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aprehension... taking down a beautiful shade tree


JAG1

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We had a large three foot diameter cedar about 15 feet from the house than used to shade our deck and high sunny windows. I was hesitant to take it down not only because of it's size but it afforded lots of shade to our back deck in summertime.

But with three separate trunks starting about 30 feet up, each about 12 inches in diameter made it very top heavy.

Plus one trunk was showing a 24'' crack/split like it would take out the deck and part of the house on that side. I decided to have it dropped. There are two other cedars growing close to this one so hopefully they will now branch out for getting all the shade back someday.

Now after this monster was dropped you could now see the other side of the split that was hidden by the 2 other trees while standing. Wow.... that split was growing with each wind storm as you could now see fresh wood and fresh splitting that was occurring. This split is about 4-5 feet long on that side, ready to let loose and damage the house and deck.

I prayed for the logger dropping it while cutting as I was afraid that trunk would get tangled in the two other trees and come down on him.

I was relieved when all went well and was surprised to find two other breaks after cutting off the branches, one an older somewhat healed break. and another would have happened perhaps during the next westerly.

Apprehension all gone, replaced by complete happiness, I was very relieved.

Now to see if wifey wants a cedar Christmas tree from the tops, three to choose from.

Edited by JAG1
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Yeah, not a Specimen. Multi topped trees are a hazard. As the leaders grow in diameter they push on each other and it was just a matter of time before one or more leaders split off. Had sap suckers feeding off it too. A sign of low vigor. Cedar not the best firewood, but burns hot and it's free. You can sleep easy with your decision.

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Going to do a split rail fence with it are my plans. I have about 5 or six different wedges, has anyone done split rails out of logs before?

Do you start by splitting the log in half and then work down to the 6-8 inch rails?

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Going to do a split rail fence with it are my plans. I have about 5 or six different wedges, has anyone done split rails out of logs before?

Do you start by splitting the log in half and then work down to the 6-8 inch rails?

Yep... Depending on length of rail, i would recommend up to 3 flat wedges. Don't use the "grenades".

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I won't. Just the flat ones.

 

I'm sure I cannot expect a perfect straight split, but, that you keep splitting the way the wood grain wants to go and whatever curve or shape the rail comes out that's part of the character of split rails.

 

As long as it looks sort of cowboy style I'll be happy :USflag:

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The tree looks to be a western red. They are usually pretty straight grained and easy to split. Good aromatics too.

One of the easy ways to get it started is to make a few plunge cuts with the saw to allow the wedges a bite. You can usually control the way it splits that way.

Just stay away from the crotches. ...your going to learn a new way to sweat, too, making these.

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Yes, Thuja plicata. I wish you luck! Don't want to be one to crush your dreams. Lol. Just saying that there is cedar that splits easy and cedar that doesn't. Same as Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menzisii). Some splits and some crushes with a 30 ton splitter. Depends on how it's grown. Trees grown in tight proximity tend to shed branches before they get big. Trees grown in the open tend to grow large branches and create big knots and curved grain.

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I had the same issue with a huge Chinese elm tree next to my house had a 3 beam trunk and is about 3+ foot diameter at the bottom and about 75 foot tall, had a tree trimmer come take 2 of the 3 main trunk beams down that were hanging over the house and left the main trunk beam as it goes fairly straight up and slightly away from the house and it surprisilngly survived, I figured it for dead but it has even gotten thicker, these trees typically have a 40-60 year lifespan and this one is right there so the fact it has lived another 5 years and still going since taking 2/3 of it down are impressive.

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I figure the first 16 feet of this cedar, since it has little to no knots, will split up into some rails pretty well. Yes some new way to sweat but can use the workout. Be good for me if I don't push it too much.

I think it's true that lots of these trees have a limit to how long they can go before they start getting a disease or something wrong with them

Edited by JAG1
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Cedars naturally grow best in fairly wet and lowland environments. Also like the shade of fellow trees. So specimens out in the open are prone to a short life. Don't handle drought well. If grown in the right spot, can live for hundreds of years. I've seen them 14' diameter. Amazing to see them cut down!

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If I sold them to the mill I would need a winch to get the bucked lengths of to the road and then a flatbed to haul them to the mill. They would have to be shorter lengths than they like for hauling them which would also making the price drop. For a tree like this I know I would get about 5- 600 dollars about ten years ago. I don't know about todays market.

 

Joe, is there a place I could go and see the 14' diameter trees?That would be something to see.

 

I have one bigger one down in the bottom of the canyon at about 6 feet. It grows right out of the creek.  4 other big ones that are very tall and straight with about a 4-5 foot base on the other side.

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I would like to see that size. Maybe you have time- less busy in winter to show me and I could show how I approached the problems  associated with doing the tank access door.

Edited by JAG1
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