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Spruce Pirate

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Posts posted by Spruce Pirate

  1. I did a trial for Forest Machine Magazine with the Milwaukee Impact Wrench and the Forstreich Maschinenbau TR30 wedge last year.  Was impressed with it, much better than hammering wedges.  Lacks the lift and power of a jack, either a purpose built jack like the Treemans or a home modified job.  It's horses for courses, the mechanical wedge is very good, but not the be all and end all of putting trees over, it's not going to replace a jack or winch, but it is going to make your life much easier than hammering wedges.


    I did try the ratchet type wedge as well, but not very impressed with it.  Build quality lower than the Forsteich version and turning the ratchet handle becomes very boring very quickly.  I didn't manage to try it in bigger trees, but I think it would struggle to put big spruce on the deck.  I might be wrong here, but I think trying to turn a ratchet by hand in bigger timber would be just as much of a pain as wedging it normally.


    If I've done it right there should be a video of the TR30 trial below.



    • Like 2

  2. Update on moving the lime.  After the advice on here we've made the decision to dig a trench round the tree this year and move it next year.  I looked at it with the digger driver and agreed what size of rootball would be movable and we went back and hand dug the trench.  Roughly 2' to 3' deep, basically dug down to the water-table.  I need to go back down and check the outlet channel is working to prevent build up of water.


    Any further tips or useful advice very welcome.





  3. 11 hours ago, Mark Bolam said:

    It will be an interesting project mate.

    Keep us updated please.

    Will do.  At least this rain should be softening up the ground, although....., thinking about it, that might not be so good for the digger.



    As far as avenues go I'm not sure that they have to be one species, there's a stretch of road along from us known as the avenue that has quite a few species in it, oak dominated but also some lime, sycamore and I think a couple of ash.  They're not all uniform, but they are all mature in varying forms.  It makes quite a nice avenue despite not being completely uniform.


    I do agree though, that in this particular case the avenue does want to be as uniform as possible.  I think youth makes it more desirable that it is uniform, whereas we're more forgiving of mature trees.  Younger trees in mix with more mature trees are another matter.  You need a pretty big gap to fit a young tree in if it's surrounded by mature trees, which generally means you've got an avenue with big holes in it.  Putting a young tree in now means that said big hole might have filled up in 50 years time, certainly in 100 years time, so I wouldn't be totally against "gapping up" an avenue with young stock.  I've heard of people planting a new avenue 50' wider than an existing avenue on both sides, giving an overall increase in width of around 100', the idea being that this will be well established when the existing avenue is past it's best and dies off that the new one will be properly established, just wider.  Presumably this could work in reverse as well, planting a narrower avenue the next time around.



  4. 2 hours ago, slack ma girdle said:

    It doesn't feel right getting the trees on the ground without a drop of sweat or any swearing.

    You can still swear at them, but I don't miss the sweating part when you've got a machine to do it for you.

  5. 4 hours ago, kevinjohnsonmbe said:

    There was also a question about protective clothing only being allowable if it was 'company branded.'  I said under and mid layer clothing generally is but weather layer items would have waterproof qualities compromised by stitching....  Any thoughts / comments / input appreciated. 

    They're questioning whether PPE is an allowable expense?  I'm including waterproofs as PPE - when working outside you need to be protected from the elements.  I've had three different accountants (died, retired, current) and none have even thought of questioning this.  To my mind any and all work clothing is an allowable expense and the accountants have always backed this up.  The rest of your queries seem reasonable to me, but I've no direct experience of them, and I'm not an accountant. 


    I might think of looking for another accountant if I were you.

    • Like 1

  6. Yes, everyone who has suggested planting a new tree is right.  It would be cheaper.  It would be easier.  Point is the Laird wants the one they've got moving, so the one they've got is going to move.  Estates are like that.  Besides there's more fun in trying to move the tree than just popping town to the nursery and sticking a new on in.




    16 hours ago, Gary Prentice said:

    Just looking at BS5837 the RPA of a single stem diameter of 150mm tree gives a soil volume of 10 M2 (radius of a nominal circle 1.8m. I know that rootballed trees come with a lot small root-ball but they've been grown and prepared  for lifting.

    You'll need a clean hi-viz jacket and a clip board to undertake a supervisory role though.

    I'll base my digging on a 1.8m radius to start off with and see how it goes.  I think we'll probably end up with a smaller root ball to make it liftable, but seems sensible to start off big when seeing how far the roots actually spread.  All my hi-vis jacket are dirty, this might explain why I've never made it into management.



    2 hours ago, dan blocker said:

    Had to move a small Oak of a similar size to this Lime because it was in the way of my new workshop. Looked into getting a tree spade but none local and figured it would cost £4-600 anyway and for that I could of bought 10 or 12 potted trees 2.5mts high? 

    Having just planted more than a hundred mixed trees both potted and root balled and seen how they had trimmed the roots and just slapped clay on the root ball before wiring I decided to move the tree myself🤔.

    As a mate was working with his 11/2 ton mini digger literally just around the corner I grabbed him at the end of the day to “just do a quick job for me”😁

    what I simply did was dig a square trench around the tree with a large pit on the one side to allow me to drop the loadall headstock and forks into it and used this to sever the roots and soil beneath the rather large plug? Rounded of the plug with a spade and wrapped around it with fabric and pig wire, a couple of ratchet straps around to hold it together and lifted the lot out of the hole.

    Moved it 50mts and set it down on to some slings and backed forks from under plug and reconfigured the forks above root ball and lowered it down into the new pit having mixed a few bags of tree compost with some quality topsoil.

    Lay a wrap of 100 mm plastic drain pipe around the base for watering and backed filled with quality top soil and trod it in. Didn’t require staking or bracing as it was solid. This was carried out early April 😳2019 and so far it looks promising, full leave flush. Next two years will really show if it’s succesful or not.

    Not many lateral roots to trim but couldn’t believe how much root mass was below the ball. Didn’t trim them as decided to minimise root loss. Watered it well all year(we had a few hot days if you remember🤔)The whole thing settled about 75mm over the next 6 months. Only took a few pictures cos I was rushing to keep the cost down🤓

    Cost - a good drink🤔, those digger drivers drink a lot😳🤔

    sorry it’s long winded gents but that’s how I did it.

    Limes are hardy and will survive butchering above ground so loosing a few roots won’t harm it!




    This is very encouraging, as despite all the good intentions of hand digging and figuring out how it should be done, I have a feeling it may come down to what becomes practical to do on the day.

    • Like 1

  7. 48 minutes ago, Macaulay said:

    You should dig down and sever the roots leaving a rootball at about 1m in diameter this should be done a couple of months before transplant and the rootball will fill with fiberous roots and give it a better chance of survival.

    You could buy one grown in airpot for a couple of hundred. It would have a much better chance of survival and less fucking about.

    1m in diameter?  This seems quite small for a tree this size, I was assuming it to be nearer 2m diameter.


    Buying in isn't an option I think as the laird fancies the idea of moving the one they've got.



    53 minutes ago, Gary Prentice said:

    Don't be so daft man. For every tree that I've ever moved I've explained that really you should prepare by digging around 1/2 the root circumference two years prior to moving, then the other half a year before to minimise stress and allow time for the creation of fibrous roots.


    The longest notice before it must be moved has never exceed a week :001_rolleyes:

    A lot will depend on the soil type and moisture content, some rootballs remain bound together better than others.


    Personally I'd hand dig the initial trench, maybe a couple of spade depths deep to get an idea of how contained the root system is, or isn't. 


    Once you've done that, if the soils obviously going to fall apart if you even look at it I'd wrap the sides of the rootball. Use the machine, carefully then to widen the trench to create working room to dig beneath the rootball - again by hand. Continue wrapping (with hessian) underneath as much as you can as you go along until the last sinkers can be severed.


    You might be lucky and find its in a nice clay soil that binds well. You can only play it by ear as you go along. It's pretty much the same principle no matter what size the tree is - have a look at some of the mature trees that they move in the far east.

    I'll do a bit of exploring, I expect the soil to be heavy, clingy and wet.  I'll do some spade work, or see if I can persuade someone else to do some spade work while I "supervise".



    1 hour ago, Stubby said:

    I would have thought the only safe way would be to get a tree spade in . I know its not huge but it is established and digging and maneuvering a tree like that  may stress it and it could fail in its new spot . A tree spade will keep a fair bit of the ground it is in currently and wont shock the roots . Obviously the new hole needs digging first with enough room to take  the lump that will be on the the tree .

    Tree spade isn't in the budget I think (I'm only guessing as I don't know how much a tree spade costs), a quick Google doesn't come up with anyone local that might do it, I think Ruskins do national coverage but not sure.  I'd agree a spade would be the best option but I think yokel power will be the actual solution somehow.



    8 minutes ago, dumper said:

    I have a Newman frame for tree moving all you need is a loader to lift it, preparing before moving will benefit the tree

    Whereabouts are you?  Do you hire out the frame?




    :thumbup1:  Many thanks for all the advice, I'll do a bit of digging with the spade and see how it looks for starters.  Any further advice welcome, if I remember I'll take some photo's of the excavations and see what folk think.

    • Like 1

  8. I'm looking for advice on moving a lime standard.  The tree is a common lime, I believe, approximately 20 years old, I think about 18 from memory, but say 17 - 20.  It is about 13' tall and about 15cm dbh. 


    The local estate planted a lime avenue in 2000 which has done fairly well but a couple of trees have failed over the years.  Several replacement trees were got and put in in subsequent years and this is the last one which they have decided now to move to replace one of the trees which isn't doing quite so well.  We replaced some a number of years ago (at least 10 years ago) but at the time the replacements were much smaller and I've never done one quite this big before. 


    Access to machinery and trailers isn't a problem, what I really want to know is how big a root ball we should be leaving.  I'm guessing as big as possible.  Any advice on lifting the tree, wrapping roots or anything else much appreciated.  The tree only has to move a couple of hundred meters, all on estate roads so no need to secure it to a lorry, worry about low bridges or anything like that.


    Photo's of tree to be moved in it's current position should be attached below.






  9. 2 hours ago, Stephen Blair said:

    Totally agree on the situation on the video, I think whatever you do on those jobs it’s cut n run, slide and hopefully not get caught out.

      I don’t know the safe answer in those situations accept the site should be felled down hill and skylined out maybe.

    If there's enough to make it worthwhile that's fine, and probably what would happen.  Most of the time we fell downhill whenever possible, but sometimes you get a steep wee snap that simply won't reach the bottom of the hill and the only option is to fell uphill.  Unless the volume of timber is there to justify bringing a skyline or a winch in the easiest thing is to fell uphill - and take care.  Provided you know what you're doing the risks are manageable in my opinion, but you definitely need to be paying attention and it's not a job for someone straight off a chainsaw training course.  Skylining, or other means of winching are also not without risk so it is a balancing act between putting a few trees uphill with the risk there, or setting up a winch with its associated risks.  For relatively small amounts I'd just tip them up the hill and run every time.

    • Like 1

  10. Never used the Humbolt for uphill felling, need to have too high a stump to get the gub in the stump. 


    Personally I use the sap wood cuts as you describe, narrow gub and leave as thin a hinge as possible.  Forward leaning trees sometimes worthwhile boring in and setting the hinge nice and thin first.  Wouldn't bother messing around with straps at the back, just come straight out.  Most trees uphill will need a wedge in my experience normally means you end up chasing the hinge to get it as thin as possible and then making a swift retreat, not always easy on a steep slippy slope.  Generally don't like uphill felling but sometimes needs must.


    There aren't many experiences as scary as you describe of a butt pinging 15' in the air and then taking off down the hill as you sever the hinge if it stays on. 

    • Like 1

  11. 1 hour ago, Squaredy said:

    I also am pretty sure the flashing lights thing is an urban myth.  I have seen loads of people do it but my experience is it does nowt.  Now that would be a good thread - urban myths.  Some of them are really worth whingeing about!  And some are just hilarious.

    My old boss was always in a hell of a hurry.  If he arrived at a set of temporary lights, normally screeching to a halt, he'd quite happily reverse back (providing nobody behind him) and then drive towards them again at high speed to try and trigger the sensor.  He'd do this basically until the light changed or someone came up behind him.  Used to hate going anywhere in a car with him.

    • Like 1

  12. Got a call this evening from a boy I did a job with a couple of years back who needs a tree report done in Lochgilphead.  Seems some trees have been felled, leaving the neighbour's trees (his brother-in-laws) exposed and likely to fall over.  No problem felling the trees, but apparently they're TPO'd so needs a report done to get permission to fell, don't think there will be any issue with replanting.


    Anyone on here around about that area could do a tree report?  Drop me a PM and I can put both parties in touch.



  13. Sounds interesting J.  I've often wondered about a similar set up for 1st thinnings in spruce, but never got as far as actually costing anything.


    A couple of thoughts...… When you load the whole tree onto the forwarding trailer, with them being largely dead, brittle ash you're likely to break a lot of the branches off.  Some of these will get left behind in the wood, mostly the smaller ones, but hopefully you'll retain many in the bunk.  This might actually increase the capacity per load if I'm not mistaken?  The same at the point of chipping, hopefully it will be more compact, resulting in more material per grab getting fed into the chipper. 


    Jenkys are extracting brash from the mats along the road for us and chipping into walking floors in the wood, so there must be some sort of money in it.  Clearfell, after everything has been extracted the forwarder lifts all the mats, stacks brash at roadside, tracked chipper comes in, loaded by excavator with grab straight into a walking floor.  Commercial operation, non-grant aided as far as I know, customer getting a return on the brash.


    On a slight downside, if the spacing is that tight then a 30' pole is going to be quite something to manoeuvre around!  Either you're going to skin the retained trees which isn't going to be good or you're going to break the poles, especially as they're brittle ash.  Realistically I'd think you'd probably do both which is the worst combination.    There are good reasons for short-wood working in thinnings as opposed to long-wood.


    Be interested to see how you get on with it and if the figures add up.



  14. On ‎09‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 11:06, Stubby said:

    Hand cutters are mostly required now a days for the " snot gobbling " steep banks were a harvester can't get .  Its back breaking arm wrenching hard work for little reward .  Coppice by all means but keep your gardening round .  

    Knowing practically nothing about coppicing I have a romantic image of hand-cutting and brash bonfires.  That said there's a bit along the road that's grown for biomass which is cut with a forager.  Is it a forage harvester you're talking about or forestry harvester or specific coppice harvester?

  15. Plenty of narrow roads on the continent:



    On ‎10‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 11:55, Big J said:

    Most of the roads on the continent you wouldn't even think about the width of your vehicle. We haven't upgraded our roads to keep up with the development of vehicles in the UK.




    7 hours ago, Big J said:

    Additionally, the tight lanes cause poorer fuel economy. I'm lucky if I get 42-45mpg with the little van in Devon, but I get 56-58mpg in Scotland. So (and these are approximate values) with approximately 468k vehicles in Devon doing 12k a year, that's 5.6 billion miles a year. At at average of 42mpg, thats 133.7m litres. At 52mpg that's 108m litres. As well as a direct cost of £33m to the economy, that's an extra 66000 tonnes of co2 into the atmosphere, which seems like a high environmental cost for the sake of some hedges.

    By now you really should have learned that everything is better up here!!! :lol::lol::lol:

    • Haha 1

  16. I think a good assessor will decide whether someone is competent pretty quickly.  How a person looks, acts, what condition their kit is in, what kit they've got all help to inform an assessor whether or not the candidate knows what they're doing or not.  That is if the assessor themselves knows what they're about.  The blethering and having a cup of tea should then confirm experiencea and underlying knowledge.  After that a good assessor should know if they need to spend 45 minutes cutting a couple of trees to confirm what they think or whether they want to do lots of trees to make sure someone is actually up to scratch.  So either you have a full day cutting getting refreshed or you only do a wee bit followed by a lot of gossip, reminiscing and drinking tea.  This last part should still count as refresher as it is more than likely vocational and will cover all sorts of different scenarios and how they were / should have been dealt with.  Never underestimate the importance of a good blether! :lol:

    • Like 2


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