A pine tree that has been here since I can remember began to die last winter. We'd hoped our suspicions were wrong but this spring, as I began the mowing season, I notice that the ground around the base of the tree had become very soft, almost as if the tree was losing its hold to the ground. I tried to ignore it but the softness spread to the point that Hank and I decided that it was time to take the tree down before it fell down. I'll admit it, I was sad to see the tree go. Contrary to what some may think, we don't cut trees down just to cut them down. I love big, lusciously green, shade-giving trees.
The arborist said this tree was between sixty five and seventy feet tall, that's a big ol' tree. The tree was within ten feet of the house, a bit too close for the ranch hands to take down. Time for the experts. Before I continue with this post, I must preface it with the following: I was not paid in any way by Justin and his crew to promote them. I'm simply sharing my experience. Okay, that's out of the way.
First thing Justin, the owner, did was suit up.
Once he was all set, time to climb the tree. Yep, he climbed the monstrosity. To do this, he had the assistance of his crew, all two of them. The tree, the rope, and the two guys served as a pulley system while he scaled the tree.
In the snap of the shutter, Justin was up the tree. Next, the chainsaw went up.
The tree was cut very systematically. One limb at a time. But the cuts weren't made willy-nilly. Nope. There was a method.
Justin would tie a rope around the limb.
Then, down on the ground Crew Member #1 acted as anchor until the limb was cut.
After the limb was cut, CM #1, after taking the weight of the limb with his body, would lower the limb to the ground.
After it was lowered, the rope was removed.
At this point, Crew Members #2 and #3 (who are engaged by the way :) ) would drag the limb over to a cable that was attached to a wench. Once enough limbs were cut, which didn't take long, the cable was cinched...
...the winch was lifted and off they went to the burn pile.
Okay, Baby Sis, I can hear you now but realize that the carbon footprint of hauling this tree off to make mulch out of it would have been as big as having the tree burned at a later time. Think of this as the tree's burial, it's getting cremated.
Justin continued cutting limbs until he got to a point where he needed to cut a big chunk of the tree. The system was the same: rope, guy holds rope, cut, lower. Except, these pieces were HUGE.
So huge that they were taken to the winch on a dolly.
As he cut, Justin climbed higher, and higher.
Till all that was left, was the top of the tree. Here things changed just a bit. Justin still tied a rope around the top but this time CM #1 and CM #2 were on the rope.
And as Justin cut, they pulled on the rope which somehow, guided the top to the ground.
All that was left to do was to cut the trunk of the tree.
Here, ropes were not used to lower the chunks, the crew left some branches on the ground to act as a shock absorber and the pieces of trunk were drop on to the branches. Justin would make a cut, push it over then lower himself, make another cut and then lower himself again. Oh, Justin says hey.
If you look at the next series of pictures quickly, you'll get a sense of how big these pieces were and how fast they fell.
Pretty cool, no? By now, it was time to come down and cut the reminder of the trunk. Which was pretty amazing for a couple of reasons. Reason one, that Justin knew without measuring, exactly how long to leave the trunk and reason two, that nothing was damaged as it went down.
Before coming down, Justin tied a rope at the top of the trunk.
Then he made a wedge cut in the trunk.
He walked around the trunk cutting as he did, then CM #1 and CM #2 used the rope to guide the trunk to the ground. There was a loud thud and a sound shaking of the ground when it did.
All that was left to do was to cut the last of the trunk, winch it and move it off.
At the risk of sounding overly effusive I want you to know that Justin and his crew were fabulous. Not only did they take down this seventy foot tree without damaging anything (the only collateral damage were a few magnolia leaves and a slight indentation where the trunk fell) they cleaned up every last twig.
So sorry old friend, I will miss your shade. But, as Justin was up in the nether reaches of you he confirmed that he could feel the root ball moving as the guys tugged on the ropes. It was time for you to come down.
This is our third time to use Justin and his crew, each time they have done a very professional job. And, he's the nicest guy to work with.
Oh, in case you were wondering, I counted the rings and got approximately fifty.