Removing a fallen tree

A couple of days before we moved into our home, a storm raged over our country causing one of the trees on the property to fall over. It was one of the trees close to the house – so luckily it didn’t fall on the house. It was one of the trees that stood in view of the kitchen/dining room window. These windows also look out on a small forest, and we like that view. The tree however blocked some of that view, so we decided to remove it.

This sad pile was the tree that had fallen down. As you can see, it’s a sad pile of branches – most of which are ivy and some other climbing (strangling) plant. Safe to say, the ivy probably killed this tree or at least caused it to catch some disease which killed it.

The process sounded really quick and easy when I thought that morning that it would be a great idea to clean up this mess. The plan – in my mind – had 3 steps:

  • Step 1: Remove the climbing plants
  • Step 2: Remove the tree (or what’s left of it)
  • Step 3: Clean up

Sounds easy, right? Maybe a couple of hours work and be done with it! Well, it took a little more time : ) In the end, we both spent most of our day on this “little” project. I guess we’ll learn in time.

Step 1: Remove the climbing plants

If it were just ivy that had strangled this tree, this would be fairly easy. The way I prune any ivy in our garden is as follows: find the end of a branch you want to get rid of (most of the time, I see the end of a branch of ivy I want to get rid of so I already found it), follow it as far into the bush as you can and cut it as deep into the bush as you can. Ideally, I cut it at the place it splits into two branches, so I get rid of both branches.

Thing is, this pile isn’t just ivy. In hindsight, I would say up to 80 or 90% of the pile is the other climbing plant. What’s worse, this plant really likes to tangle itself. When I pulled on one branch, essentially I pulled on 10. It was like a ball of wool, after your kitten played for hours with it. I also couldn’t find any ends to this thing. Another bad thing: this plant was all dried up. Some branches if I as much as touched it it fell apart in pieces.

One thing I won’t do however, is give up easily. So, plan B. Pull on a branch (or better, a couple of branches) and hope the whole thing comes loose. That worked fairly well! It only took me a couple hours to get rid of everything. I also decided to immediatly get rid of loose branches so I had a clean working slate, so to speak.

After we got rid of the climbing plants, we could finally see what was left of the tree. We also found out the previous owners already cleaned up some of it : )

Step 2: Remove the tree

As you can see on the picture above, the tree was balancing with one end on the remainder of the stump. It is too dangerous to chainsaw it like this, so we had to get the whole thing down – also without hurting ourselves.

After a bit of examination we found out the stump was still somewhat attached to the tree. We couldn’t get it to move like this, so we had to saw the connection very carefully, so we could push the tree off the stump after. Carefully, so it wouldn’t start moving by itself. A tree like this is heavy and I value my toes and legs : )

After some careful sawing, pushing to see if it could move and repeating those steps a couple times it finally fell down! Without lose of limbs on our part : ) After that, we used the chainsaw to cut the log in pieces.

We cut the tree in pieces, but we didn’t process the logs any further. I think I can use these logs for some future project… : ) We stored the logs in a shed and continued with the next step.

Step 3: Cleaning up

After cutting up the tree and putting the logs away we were left with the stump. After clearing away some rubble and ivy we found it was filled with compost! Beautiful compost we could (and would!) use in the vegetable garden : )

While we were shoveling the compost away, we suddenly saw some movement from the corner of our eyes… As it was windy, we didn’t think much of it. Leaves were travelling the winds everywhere. Continuing shoveling… There it was again! This time we saw it clearly… a little mouse!

It seems it had been living inside the hollow tree all winter. The digging disturbed it, causing it to flee. It seemed rather tame however. While it first it seemed scared, in the end it remained on the log where I could take some photo’s of him. Isn’t he cute? : )

After posing he decided it was time to go, and rushed off into the bushes… and we decided to call it a day. We weren’t sure if there were more little mouseys in the stump, and we wanted to give them time to find a new home. In the end, this was the result:

We still have to remove the remainders of the stump some time, but we got quite some work done. We will probably make a campfire pit/lounge here, There’s quite some free space now : )

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