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Is it good for a forest to fell fallen hung trees?  RSS feed

 
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We have strong winds here in Camano Island. Our piece of forest had a few Alder trees fall and get stuck against other trees, I noticed that the friction started abrading the bark of the straight trees so I felled the fallen trees, as the chainsaw was eating through the wood, I saw that some of the fallen trees were still alive despite the flush roots so I started wonder if what I am doing is good for the forest.
I am usually perceptive to what the forest wants and it didn't oppose, and the experience of felling those trees, which was quite a puzzle and dangerous, was smooth so that makes me think it is ok but it's easy to shut oneself down from the reality.
What is your experience and knowledge on the subject?
 
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My opinion is that trees have been falling and leaning for millions of years so it's fine to leave them.  I'm not sure if the particular tree they are leaning on appreciates the attention but it is definitely "natural".

Now if people or livestock walk under the leaning tree or the the tree getting leaned on is valuable, it may be worthwhile to take it down.  Or if you are looking for trees to cut for firewood.  Or if it's outside the back window and looks ugly.

I had two trees this year that broke off 20' up and were leaning on nearby trees.  One was a big hemlock leaning on a maple.  I want to protect the maple since I make maple syrup.  So I pulled the hemlock out of it.  The other leaner was a spruce hanging on a birch.  The way it appeared, the spruce was more dangerous to work under, its wood was less valuable (smaller tree) and the birch has really tough bark and can take care of itself.  I'm guessing that in two years it will break completely off and fall to the ground on its own.

For better or worse, here's how I cut trees that are broken off up high and still connected to their tops.  First I evaluate the hinge for strength.  Then tie a strong rope as high on the trunk as I can (below the hinge).  Hook up a come-along winch to a distant tree to pull the broken tree away from the direction its top is leaning.  Don't winch on it though, just take up slack and put a bit of pressure on it.  Then do a standard notch cut towards the winch.  Then carefully do the back cut while watching for any movement above, especially if the hinge moves at all.  Once the back cut is done, winch the tree down. 

 
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