Tools and materials gathered for a late Winter day of Oak/Hickory Savanna restoration work. Stihl FS560 Brush Cutter with sharpened saw blade, professional grade Stihl MS261 Chain Saw, felling wedges, sledge hammer, tree tape, extra chain, screnches, fuel mix, chain saw oil, sleds for hauling bucked logs on snow, log peevey, SP Systems SP2 Back Pack Sprayer, Remedy Ultra ("Garlon 4") Herbicide 25% Solution in Diesel with Bas-Oil dye, safety gloves and chemical mask, GransFors Bruks Log Peeling drawknife (for girdling), safety chaps, safety helmut, brush cutter harness.
A closeup of GransFors Bruks Log Peeling Drawknife. An awesome tool for girdling trees to be removed during oak/hickory savanna restoration process. Typically, trees are girdled 2 years prior to removal for firewood to allow for drying and ease of felling and removal. Trees to be removed for desirable walnut, cherry, red oak, and elm lumber are cut live during the winter without girdling.
An oak savanna burn on Peggy and Mark Timmerman's Property: They have several areas with big old (about 125 year) white oaks. They were all very overgrown, so little by little we have been clearing around them and then burning those areas. It is a tricky burn because of heavy fuel loads and tree cavities.
Finger of woods, between tallgrass prairie and future shortgrass prairie, being restored to Bur Oak/Hickory Savanna. A great many box elder, cherry, elm, aspen, black locust, prickly ash, and various invasive brambles (including multi-flora rose), and brush such as honey suckle have been removed and stump treated with Garlon 4 equivalent (Remedy Ultra).
A very tall large aspen that was girdled 2 years before and felled late winter using the "Bore Cut Method" of felling. This allowed this rather dangerous "cat faced" fire scared tall tree to be felled with minimal danger. The "bore cut method" leaves a "strap" on the back side away from the very open cut notch. Wedges are inserted in the bore cut to drive the tree toward the notch side and then the final "strap" is cut/released on the back side. This prevents the dangerous condition known as "barber chairing" on leaning and larger trees.
The trunk (stump) in question? Felling wedges were pouned into each side of "bore cut" to force lean toward the open cut notch. A " large" open notch was first cut on "cat faced" side in this instance, due to need to fell in this direction. Final cut to release the back side "strap" was on side directly opposite of notch, and cuts from back side into the bore cut. A significant felling hinge (thickness = 10% of tree diameter) , was left when cutting the bore cut. Bore cut is also cut above the bottom of the notch. Wedges were pounded into bore cut to facilitate tree fall toward the open notch, and in this case, the associated "cat face", prior to cutting the release strap.
A large tall dead elm, formerly girdled, that was also felled using the "bore cut method" . Notice the position of the felling wedges, used to drive the tree toward the "open faced" notch and hinge. The hinge should be about 10% of the diameter of the tree. Felling wedges were inserted into the bore cut to direct tree toward desired felling direction and thus the notch, before cutting away the final release strap on the back side. Again, the hinge is substantial, about 10% of tree diameter. Wedges were driven in the bore cut drive tree toward the open notch ~ 65 degrees and the associated hinge. The final cut is to the 2 inch or greater strap left on the back side away from open notch and felling hinge. See hinge in following photos.
Remnants of the hinge on the felling side. Procedure in a "Nut Shell": Step 1: Cut Open Notch ~65 degrees or greater, Step 2: Cut Bore Out a bit above bottom of notch (leaving at least a 10% hinge and 2" back strap), Step 3: Drive Wedges In, Step 4: Cut the back strap, Step 5: Proceed safely along escape route at 45 degree angle away from felling side.
Girdled aspens, left for wood peckers! There are many pileated woodpeckers in the area! As woods open, red headed woodpeckers will show up in increasing numbers. Girdled trees are taped for safety warning. I prefer the big GransFors Bruks Log Peeling Drawknife tool, shown above, for girdling aspens, small walnuts, hackberry, elms, etc... Very ergonomic and efficient.
Firewood logs bucked, split, and piled. A rectangular or circular perimeter wall is formed with stacked firewood and then the middle filled in in sequential steps. The middle is then topped off in a peak which can be covered with a tarp to keep out rain an snow, after the dry Summer months end. The firewod "stack" is placed on top of poles placed crosswise and supported with large stones or cement blocks, to allow air flow under pile and prevent rot. The poles are cut from from small/medium sized straight trees removed during the Oak/Hickory Savanna restoration process.