Maintaining a landscape sometimes means cutting down trees.
I always feel badly when trees are cut down. Trees are 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, occasionally trees need to be removed.
Because of some work that is planned for one of the paddocks, it was necessary to cut down a sycamore tree from its location. Fortunately, it can be repurposed - I decided it would make a wonderful perch for my peafowl. Here are some photos.
I planted this American sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis, several years ago to replace an old sycamore that died. Sycamores are fast growing and make great shade trees in parks, and in other open areas.
Unfortunately, it had to come down to make way for another project planned for this paddock. The outdoor grounds crew began by cutting the lower, lighter branches.
Peafowl enjoy roosting at higher levels. In the wild, this keeps them safe from predators. My peafowl will love this tree.
The cut tree branches go through this wood chipper, a machine used for reducing tree limbs and smaller trunks into chips.
As branches fall to the ground, Phurba gathers them up and carefully feeds the machine. The grounds crew staff wears hard hats, gloves, boots, and ear and eye protection – safety is very important.
Once the wood is shredded, the chips come out through a chute and into the back of a pick-up truck. The wood chips will be returned to the woods later, where they will eventually decompose.
Pete also cut bigger branches into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Dawa carefully pulled the cut branches over to the chipper, always keeping an eye out for other falling debris.
It took some time to remove all the branches from this tree – it had grown quite large.
More branches are fed into the wood chipper.
Then, 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.
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.
A chain was connected to the Hi-Lo to help guide the tree in the right direction, so it falls in the flatest, most level location. This prevents it from rolling or bouncing and causing injury.
Once the cuts are made, Pete got out of the way, so the Hi-Lo machine could guide the tree to the ground.
Never turn your back on a falling tree. Everyone should be far away once any tree starts to fall.
It was a clean cut, and the tree came down in the area that was planned.
The Hi-Lo is an indispensable piece of farm equipment.
The grounds crew continues to remove the smaller branches and leaves. Larger branches remain – they will serve as perches for the peafowl.
All of this will be run through the chipper.
Once the tree was cleaned of all its leaves, the Hi-Lo carefully picked it up.
Slowly, the tree was carried through the field.
And then down to the peafowl pen.
And gently placed on the ground near the new peafowl coop. The most striking feature of the sycamore tree is the bark that has a camouflage pattern of gray-brown. It peels off in patches to reveal the light gray or white wood beneath. Older trees often have solid, light gray trunks.
This tree will be “planted” into the ground somewhere in this area, where the peacocks and peahens can use it to roost.
Back in the southeast paddock, the rest of the debris is cleaned, and the ground raked – onto the next project.