Removing Trees from the Bottom Up

Removing Trees from the Top Down Removing Trees at Ground Level Removing Multiple Trees

A leaning tree is one of the most challenging to remove. It is not called a widow-maker for nothing. This 80 foot oak uprooted and fell into a ponderosa pine.

The best way to remove a leaning tree is to call a professional. We did, but he had a stroke the day before he was going to take this tree out.

I first cut off three large branches to keep the weight of the oak centered on the pine. It is too risky (for me) to take a chain saw up more than 15 feet, so I used a bow saw here. I attached a pole to the bow saw with duct tape to increase its reach.

I cut the vertical branch above part way through and then pulled it over with my truck and a 100 foot steel cable, 10 feet above the rope in the picture for leverage. Click here to see how to attach a rope or cable well beyond your reach.

Large rhododendrons filled the space under the leaning tree, so I decided to take it out a few feet at a time from the bottom up. I began by cutting a shallow angle from the front of the trunk, and then a steeper angle from

the back. Then I put wedges in each side, half way up the back cut. A few chops with an ax broke the hold, and the tree slid forward and down several feet. Next, I made front and back cuts perpendicular to the trunk at the four foot level. Then I repeated the steep angle cuts and dropped the tree another four feet. By angling the cuts to the side, you can move the tree sideways around plants. Steep cuts increase the lean of the tree, perpendicular cuts decrease it. Thus, you can control its path as it gets shorter.

Eventually, the oak slid down the ponderosa to the point where I could remove all its branches from the ground. It never actually fell, and there was only minimal damage to the rhododendrons.

Click here to see the chair made from this tree.