hoping to get advice on what to do! Thank you!!
pine.jpg
[Thumbnail for pine.jpg]
 
Kyle Neath
pollinator
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Location: High Sierras, CA 6400'
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The longer you leave a dead tree standing near structures, the more dangerous it gets. Fungus will slowly rot out the roots and trunk (invisible to the surface since the bark is left untouched) until the tree finds a way to snap somewhere along the trunk and come crashing down. The longer you let it rot, the more difficult it will be to fell (and more $$) since it's likely the top will snap while chainsawing it, falling on the tree feller. Unfortunately, when a pine tree dies, it's dead (usually when you notice it's dead, it's been dead for over a year). There's no way to resurrect them.

If you'd like to leave part of the tree for wildlife habit, you can cut it at a height that won't be likely to fall or cause a lot of damage — usually 20' or so. Another option for wildlife habit is to pile up the slash (cuttings from the tree), it'll become a favorite home of many birds and smaller rodents. But you'll still need to get that upper part taken care of no matter what. Those limbs in particular are going to start falling off real quick. Pine trees have evolved to drop limbs for fire protection, and as such the joints connecting them to the main trunk are designed to split off once they die — very different from most deciduous trees.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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There is no bringing back a dead tree, unless it happens to be a deciduous tree, which might come back as a root sucker. Conifers die, roots and all and as such become a widow maker waiting for the first high wind.

If you have friends handy with chain saws, and they feel comfortable climbing into a tree to limb it, then I would make use of their skills and make it a tree party.
You can leave part of the trunk but you will, as Kyle mentioned, need to get rid of those dead limbs as well as the trunk above that bend.

The longer you leave it standing, the more danger there is to not only the house but to anyone who stands under the limbs.

Redhawk
 
John Natoli
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Cutting off the branches and shortening the trunk would be a great start, but as mentioned above, those branches break off from the trunk easily, so I would be very cautious about climbing it!
 
Dale Hodgins
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It looks like a $200 job to me. If I were doing it, I would get myself to the very beginning of where the branches start, make sure that I'm seated really well, and then use my long reach pole saw, to lighten the load. I never go out on dead branches, and I don't climb very high into stuff that is dead. If people are foolish enough to leave it too long, I get them to pick a spot, where they would like to drop it. This often involves damage to the rest of the landscape, and it's their own damn fault.

If a tree does have to be dropped, I like to cut it only partially through, and then have it pulled down with a rope. This is because dead trees often shed branches as they come down. Those branches are likely to hit the person at the bottom, holding the chainsaw.

I wouldn't send someone inexperienced, to climb that tree. Turning it into a group activity might invite acts of bravado. Definitely don't mix alcohol with the situation, unless it's after the thing is safety on the ground.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The power lines proximity, the fact that it is a very dead tree would make me want a cherry picker truck to remove the limbs and top the trunk.
That is probably where the tree service estimate comes from.
Just from that one photo I would want to drop it to the right in the photo but I can't tell what is there that might not allow that.

On my land I currently have 3 dead oak trees with trunks over 36 inches diameter that  I need to drop.
I haven't done so as yet but this winter (or sooner) I will have to take them down since they are in what is going to be some new pasture land for the hogs.
As Dale can tell you, felling large trees is not for beginners.
I have several years as a commercial sawyer with a logging company and I take a lot of time on old dead trees.
The three trees I have will take at least a day each just to fell, then the cutting up will start, or I might just buck them down to the trunk and let it all finish rotting in place.
I'll probably be using ropes and turning blocks along with either winches or come-along to make them drop, I always try to plan for the worst case scenario when it comes to tree felling.
 
Jim Fry
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Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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I've been dropping trees and running a sawmill for 50 years. If an inexperienced person, or persons, drops that tree wrong, or gets hurt trying (or both), you'll be spending a whole lot more than 1,000 to fix the damage. From the look of your photo, that is not a job for the lightly experienced or inexperienced. --I believe that your own question about " to try to bring the tree back to life?" shows just how {in}experienced you are. Looks like you need an insured professional. (Unless of course you are a really lucky, lucky person, a widow maker doesn't fall on your head, the wind is just right, and the tree isn't rotten in the middle.)
 
David Livingston
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Too close to a building for me to touch , most buildings cost more than 1000$  and most reputable persons have insurance
David
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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We paid a tree service to cut two very large pine trees that were too close to our house and also a very very punky huge leaning oak tree that was too dangerous to cut.  We paid $600 total for all three.  The tree guys had a cherry picker bucket to limb and top the pines...very efficient and quick.  They used a bucket on a front end loader(?) to push high up on the dead oak while the other one carefully cut below...they were great and well worth the money.  These three guys with the right tools and insurance are kept busy around this area just by word of mouth.

In the past we wouldn't have been able to afford, so probably would have left all of the trees in place.  The pines were alive and healthy and the dead one at the back of the garden dropping branches gradually but away from places we walk.

Ours was lower in cost than some because we wanted to keep the pine saw logs and the tops for mulch and the dead tree where it fell.  The tree guys didn't have to clean up and haul off as they do for most.  They did cut the logs to length and stacked them for us and put the brush pile where we asked which was a huge help.

I think paying someone to do the job is well worth it if you can afford it at all, especially if your tree is dead already...and then you can do the permie thing with all of that nice decomposing tree when it's down on the ground

We didn't chip the pine, we stripped needles and pine cones and small branches into a pile to decompose a bit and used the larger branches to edge plantings in the yard.  The saw logs are waiting on our son to come with his chainsaw mill. In the end every bit of the trees will go back into the land here.

edit to add that I have a husband and two sons who are very skilled and experienced with chainsaws and all of them agreed this was a job for a professional with insurance and some big machines.
 
Harry Soloman
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Location: Pennsylvania, Dauphin County
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about 3 years ago we had to remove a very large tree between our house and a neighbors.  It cost us a lot due to insurance, location and local codes and also wanted all correct as I cant afford a neighbors house or car.

I had people say, hey if it falls act of god.  Well to me, if it is a dead tree, it is not an act of god and would be negligence so down it came.  they used cherry picker and a crane for the top part due to location.


At our camp, we had very large dead tree that we brought in loggers to bring down and they did drop precisely otherwise we would lose the camp or some out buildings.  It was a very old very large tree and when it hit the ground it shook like an earthquake.  It went on to make some beautiful boards!

With big trees, always go with safety first but I doubt I said anything new to you.

 
chip sanft
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I just removed (most of--still working on the last bits) a 25-30 foot tree from between our house and the neighbor's and I will say it was much harder than it looks. Tree removal is expensive here and it would have been more than $200. It would have been well worth $200 to have someone else sweat the bullets that I did.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Leaving this particular tree aside, my starting point for most trees that are near a house, is to stand on the roof of the house and cut all of the branches that are within reach, with the pole saw. It takes about five seconds to go through an 8-inch branch, on oak. Often, there are many small branches. I drop dozens of them, to create a springy mat on the roof. Then, sometimes an old tarp is placed over that mat of springy  branches. Once this crude mattress is constructed, branches can be chunked down in firewood lengths. They do no harm to the roof. Care must be taken to put a few of the lower branches, past the gutter, so that it is also protected.

I can reach stuff 18 ft from the surface of the roof, and about 14 ft horizontally. I don't normally do really large trees. Mostly stuff that is 40 ft or shorter and lots of it is only 20 feet tall. Quite often, I'll go around the perimeter of bungalows that have a walkable roof, and cut all branches that are threatening the roof. This can be a 5 or 10 minute operation. Without the pole saw, the same operation could take hours.
 
Jane Reed
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Location: Fair Play, Northetn California
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The OP mentioned an estimate of $1000. Most tree services give free estimates so I suggest he find out the actual cost.  The cost can be modified if you contract for only cutting the tree down if the homeowner is willing to do the cleanup. The tree people will have to cut some branches and limbs, no doubt, prior to felling the whole tree. But the rest could be done by the homeowner.
 
Marco Banks
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$1000 for one tree seems pretty steep.  My hunch is that if you call around, you'll be able to get a much better price.  It doesn't look that big.  You could buy a 24' ladder and a good pole saw, rent a chainsaw, buy some strong loppers . . .  and you'd still be $600 ahead.  Then again, if you drop the tree into your house or put yourself in the hospital, you'll save nothing.

If you are willing to clean it up, you should be able to get someone to drop it much cheaper than the quote you were given.  Rent a chainsaw and spend a day cutting it into smaller pieces to burn or bury.

 
Angelika Maier
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Get another quote. And don't do it yourself. If you take a power line down or damage your roof you pay. A tree service has an insurance. It is a dangerous job and it gets more dangerous the longer you wait. Don't get the tree mulched up because that is very expemsive. Tell them to simply cut the tree down and in pieces that you can handle. Often they calculate the clean up which you can do yourself. Cleaning up they drag all the limbs acroos your precious plants....
 
Dale Hodgins
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The O. P.  stated that this price was speculative. We can't really see what is going on from that picture. The wires may be close, and they may be far. I'm sure there are hundreds of people near that tree who are capable of taking it down safely. I suggest calling someone reputable, and getting it done. There's nothing more we can do here.
...............
Here's an important note concerning quotes.  When someone tells me that they intend to get many quotes, I tell them I am too busy, and that I am sure they will find someone suitable. Eventually, they will find some hack who is cheaper, so I don't waste my time. A person with a decent reputation, doesn't have to waste their life driving around giving quotes, where I live.

I'm doing a small tree tomorrow, for a customer that I've dealt with before. She called with a brief description of the tree. I will see it when I get there, and start working. I am guaranteed my hourly rate, and she won't be paying someone to generate paper.

I sometimes call a tree faller who charges $75 an hour. I tell him the address, he shows up, and starts cutting. He gets lots of calls asking for quotes on simple stuff that can be done in short order. Those people get charged a lot more.
 
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