The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Urban and Community Forestry => Topic started by: Klunker on April 12, 2018, 02:28:10 PM

Title: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Klunker on April 12, 2018, 02:28:10 PM
 I have been girdling many of the large Aspen trees in my small woodlot to free up the hardwood trees. White Oak, Black Cherry, Shagbark Hickory and Beech Trees

I have been cutting 2 rings around the trees about a foot between the 2 rings.
Never had an issue while doing this.
However after some stormy weather I'm rethinking my process.
I found 3 of the trees blown over, after being weakened I was not surprised that some blew over but what surprised me was how little wood was holding the trees up after I girdled them.

Ouch!!




(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37657/tree_dangers_002_-_Copy.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1523557258)


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37657/tree_dangers_003.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1523557076)



(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37657/tree_dangers_001_-_Copy.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1523557259)
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: sawguy21 on April 12, 2018, 02:32:21 PM
Creating a rather dangerous situation. Do you need to cut that deep? I thought getting through the layer just under the bark would be enough.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: BradMarks on April 12, 2018, 02:43:25 PM
I too say why so deep?  Continuous cut just through the cambium should be enough. But with a tree(s) that rotten in the middle, they may topple anyway.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Crusarius on April 12, 2018, 04:14:42 PM
hmmm lamp post tree?
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: tawilson on April 12, 2018, 04:23:55 PM
The aspen around here like to rot and fall over all by themselves.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Ron Scott on April 12, 2018, 06:44:27 PM
Yes, that is a specific hazard of chain saw girdling, especially with some species such as low quality aspen such as that which you are working in. As others have said, you are making your cut too deep which is increasing the hazard of premature falling trees. The cut only needs to be through the cambium layer just under the bark. It is very easy to make the cut deeper than is necessary with a chainsaw however. 

We pretty much quit the practice on National Forest system lands some time ago,since so much of the public now use the public lands and they should not be exposed to any unknown situations of hazardous trees which might fall on them causing injury.

The practice should not be used along roadsides, trails, recreation areas and areas of heavy public use, aesthetic forest areas, scenic areas etc..



Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: thecfarm on April 12, 2018, 06:47:07 PM
Too bad,not even much good for firewood. I have some fir that does that.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: TKehl on April 13, 2018, 08:31:05 AM
I see rustic flower planters.   ;D
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Klunker on April 13, 2018, 03:41:52 PM
Its easy to cut the girdles deeper than needed.
And on these Aspen with real rough bark I was thinking about making sure I was deep enough.

I have lots more of these large Aspen that I wanted to girdle.
I wanted to leave some as den trees and let them rot where they stood as other already dead ones are used heavily by Pileated Woodpeckers. I drop about 1/3 and girdle the rest.

I'm going to take along a small maul and hit the trees to see if they sound solid and I'm going to make my saw blade with a depth guide to keep me from going deeper than necessary.

Just wanted to show my experiences to all. I know that vast majority of you here are far wiser and more experienced than me but there are some that are not. To those be careful, I was lucky.

Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: LeeB on April 13, 2018, 08:28:07 PM
You could do a plunge cut to check for hollow.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Logger RK on April 14, 2018, 06:03:03 AM
If it's Aspen look for mushrooms growing on them. But I guess I'm not sure what there real name is,cause they don't look like normal mushrooms. That's just what I call them. But maybe someone one here knows there real name. But I do know if there on a Aspen it will be hollow inside 
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Jeff on April 14, 2018, 06:37:06 AM
We call them conks, or conk fungus
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on April 14, 2018, 08:12:19 AM
Yes those hollow trees are a problem.
I have seen aspen that was completely sound and girdled break off in a high wind.
You need to go deeper than just the cambium to kill a tree.
the xylem and phloem cells need to be interupted too to get an effective girdle.
Trees with deep seams are particularly hard to kill.
A large Sugar maple wolf tree on my property was triple girdled in 1992 and took until about 1996 to die completely.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: mike_belben on April 14, 2018, 09:35:54 AM
Two pieces of angle iron sandwiched over the bar with C clamp vise grip will work for a quick and easy depth control.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Klunker on April 15, 2018, 01:05:23 PM
Saturday we had some rough weather. Very windy and freezing rain. Several more trees dropped. As Pete mentioned I too have also seen "solid" aspen drop after girdling. Also some of the aspen are for lack of a better term "punky looking" in the middle. Some of these have blown over in the past. I'm going to take a look once the wind drops down.

One thing I have read in my various reading about girdling is that the deeper you girdle the faster the tree will die. The aspen I have girdled in the past takes at least one season to die.

Mike, your idea of a pc. of angle iron clamped to the bar is exactly what I have been thinking.
Great minds think alike? ;D
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on April 15, 2018, 03:27:45 PM
That should work on smooth trees but if there are seams you need to saw deeply into them.
Sugar maple is the only species that i have had trouble killing with a girdle.
I usually go about 1-1/2 inches and double girdle.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: chep on April 17, 2018, 07:36:21 AM
I Have been playing with the girdle for about 10 years so far. 
I have had a number work great. And then a number fail. Most failures were in trees under 12 inches. Just went to deep and a couple windstorm later down they go.  I love to use them to kill nasty pulp trees growing in nice regen. Instead of smashing then with felling. The tree comes down bit by bit over the years as it decays.
Here are a couple bully pines I girdled in 2013. Look at the aspen regen all around. 
They are dangerous as they self destruct though...
(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/18183/20180415_173337.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1523964674)
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Klunker on April 18, 2018, 12:23:46 PM
I lost about 8-12 more in the latest storm. Some areas look like pick-up-sticks.

Girdling with a chain saw is fast. I guess just like most things in life fast is not usually best.
I'm going to try sawing alot shallower and then peel off the bark leaving the sap wood exposed.
It will be slower but I think it will leave the trees stronger and they should stand longer.

Aspen does seem to go down hill pretty fast once its dead. I'd ideally like to see the trees stand for at least 3-6 years and rot more before they fall.
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: Klunker on April 18, 2018, 02:54:51 PM
I made a saw guide today.
Gave it a try and I had to adjust deeper.
Its hard to tell when your thru the inner bark just by looking in the groove.
I tried to peel the bark off and it was hard going.
The inner bark did not slip off the sapwood.
I'll girdle a bunch of trees and try peeling the bark off in a couple of weeks.


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/37657/saw_guide_001~0.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1524077547)
 
Title: Re: The Dangers in Girdling trees with a Chainsaw
Post by: ID4ster on August 07, 2019, 02:46:50 PM
As others have mentioned you did cut to far into the stem. I gave up on chainsaw girdling because the girdled stems don't last too long. I've girdled Grand fir and Western Hemlock to create wildlife snags but they don't last more then a few years before they fall over. The most stable snag is one 15 to 35 feet tall.  Snags that size will provide the habitat for cavity dwelling birds and mammals and will stay stable and upright for several years. You might just be better off dropping the aspen that you don't want and then find a way to cut or sever the ones you want for snags at around 15' or so. The easiest way to do that is to stand on the roof of a CAT that is parked next to the tree. Detonating a small explosive charge at about that height works well also, especially if you are trying to convert a pine tree to a snag.