Friday, May 17, 2024

Tree Thinning

Around Wyoming, you hate to cut down any live tree. Especially a Cottonwood, the state tree. However, half-dead trees will hang on for a long time, making you think they are going to rebound. Such was the case with our seven Cottonwoods that line Mom's boulevard. Probably five years ago they winter killed, but every spring a few limbs show some life. We've trimmed them and babied them, but they are just never going turn into more than a bush. So we made the call to cut them down and replace them with new trees. 

It's tough to grow a tree on our hilltop. A lot of gravel and the only water they get is what you run to it. These guys looked good until a tough winter. Not sure what the circumstances were, but it zapped the life out of them. 

Cottonwoods are notorious for never fully dying. They taunt you with a few green branches, while 75% of them are dead. 

Our removal tool of choice was the JD 450. Not having been run this year, we checked all the fluids before she touched off. 

If your going to do any logging, the proper chain is critical. This is a US made 3/8" that hasn't been cut or spliced. 

The smaller trees we knew we could pull over. We just hooked the chain a few feet up the trunk for a bit of leverage, but not too high so that it might break off instead of uproot the stump. 

Then gave it a go. 

We tried our best to knock off all the dirt we could before dragging them to the pile.

The two taller trees we pushed over so they didn't land on the cab over the dozer. When pushing over a tree make sure and ease into it. If you hit it with impact at the base, the top of it can't react as quick and it can actually snap up high and land in your lap. 

Worked out. 

We drug them all over to the North 40. 

And piled them up so we can burn them once they've dried out. 

The clean up wasn't too bad. I did the best I could with the dozer. 

And Dad put the final touches on with the farmhand. 

Mom and Dad already have new trees planted in between where the old ones stood. They are Honey Locust.

We've had good luck with them in other places. They grow up quick and nice, and really seem to handle a Wyoming winter well. 

Mission accomplished. 

Everyone's happy. 

The only thing worse than a dead tree is a half-dead tree. It's amazing how cleaner the yard looks now. The little bit of green didn't out weigh the protruding dead branches. We could have trimmed them out of there better, but a Cottonwood shrub isn't what we were looking for. Trees along hilltop not only look good from the yard, but also from the road. There's a season for everything, a time to plant and a time to uproot. 

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