Spruce tree removal

Many spruce trees have suffered a decline in health over the last year or two. They are showing sparse canopies and dieback giving a brown appearance. On this occasion the tree being removed was not in decline. The roots of the tree had started to undermine the shed and buildings in neighbouring gardens and so the decision was made by the customer to remove it. The tree was of sentimental value and so we were asked to photograph the process from start to finish documenting the event.

The first task for the climber is to secure a central anchor point in the top of the tree to give good all round work positioning to enable the canopy to be dismantled in the easiest and safest way. The climber then descends back down the stem and starts removing the branches from the bottom up, leaving a bare stem.

Once all the majority of branches have been removed the climber is then left with the top section of the tree to deal with. Using climbing spikes (fastened to the climbers boots) the climber can climb up and down the stem by spiking into the tree and using of a strop/lanyard which attaches to the climbing harness and around the stem. Once positioned at the top of the stem the rigging kit can be set up to fell the top section of the tree out. The rigging system consits of a snatch block (large pulley), rope and a friction device that attaches to the bottom of the tree. The friction device is used to allow the groundsman to control the rate of falling branches. The pulley is attached to the top of the stem and the rope runs through the pulley and attaches to the top section. Once the rope has been attached and passed through the friction device at the base of the tree, the climber can then fell the top section out. The section will come to bare on the rope and if lowered correctly should glide to the ground being controlled by the groundsman.

The climber then works their way down the stem on their spikes cutting it down in sections as they go. The sections can either be lowered in the same way as the top section if obstacles are beneath the tree, or they can be free dropped onto a brash mat (mat of cut branches).

To complete the job, all of the branches are chipped into the back of the truck, the timber loaded and the garden left as tidy as we found it.