Sunday, 26 February 2012

Big toys

I don't think we ever stop playing, our toys just get bigger and more expensive!

This timber trailer is the latest addition to my ever expanding array of equipment, needs a bit of work doing to it, and a few new tyres. But with a bit of effort and a lick of paint it'll look pretty smart and will make shifting wood about so much easier and quicker.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Irish yew restoration - Caynham church day 3


On Thursday last week I was set the challenge of doing something with an avenue of abused Irish yews. Had these been properly maintained they would make for an attractive entrance to the churchyard. Unfortunately years of topping had left them stunted and wide and with a lot of people wanting something done about them.

The proximity and overhang of the path was also an issue that needed addressing. It was decided that the best course of action was to thin the insides of the trees, which consisted on huge amounts of woody stems, serving no purpose other than cluttering the trees and forcing any new growth outwards. This would then enable us to pull the tops of the trees in and wire them in place. Reducing the trees size and overhang and encouraging any new growth in a more favourable direction.


Whilst far from perfect the work has made the trees much more manageable. The one on the left was the most tricky to work on. the stems were so thick that no amount of pulling would pull them in sufficiently, this meant that to achieve anything like the same effect we had to prune alot of the outer branches. Hence the brown patches and the hole. Still with a couple of years growth this will be hidden and not as noticeable.

The one on the right was more like what we were trying to achieve, as is the one below.

This shape and size can now be easily maintained with a hedge trimmer once a year. And hopefully after a few years trimming they will be looking more uniform and like a proper avenue.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Ancient yew reduction - Caynham church day 2

I got to work on a beautiful old yew tree on Friday, which would have been a really nice climb, had it not been for the less than ideal conditions. A dusting of snow which melted then refroze coating every branch with a layer of ice. Less than ideal when your doing a 10/15% reduction and having to got out to the tips of every branch.

Before, front view

Before, rear view

Still, with a bit of hard work and alot of scrambling and sliding we managed to get it done.

After, front view

After, rear view
The work is being carried out as part of on going renovations to the church yard, with our pruning being done to the specifications of a tree report that was carried out on the site. The idea with this reduction was to prevent some of the larger limbs from breaking out and damaging the tree further, as well as re balancing the weight of the tree.
We were very pleased with the results and would like to think that its hard to tell the trees been worked on at all. which would have been alot harder had the specification recommended any more than a 15% reduction. This was a fairly sensitive site, with quite a few interested parties, so it was important that the work was subtle and left the tree looking as natural as possible.

That said this isn't a one time fix, trees in high target zones such as a church yard will always need managing and further pruning will be needed at some stage, but hopefully with the slow growth of yew it should be fine for a good few years.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Holly and an oak, Caynham Church day 1

Started a biggish job today, spending 4 days in total removing and pruning some trees in a local churchyard. 2 days this week and 2 days next.

First up was this huge (for its species) variegated holly. Definitely the biggest butt on a holly I've ever seen. Unfortunately being so close to the church it had to come down. But at least we managed to get my trailer right next to it to bring it out in a saw log sized lump, so it'll end up on the mill soon.

Next was this dying oak, not a huge tree, but dead trees always make so much mess when they come down.

There probably was space to fell it, but with ancient grave stones and memorials dotted around its sometimes best to do things a bit slower

Plus doing it this way means there is less of an area to tidy up afterwards, as most of the branches can be dropped somewhere near the same place

With the chippings staying on sight the only thing to come away was the logs. Two loads of cord, one from the oak, and one from the holly

As well as one load of saw logs, as the oak was big enough to warrant saving, a slight curve in it but could be quite nice for a rustic bench or two. The one on the floor is the holly, such an amazingly dense wood, it made the hi ab struggle more than the oak, which was a larger diameter. 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

2 sides to every coin

A bit of snow can cause a few issues, but it does make things pretty! We had a reasonable amount on saturday afternoon, this picture is of today when most had started to melt. There was enough to make me not want to go out cutting more wood from my coppicing job anyway! 

But fortunately I could still make good use of my time bagging up firewood in a nice dry barn! This cold snap we've had has certainly got everyone burning more wood, meaning I've had a busy weekend of delivering loads and loading up some of my customers who prefer to pick up their own. Luckily I always keep a good stock bagged up ready to go as people always seem to run out before they order any more!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Crown raise and a reduction

Had one nice tree and one not so nice tree to work on today. The first was a large walnut tree that kind of dominated the garden, the customer initially wanted the tree out completely, but thinking it was a shame to remove such a stately looking tree I suggested a heavy crown raise which would allow alot more light under the tree as well as reducing the overhang over the garden and yet retain the trees natural form.  



after, from other side

 Whilst the tree is still a dominant feature of the garden, it doesn't completely over shadow the surrounding shrub beds as it did before, needless to say the customer was very happy and didn't want the whole tree down anymore.

The second tree was a bit of a brute, an over sized wild cherry, with a very poor form, the heavy limb on the left leans out towards a neighbours property.


Being in a conservation area, permission was needed for the work we carried out, in my opinion it would have been better to have the tree out completely, as it will never make a particularly nice tree and never have a proper form. unfortunately we couldn't get permission for this so instead had to settle for reducing the limb on the left and removing some of the lower branches.

Whilst not ideal, it has rebalanced the tree significantly, and hopefully abated the problem for a while, hopefully in a couple of years we can apply for permission again the have it out completely and replace it with a more suitable tree.