Tree removal is a task that is always fraught with challenges. Their sheer size makes every step in the process especially difficult since the bulkier a tree is, the riskier it is to remove. There are plenty of factors that can compound that difficulty too. A nearby obstacle makes the task exponentially more complicated. Perhaps the most difficult tree removal of all, however, is that of a cut tree leaning against another tree: when you’ve already attempted to cut the tree down or it’s been knocked aside by weather and has fallen into another one.
The challenge arises from the need to bring the offending tree down safely without doing any further harm to the other tree. While other obstacles can sometimes be temporarily removed—or at least repaired after the fact—a tree is a living thing, and any damage can end up forcing you to remove two trees. As a result, cutting down one partially cut tree that’s leaning against another one is a matter that requires a certain amount of caution and care.
Your Safety Comes First
Whenever you’re doing any work involving trees, it’s important to remember that the first consideration should always be your safety and the safety of anyone else nearby. Safety always starts with proper communication, so start by informing anyone who may be in the area of what you will be up to. If either tree is on public property, you may also need to secure permits from your local governing body.
The next step is to ask at least one other person to help you with the task. Even with smaller trees, an extra set of eyes and an extra set of hands are crucial. You need someone to help you with the physical aspect while also serving as a spotter during the actual process of cutting the tree down. If you can get several friends to help, that is ideal.
Have a Plan in Place
Proper planning is a must whenever you’re doing any sort of tree removal work. This is true even if you won’t be the one doing the work. If you’re hiring a tree removal service to get the job done for you, you’ll still need to make sure the site is prepared ahead of time. This begins with the removal of any obstacles that may get in the way of a tree that is to be cut down. You’ll also need to allow plenty of room for the heavy equipment that will be used to perform the task. This may mean you need to clear out your entire yard ahead of the tree removal.
The next step in planning your tree removal is to plot a path for the tree to fall. This is where the fact that your tree is now leaning against another one can add an extra element of challenge. Normally, you’d simply need an area of empty space a little longer than the height of the tree for it to fall. If it’s leaning against another tree, however, you may have to find a way to maneuver it before it drops.
Make Sure You Have the Right Tools for the Job
A cut tree leaning against another tree requires heavy equipment to remove. You’ll likely need to pay a bit of money in order to rent the machinery the job requires. A chainsaw is a must-have, and while many people do have one of these on hand, it’s less likely that they have other important heavy equipment like a stump grinder. You’ll also need some smaller items, like a branch cutter, a length of rope, a ladder, and several wedges to insert into the tree to guide it properly.
Because you are dealing with a tree that is already falling in a direction you don’t want it to go, you’ll also need some kind of pry bar to redirect its movement.
Safety equipment is also a must. Besides long pants and closed-toed shoes, you’ll also need a pair of heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands. Eye protection and hearing protection are also crucial when you’re using power tools.
Finally, you’ll probably need to rent a large dumpster to clear away the remains of the tree once you’ve cut it down. It’s likely too large to dispose of in the regular trash, and it will certainly be too big to simply leave where it falls.
Cutting the Tree Down
You’ll begin by removing as many of the offending tree’s branches as you can. You may need to climb up somewhat on your ladder to do this, but remember to remain safe: don’t climb if it renders the ladder unstable in any way. Always have your spotter nearby in order to keep an eye on things as you cut away the branches of the tree you’re removing.
Your next step will be to create a slider bed using smaller logs behind where the tree has fallen. This will allow you to roll the tree safely away from the other tree. You’ll then create another wedge cut, above your original cut. You can then use your pry bar to very carefully guide the tree onto the slider bed. You may need to hit the pry bar several times to knock the tree free.
Once you and your helper or helpers have successfully guided the tree onto the slider bed, you can roll it away and cut it into smaller, more manageable pieces. Then you can use your stump grinder to grind away the stump.
When You Need Help From a Pro
You may decide that removing a cut tree that is leaning against another tree is too difficult, dangerous, or expensive to do on your own. If that’s the case, you may want to hire a professional arborist to perform the job for you. This will save you a great deal of money on equipment rentals, as well as ensure that the job is done by professionals who are insured and extremely experienced. Contact the professional arborists from Mr. Tree if you decide this is the avenue you wish to take.