Cedar Tree Cutting

A stand of red cedars came down at Leafhopper Farm over the weekend. This grove was severely compromised by bark stripping, which happened when the previous owners of this land had their horses penned in during the winter without enough forage. When animals are left in a pen without enough food, they will strip trees. It’s a sad fact that most horse owners keep there animals in too small a space, where they eventually kill the trees unless they are fenced for protection. Because my cedars were stripped, they were rotting at the base, making them unsafe around all the buildings. Cutting them down was our only option. We will mill the wood for building, so the trees are not wasted. Also, a group of basket weavers came to pull bark on Sunday.

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My tree team consisted of Mark and Nate, two seasoned arborists who are incredible at what they do. Above, these two gentlemen assess the grove and plan what order to drop the trees in. Then they geared up for climbing and rocked the tree felling with impeccable precision. I was so glad, because the trees were coming down around my barn and coop structures, which meant a lot of limbing up and machine anchoring for the successful drop of some of the more precarious trees.

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Working a chainsaw is challenging, but working that saw 20ft. up in a tree takes some amazing skill, and Mark was the man for the job. It was my first time to watch these men working, and I have to say, it was quite a show. For anyone planning to have large trees dropped on their land, make sure you can be there to see it done. The work was wonderful, and so quick! They dropped 7 trees, limbed (also called chasing), and decked (stacked) the logs in about 4 hrs. That’s efficient!

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You can see the rot already advanced on the oldest log pictured above. Now we’re putting together a lumber package for our local mill, which will soon be closing. Local tree felling is becoming less and less prevalent as logging technology advances. I know Mark is quitting his tree cutting antics, and Nate has shifted to union machine operation as a more sustainable occupation (one that’s much safer too). Logging is still one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and I can see how even a small mistake can cost you your life in this business.

Thankfully nothing tragic happened during the tree felling at Leafhopper Farm. The logs are waiting for pickup, and there’s now a lot more sun shining down around the cultivated land at the farm. We’re putting down lots of quick cover crops like summer wheat and oats. The chickens are on a role sifting through all the branch material for juicy bugs, and the goats are still looking around in puzzlement when they come out of their stalls into the bright light where a stand of cedars used to offer shade.

Another challenge in removing the trees, is the loss of shelter from sun and other elements. We’ll plant new smaller trees for cover, like locusts, and make sure that the new design of animal structures will be well ventilated for animals in all seasons and weather. It will take some time to work out the new space without trees, but the farm continues to cultivate good habitat and ecology, which will, in time, create new shelter and more diversity of species at Leafhopper Farm.

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