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Author Topic: too late to save?  (Read 1850 times)

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Offline grouch

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too late to save?
« on: January 03, 2015, 07:08:23 PM »
Just discovered some damage to a double tulip poplar tree. I hadn't intended to cut this one, but it may be too far gone to do anything else. Opinions, please?

It's about 4 ft in diameter where they're merged. Guesstimate 60 ft tall. Steep slope. Damage is all on the northern side. I suspect a red oak which fell a few years ago slapped these two on its way down.










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Offline beenthere

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2015, 08:03:30 PM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum

Smacks of a lightning strike to me.

But the tree is comprimised, so taking it (them) down is up to you if you need some wood. They are apparently still growing.  Maybe rotting too.
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Offline grouch

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 06:20:24 AM »
Thanks beenthere.

I don't have an urgent need for the wood but it pains me to see that rot just above where they meet. If that could be fixed, I'd just as soon leave the trees there for some future logger/sawyer. These are about the largest diameter tulip poplars on my place.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2015, 08:33:47 AM »
I'm with beenthere on it being a lightning strike.  Although, there may have been additional damage to a tree coming down. 

The trees have a few other problems.  I say trees, since they appear to come off of stump sprouts.  It could be that a couple of saplings grew up in close proximity and have started to merge.  But, they are 2 separate trees.  The problem is that the butt won't have a whole lot of value.  There will be a bark seam in the middle, it will be rather large for most mills, and it will be of lower quality due to the double heart.

The lightning strike I can deal with on a mill be positioning the defect.  But, there is still some loss in volume.  The seam will fill up with water and will probably never heal over in the lower section of wood.  To me, it looks like it has a little bit of wet wood infection setting in.  I would also speculate that there is shake in that area.

You may get bugs setting up residency in the large areas without bark.  That brings in wood peckers.

I don't think it can be "fixed" to being a good crop tree.  How much longer do you figure on carrying this in inventory until the next harvest?  If you're only looking at a couple of years, then I'd let it go and take it then.  If you're looking at decades, it might be better to have something more productive to grow in that area.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 08:38:36 AM »
It's sometimes sad, but there are some things that can not be "fixed".  Taking out damaged and lower quality trees often release smaller but higher value trees. 

Welcome to the Forestry Forum, and congrats on the picture posting.   :)
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Offline grouch

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2015, 01:34:21 PM »
It looks like the consensus is that these are doomed and I can either try to get some lumber from them or watch the inevitable return to the soil. I'm convinced. It's one more argument for me to get a hobby mill.

Ron Wenrich:
Never thought of my trees as inventory before, but it makes sense. Some years ago (maybe 10, maybe 20, I'm not sure) a logger walked the place and estimated about $100K worth of trees. I told him I'd have to think about his 60/40 offer. He contacted me after he got back home and said it would have to be 50/50 because of my remote location. Didn't have to think about it any more after that. The location didn't change from when he made the original offer. The trees are still growing.

Harvesting these will be a challenge because of the severe slope. I'm thinking about building a platform and catwalk that would put me above the point where they separate. That would provide a place to stand while cutting and an escape route when the action starts. It could take me until next year to get things set up for the cut.

I don't have a clue when this area was last harvested. There were good sized trees, but no monsters, growing here when my wife and I bought the place in '78.

Magicman:
Well, if I can't have a miracle cure I'll just have to learn to saw lumber. :)

It looks like there are a lot of little beeches wanting to grow where those two poplars are standing. Something will fill in the canopy, for sure. The woods here amount to about 15 acres of mostly hardwoods -- beech, red oak, white oak, poplar and what few hickories survived the previous owners' stove. My caretaking has been mostly just enjoying walking through them.

Sorry I didn't take a good picture of the trees around them.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2015, 02:19:03 PM »
I agree with the others that the tree is compromised. It may survive for a long time yet, but it will start rotting out inside from a large wound like that. The tree will still be standing, but getting less valuable as timber each year.

Regarding cutting it. Should be possible to fall the 2 leaders separately in opposite directions as there will be a bark inclusion most of the way to the ground. Notch one leader, and then bore cut into the bottom of the V and carry on making a regular back cut. First one should just fall away . Then do the second.  You might end up working at waist height to make sure it breaks away clean, but the bottom of those logs are going to be weird shape and grain anyway.

If it's 4ft through I'm guessing you will need to saw from both sides, so maybe a platform will be needed on the lower side? Cut that side first, then make the final cuts from the ground on the high side to make the escape easier and safer.
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Offline grouch

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2015, 02:37:28 PM »
Ianab:
Bore cuts scare me! I'd feel much more comfortable cutting them above that merger line and then coming back for the big bottom.

That first photo was shot from uphill. The trees will fall across the face of the slope.

While there are so many expert eyes in the area...

Does this look like another situation that will lead to 2 wasted trees?

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Offline grouch

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2015, 03:22:41 PM »
Ok, went out and snapped a photo which I hope gives a better idea of the slope and surrounding trees. View is across the slope, from near ground level. The double poplar is centered in the image with a fallen oak in the near foreground. The oak shows the slope (30 degrees?) and is approximately the same diameter as each of the poplars. The ground immediately above the poplars is actually a little steeper.

Thanks to all for your time and answers!

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Offline Ianab

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2015, 04:00:19 PM »
Quote
Does this look like another situation that will lead to 2 wasted trees?

That one can be saved. Carefully cut out the weedy little tree, trying not to damage the bark on the big one. The big one should fine and will just push the little rotting stump aside as it continues to grow. Even if you do nick the big one, a small saw cut will heal over, unlike the gaping hole in the first tree.

re The bore cuts. I'm more nervous about using a saw when my feet aren't firmly on the ground than I am about bore cutting. There are some good threads on the  forum about doing it, and it's completely safe as long as you do it right. Try practising on some basic stuff before you tackle anything tricky though.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2015, 04:07:03 PM »
Agree with what Ian said.
And no need to be afraid of bore cuts. They should be a part of your chainsaw cutting routine, both for felling and for bucking logs (IMO).
I often use the bore cut when bucking and the top of a log is in compression. Bore cut just below the top to leave a plug of uncut wood to act as a wedge, not allowing the log to compress the saw kerf together and pinching the saw bar and chain. And it is a good place to practice the bore cut too.
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Offline grouch

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2015, 05:17:47 PM »
I'll take out that little tree. Thanks Ianab.

I had to look up "bore cut" to be sure it's the same as I was thinking.

Like this?
Bore Cutting Basics

Those have always made me nervous because of (imagined?) kickback. I can see how it would reduce the risk of the barber chair break, though. Never had one do that, but then I've never had to cut one like those poplars.

beenthere, I've always bucked logs like that by starting a shallow cut on top and then finish with cutting up from below. That has lead to more work sometimes just to get clearance for the bar underneath. I'll give it a few tries.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2015, 07:12:44 PM »
Yes, the diagram on that page shows it correctly.

As long as you start with the lower 1/4 of the tip it wont kick back.
Once the tip is in the wood, you can rotate the saw to the angle you want to bore at, and again, it wont kick back.

You may find the saw tries to push back sometimes, but that's the same as cutting with the top of the bar, and easy enough to control as long as you are expecting it.
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Offline Phorester

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Re: too late to save?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2015, 09:46:04 PM »
As already alluded to, I suspect these two trunks never joined together, so you actually have two trees, not one. So if you cut one, I expect it will simply fall away from the other one. 

I'd suggest cutting the leaning one first, so the lean will help direct its fall. If it fools us and does not fall away from the other tree, I'd just cut straight down from the top of the seam.  If you have bored a backcut from your notch all the way to the seam between the trees, it will fall.

Bore cut, as Ianab says.  They are not dangerous, especially with this soft yellow poplar. The bar may want to kick back a little just as you begin turning it straight into the tree, just keep the throttle full speed and take the turn slow. I've never had a saw kick back violent enough to be concerned with while doing a bore cut for felling. Once the entire bar tip is in the tree, and you keep it in, kick back is impossible.
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