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Tree Felling is the process of cutting down individual trees, an element of the task of logging. The person cutting the trees is a feller.
6 steps to successful tree felling
When felling trees, the correct working techniques are essential. Not only to create a safe working environment, but also to be more effective when working.
When it comes to tree removal by using a chainsaw, preparation is key. If you plan the felling and which forestry equipment to bring, not only are you in for a safer working session, but your post-felling work can also be a lot easier. First of all, ask yourself if there are any major obstacles – such as overhead lines, roads or buildings – in the area. Deploy warning signs if you know that a road crosses the forestry area or that a lot of people pass by on a daily basis.
Continue by determining the felling direction by carefully studying the tree. How do the branches look and how do they grow? Also, take the wind direction into consideration. If you’re unsure of the tree’s natural direction of fall, step away from the tree and check with a plumbline (see fact box for details). Clear around the tree in the intended felling direction. Also clear about 45 degrees behind the tree in both directions, creating your path of retreat.
When you have cleared the area, put up your warning signs and decided on the tree’s direction of fall and your path of retreat. You should check that you have enough fuel in the tank for the task ahead. Then it’s time to prune the trunk to get rid of all the branches and twigs that might get in the way when sawing the felling cut. The safest way to prune is to work with a pulling chain (underside of the guide bar) from the top down.
Once the trunk is twig-free up to shoulder height, it’s time to make the felling cut. When doing this, it’s important to remember two things: the hinge should have a uniform thickness with the right dimensions and the felling wedge or breaking bar should be inserted before the tree can pinch the guide bar. Which technique you should use for making the cut depends on the tree size and slope, and on the size of your chainsaw. We have put together information about the different techniques here, so that you can find out for yourself which method best suits your conditions. /insert link to proper passage in “working with chainsaws”/
If you notice that the timber is discoloured and soft or if the lower part of the trunk looks swollen or diseased, you need to be very careful. This is an indication that the tree is infested with rot and that means the wood fibres are weakened. When this happens, fell in the tree’s natural direction of fall and use a winch if you are unsure. Rot infestation usually subsides higher up in the tree, so one option might be to fell the tree with an extra high stump.
There are several felling tools to choose from when taking the tree down. The size of the tree determines which type of forestry equipment you need. For the smallest trees, you do not normally need the felling tools. Hand force is enough, possibly with the help of a long pole. The felling wedge provides greater felling force than the different types of breaking bar. In extreme cases you can use a rope and a winch, which is the safest and most powerful way to fell a tree. Have a look at the fact box for more information about the different tools.
How to measure the lean of a tree with a plumbline
The best working height for limbing is when the tree is placed from your waist to your knee height. You can achieve the right working height by trying to fell a tree so that it falls over other felled trees, logs, stones or elevations in the terrain. Remember to let your knees do the bending – not your back.
If you are a beginner at limbing, you should proceed slowly and methodically, gradually increasing the tempo. And always remember: if your back starts to get tired, this can be an indication that you need to fine-tune your technique. Here are some basic rules for safe, efficient limbing.
Stand securely on the left side of the trunk with your feet apart at a 45-degree angle to the trunk. Work with the saw close to your body and keep your stance stable in two directions. Make sure you have an ample reach, so that you can keep the risky business of moving your feet while limbing to a minimum.
To avoid accidents, it’s important not to lift the chainsaw away from the trunk more than necessary. Carry the chainsaw as little as possible and use it as a lever, with the saw body resting on the trunk or your leg. Limbing will be easier and more effective with a short guide bar (13”-15”).
Always hold the guide bar on the other side of the trunk when you move your feet. The chain must be static when you move. Hold the saw by both handles when moving short distances, never by the rear handle only. For longer movement, you should activate the chain brake and carry the saw by the front handle.
Avoid cutting with the guide bar tip. Your thumbs and fingers must always be wrapped around the handles during limbing work. Use a guide bar length that is adapted to the dimension of the tree.
Determine how the branches are tensioned and cut on the opposite side of the branch, where the guide bar is not likely to be pinched under the weight of the branch. If you’re unsure cut the branch in stages, from the outside in towards the trunk.
Let the chainsaw rest on the trunk while you remove branches and firewood with your right hand. First, release the throttle and throttle lock and activate the chain brake. If the chainsaw is equipped with TrioBrakeTM, it’s even easier to activate the chain brake before removing the branches.
Cutting downwards, so that the chain tries to pull the saw towards the trunk, is known as cutting with a pulling chain. Cutting from beneath, so that the chain tries to push the saw towards you, is known as a pushing chain.
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