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Best Way to Take Down a Palm?

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I did this one about a month ago. Sorry, no finish picture I had a brain freeze before we left the jobsite. The second pic is of a berry vine that was growing out of the palm.



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How I fell them is 40-50% scarf.Then bore cut from the front through to the back,level with the bottom of scarf,bar width.Put in wedge and hammer in.Then backcut with the step being about a matchbox height above the wedge in the back.I find this keeps them from closing up on the bar.


I had it pointed out to me by a former workmate who visits the forum that I did not explain this method very well.So I will try again.

This technique is known as a tongue & groove cut.It is usually,( but not commonly), used for felling trees with no predominant lean such as spars hence the 40-50% scarf.Where I wrote backcut,I should have wrote "split backcut''.I hope there are no bars stuck in palms as a result.

Edited by coolie

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Hmmm-so basically, a crane an twenty foot of Prima-cord, attach crane sling to the top, wrap prima-cord around base, nip a 20sec fuse on it an pop the bugger off :) tho it may take two or three wrapps,



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I thought that we'd established in an earlier thread that the best take down a palm was with a gatling gun at full auto from 100 yards away?


Safety first, chaps.

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In Brisbane the palms are like weeds - 'Palm Slayer' Eric Frei at TreeWorld would have a few idea's on handling the buggers of things... I hope to never come across one - they sound nightmarish!

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Good afternoon all.


Has anyone (and I'm directing this q. to the Kiwis, Aussies and American members primarily, though I know Palms are available in the UK) come up with the best way to take down Phoenix canariensis?


Here in Portugal we are taking down about 5-6 a month, due to them being killed by the Red Plam Weevil, and it seems we're develpoing a new strtegy every time!!


As anyone who's worked with the buggers before will know, they are damn heavy and kind of fibreous mening they don't behave like normal timber. The saw cut actually closes up behind the saw! (Something I found out very early after starting work here 3 year's ago when my trusty 361 ran out of juice at about lunchtime, I left it in the trunk and came back to find it impossible to move and had to cut it out!) You can only take thin biscuits off due to the weight when dismantling.


We have found that cutting the trunk 'lengthwise' first eases the 'trapping-of-the-saw' issue, but this is only practical after it's down to about 3 metres.


I'm using a combination of 460, 361 and 880, all with standard bar and chain set-ups with the 88 having a 75cm bar (the 105cm bar, although long enough to deal with the girth of the Palms, we found was draining too much power from the saw)


Another word of warning to all who deal with these things - Palm sap eats alloy side casings on saws! So make sure you clean it thoroughly after use.


Any Palm-tech advice gratefully received.


Some very good palm tech advise from the west london massive!! You know who we are!!


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3vgImMo7EY]YouTube - Palm Tree Fell[/ame]

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Yep, cut lengthways as much as poss to relieve that saw trapping effect, then block down as best as you can, they're absolute bstrds to work on! Not as bad as Cotton palms though in my opinion as they tend to be taller but still hang on to their dead fronds! If you can use a power pruner to get rid of as many fronds from the ground as poss that sometimes makes life easier i found.

Good luck with it, hope you have a pokey disc chipper to deal with the stuff when it's finally down, it clogged up the big drum one we where using pretty much instantly!

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Greetings to our friends in Portugal,


Here's some thoughts on Canary Island Palms.


For palms accessible with a bucket truck, a hydraulic reciprocating saw works great. It does not throw all that liquid spray around.


Now, on to the climbing: After climbing to the base of the head, it is possible to cut one live leaf as a stub about 3-4' long for use as an additional tie-in point.


This technique can be used for both pruning or removal.


This stub should be at least halfway up the head, so it has a slightly upward slant, so the safety lanyard does not slip off. The stub should be as far to the climbers left or right as possible. This means it is the last leaf that can be reached after firing up the saw for the first o-round of cutting. Remember to follow that good bit of advice that our buddy left earlier--chainsaw nicks can cause this stub to fail.


Once suspended from this stub, the primary lanyard should remain attached, encircling the trunk. The 2 safeties augument each other, allowing alternating resting points from the seat of the saddle, as well as from the belt dees. Since these trees are so time-consuming, with the arms reaching overhead for such a long duration, fatigue is a significant factor.


Usually a full circle of about 3 of these stubs are needed, spaced evenly at arms reach around the circumference of the head. The second and 3rd stub

are placed progressively higher to act as a more vertical overhead suspension point. The 3rd stub can be the top of the tree if it is a pruning job.


So that falling leaves do not cause injury, the climber works to remove leaves that are not so much overhead as to the side. The overhead leaves can be precut to 1-2 meter long stubs to lessen the weight of handling the base of the leaf, where most of the spines are located. Anybody tried stainless steel netting fish-filleting gloves?


Standing on tiptoes of spurs allows cutting as large a swath as possible, so that resetting up for fewer swaths is necessary. This species precludes the use of 2 hands holding the chainsaw, in my opinion. It would be interesting to compare the number of pokes from phoenix canariensis spines between one and twohanded saw grip techniques. Some olod dogs cannot be retrained.


Freshly sharpened saw chain cuts palm fibers cleanly. Dull chain causes binding due to shredded fibers hanging out in the kerf. What was described earlier as a horsepower problem could be helped with more frequent sharpening to counteact the soil particles that are commonly trapped between the skin of the leaves and the trunk.


In the late 1960's there was a research approach to the problem of saw chain binding up on cut palm fibers within the kerf. It involved experimental saw tooth design that used a wider top plate portion of the cutter link. The top plate extended out on each side, removing a wider slot from the wood that gave clearance for the bar to move freely.


McCulloch's chainsaw factory was on the outskirts of Los Angeles in Santa Monica when I started doing tree work in the Hollywood Hills in 1970. At times I worked for Blackmer's Hanover Tree Expert Company, who tested Macs as part of the research. We tested the Mac 120 around 1979. Around 1986, we tested Stihl 017's and 019's at high elevations in the alpine neighborhoods for Mt. Shasta Tree Service in Northern California.


This early development research came after the race to build the lightest saws had largely been completed by 1975.


The saw chain experiments were discontinued when the marketing studies showed that a very limited market for a specialized product existed. The palm tooth design wasn't going to be a moneymaker, so it was never produced.


We also delivered eucalyptus wood to the Mac factory when they were evaluating a guillotine style logsplitter for the homeowner market. Word got back to us that the steel frame that the knife slid along folded up under pressure from the tough euc wood.


But that's a story for another thread.


Arboreally yours,


Michael Oxman




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