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Thread: Think I need to deal with this?

  1. #1
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    Default Think I need to deal with this?

    Nah, it'll be fine...

    Amongst the maples lining my upper drive I have an ash or 2 & some basswood. Here's a basswood (roughly 70 ft high) near where I park my big trailer & some other stuff:

    Basswood.jpg

    As I walked towards it I noticed this pile at the bottom of the tree:

    BasswoodChips.jpg

    Which led to finding this:

    BasswoodHole.jpg

    The entire center of the tree is hollowed out. The tree is ~18" diameter here & the hollowed out section is 12-14". Not a whole lot of wood left.

    I guess the main question is whether or not I want a new trailer? More seriously - I know basswood is really light, so it probably wouldn't break the trailer - just make a big mess.

    Time for some chainsaw work - made more difficult by the tree being in 2 sections separating about 4 ft off the ground, so I have to cut this side about 5 ft off the ground. Adding the "I have no idea what the tree is like below the hollowed out section" issue & it should be fun. I also have to rig a rope to make the tree fall where I need it, not where it wants to go. Some branch trimming of the maple next to it is in order as well.

    Then I have to get rid of the wood. I know basswood is sometimes used for model making, but even after removing the bad portions, this tree would make a whole lotta models!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    That's one industrious rodent.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    There are a bunch of chipmunks living in the stone wall - so I'm thinking they're the culprits - but really don't know for sure.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    If I were closer I'd love to get my hands on some of the basswood but I'd have no place to store it while it dries out.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Looks like the home of a pair of pileated woodpeckers in my experience.

    Fitz
    "Wherever there is a channel for water, there is a road for the canoe. " - Thoreau

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
    Looks like the home of a pair of pileated woodpeckers in my experience.

    Fitz
    Looks like it isn't just model makers that like basswood

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Can you trim the maple from the ground ok? That's the thing, eh, you don't want to climb.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    The tree is still alive, yeah? It will otherwise leaf out in the spring? Wanna foil the rodent and save the tree? You'd have to plumb and probe to know the full extent of the void first. If the rest of the tree is not hollow, whaddabout pouring concrete in it? Concrete hardens and reinforces the living tree so it won't topple, the concrete is sympatico with the living tree, I think, with the wood of the void surface, the tree's cambium layer is intact and it's obviously been getting enough material back forth from root to canopy around the wound. And it would mess with the rodent mind. They might conclude to work and live in another tree away from the trailer guy. Trees grow around and encapsulate all kinds of things, I would expect solid concrete to be at least as benign as some of the other things I've seen swallowed by trees.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    How high is that nest and can you leave it? Around here people have been leaving "stumps" 20+ feet tall to create habitat for creatures who like that sort of thing. Eliminates the most dangerous parts and does some good at the same time.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    I'd leave it and move the trailer.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Makes me think of our currently identified hazard tree, it's had very low growth on it the 4 years we've been here but now it's clearly dead. It might stand for another 5 or 10 years but will be dramatic when it falls. It's 25 metres or so high and a favorite perch for several species of birds ,about 40 metres off our front porch, it can't hit the house.
    It's constant coming and going with heron, tui, wood pigeons, kingfishers, cuckoo,song thrush, even a black shag. The activity is amazing so I'll be unhappy when it's gone.
    It's about weighing the balance between how dangerous it becomes and when that is, and when I have to fell it.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
    Looks like the home of a pair of pileated woodpeckers in my experience.

    Fitz
    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    How high is that nest and can you leave it? Around here people have been leaving "stumps" 20+ feet tall to create habitat for creatures who like that sort of thing. Eliminates the most dangerous parts and does some good at the same time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Williamson View Post
    I'd leave it and move the trailer.
    R
    good thoughts here..

    eta:

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Some one went to a lot of trouble to make a home for the winter
    If you take it down now they will probably die.
    Last edited by Durnik; 12-06-2022 at 01:08 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
    Looks like the home of a pair of pileated woodpeckers in my experience.
    S'wat I wuz thinkin too, surprised you dint hear 'em workin on that abode! Dinno rodents'd make sech a big hole 'less they're BIGUNS theyselves!

    I'd go with cement m'self if you can see to pack it in high enuf.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    I think you can not trust that tree anymore in a strong wind. If you can do the woodwork from some distance, that might be good - the hollow section just might collapse when the part you cut off starts to fall. Leaning a ladder against the tree to tie a rope high up - sounds like an interesting idea ...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Some one went to a lot of trouble to make a home for the winter
    If you take it down now they will probably die.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    I’d leave it. Or tanerite…boom. Strangely safer.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Garret, remind us where you are in the Hills of VT?
    I have a woodmizer and am in Thetford. It is put away for the winter, but if a log or two came this way come spring I'd be happy to saw it for you. And NO I do not want the lumber (I overfloweth with lumber), I just like to saw and meet people.

    As you surmise, basswood is soft and light - with almost nonexistent annual rings. That uniformity makes it good for carving, models or otherwise.
    Once dried, it's also good for painted interior trim.

    Oh, and those horizontal rows of small holes in the bark are Yellow Bellied Sapsucker. The wildlife is quite enjoying that tree.

    -Leif
    Last edited by Torna; 12-06-2022 at 01:40 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Well don't I feel stupid (not a new thing for me). Of course it's woodpeckers.

    I don't see signs of a nest inside, but maybe they're wanting to finish the interior before moving in? Living in a house while working on it is so awkward...

    A thought: Cut the tree above the cavity? The arrow in the pic below is about 9 ft. or so & I could cut it from the bucket of the tractor (no, I don't like cutting from a ladder). I don't have a good spot for the equipment: ditchwitch, bushhog, and the trailer. Only other place is also in the area where it could fall.

    Basswood2.jpg

    Thoughts? Will the woodpeckers come back to it after cutting?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Torna View Post
    Garret, remind us where you are in the Hills of VT?
    I have a woodmizer and am in Thetford. It is put away for the winter, but if a log or two came this way come spring I'd be happy to saw it for you. And NO I do not want the lumber (I overfloweth with lumber), I just like to saw and meet people.

    As you surmise, basswood is soft and light - with almost nonexistent annual rings. That uniformity makes it good for carving, models or otherwise.
    Once dried, it's also good for painted interior trim.

    Oh, and those horizontal rows of small holes in the bark are Yellow Bellied Sapsucker. The wildlife is quite enjoying that tree.

    -Leif
    I'm in Essex - so 1.5 hours. I do hate the idea of its going to waste if people can use it. It's pretty straight.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    In the "yannow" department, it looks like the start of a good basswood log canoe. Just sayin'.

    An inspection mirror and a flashlight might tell you a lot about what's going on inside the tree if you've got concerns about critter habitat.

    (And yeah, probably ought to deal with that...)
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  21. #21
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    There are flags for me on that one Garret, I probably don't have to say it and of course you're there and can sound it/ inspect it.
    Not so sure I'd want to cut that from an elevated position, you tend to lose your escape track that way.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    There are flags for me on that one Garret, I probably don't have to say it and of course you're there and can sound it/ inspect it.
    Not so sure I'd want to cut that from an elevated position, you tend to lose your escape track that way.
    Oh yeah. While I'd thought of using the bucket (or a pallet on the forks), that eliminates the pull vehicle for the guiding rope. I'm now thinking of a section of scaffold - from which I could jump fairly easily. Even if I were to cust as low as possible, because of the joined trunks at the bottom I'd have to have some sort of platform.

    Gotta think this one through...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    I see Paul deleted his post - but maybe he wants to come hug the tree?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Jump you say, this I would see as a course of last resort..( O my knees). The last 7 I felled on my place had one I had to get on the bucket/pallet for , but they're a very stable species, made the back cut to the first 'crack' , got down and then nipped away with the pole saw to get it to go( a leaner in this case)

    I tree fish boughs with an old baitcaster and a weight> messenger> rope... works well enough provided there's enough profanity used. Then comes the zen of the accurate cast....

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Step One: Move trailer.
    Step Two: Hire it done.
    Take pictures, since, by following above steps, you will survive the procedure to post them here.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    I enjoy it, its hard work and has potential risk, but after a while you get to understand what they're going to do and what you have to do to persuade them to do a bit different.
    I had lots of great advice and discussions from and with people here when I started felling the pest trees on this place a couple of years ago. Lupo , Jp , Paul , Garret too I think. ( There was a thread)
    Passed the 100 big tree threshold a week or so back, big tree meaning anything that'll kill you or permanently alter quality of life if it goes wrong. ( Thats my definition anyway)

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Wait for the rainy season. Throw a wax fireplace log in there.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    I have run chainsaws for over 40 years including just under 2 years full time logging where, in between cutting trees & bucking up firewood, I cut hundreds of widowmakers. My last big tree was a 30" maple that was taller- probably 90 ft. - that I cut about a year ago.

    The only concern I have on this is the condition of the tree and preferring to cut when standing on the ground.

    Also - I mostly posted this for fun - as having to deal with it is fairly obvious. That's not to say I don't appreciate suggestions!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
    Looks like the home of a pair of pileated woodpeckers in my experience.

    Fitz
    My thoughts also. I've seen them really tear into my dead trees. 18' tall birds, they can really hammer a tree!!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Most of the strength of the tree is in the stuff that's left. I really really wish we had some bass wood down here. We have absolutely nothing which is easy to carve. Garrett if you were to cut that up into small blocks you could sell it to carvers for good money. I'd buy a bunch myself but freight charges make it too expensive. Check out bass wood for sale on eBay! JayInOz

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    My thoughts also. I've seen them really tear into my dead trees. 18' tall birds, they can really hammer a tree!!
    Boy - things really do grow bigger down in the banana belt! 18 foot tall woodpeckers? The ones around here might reach 10 inches.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by JayInOz View Post
    Most of the strength of the tree is in the stuff that's left. I really really wish we had some bass wood down here. We have absolutely nothing which is easy to carve. Garrett if you were to cut that up into small blocks you could sell it to carvers for good money. I'd buy a bunch myself but freight charges make it too expensive. Check out bass wood for sale on eBay! JayInOz
    Wow! I could make more money than selling grilles for Teslas! Now all I need is a company name.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Wow! I could make more money than selling grilles for Teslas! Now all I need is a company name.
    Ok. That had me laughing out loud here.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  34. #34
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Yeah OK smartarse I just thought it was better idea than dragging it onto a burn pile or letting the bugs turn it into mulch. I'll keep carving bits of ridiculously hard local hardwood and cursing Americans with their fancy basswood and cottonwood bark JayInOz

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Think I need to deal with this?

    Many trees hollow out for different reasons. Check for funal brackets in the autumn and take photos if you find any; post them here. For the sake of not disrupting the natural cycle, supporting wildlife and realising your place in it all, suffer the inconvenience of parking your trailer in a different spot? You could do some great wildlife camera videos with a known feeding spot like that. I often leave standing dead or dying trees for the insects and their predators. God knows we have done enough to decimate their territory with our chemical imperative.

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