Clean up Techniques


Tree Hugger
Mar 6, 2005
Oxford, Connecticut
This might sound like a stupid question, but I was watching some of Ekka's old vids and it got me thinking.

Considering a 2 man crew...climber/groundmans.

From your experience, is it easier for the climber to bomb everything down onto the ground (everything but the spar), and come down and help cleanup. Or have you found it easier to chip as ya go.

I hate having the chipper run all day. My current method is to have groundy chip in spurts, but he gets pissy having to stage the brush and work around it (he's family :roll: ). It seems I spend a lot of time sitting in the tree waiting...burns a lot of time, and seems hard on the body.

I'm thinking of trying the bombing out everything method. 2 people moving brush and with the mini the tangles would be easy to clean up.

What have you found the best.?
id rather chip as you go, ive worked for companies that did it each way and have personally found the chipper doesnt use that much fuel under no load or idle. then again not to brushy of a tree might be better to swamp him and come help out. depends on the job
Cleaning as you go. It may be faster and easier on the bucket/climber but you will wear ground help out making a rats nest on them.

Staging brush is handling it 2x and no $$ can be made overhandling anything.

You should get practiced well enough as a crew that the ground crew can rope something down and get it cleaned up just in time for you to be ready for the next cut.
IMO most brush pilots don't know how to stack brush and will go so far as to ignore instructions on how to do so in order to make their job easier. They typically like to keep each and every piece of brush separated so that all the brush gets spread out all over the entire yard. So therefore when working in tight areas they 'run out of room' after about 4 limbs. :roll:

I used to gnash my teeth and fight with every single groundman I ever worked with because none of them could 'get the picture' of stacking the brush so that the last piece on top will be the first piece off. I'd cut everything to size and try to make it so easy but nobody cared. Now I just bomb everything and ignore the cleanup crew and everybody is much happier. (In other words most brush draggers are too stupid to realize that you're creating more work for them and will happily fight brush as long as you let them)

So therefore I suggest you just get it on the ground instead of killing time waiting for them to fight with trying to do it your way. It's just brush and untangling a pile isn't that big of a deal.
Brian, I dont understand why you would stack brush next to a chipper instead of just chipping it and getting it out of the way???
Untangling brush aint that hard. I say bomb and go, keep your climber happy, let the ground crew work a little harder. I find it next to impossible to find groundsmen that will do it the way you teach them for more than a day or two and guys like that are a dime a dozen. Let em get worn out, quit on you, hire another. Climbers on the other hand are much harder to find so keep them healthy and happy.
Andrew, on removals you chip as you go but sometimes on trims the brush comes slow. and if there's a long drag then it doesn't make sense to leave the chipper running to chip one limb every 2 minutes. On some detail trims a person can climb for 3 hours and have 10 minutes of chipping on the ground.
Either they wait for you, or you wait for them.

I think this would seriously be worth doing some scientific experimenting on. I'm sure a lot of people would like to KNOW which is faster.

Chip when you can......but, since you are mini equipped, sometimes staging is faster. Small piles on which mini can dominate.....Every removal is different, and you have to think outside the box sometimes. Two minis' that would be plush............:D
Now different opinion here. My climbing experience comes from the bush, forget the ground whatever works for the climber is best. Anyone can drag brush on the ground, Oh yah say what ya want but really 'anyone can drag brush around on the ground'. Keep the climber happy keep him busy, clean-up later.

You think anyone can climb trees???? Think again. Anyone CAN drag brush, keep the climber happy.
Heh just saying it the way it is. If you work the ground only, you are replaceable unless you're a crazy faller or something. If you can climb and dismantle trees you are pretty much irreplaceable around here.

I'm really hoping to become a much better climber over the next few years.
I feel ya man, just finished hopefully my last year of me and just one groundie. Removals SUCK with two. I hate having the chipper running when I am in the tree - with a two man crew. 90 percent of the time my latest guy can have the last piece cut and to the chipper just about the time the next is rigged up. And I come down for a drink and we chip and then back to work. The chuck and duck eats fast.
Ha you love the chuck n' duck? I hate mine. I got negotiations ongoing on a new autofeed bandit. I feel your pain though. Nothing sucks more than dismantling the tree and then having to help feed it throught the chipper.
Good topic!

Of course it depends on the job for the most part. But if there is room for it I choose to hammer the tree then hit the ground and help processing. If its a 2 man crew, Im not gonna sit and wait in the tree while my groundie is chipping unless I have to. Sometimes though you run out of staging room and you have to stop and clean house. Either way chip in spurts, no need to run the chipper every minute of the day.
And definatly use the mini to forward, have groundie leave limbs as long as possible and stage things for the mini to pull it apart. (if you are rigging alot, it may be all a 2 man crew can do at once).
The way I see it- the least amount of time I spend climbing, the better.
I bomb it then clean it up. Having a mini makes the tangles easy to mangage.

If there aint enough room to do that the of course we'd have to chip as we go, but normally that's not the case.
We almost always clean up as we go. I'm usually the climber and I just wait or usually take the time to move my TIP or the pulley.
I try to get people to stack brush like Brian mentioned but everyone seems resistant. It really is the easiest to stack it back to front with everything peeling off the top. Occasionally, I bury the ground crew but not as a rule.
I think it really depends on the job, but I agree with John (tophopper) that there is no reason that the chipper should run all day. Either chip in spurts or chip it all at the end, whatever is more appropriate. Leaving the chipper running non stop will wear you and your crew down from noise fatigue and from the difficulty of communication.

Interestingly there are almost no chippers in Hong Kong because any type of tow behind trailer is prohibited with the exception of container trucks.
Brian, I am posting with the assumption Brendon was asking about removals. I agree that staging would be ok for small trimming jobs.

That being said it seems that there are some climbers here who have not done enough groundwork, your opinions would be different because facing bombed tree's day in and day out would lead to a short career.

A good ground crew is priceless. if you have the attitude that any $10.00 guy will do you are heading in the wrong direction. A good ground crew will make you more $$ in the long run than a good climber that won't work with a ground crew because its easier for him to bomb shit.
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Hey guys.

Yes, I am talking removals. It's good to get other opinions. Some of these trees you guys post and say "1 hr climbing" I say to myself holy moly. I spend way to much time sitting around in the tree getting fatigued.

I am a two man show, all the time. I climb and my brother chips. Whatever gets us home quicker the happier we are.