Killing a silver maple - ?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by countrygrrrl, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I need to get rid of a silver maple without using a chainsaw because, quite frankly, I'm a klutz and shouldn't be allowed around one.

    I've managed to get a fair amount of the tree cut down and it's already sick --- but it's been sick for a couple of years and I'd like to speed the process up. In other words, just get it killed while I'm cutting on it to get it down.

    For those who might protest, the tree needs to go not just because it's a weed tree, but because it's too close to my place and this is NOT a good climate for them --- winds are too high, too much rain, etc. And it's a potential interference with the growth of some desirable trees and plants.

    I've heard driving a stake at the foot of the tree will do the trick. ? Is that right? Any other suggestions??
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Never heard about the stake method, but the sure fire way to kill a tree is to cut a strip of the bark off comptetely around the tree, You must cut throuch the green sap layer under the bark to be effective. A hatchet or an axe will do it. The tree will look OK the rest of the year but will not bud out next year. A strip 3 or 4 inches wide is all that is nessesary.
     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Excellent! Thanks! :)
     
  4. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    Copper roofing nails, nailed in the trunk of the tree will do it in, takes awhile but works.
     
  5. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If you aren't careful it will sucker out from the roots. Drill a hole in the tree at a 45 degree downward direction with a 1/2 inch drill bit as deep as the bit will go and fill with undiluted roundup.
     
  6. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    This one is a sucker from a big one I cut down last fall, I'm sure of it! :mad: :mad: It's so easy to lop these things down when they're tiny things, i just don't get why the old owners didn't get the lawnmower or something after it. :rolleyes: Oh well, my problem now.

    In any case, chainsaws are way out of my league, but I can manage a drill. Think I'll try this idea, too.

    Crafty, that's the stake thing I was thinking about!

    Between cutting a ring around it and filling it full of Roundup, this is one weedtree that doesn't stand a chance!! :yeeha:
     
  7. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Uncle Will is correct, the method is called girdling the tree. I'm not sure why you want to do it that way. I'd argue that cutting down the tree while still live is a lot safer than waiting for it to keel over in it's own.

    Check with your county extension office to see if there are any courses (usually a day or half day) on chainsaw use in woodlots. You might feel more comfortable after taking such a course. They are usually hands-on for at least part of the course.

    If you aren't comfortable doing it yourself then hire someone (or barter for it to get done).

    We just had a large tree cut down and removed for $200. It might seem to be a lot of money to some but this had been a dead tree for a number of years and was festooned with poison ivy. On the invoice they wrote..... "paid in full for removing nastiest largest mess of poison ivy infested tree we have ever done".

    Other trees I don't have a problem taking down. This one I just didn't want to deal with if I could avoid it.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  8. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Mike, I've got it whittled down enough that it really doesn't present a threat, even at this point. And i plan to keep whittling on it. It's not a big tree, not by any means, but it's just a bit too large for me to cut through by myself.

    BTW, thanks for telling me what the name of that method is. :)

    Trust me --- you don't want me using a chainsaw. :eek: I can handle hand tools (prefer them, in fact) and drills and some saws --- but you don't want me anywhere near a chainsaw. :eek:

    I have a number of trees that need to be taken down and, truth be known, I'm saving up my coupons for them. I've also already had LOTS of help (traded and also just plain people being friendly) with several major tree projects (it's how I got rid of the other silver maple).

    More specifically, I have an entire hollow that I'm working on cleaning out. It's filled to the brim with desirable growth, including a number of nice healthy dogwoods (around 20), nice hickories, elderberries, etc., so I don't want to backhoe and burn it out. I'm saving my barter coupons and nickels and dimes for cleaning this hollow out while preserving the desirable growth.

    Other stuff ... I can handle. For now, at least. :)
     
  9. charles

    charles Well-Known Member

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    If you want to kill it for sure get a small amount of Tordon from a forester or such and apply to the stump. Round up won't kill some woody plants.
     
  10. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you all OK with electric hand tools, you might benifit by owning a reciprecal saw. Often called Saws All. They have various sized blades that will allow you to cut limbs and such up to about 8 inches in diameter. Work great for cutting off smaller stuff level with the ground. They are good for cutting old boards to remodel sheds or even light metal with the metal blade.
     
  11. If it ain't ( yeah that's right. AIN'T) that big just wrap a cable around it, hook it to your truck and drive off. There root system is really shallow and comes out easy. I pulled one out this spring that was 12 inches in diameter with hardy a grunt from my dodge. But like I said I used a cable not a chain. Most tow chains are to short. Make one out of cable and make it as long as you want. No stump to deal with either. Just fill the hole up with compost. and your done. As for a silver maple being a weed tree It sure makes some good syrup. I made 1/2 a gallon of maple syrup last year form 3 trees in my yard. It takes a little more sap to make the syrup than if the trees were sugar maples, but it still was some of the best syrup around.
     
  12. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Hehe. :D Well, that would sure make the neighbors happy. They seem to enjoy my hi-jinx down here. In fact, runs past my place seem to be on the regular Sunday Drive route of quite a few people around here. :haha:

    Charles and Unk *lightbulbs!* I'm making a major shopping run to town tomorrow for things like brick, sand, etc. *lightbulb* I've just added Tordon and a reciprocal saw to the list.

    I have a little power saw that I can handle, no problem! :) I've looked at reciprocals before but never put two and two together that maybe I could use one for all these not huge trees around here that I need to get down (without using up my trading coupons :) ).
     
  13. tooltime

    tooltime Border Ruffian

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    Your risk of blowdowns and limbs coming down are much higher with a dead tree than a living tree. If you have a considerable amount of clean-up, I'd look into hiring it done.

    Tordon will prevent suckers from growing from a freshly-cut stump. You'd need to have the tree cut down first, and keep in mind suckers can grow out of the side of the stump, not just the cut top.

    As for brush-killers (most are some sort of defoliants), there are granules that can be sprinkled around the base of a tree (one sells under brand name Spike I believe) and sprays (generic store brush-killers and one brand-name I have used is Crossbow). Depending on your state, you might need an applicator's license to purchase Tordon and Crossbow, among others.

    If you don't own a chainsaw, you can rent one from many equipment rental places. Sure, felling trees and running a saw is dangerous if not done properly, but so is driving a car.
     
  14. Could you tell us how big around this tree is?

    Doing the girdling will take care of it, sounds like you would watch for any suckers & nip them in the bud anyhow, so the chemicals are your option.

    I would not want a tall tree girdled & left to fall down in several years on it's own; I'd rather be in some control of it's path of falling. I think that is what several are getting at. Cutting or pulling it down in several years will be more dangerous (widow-maker branches....) when it is dead, than doing that now. No point to having a dead tree standing there.

    --->Paul
     
  15. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Paul, the tree is 16" around, or 8" diameter. It has one already dead branch (been dead since I got here) and one measly live branch and the trunk. The trunk is very tall and spindly, and there's some downright pitiful branches up high, but not even a squirrel could sit on them.

    One of my projects this week is getting the dead branch off. Then I'll start in on the remaining live branch.

    It's got something wrong with it so it's dying anyway. I'm just speeding up the process.

     
  16. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    If it's only 8" thick, why not take an ax to it? Hack away on the side you want it to fall. About halfway thru try pushing it over, keep on till you can.
     
  17. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    After I get the limbs off and get it girdled, I was actually going to begin sawing on it that way --- you know, sawing out a chunk so it would fall that way.

    Truth is, if it ever stops raining buckets here :rolleyes: so I can drive to town without floating away, I'm likely going to get the reciprocal saw Unk suggested. I want to get the dead limb off first, but then I'm going to saw inone of those things that make it fall a certain direction. And, if that goes well, I may actually saw all the way through. Although it's so tall, I suspect the weight of the tree itself will make me unable to saw through ...

    Which would lead me back to lopping on it ... so might as well girdle it anyway, as everytime i start a project, I end up having to go do something else for a few months. :rolleyes:
     
  18. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    Countrygrrl, Maybe you have a neighbor or friend with a chainsaw. It sounds like a spindly soft maple that would come down real easy. Maybe trade them something, a couple dressed chickens, some garden produce, whatever. How about at church? More than likely a member of your congregation would be willing to help you out.

    Killing the tree isn't going to take it down, you'll simply end up with a dead tree that's more of a risk and more dangerous to fell. Everyone is right that you can much better control the fall line by taking it down with a chainsaw or axe. We don't know how close the tree is to any buildings, what its shape is and how many limbs, what might be on the ground in the line of fall, etc.

    I doubt if it would even take 15 minutes with a chainsaw to fell that tree, limb it and buck it into pieces you could easily load on a wagon or truck. Usually the simplest way is the easiest. That's specifically what chainsaws were designed for, and if your time is at all valuable to you, I wouldn't monkey around with girdling it, staking it. You want the tree out of there, killing it doesn't make it go away. Even when it comes down, you don't want to just leave it laying there, you'll want to cut it up and get rid of it.

    One other thing: If it's 8" thick, I think the tree is probably closer to 25" in circumfrence than 16". Just look at a 1" by 8" and measure its "circumfrence" and you'll get the idea.
     
  19. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Milkstool, its circumference is 16". Being not a math wizard, I divided that by two, which is how I came up with 8". Don't ask me --- :rolleyes: --- it's why I'm not an accountant or professor of math or whatever. In any case, from the sounds of it (at least from what i read of your post), its actual diameter is less than 8".

    Yes, it's very spindly. But I'm saving my calling on friends and neighbors coupons and my nickels and dimes for the hollow below (which has LOTS of trees to take down). I can take this one down. It's just that it will take me a while, that's all.

    Now if it would just stop raining ... :rolleyes:
     

  20. That old pi thing - 3.14 - a 16" around tree is 5.1" diameter.

    A $12 bow saw would take it down real nice. A 5" tree hardly pays to cut a notch. Just be sure it doesn't lean the wrong way.....

    Here in Minnesota I burn wood, so have become used to cutting down 30" diameter old trees with my 16" chain saw. If you don't like a chain saw, don't get one, I agree with you there. :)

    If a tree is very tall or leaning or branching over a building, etc. It is much, much, much, much safer to cut it down while alive & green, than to kill it off & then cut it down some years later. A dead tree will shatter branches off of it. A green tree qill be much softer when it hits the ground, and not wreck as much.

    I think most people are trying to look out for your safety here when they suggest cutting it down, rather than killing it. Without knowing the particulars, creating a dead standing tree is a lot scarier that using a chainsaw to cut down a green tree!!! Those dead ones are dangerous.

    We had a lot of rain here in Minnesota too. Finally caught a break, the water left the corn & bean fields. Now, to decide if it pays to replant the drowned out wet spots.....

    --->Paul