Is there a recommended way to fell trees next to power lines, especially if the tree is leaning toward the line, without the use of a bucket truck? I was thinking of two or three pulling lines attached to a winch to pull the tree away from the power line. Tree distance from power line is 5 feet.
In my area of Pennsylvania, If you call the power company, even if the tree is on private property, they will cut it down for nothing just to avoid a call on a weekend or evening. If this is not the case in your area, I would use a cable, snatch block and come-a-long. I have removed a great deal of leaning trees with this method. Make sure you hook the cable as high as possible on the tree to be cut for greater leverage, run the cable through the snatch block, which is chained to a larger tree trunk, and then attach the cable to another large anchoring tree trunk out of the felling direction. I use 3/8 cable, 3/8 chain and a 4 ton come-a-long.
This just my suggestion - I am not a professional. You may want to hire one.
My brother used to do this all the time with Ontario Hydro. They used pull lines and pulleys everyday (or they used a machine with a front end loader to push, and sometimes they used both methods).
Of course, I use the winch on the skidder to pull. I hook the cable as high as I can reach and then just snug it up tight but not enough to move the tree. Usually this will let you get your cutting done without pinching the saw.
Also, check your local laws about roadside tree cutting. Some states have a limit on how many trees can be cut so many feet from the roads and the brush must be so many feet away from the road because of fire hazards. These limits may be different for primary roads and secondary roads.
Anyone who has been around the business for any amount of time can tell you of good climbers and tree guys who have been killed by some freak occurrence. I lost a good friend that way, and trust me, I think of him every time I start a saw.
Comment from contributor A:
I am a professional arborist and I have seen what powerlines can do to people and property. Never attempt to take a tree down yourself if it is in close proximity to powerlines. If a powerline is knocked down, it can energize objects on the ground that you would have no clue are hot until it's too late, such as a chain-link fence.
My solution was to tie the end of 200' of bailing twine to a turnbuckle. (Anything small, heavy, with round edges.) This I spun and threw into the treetop, old fashioned sling style. I suppose you could use a large nut and a wrist rocket sling shot instead. It usually took a couple dozen throws to get the bailing twine over the right limb.
With the object then back on the ground, I used it to pull a 1/2" nylon rope over the branch, and back down. I made a fixed loop (bowline) around the standing part of the rope, in effect making a lasso. I always did this so that it went around the trunk.
The messenger line was pulled down, then retied to the eye of the lasso. With the help of the messenger line, and pulling on the standing part of the rope, it was a few minutes to get the loop snug around the trunk by the branch. (This method won't work for a tree that doesn't have a clear lower trunk.)
Once the rope was in place, I tensioned it with the tractor enough to take the lean off the tree. (55 HP Deutz - about 3 tons. This is not a job for a garden tractor.) If the saw pinches a lot before half the notch depth, you have too much tension on the tree. If it doesn't pinch at all, then that side of the tree is probably not in compression, and the tree may still fall with the lean. Increase the tension before doing your back cut. On some of the trees, I had some minor pinching of the saw when making my notch.
On a couple, the direction opposite the lean was not suitable for dropping the tree. The usual techniques for making the hinge thicker and one end seem to work fine. All 8 trees fell within a couple feet of where I intended.
While I've been cutting 8 cords of firewood a year for nearly 20 years, I felt this was some of the most dangerous work I have done. Grow eyes on the back of your head. Have a partner to watch for you.
Poplar doesn't seem to have the grain structure to barber-chair. It can break off half way up.
I strongly advise practice before doing this where it's critical. The first time I tried this last year, I didn't tension the rope enough, and the tree went down 45 degrees off. Missed the house, but smashed my picnic table to splinters.