View Full Version : Cutting trees
When I cut a branch off of a tree I try to cut it as close to the trunk as possible. I have heard though that I should be cutting it a little longer or I could damage the wrinkly bit of the trunk that goes around the branch.
Anyone know the best way to cut off a branch?
Also, what is the best way to cut down a coppiced tree, say hazel where 15 of them are growing out of the stump. Should I cut it off close or leave some length?
Hi Harry, I learned to first cut the branch up from underneath, then cut the rest of the way down from the top. This stops the weight of the branch tearing or splitting back into the remaining stump or trunk as it gives.
Cutting coppice stools should be done as low to the ground as possible, as they then tend to sprout more and straighter shoots. The shoots should be cut at an angle to shed water out of the stool to prevent rotting and infection. So if you cut the lot down, you should end up with a dome shaped arrangement off cut off shoots (called a stool), highest in the middle obviously.
Another good habit is to cover the stool with any of the branchy offcuts you dont need (assuming you want the straight pole) so that the new growth has a bit of cover to get established before the deer graze on them.
I do like coppicing, though I coldn't tell you how to make a hurdle!
As a time served tree surgeon, I can tell you that the best way to cut a living branch from a tree is to cut about an inch away from the "saddle". that's the wrinkly bit you refer to. As the other poster said, first cut a couple of inces away and do a small undercut to stop the bark ripping back into the saddle then neaten the stub one the branch has been taken. There is no need for further treatment because as the stub starts to decay the tree begins a process called "compartmentalisation" (bloody big word that!!). The tree will naturally cut off the sap flow to the stub and begin to form a woody callous over the wound which will cover it completely in time.
I teach almost exactly the same method. Undercut then a felling cut coming down to meet it. What i then do is trim off the stub to as near the saddle as possible. The method of leaving a stump is called the "Shigo" method, after the researcher, who believed that leaving a stump will allow that should fungi etc take hold in the exposed underwood, the process of the tree cutting off that `limb` will neutralise the fungal invasion.
However, it is widely held that this method, while working on large timber (especially limb shedders like beach), smaller branch stubs do not have the weight to bring themselves down off the tree.
So we use a method of trimming back to the saddle almost, as there is a concentration of Ethlyne, the growth hormone, which rapidly increases the healing rate of the cut.
We have never found any fungal invasion in our forests from using this method.