The city of Oak Bay has a very powerful power washer that they use on their heavy equipment. One of the guys decided to try digging out trees with it, and it has proved successful. They use a combination of the power washer and a suction truck, to gather up the muddy water.
The jet of water is directed straight down, and it easily erodes almost any soil. Once they get to the desired depth, the roots are cut. Then a noose is placed at the very bottom of the circular trench. A big truck pulls on the rope, which closes the noose, which slices through the soil to the very center of the tree. The truck continues pulling until the rope pops out of the ground. The part of the rope attached to the truck, passes through a short trench that allows it to close the noose without pulling to the surface. We now have a tree that is completely free of the ground, but sitting in a hole. The whole tree slid in the direction of pull, as the rope was drawn under it.
With small trees, a couple guys grab the trunk and hoist it out of the hole. With this large one they lifted it using a strap on the trunk. I offered them some other straps so that they could lift it from the base and not tear the bark. They've got the cutting system down pretty good, lifting them out of the hole needs some more planning.
Awesome use of technology! They ran the power lines underground past our house a couple years ago. Wherever the proposed path intersected another utility they power washed and vacuumed the mud away to see where the intersecting pipe/wire actually was. One was 4' away from the spray paint. Then they bored for the power and when they got the the hole they could verify they were at a good elevation before continuing on. Nifty stuff.
"Hundreds of years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the type of car I drove... But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that it becomes a tourist destination"