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Leaning white pine

pantheraba

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Butch, you griped it has been slow...here's my contribution. Treework has been slow for me over the last several months. It just picked up.

I got a call from a neighbor/customer last Tuesday afternoon...she had noticed a 60 foot white pine starting to lean towards the house. Her husband had planted many different trees on their property 30-40 years ago, these 2 white pines were babies back then.

I went by after work that evening and took my stainless steel dowel (same one you used at Andersonville, Guy) and probed the ground around the base. I could penetrate about 2 inches on the house side, under the lean. I could probe 1-2 feet on the other side of the tree, which indicated to me some definite lifting/root compromising on that side. I couldn't see any obvious mounding but the earth did sound "hollower" on the side away from the lean.


On Wed. I went back and installed a chain about 30 feet up to the brother white pine. There was a bit of sag in it since I was only hand tightening the chain. We had some good wind activity Thursday. That evening I checked the chain and it was appreciably tighter...the tree had moved some. It was not "hard tight" but the sag was gone.

The wood hanging from the tree was a cross beam for a swing...it was attached (with nylon type ski rope!!) to both trees until the one started leaning. The first order of business was to get the beam out of the tree.
 

pantheraba

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Saturday I began taking the tree down. The fellow working with me had never used a porty. I experimented with making 6-8 limb bouquets to give him some loads to practice lowering, learning to let them run. Lots of the smaller limbs I cut with my Silky and just tossed down into a safe drop zone...those over the deck got lowered. The fire ring was a great target for tossing stubs, just like in TCC events.

I cleaned the spar on the way up and then blocked down the top (about 8-10 feet) and then blocked down some chunks...due to the lean I had to block down all the wood until about at 40 feet. Then we put a good top rope pull on a 4 foot chunk, notched, back cut and pulled it over opposite the lean.
 

pantheraba

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I used wedges to control the tendency to set back...first time I have had to use wedges while in a tree. It got dark on me (always!!) and I left about a 30 foot spar. You can see where the chain recovered a sag as the weight came off the spar.

This is the first white pine I have worked with...very soft wood...my spurs got stuck a few times. I have not had that happen before.

I’ll return next weekend to finish the spar.
 

pantheraba

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Two more just to see how they fly.

(Hey, John, No_Bivy, that's the false crotch you made for me...thanks, bro)
 

No_Bivy

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I like how you lowered them right onto the wheelbarrow...Sweet. Did you consider guying the tree while you were in it?
 

pantheraba

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The chain was what I considered my guy. It was secured straight back opposite the lean. The chain shows tight in the first few picts then slack as the tree sat back up...I never felt the tree move back up but it definitely did.

Is there another way to do it?

I considered rope but didn't have any I consider strong enough to really hold the tree if it did decide to start leaning more. I figured once I got the weight of the limbs off of it the only additional stress to the root system would be what we caused with blocking down chunks.

Y'all feel free to query/teach; doesn't hurt my feelings. If you see a better/different way I'd like to hear it (besides a crane).
 

gf beranek

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Worked quite a few leaners like that over the years. And many the same way you did in the pics above. Only exception, with other trees near by to use as purchase points offered chance for a little more rigging and alternate tie-in-points. Especially when working out the top. Good Job!!!
 

treelooker

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First class job! It'd be interesting to know what started the lean. I always suspect girdling roots.
 

pantheraba

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First class job! It'd be interesting to know what started the lean. I always suspect girdling roots.
Thanks, GF and Darin.

Guy, how would I determine the cause of the lean? There are no girdling roots obvious...dig down a bit? I, too, am wondering what caused this to start. The tree seemed to be in fine health. There has not been any construction stress or changes in the yard.
 

squisher

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Gary awesome job! The tree you say has zero visible signs? With White Pine I'd guess it could be a whole host of different problems or perhaps any changes to the surrounding landscapes that exposed it to more winds?
 

Burnham

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Looks real good, Gary. Could the cause be wind? Did that tree stand above the rest of the trees nearby? Also, how about something underground that caused shallow rooting, like bedrock or a hard clay layer under the topsoil? Or an unusually wet spot...slowly leaking waterline or a spring.
 

brendonv

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Nice job gary.

I've done a great share of White Pine removals. Amazing how a little cut with a handsaw to a branch sends it to the ground.

Good work.
 

pantheraba

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Looks real good, Gary. Could the cause be wind? Did that tree stand above the rest of the trees nearby? Also, how about something underground that caused shallow rooting, like bedrock or a hard clay layer under the topsoil? Or an unusually wet spot...slowly leaking waterline or a spring.
Brendon, I was surprised at how few strokes it took to get thru the soft wood...it made using the chainsaw a moot point sometimes.

Burnham, I don't think the wind was a major cause..this tree is the same height as surrounding trees...I have wondered about soil conditions/moisture under the tree. Our area is famous for springs...I wondered if one might have popped up under this tree. My probe came up dry...I'll try to probe deeper and see if I hit water. If I do I will have to charge her for drilling a well, what with our drought and all. ;)
 

treelooker

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yeah why not if you have the time dig down and see what you see. Maybe one of burnham's theories are right; maybe it was girdling (if so I would LOVE a pic for my sgr gallery)
 

Dave Shepard

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Nice job, thanks for the pics!

I have seen a lot of girdling roots in tree planting. We didn't often get a chance to do post mortems with the trees that died, but I have seen them in trees that we have replaced. I don't know if the trees being from nursery stock has anything to do with it or not. Many of the trees arborists are dealing with today on large estates were transplanted a long time ago. One of the techniques we used to plant the nursery whips is to dig a 3' hole with an auger and plant the whip. Even if you shave the glazed sides of the hole down with a spade, I feel there is a zone of heavier compaction in the planting hole that could cause a girdling root. Just some speculation.


Dave
 

lumberjack

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...Our area is famous for springs...I
Was it in your town? Fitting name for your town, it would be perfect if there was a battery or grease making plant inside the town. :P

Looks like you did a fine job, I've only had to climb a few leaning pines (loblolly). Normally I can throw them and/or use the lift.
 

pantheraba

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Was it in your town? Fitting name for your town, it would be perfect if there was a battery or grease making plant inside the town. :P
Yep, just 4 houses down from my house...at the lady's house where I traded her some treework last year (dead limb removals over her parking area) for bamboo. She lets me cut boo whenever I want to now..what could be better than that?? :lol:

She did hire me for this job, though (paid with money, not bamboo) :thumbup:
 

chris_girard

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Brendon, I was surprised at how few strokes it took to get thru the soft wood...it made using the chainsaw a moot point sometimes.
That is how it is up here in NH too. I do an awful lot of pine removals and use a handsaw and chainsaw almost both equally for limb removals.
 

pantheraba

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I went back today and finished the job...the spar was still standing. I went back up and cut 4 each 3-4 foot chunks. Since there was still a slight lean toward the house I used wedges to lift and break off the chunks. This is the first job that I have purposely taken hammer and wedges up with me...once in awhile I have had them sent up.

On my first face cut, I pushed the wood "pie" out and saw there was still a small piece remaining...is that a Dutchman?

I assume that if I did not remove it that it would cause the block of wood to roll back towards the point I am looking from as the block hinged over.

Right?
 
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