Clearing downed trees

One night, I was woken up at around 3 am with a loud noise (similar to a thunder clap) followed by a loud crash.

Just outside the house, a large chunk of one of our old maple trees broke off the main portion of the tree and fell onto the driveway.

A large piece of one of our old maple trees broke off in the middle of the night.

A large piece of one of our old maple trees broke off in the middle of the night.

With a scheduled meet-up happening at our house about a week later, we had limited time to remove the tree and clear the driveway to provide enough parking spaces.

Click through to see how we finished the process.

First, we removed the small limbs and all of the leaves using a variety of hand tools like loppers and hatchets.  Removing all of the limbs that were easily removed with the loppers took several hours alone.

The tree after a couple of hours of work to remove all the small branches and leaves.

The tree after a couple of hours of work to remove all the small branches and leaves.

Next, we moved on to using our small battery powered chainsaw to cut the larger pieces into shorter sections so we could easily lift them. Even with 3 separate batteries, the chainsaw could only cut for 15 to 20 minutes before the batteries needed to be recharged. It took another several hours (spread out over several days due to the need to recharge the batteries) to cut all of the limbs that were small enough for our chainsaw.

Pile of cut logs on the driveway.

Pile of cut logs on the driveway.

Once we cut as much as we could with the chainsaw, it was time to clean up the pile of cut logs.  We used the front-end loader on our tractor to speed up the process of moving the cut logs off of the driveway to the woods.

Cleaning up a downed tree using the loader.

Cleaning up a downed tree using the loader.

After that, we were down to one last large piece of the trunk that was too large to cut with our small chainsaw.

Large piece of the trunk - the last piece to move.

Large piece of the trunk – the last piece to move.

Being unable to easily cut it into smaller pieces, we still had to find a way to move it. Luckily, we already had a large log chain and a vehicle tow strap, along with our 1967 Massey Ferguson 2200 industrial tractor. Being the industrial version instead of the standard farm version, the front-end loader on our tractor is supposedly rated with a lift capacity of over 3,000 lbs.

I am not sure how much of that capacity was needed to lift the piece of the trunk, but the tractor didn’t appear to struggle at all. I wrapped the log chain around one end of the trunk piece and the tow strap around the other end and then attached both to the front end loader and lifted it easily to move it out of the way.

Here is a short video of the tree trunk piece swinging in the air after being lifted off the ground.

2 thoughts on “Clearing downed trees

    • Yes, we can keep some of it for firewood – it is mostly stacked on the edge of the woods so it can dry out. Most of the pieces were still solid and would make good firewood.

      I also set aside a few of the straighter solid pieces with an eye towards making something out of them – perhaps some smaller pieces of furniture, like maybe an end table.

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