As much as we hate removing trees from our property, there are times when it must be done. In 2002 we removed a large weather damaged and rotten Weeping Willow tree and a Silver Maple that was threatening the house. This spring we were forced to remove a mature Elm tree that died last August. Setting to the north of this tree is an equally mature Box Elder, which is in our opinion, nothing but a weed. It throws off seeds that turn into trees everywhere and is very trashy with dead wood stuck in the limbs and dropping pieces every time we need to mow the grass.
We had such good experience with Scharper Services of Osage, IA, that we knew that this would be the crew needed to remove the two trees. I arrived at home on Wednesday May 31st to this scene. Cory is in the bucket with Terry on the ground coordinating their efforts. The Box Elder is on the opposite side of the truck from my viewpoint and has a few limbs off as Cory begins work on the Elm.
The process of removing these trees was to remove all the smaller branches with the bucket and a small chain saw, dropping the trash to the ground as far away from the base of the tree as possible. I had elected to clean up the mess myself instead of having it removed from the property so they wanted to leave room to get the stump cutter into place once the trees were down.
The pictures above and below show Terry and Cory cutting up the trunk of the Box Elder tree after dropping it to the ground. This tree was not at all rotted inside so it was a pretty big job cutting it into sections I could handle. The tree was about 4 foot in diameter at the base and their larger chainsaws really speeded up the process of cutting it up.
In the picture above Cory is working on cutting a wedge out of the base of the elm tree. This step required cutting from both sides, as this tree was about 4 foot in diameter as well. The picture below shows Terry pulling the wedge out of its notch. This wedge, as I was to find out when I cleaned up, is estimated to weigh nearly 100 pounds.
By the end of Wednesday afternoon the crew had dropped both trees and chopped out three stumps for us. I had hauled nearly all the major brush to the fire pile and the picture above shows the pile of wood left to remove. On Thursday and Friday I hauled more of the brush to the fire pile and on Saturday morning the picture below showed the wood lot left to clear.
Once I had the fire pile burning actively again I went to work on hauling the largest pieces to the neighbors burn pile. Since these pieces were so large they will take more burning time and space. The big project was to get them loaded in the two-wheel trailer for the ride across the lawn. The pieces setting at the rear of the trailer was the second from the bottom of the Box Elder tree and was the largest single piece I loaded for the hauling. The process was to use the dump feature of this worn out old trailer. I would roll, tip, push, or slide the piece as far into the trailer as I could then rock the box up and latch it in place. The picture below shows the piece in place and ready for the slow bumpy ride to the neighbors pile.
I did take an hour from the removal of the timber to cut a cube of the Elm wood to be used for wood turning after it seasons. I have the chainsaw setting atop the 2-foot cube of wood and the four pieces cut from it in the trailer. I would estimate that the cube of wood weighs nearly 200 pounds and will of course be cut into smaller pieces once it cures out. I also found a 14 inch diameter 24 inch long limb piece to save for wood turning as well. Both are now stored in the shop garage with strips of wood separating them. I have no idea how long it will take to dry or if it is worth all the work, but with a chunk of wood like this I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to try it.
There were 6-sections of the trees that were too large and heavy to load into the trailer. The section below was the base of the elm tree and I had to cut it into three pieces to lighten it enough to get it loaded into the trailer. I began by cutting the angled bottom cut of the section to see if the remaining piece could be handled, but realized that the chunk still weighed more than 200 pounds and was too big to get my arms around. Cutting a long in half vertically is particularly tough as it is like ripping wood with the grain and a chain saw is designed primarily for cross cutting. But with patience, my splitting wedges, and a 6-foot steel bar I managed to get all the larger pieces cut up and hauled away. Each cut like this took at least an hour of work.
As the sun was getting lower in the west on Saturday I had the last trailer load of the Box Elder loaded for its final ride out of the yard. This was my primary goal and I had met it. Although I was bruised and worn out I made a plan to have the remaining large wood from the elm out of the yard on Sunday. I did not take any pictures on Sunday but can report that I made that goal as well. Now it is time to remove the wood chips and fill the holes, another big project.