Felling a tree in an open area with nothing around it is fairly straightforward—just chop and watch it fall, making sure to stay out of the way. But felling one next to a home, building, or other structure is more of a cause for concern since the tree needs to fall the right way to avoid a disaster. I guess these guys didn’t get that memo. Although they did do the right thing by tying a rope to the tree and pulling it taut with a Chevy truck, they made a couple key mistakes that led to a big-time fail.
The Big Issues
It appears that the biggest issue here is that the tree should have been chopped directly behind the truck instead of to the side, since a tree will typically fall to the side where it’s chopped. The tree was felled on the opposite side of the building, which is a good idea, but it seems the problem is that the truck is pulling in a different direction than where the tree is being cut. The tree is also already leaning back towards the building. The result is that the tree is being pulled back towards the direction it was leaning.
If the guy in the Chevy could have pulled away faster, the disaster may have been avoided. The fault here though, was more in where the tree was chopped and where the truck was. The guy kept the rope taut and started pulling away, but the tree was already headed in the wrong direction from the get-go. If you’re a Ford guy you might be thinking, “That’s what happens when you use a Chevy,” but the truck wasn’t the main issue here.
Chevy Truck Specs
The Chevy used here looks to be a mid- to late-90s model with 2WD. It would likely have the following specs, or close to it:
- 200 horsepower
- 260-lb. feet of torque
- V6 Engine
- Maximum towing capacity of 7,500 pounds
You can see that the trucks wheels spin out at first due to it being a 2WD. Do you think the tree could have been pulled clear if he had a 4WD? Say we swapped that truck out for a new 4WD Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD, which has the following specs:
- 397 horsepower
- 765-lb. feet of torque
- V8 Turbo-Diesel engine
- Maximum towing capacity of 14,600 pounds
That’s quite a big difference, but would it have been enough? After all, the tree was falling the wrong way to begin with, and it’s hard to stop that kind of momentum.
Steps to Felling a Tree for Removal
The bottom line here is that if these guys would have followed the basic tree-cutting tips, they wouldn’t have had to rely on the truck to get them out of a dangerous situation. They should have assessed the conditions such as how the tree was leaning before going into the cutting process, which is the first step of tree felling explained below:
- Determine the lay of the tree, or where it’s going to fall, selecting a direction as close to the tree’s natural lean as possible.
- Make the first cut with a chainsaw no higher than the height of your hip. The cut should be no deeper than one-third the width of the tree.
- Make a wedge cut with an axe 3 inches above the face cut on a downward angle.
- After cutting out a wedge shape, make a back cut on the opposite side. This is a horizontal cut at least 1.5 inches about the first horizontal cut. Then bring the saw around to the holding wood and place a wedge when there’s an open space.
- Once the tree starts to fall, get out of the way! Make sure you have an escape route and never turn your back on a falling tree.
Felling a big tree is pretty dangerous, so you may want to call in the professionals if you’re not feeling adventurous like these contractors. If you do decide to cut one down on your own, just make sure not to stand directly behind the falling tree, since the stump can actually snap and kick the tree back towards you.
What Went Wrong?
So would having a 4WD truck made a difference in this situation, or was it doomed no matter what by where the cut was made and where the rope was tied. Check it out and share your thoughts in the comments with us below.