Active Member
Soooo I had two massive dying maple trees right beside my house...... tree service wanted way to much to remove them so got the chainsaw out, hooked our 275hp tractor to it using some 30k and 50k tow straps. Did a felling cut and then cut 98% through the back side of the tree, went to pull the tree and the 50k strap blew apart. So I now have a massive maple balancing on a stick moreless swaying in the wind leaning right towards my house today. Woulda crushed my place, thankfully got another strap on as fast as we could and got it pulled over before anything occured. Never been more scared in my life, tow straps no matter how big do not work for the job, lesson learned. Hoping to make myself feel less stupid so lets hear fails you've had over the years lol.
Planted 200 oak seedlings, 100 maple seedlings and 500 white pine seedlings in one week. One week later they were all eaten. We didn't have a clue that the deer would find them all and not even miss one.
That same year we put in 150 apple tree seedlings ranging from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch diameter stems; The deer were busy playing find and destroy that week also. The following year a one acre exclosure fence was put up and apple trees were planted inside of it. The nursery provided free replacements.

In another spot in a fairly dense wild apple stand I hinged about 3 acres of non apple trees to about knee high. It was years before a deer could or did break open a path thru there. Still many years later now those apple trees are pretty strong and the deer travel thru there daily.

I cut down trees running a chainsaw for maybe thirty years before attending professional training thru Game Of Logging classes; during those thirty years there were no significant failures but an awful lot of close calls and near misses that would have been avoided had I attended training earlier.

And a fail that I see daily was involved in planting a spruce screen along our road to screen a roadside field. Between Dad and I and the town, some of the young spruce trees were regularly getting mowed over. I replaced them once but should have kept up with it every year as well as mark them significantly better. Now many years later, the handful of trees left are just beautiful but there are spaces between them so the field is still easily visible from the road which limits deer use of it to night time only during the fall.
We had some big pines taken out in our backyard last year. The boys that did it weren't much to look at, but they could climb, top and fell a tree within inches of where they aimed. Their rigging was crazy as they had to swing some huge trunk piece over my chain link fence...created a mini zip line for that.

My wife and I have fell a few trees with an ATV and some boat anchor line, but we save the big stuff for the pros.

For fails, we were clearing the fenceline of our new property and found several small pear trees that were loaded with pears. We have several huge ones so it was a surprise to find these smaller ones. I was running the saw and she was piling brush. Somehow in the fog and friction of battle, I cut down 2 of the pears. You could smell the difference in the wood. So mad. We trunked them out and stacked them to dry to smoke some BBQ with. I was like: "we can't eat that many pears anyways!"
At my last house there was a section of short needle pines that are notorious for breaking/falling/just plain making a mess during winter storms. Plus there was lots of nice young oaks under them getting shady out. Trying to get those first trees to fall to the ground was tough since they were packed in there so tight. I ended up cutting close to 100 of them down but one or two of them got the best of me. This may be hard to explain but I had one tree hung up leaning at a 45 degree angle or so. I figured I could drop another one on it perpendicular to the hung one and it would bring them both down. The part I wasn't thinking about is what the second tree would do when it hit the tree on the angle. Well it caused the butt end to violently swing catching me in the hip and throwing me a good 10 feet through the air with a running chainsaw. Left quite the bruise....
Tree cutting is a dangerous endeavor. I think if you cut long enough you're going to have situations. Some you can control and some you can't, hopefully you don't get hurt. I've fell and hinged cut thousands of trees but, only three "fails" (1) Dropped one right on my ATV and broke a few parts. LOL. (2) Similar to Gator got a tree hung up in another tree but, also had the saw pinched. So I go get another saw with the same intentions Gator had. As the tree hit the other tree it slid all the way down the trunk and broke my saw into little tiny pieces. (3) Had an unseen dead branch fall about 50 ft right on my head, knocking my hardhat, ear muffs and me into the ground. That one hurt.
Yikes, normally I'm ok doing cuts on trees but ones like these right over a building was new for me. All I can say is I'm glad they are down without damage to anyone or the house!
I really dont know, older strap but in good shape, had a lot of tractor behind it but wasnt pulling that hard imo Musta been a flaw in the strap considering it was the biggest strap connected and broke right in the middle.
I'm not a towing or recovery expert by any means but have had many experiences in my line of work regarding shock load on straps, ropes and cables. More than once breaking large diameter steel winch cables pulling out stuck trucks. The load can be quite severe and you have to add together the weights of all items, in this case tractor, tree and resistance which is really unknown. Towing straps are really meant for pulling a rolling load as they are static and non forgiving. A recovery strap is made to give and stretch like a shock absorber greatly reducing the shock load. If you don't have a recovery strap and only have static straps, tow straps or winch lines, putting an old tire in the middle of two straps works wonders as a shock absorber and reduces the risk of overloading the lines.
I may have just plain exceeded the strap like you mention above. That tractor is 30,000lbs plus lord knows the weight of the tree and resistance combined, those straps only stretch so far. Normally I use cable or chains but didnt have anything long enough this time.
Wow, wedges are thy friend.

Wedges are magic.
Anytime that I'm cutting a tree and I really need it to not fall in the wrong direction, I'll pound a wedge or 2 in the back cut. I do that as soon as there's room to get the wedges in and still have room for the saw. 2 wedges placed side by side work better than 1wedge because you can alternate driving each one and they'll go in easier than trying to drive a single wedge.
Not only will the wedge prevent the tree from setting back and pinching the saw, it also provides an impressive mechanical advantage for moving the tree top in the felling direction. Pounding in a 1" thick wedge will move the top of a 70 foot tree 5.8 feet.
Did a felling cut and then cut 98% through the back side of the tree
Huh? Did you word that the way you wanted to? Sounds like you did it backwards. Always cut the notch first, approx 10% into the tree on the side of the direction of the fall. Then cut the back (felling) cut second. And drive a plastic wedge into the back cut as soon as you have saw clearance to get it in there.
The ratio of notch depth to back cut depth is important because it forms the proper hinge thickness. The hinge helps control the falling tree all the way to the ground. I like an open notch, ~90 degrees, as opposed to the old style 45 degree notch because the 45 will close and snap the hinge before the tree is all the way on the ground. The 90 keeps the hinge intact throughout the entire fall, so there's less chance of the tree doing something crazy on the way down.
I was in the same situation, huge double oak 36 inch diameter, and hollow in the middle, leaning towards power lines. Huge, double and hollow is the most dangerous tree to fell. So we got the guys brother, a local farmer with a big tractor and long tow straps. I had him stretch the strap tight, then made my saw cuts to only about three inches of standing wood left, then motioned the tractor to finish pulling it over, but he wasn't ready and didn't move! For about thirty seconds I'm going crazy motioning the guy to drive and the bystanders are running for more distance, when the tree started to do this funny little circle, then starts going towards the electric lines, because part of the hinge tore loose. In the meantime the tractor starts going real slow, and puts just enough pressure on the strap to miss the line by inches, the end result being that the tree was lying at a right angle to the tractor, instead of being pointed straight at it. Moral of my story; If you're in charge of a critical operation you should know the performance capabilities of each player involved before you start. And start the puller moving before cutting to the last inch where you intend to stop cutting.
I had the power company come drop the lines ahead of time, no way I coulda missed them and it was expensive the last time part of the tree fell on them haha
Well i had the hinge area between the notch and felling cut break loose and take down a power line. It just started pouring rain too. At least it didnt get a fire going! In the picture you can see the power pole with the line running left/right in the grassy strio. Left arrow is the tree laying perpendicular. That was a bad day!

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