By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.


Just about everywhere I go in our training travels I am asked about how a certain tree reacts to the techniques we teach. Hickory is hard, Ash will split with you, Pine won't hold like a Poplar tree... I hear these stated issues about every training session. I agree... Sometimes.


We tend to look to a specific scenario or example to set our thoughts for the future. That's called experience isn't it. Something that happened in our past has reflected heavy on every decision we make today or tomorrow. I agree with that too...but! Can a 600 lb. Bear climb a 3 in. Pole? That is the question I ask when people ask me my opinion about a tree situation they want to have an answer for. They are planning an experience on a past accomplishment. You see, I can't answer their tree question without first asking the bear question. Until you know how good a climber the bear is and how strong that particular pole is, you really can’t say whether it can or could be accomplished. The secret.... Is in the plan.


Recently in a class in Hawaii, on the big island near Hilo, I was instructing a class in what I think to be Acacia Trees. I am not quite sure because no one in the class was sure either but looking it up on the web that's what it appeared to be. The wood is very light weight and I was amazed at how strong the fiber in these trees turned out to be.


I had one tree in particular I would like to brag a bit about. It was about 75 ft tall and about 18 in. In diameter with close to a 16 ft side lean away from the tagged area we (they) wanted it placed. There was nothing in the way of value so I agreed to put together a plan and try it.


We completed the plan with hazards, side and back lean, escape route, hinge size and came up with a back cut to hopefully produce the results we were after.


The tree had to miss a tree top it was towering over (wish I had pictures), 15ft of side lean and 6ft of forward lean, I had a good escape, planned to leave a 1.5 in hinge and had to cut the bad side of the tree first (somewhat blind) then cut to establish the uphill side finishing the hinge. The tree went perfect! Did I say PERFECT!


I am always impressed with what an even straight hinge can do for you in control and safety in felling trees. If you line everything up correctly, according to your information and plan, you stand a very high probability of getting results no matter what the species of tree.


I have found it not to be the species as much as it is the specific tree. Every tree is different folks, even if they are the same identical species in a given regional location. An Oak tree with good fiber and one with decaying fiber react differently and often call for a different plan.


You must put together a plan to get positive results and to learn from the event.  Thorough planning is the way to not have an ACCIDENT - an unplanned event.


Read more of Tim Ard’s articles on Chainsaw Things at www.ForestApps.com