Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

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palaheel
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Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

Several years ago lightening struck a White Oak tree in our yard. We've had an arborist looking after it, but he's finally suggested removing the tree.

The tree is around 100 feet tall and its circumference is much larger than DW and I can wrap our arms around. It is fairly tightly hemmed in on three sides, and probably around 100 feet from the street. Whoever does the job will have to bring in a crane.

If anyone has experience with this situation, I'd love to hear your advice, warnings, commentary, etc.

Thanks for your insight.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

A good tree company will figure it out.

One I follow on youtube (I've got acres of white oaks and forest manage)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVZxOiysXbY
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Mike Scott
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Mike Scott »

That's a big job. Get multiple estimates from experienced tree services that can handle it.
livesoft
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by livesoft »

Years ago we had a large loblolly pine tree removed as it had died from pine beetle damage. We have had other trees trimmed and/or removed included a large oak overhang our house well above the 2nd story.

What I found interesting is that the tree folks really knew about gravity. The overhanging oak tree branches were trimmed by a single guy who climbed the tree, looped rope properly, then used a chainsaw. All the large branches swung away from the house because of the way he positioned the rope. His nephew on the ground lowered the branch safely.

As for pine tree, pretty much the same thing with a variation: Climb the tree, chainsaw off the top branches and work downwards. The straight trunk was chainsawed into about 2 feet lengths from the top and they were dropped. The guy put dowels (small round poles) in the cut to use as rollers as he just pushed the 2 ft section away from him. And so on down the trunk. No crane needed for a huge tree right up against the garage.

In neither case was the tree removed intact. Only relatively small, but heavy pieces hit the ground in a safe manner.
Something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGiik9hNaqA though the trees shown were not that large in diameter.
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palaheel
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:57 pm A good tree company will figure it out.

One I follow on youtube (I've got acres of white oaks and forest manage)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVZxOiysXbY
Thanks. Very interesting videos. Are there any tell-tale signs you look for to distinguish a good company from a not-so-good one? Are there any intelligent questions I should ask?
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tomd37
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by tomd37 »

I have used the same tree service company here for the past 16 years. Whenever engaging the services of a company I always ask them to provide me a copy of their insurance policy to ensure they have current, proper, and adequate insurance coverage for them and me. I don't take their word for it. Last year had a 65-foot white pine removed from my property whose trunk sat just ten feet off the side of my home. One guy did an excellent job by himself with helpers pick up the branches and tree trunk as he worked his way to the top.
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palaheel
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

Mike Scott wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:59 pm That's a big job. Get multiple estimates from experienced tree services that can handle it.
Agreed. DW is starting that process now. One challenge is that some companies have probably paid for glowing reviews.
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palaheel
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

livesoft wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:59 pm Years ago we had a large loblolly pine tree removed as it had died from pine beetle damage. We have had other trees trimmed and/or removed included a large oak overhang our house well above the 2nd story.

What I found interesting is that the tree folks really knew about gravity. The overhanging oak tree branches were trimmed by a single guy who climbed the tree, looped rope properly, then used a chainsaw. All the large branches swung away from the house because of the way he positioned the rope. His nephew on the ground lowered the branch safely.

As for pine tree, pretty much the same thing with a variation: Climb the tree, chainsaw off the top branches and work downwards. The straight trunk was chainsawed into about 2 feet lengths from the top and they were dropped. The guy put dowels (small round poles) in the cut to use as rollers as he just pushed the 2 ft section away from him. And so on down the trunk. No crane needed for a huge tree right up against the garage.

In neither case was the tree removed intact. Only relatively small, but heavy pieces hit the ground in a safe manner.
Something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGiik9hNaqA though the trees shown were not that large in diameter.
I have seen guys removing dead branches, and I agree about their knowing about gravity, and geometry and trigonometry and physics. It was a wonder to behold. I fear our tree's branches are too big. Some of them could easily ruin our house, or our neighbors, and they are much larger than I've ever seen be swung out of the way.
Markets crash. Markets recover. Inflation takes your money FOREVER.
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palaheel
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

tomd37 wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:18 pm I have used the same tree service company here for the past 16 years. Whenever engaging the services of a company I always ask them to provide me a copy of their insurance policy to ensure they have current, proper, and adequate insurance coverage for them and me. I don't take their word for it. Last year had a 65-foot white pine removed from my property whose trunk sat just ten feet off the side of my home. One guy did an excellent job by himself with helpers pick up the branches and tree trunk as he worked his way to the top.
Good point. Will do.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by WoodSpinner »

OP,

Consider contacting a local Woodworking or Woodturning group and invite them to harvest or slab some of the wood after the Arborists bring down the branches and trunk. Ask them for a donation of bowls or some furniture for a remembrance.

WoodSpinner
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by adamthesmythe »

palaheel wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:42 pm
livesoft wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:59 pm Years ago we had a large loblolly pine tree removed as it had died from pine beetle damage. We have had other trees trimmed and/or removed included a large oak overhang our house well above the 2nd story.

What I found interesting is that the tree folks really knew about gravity. The overhanging oak tree branches were trimmed by a single guy who climbed the tree, looped rope properly, then used a chainsaw. All the large branches swung away from the house because of the way he positioned the rope. His nephew on the ground lowered the branch safely.

As for pine tree, pretty much the same thing with a variation: Climb the tree, chainsaw off the top branches and work downwards. The straight trunk was chainsawed into about 2 feet lengths from the top and they were dropped. The guy put dowels (small round poles) in the cut to use as rollers as he just pushed the 2 ft section away from him. And so on down the trunk. No crane needed for a huge tree right up against the garage.

In neither case was the tree removed intact. Only relatively small, but heavy pieces hit the ground in a safe manner.
Something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGiik9hNaqA though the trees shown were not that large in diameter.
I have seen guys removing dead branches, and I agree about their knowing about gravity, and geometry and trigonometry and physics. It was a wonder to behold. I fear our tree's branches are too big. Some of them could easily ruin our house, or our neighbors, and they are much larger than I've ever seen be swung out of the way.
It's not your job to figure out how to do it. It's your job to hire pros who know how to solve problems. (And, umm, expect to pay for it. None of this "it only took them X hours so it's like they're making YY...").

Sounds like you have to get it done, and that it won't get easier, it will just become more of a hazard. Do your due diligence, make sure your insurance is up to date, and hope for the best.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Sheepdog »

tomd37 wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:18 pm Whenever engaging the services of a company I always ask them to provide me a copy of their insurance policy to ensure they have current, proper, and adequate insurance coverage for them and me. I don't take their word for it.
Agree fully. I obtain a copy and then contact the insurance company to verify that the policy is up to date on premium payment receipts. What are the liability limits? Does it cover personal and property liability......that IS a BIG tree after all.
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The Stone Wall
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by The Stone Wall »

A white oak tree has some value depending on the quality of the log(s) given the size you have described. The arborist should know if it has any value and they may be able to recommend someone. It will cost you to have it removed, but I suppose there might be a reduction in price.
BarDownHockey
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by BarDownHockey »

Sheepdog wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:45 pm
tomd37 wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:18 pm Whenever engaging the services of a company I always ask them to provide me a copy of their insurance policy to ensure they have current, proper, and adequate insurance coverage for them and me. I don't take their word for it.
Agree fully. I obtain a copy and then contact the insurance company to verify that the policy is up to date on premium payment receipts. What are the liability limits? Does it cover personal and property liability......that IS a BIG tree after all.
+1 and for a job like this immediately walk away from
Any company that doesn’t have adequate insurance types and liability limits. Plan for the worst...tree falls on your house while it’s being removed / worker is injured on the job, etc (thought it’s very unlikely to happen).

As far as questions, make sure to get references, ask them about anything your town may require (permit, hiring a police detail if part of a road may need to be closed, etc.). Good companies will be honest with you about those things. And if the tree is near a property line, make sure you either know without a doubt that no part of the tree straddles the property line, or if it does, make sure your company gives you the right paperwork to have the neighbor agree in writing to removal of the tree. In my state, damaging a neighbors property (which removal of a tree would be considered) comes with triple damages. A 100 year old tree would be really expensive to replace ($20k+) and then multiply that by three.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by BarDownHockey »

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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

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retire2022
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by retire2022 »

WoodSpinner wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:37 pm OP,

Consider contacting a local Woodworking or Woodturning group and invite them to harvest or slab some of the wood after the Arborists bring down the branches and trunk. Ask them for a donation of bowls or some furniture for a remembrance.

WoodSpinner
+1

This is so true and it has been working out for me, a wood-turner lives half hour near me and has come for cherry wood and oak on my 89 acre property.

Cutting a tree is dangerous I have two hundred year old trees on my property.

Hey WoodSpinner want to come for a visit? 95% of my property is forested.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by WoodSpinner »

retire2022 wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:23 pm
WoodSpinner wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:37 pm OP,

Consider contacting a local Woodworking or Woodturning group and invite them to harvest or slab some of the wood after the Arborists bring down the branches and trunk. Ask them for a donation of bowls or some furniture for a remembrance.

WoodSpinner
+1

This is so true and it has been working out for me, a wood-turner lives half hour near me and has come for cherry wood and oak on my 89 acre property.

Cutting a tree is dangerous I have two hundred year old trees on my property.

Hey WoodSpinner want to come for a visit? 95% of my property is forested.
Very tempting! Your property sounds amazing ...
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by kaneohe »

palaheel wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:17 pm ................................................

Thanks. Very interesting videos. Are there any tell-tale signs you look for to distinguish a good company from a not-so-good one? Are there any intelligent questions I should ask?
https://www.checkbook.org/search/doSearch?search=

Consumers Checkbook.........if you get lucky you may be in one of the 6 areas it covers. Kind of like a local Consumers Report. You might find it in your local library. Even if it doesn't cover your local area for specific companies, you might learn something about the general approach/questions to ask/etc.

The link is to the SF Bay Area (see upper right hand corner). If you click on that, a list of the other areas that are covered will pop down. If you don't go thru a library link, you might not be able to see the reviews of local companies since you normally need to suscribe to see the full contents.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by 123 »

Depending on your location and the layout of the tree's area consider any seasonal issues that might make one time of the year better than another for removal. The tree company will undoubtedly just tell you "right now is the best time". Fall can be an excellent time since yard use is low and any destroyed landscaping can be redone the following spring. A fall removal can eliminate the hazards of a large tree in winter storms.
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retire2022
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by retire2022 »

A fall depending on location could be for rare endangered species, check local conservation authorities best season to cut tree, ie owl or bats, etc.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

palaheel wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:51 pm Several years ago lightening struck a White Oak tree in our yard. We've had an arborist looking after it, but he's finally suggested removing the tree.

The tree is around 100 feet tall and its circumference is much larger than DW and I can wrap our arms around. It is fairly tightly hemmed in on three sides, and probably around 100 feet from the street. Whoever does the job will have to bring in a crane.

If anyone has experience with this situation, I'd love to hear your advice, warnings, commentary, etc.

Thanks for your insight.
I had, key word being “had” a pin oak that was just about the same height with a wingspan of about the same. It was past “huge”. The base of trunk at DBH was measured at 72 by 50. They estimated the tree was about 100 years old. The arborists brought in a crane - the used a bucket attached to the crane to lift the main tree cutter to a main leader, from which he then climbed up to the top of the outer limbs and then began sawing away. It took them about 8 hours to get down to the trunk and then the real work began. Cutting the trunk took forever, at least that is what it felt like.

What you want to ensure is that arborist is fully insured for liability and workman’s compensation. The last thing you want is a limb weighing 2 thousand pounds crashing down in your house, neighbors house or damaging property or life. Maybe you can work out a deal where they split the profit from the wood. White oak is valuable in the market place. But it’s also a hot burning firewood.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by ScaledWheel »

Any company with proper insurance should be able to take care of that. Given the size, I'd estimate a few thousand though prices can vary wildly by location.

Will also echo that you may want to contact local woodworkers. White oak is a desired hardwood and there may be some folks that would be happy to take care of the hauling for you so the removal company doesn't need to.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

palaheel wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:42 pm
livesoft wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:59 pm Years ago we had a large loblolly pine tree removed as it had died from pine beetle damage. We have had other trees trimmed and/or removed included a large oak overhang our house well above the 2nd story.

What I found interesting is that the tree folks really knew about gravity. The overhanging oak tree branches were trimmed by a single guy who climbed the tree, looped rope properly, then used a chainsaw. All the large branches swung away from the house because of the way he positioned the rope. His nephew on the ground lowered the branch safely.

As for pine tree, pretty much the same thing with a variation: Climb the tree, chainsaw off the top branches and work downwards. The straight trunk was chainsawed into about 2 feet lengths from the top and they were dropped. The guy put dowels (small round poles) in the cut to use as rollers as he just pushed the 2 ft section away from him. And so on down the trunk. No crane needed for a huge tree right up against the garage.

In neither case was the tree removed intact. Only relatively small, but heavy pieces hit the ground in a safe manner.
Something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGiik9hNaqA though the trees shown were not that large in diameter.
I have seen guys removing dead branches, and I agree about their knowing about gravity, and geometry and trigonometry and physics. It was a wonder to behold. I fear our tree's branches are too big. Some of them could easily ruin our house, or our neighbors, and they are much larger than I've ever seen be swung out of the way.
Fear not, the arborists will cut the limbs in manageable sizes. They will do as livesoft writes above. I’ve had all of the trees removed in my property- the liability of having limbs fall off the trees and hurting someone was just to big to keep them, not to mention the cost of a prune every 3-4 years. That oak in the front of my home cost me over $6k in the span of 7 years, not too mention my neighbors were begging me to get rid of it, during storms the limbs were a sight to see when the wind kicked up, no one wanted their home cut in half if one of the leaders gave way. I had two opposing leaders that were cabled to alleviate the stress of the wind shearing it. I had the tree go through crown thinning and crown cleaning - that job cost me $1800 and it was money well spent. When hurricane Sandy barreled through the tree was moving wildly in the storm, I lost a few leaves but not one twig fell off the tree. I could not say the same of my neighbors oak which dropped a huge limb on their roof. https://www.bartlett.com/resources/prun ... -trees.pdf
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palaheel
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

WoodSpinner wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:37 pm OP,

Consider contacting a local Woodworking or Woodturning group and invite them to harvest or slab some of the wood after the Arborists bring down the branches and trunk. Ask them for a donation of bowls or some furniture for a remembrance.

WoodSpinner
Will do. DW is really keen on this idea. Now we just have to find them :happy
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palaheel
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

Sheepdog wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:45 pm
tomd37 wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:18 pm Whenever engaging the services of a company I always ask them to provide me a copy of their insurance policy to ensure they have current, proper, and adequate insurance coverage for them and me. I don't take their word for it.
Agree fully. I obtain a copy and then contact the insurance company to verify that the policy is up to date on premium payment receipts. What are the liability limits? Does it cover personal and property liability......that IS a BIG tree after all.
Good point. Will do.
Markets crash. Markets recover. Inflation takes your money FOREVER.
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palaheel
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

The Stone Wall wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:04 pm A white oak tree has some value depending on the quality of the log(s) given the size you have described. The arborist should know if it has any value and they may be able to recommend someone. It will cost you to have it removed, but I suppose there might be a reduction in price.
Good idea. Our arborist suggested that companies specializing in tree removal would do the job much cheaper than his company could do it, and we intend to ask him for references he's worked with previously. We'll add asking for wood working references also.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Bengineer »

My thoughts: Canvas your neighbors with big trees for recommendations. There will likely be one that's done a good bit of the work around you. I found two really good "tree guys" that way. I concur on checking insurance. Get their agent to send you a certificate.

Get a few quotes, negotiate with your preferred option.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by WoodSpinner »

palaheel wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:50 am
WoodSpinner wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:37 pm OP,

Consider contacting a local Woodworking or Woodturning group and invite them to harvest or slab some of the wood after the Arborists bring down the branches and trunk. Ask them for a donation of bowls or some furniture for a remembrance.

WoodSpinner
Will do. DW is really keen on this idea. Now we just have to find them :happy
This can help for Woodturners, American Association of Woodturners — Find a Chapter

https://www.woodturner.org/Woodturner/A ... nects.aspx

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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I have had two large white oaks removed and a chestnut oak, maybe not quite as large as what you have. I use the same company all the time though they are on the high side in price.* All their crews are trained professionals with the proper safety equipment - no day labor is used. I have their insurance policy in hand and can see their licensing. They will know if they need just trucks but it seems like they are going to need to climb it. Climbing is more expensive and if the tree is dying that will raise the price more.

In your contract put down that you want your gutters cleaned if debris will fall in them. I'd take the day off of work to be there.

I don't have the stump ground out, I prefer it to rot. Here, most folks seem to now just plant ivy on and around it. It may take 10 years to rot.

* After one storm, many of the tree removal companies stopped taking new customers. If you have a lot of trees or a lot of storms, this relationship may be important. After a storm in 2016, my tree company, and others, stopped taking new customers, but they came to my property on a Sunday to remove a tree which was leaning over the house.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Sheepdog »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:19 am
I don't have the stump ground out, I prefer it to rot. Here, most folks seem to now just plant ivy on and around it. It may take 10 years to rot.
i like that. I never thought of growing vines over it. I am having a maple tree cut down soon, so I am going to do that Thanks.
Last edited by Sheepdog on Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

How do you find a good company? I think it's the usual routine. Look at reviews. Perhaps ask to see work in progress and go watch what they're doing.

As others have said, don't worry that you don't know how this gets done. I don't know how to transfer a leg vein in as a heart bypass, but a heart surgeon does.

Big branches really are not an issue for a good tree guy. If you watch the various videos I linked in my previous post, if there's an open run, a zip line works well and moves the branches towards the chipper. If there's no room, the lines hold the branches as they're cut and drop them straight down.

WRT the wood value, sure. You might save something. Don't expect it to be big dollars, however. August (in my videos) talks about this in one video where he says they grind up perfectly good wood because it's more difficult to transport and dispose of the wood than just grind it into chips. If you can use or are willing to cut up and sell firewood, go for it. I cut firewood all the time from my own property. Cut, split, aged firewood can bring good money but green, unsplit stuff is worth maybe $100 a cord, pushing it. (I know....I sell extra firewood like that). Lumber yards are hit and miss. I have one half a mile from me and every time I go and check with them, when I've got a few big white oaks to take down, their quote has been zero....plus they'll charge me $100 for the truck to transport the logs. I worked some of the cleanup of tornado damage in Warren and Brimfield, MA several years ago. Every lumber company cleaning up gave the owners the same deal. They clean up, keep the wood, chip the brush and pay zero. Maybe you will be lucky and find someone who will pay something.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Over the years, I have seen a lot of tree removal companies work. I keep a list and even get cards, but I keep going back to the company I have used since I moved here. They have certified arborists and are not inclined to remove a tree. Their employees are trained and always wear safety equipment and communication devices on their helmets. Other companies I see, have guys with sneakers, no hearing, eye or head protection. I do not want them on my property.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by mnsportsgeek »

As others have said, get a couple quotes and make sure the company you choose has adequate insurance.

Then just write the check :happy
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by palaheel »

Thanks to everyone for the insight. We received our first bid yesterday, and we'll get another tomorrow.

We'll check with the winner's insurance agent before any work is done.

We've contacted some woodworking people, and will continue to do that. The first bidder has no use for the leftover wood, and would happily leave it behind if that's what we wanted. One problem is that the tree is 10.5 feet in circumference (>3 feet diameter), and that's too big for portable mills.

Our lot is too sloped to use a crane, so the tree will have to be dismembered in small sections and dropped at its base. As there are major branches over our house, it will certainly be an exciting day.
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Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by likegarden »

After every strong storm we had large pine branches on the lawn in our backyard. So we had 2 large pine trees (100 ft tall, 3+ ft diameter) removed and 2 other pine trees the upper third removed. I have extensive landscaping and a fence with a gate between the trees and the road. So a truck with a crane was not an option, every part of the work was manual, except they had several trucks and a chipper at the road. It took 10 men more than 4 hrs, and cost $8,600. in upstate NY.

A climber went up the trees and cut all branches off. Upper trunks were cut and dropped on my back lawn. Lower trunks were dropped and cut into horizontal slices. Men were carrying the slices to the road. I offered them to have part of the fence and the gate removed for this work, but they said they are used to this work. This company always does superior work, and leave everything in perfect order, except I still feel the lawn being somewhat bumpy in places during mowing.
Mitchell777
Posts: 1136
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 6:32 am

Re: Removing a White Oak from Side Yard

Post by Mitchell777 »

I had a similar situation several years ago. Between two houses with no access, probably 15 to 20 feet from each house (planted way before my time here) . The diameter of the trunk was 84" when taken down. It required a crane. I spoke to at least six tree companies and most did not feel they could do it. I finally called my electric utility who advertises they do tree work. Actually they outsource it but I felt more comfortable with them being between me and the tree company. They make sure liability and WC insurance is valid. I found numerous tree companies did not have both. Also the electric company took a small down payment and charged the rest monthly to my electric bill over a few years with no interest, $7200 total. Good luck. Since it's not healthy you'll feel better once it's gone even though it's tough to lose a big tree.
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