July 8, 2015
Cutting Down Trees at the Farm
Maintaining a healthy landscape sometimes means cutting down trees.
I always feel badly when trees are cut down. Trees are extremely important to our environment - they are the world’s single largest source of breathable oxygen, they absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, and they create an ecosystem to provide needed habitat and food for birds and other animals. However, like all living things, trees do not live forever, and occasionally they need to be removed.
This week, it was necessary to cut down several trees on the farm - they weren't doing well, and will eventually be replaced with new healthy trees.
Here are some photos…
1 Recently, I noticed some of the trees in the back field of the farm were dying, and needed to be cut down.
2 About 11-evergreens needed to be removed - most were planted too close together and had died, or were in the process of dying. Because the grounds crew maintains this area, it was more prudent to remove the trees, so they didn't become safety hazards.
3 The crew had already cut down several of the smaller trees.
4 All these branches were in line to be chipped and returned to the ground as mulch.
5 The cut tree branches go through the wood chipper, a machine used for reducing tree limbs and smaller trunks.
6 Once the wood is shredded, the chips come out through a chute and back onto the ground. For this project, both Chhiring and Pete wore their hard hats, gloves, boots and eye protection - safety is very important.
7 Pete and Chhiring cut the bigger logs into smaller, more manageable pieces.
8 While they were out in this part of the field, Pete checked the other trees, and trimmed anything that needed it.
9 The wood chipper chute was positioned, so the chips came out in a safe area.
10 Soon, Pete was ready to take down one of the bigger trees - this walnut was one of two that were dying.
11 Before cutting the tree, Pete took a good look at it to assess the direction it needed to fall, whether there were any branches that needed removal first, and where it would be best for him to be once the tree fell.
12 Whenever possible, be sure trees fall in the flatest, most level location in order to prevent it from rolling or bouncing and causing injury. A chain was also placed on a high branch to help direct the tree if necessary.
13 Using a chain saw, Pete cut a notch toward the bottom of the tree. The notch should always face the felling direction. A back cut is then made to make a hinge so the tree could tilt.
14 When using a chainsaw, always be sure it has a sharp chain, a full tank of oil and gas, and that the operator is wearing the proper safety gear.
15 Once the cuts are made, Pete got out of the way. The Hi-Lo machine, a very versatile piece of equipment, was nearby to guide the tree in the right direction.
16 Never turn your back on a falling tree. Everyone should be far away once any tree starts to fall.
17 It was a clean cut, and the tree came down in the area that was planned.
18 Pete began cutting the branches off the felled tree, so they could be carried to the wood chipper.
19 This trunk was too big to go through our chipping machine, so it was carried to a sawmill located in another part of the farm.
20 I always recycle whenever possible. This wood will be milled and stored for future use.
21 One by one, pieces of the tree were carried to the wood chipper.
22 And, wood chips were then thrown back into the earth.
23 It took some time, but the entire tree was soon cut up into a pile of chips.