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Best and safest way(s) to cut down broken branches?

 
maikeru sumi-e
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I have some major concerns over the potential for garden damage and safety issues with some broken branches on one of my large silver maples in my backyard. Right now a large top branch shattered in a heavy, freak winter storm last week and fell onto a lower, bigger branch reaching toward the house. This branch is cracking and splintering as well and is showing green wood. Both branches are rather close to the ground, maybe 6-8 feet off the ground, and just overhanging my raised bed. What are some of your recommendations for safe and efficient removal of these broken and dying branches without too much harm to the tree? Tools? Call someone to cut and remove the branches?

It's about 30 feet tall and still fast growing. Presents some issues and is probably too big for the backyard, but I don't think I'm going to go for tree removal at the moment. Probably will use the dead material for more hugelkultur.
 
                                    
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how big are the branches? could you cut them into smaller pieces with a saw along there legnth (on a ladder with two people holding up the branch while it is cut). if you start at one end and go about 6 feet in, then take that peice away, then go another 6 feet....

it would require three large ladders however.

you could also tie a rope around the base of the broken branches, throw the rope up over some higher up branches and have someone hold the rope and another hold the other end of the branch, then lower it down gently to the ground.
 
Burra Maluca
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We used to have (might even still have it if I rummage enough) a saw made like a length of chain saw with a ring on each end.  The idea was to tie a long rope to each ring, then throw one end of rope over the branch, pull the rope until the chain was in place, then two people would take an end of rope each, position themselves strategically so the branch wouldn't fall on their heads, and take in turns pulling their end of the rope so that the saw cut through the branch. 

Of course, in practice it usually meant that you'd end up hurling abuse at each other every time the chain got stuck and you blamed the other person, but so long as you kept a sense of humour and clear getaway for when the branch finally crashed down and tried to squoosh you it was kind of fun.  Easier said than done trying to throw a rope over a high branch, too - I recommend not doing it with an audience.... 
 
maikeru sumi-e
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mfrodesen wrote:
how big are the branches? could you cut them into smaller pieces with a saw along there legnth (on a ladder with two people holding up the branch while it is cut). if you start at one end and go about 6 feet in, then take that peice away, then go another 6 feet....

it would require three large ladders however.

you could also tie a rope around the base of the broken branches, throw the rope up over some higher up branches and have someone hold the rope and another hold the other end of the branch, then lower it down gently to the ground.


One branch is probably 10-12 feet long. This is the one that came down with the heavy snow and has cracked the underlying one, which is probably 14-16 feet long. Both still hanging low. Got some more snow and strong winds. They're hanging ominously now.

I'll need to be careful. They could damage my tiny fruit trees unfortunately.
 
joy Anna
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 5A
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My husband's used a fiskers pruner that telescopes to about 12 ft for larger branches (8-10in diameter). It's a pretty cheap saw ($25-40?) and we've (he's) used it a ton.
What does anyone think about having two ropes on the higher broken branch, and have someone pulling the opposite direction of where you're standing   while you cut the bottom branch with a telescoping saw.  I'm guessing it would be kind of slow and the branches would slow their own fall.  The idea of ladders makes me nervous. 
 
Brenda Groth
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see if you can throw a rope over a branch above them and tie them off..and then cut them in smaller pieces lowering them down to the ground with the rope..otherwise get yourself a guy with a bucket truck..

a friend of mine broke his son's arm trying to get down a "widowmaker" ..and he also got hit in the head hard.

it is a dangerous thing to do to bring down a caught up broken tree part
 
                                    
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Location: Alberta Canada
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Do NOT in any circumstances attempt to use any ladder for tree pruning, especially if chain saws are being used.

Do Not use a chain saw for limbing/pruning unless standing on the ground or in an aerial lift designed for raising people.

Avoid using the chain saw above waist hight.

Chainsaws cut, even when turned off.

Arms, legs, hands and feet do not regenerate.

Insure that there is nothing above you that might fall, they are called widow makers for a reason.

If necessary send the kids to visit the 'grands' failing that I would suggest locking them in the house.  Too much disturbance, you can't concentrate on them and the job at hand.

If using rope make sure that it is at least 3/4 inch 19 mm in diameter; wrap the rope around a secure object between you and the tree then stand between the anchor and the tree. 

Rope smaller than 3/4 inch does not have the shock strength needed and if it is wrapped around your body it has the potential to cut or amputate.

The consumption of liquor should be avoided until after the mess is cleared up and tools are safely put away.

Do Not cut the limb between you and the tree trunk, don't laugh check YOU TUBE.

Insure that there is a clear/safe area for things to fall in.  This should be about twice the size you think you need.

Plan an escape route and keep it clear, drop the tool and run

Check your insurance coverage, for an "I didn't think" clause

Tree felling, removal or removal is not easy; there have been incidents where a crane has been used to hold the tree vertical lowering it so that a couple of feet could be removed from the bottom.

Silver Maples will rot, become hollow, from the centre of the limb or trunk out.  I have seen as little as 3 inches, 8 cm of good wood around the edge of a 4 foot, 120 cm diameter tree.  From your description of the situation it is very likely that there is some rot happening.

Been there, saw that,

John
Forestry Engineering Technician

It is your decision do to it your self or call a professional. They have the experience, equipment and insurance for this type of work.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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great advice John, I have had several friends who suffered severe tree fall and chainsaw accidents..they are really really dangerous pieces of equipment.

my one neighbor had one hit his face, eyelid gone, part of nose and huge jagged scar on face..really..he did recover but man what a scare.
 
Roses are red. Violets are blue. Some poems rhyme. But this is a tiny ad:

The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers:
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