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Why chip the whole tree?

Why chip the whole tree?

(OP)
For much of the past year, I've been living at my son's house in an older, quiet neighborhood in Eastern Pennsylvania. During that time, a small number of very large trees have been removed, some because they were just scary big, and one because it leaned over against my son's house during Hurricane Sandy.

These trees were all more than 50 feet tall, and one trunk was so thick that a chainsaw with a four foot bar could just barely reach its center. They were topped and delimbed, and all of that stuff went directly into a really big chipper. Lots of mulch and animal bedding, etc.

Then they used a crane to support the trunk at the top, and cut it into short pieces that were trucked away. That's the part that puzzles me.

Several big slices were taken from the base of the trunk, obviously destined to become tabletops, but most of the trunks were cut into short pieces, maybe four feet long at most. I.e., you might get a chainsaw sculpture out of each piece, but they weren't long enough to saw into structural timber or boat planking, and of the upper parts of the trunk, whatever would fit into the chipper, went into the chipper.

It just sees like a waste. Is mulch worth more than lumber? Or is timber harvested from residential areas just too diffuse a supply to bother transporting to a sawmill?

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Diffuse describes it, I think. Like with most everything else, economics rules. Another thing is that sawmills don't like logs from non-forest sources due to the danger of metal inclusions.

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

What kind of tree was it? Many are "junk" which have no value other than chips!!

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

(OP)
Sandy's victim was a pine, remarkably straight, maybe 65 ft. tall, mostly knot-free for half its length.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Does seem kind of dumb??!!

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

My guess is that it probably cost more to hire a logger, cut down the tree (without breaking the log or adjacent buildings), limb it and haul that one log to the nearest sawmill than the log was worth.

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

(OP)
That seems sensible. They'd need a higher capacity crane than they brought to get one of those giant trunks off the stump in one piece, and they'd need a much bigger truck than they brought to carry it.

Still a shame.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Could have been worse, you could have lived across a tree marked for removal from the town only to have them come at 7:00 am the next day after Hurricane Sandy when you had no power and nothing to do but sleep and have them cut the tree down.

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Regarding the four foot long chunks, some wood pulp processing mills use the four foot lengths in their processes.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
http://mmcengineering.tripod.com

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Out here (Tacoma, WA) it is usually the homeowner's choice. Chips, sections for firewood or logs. As was mentioned logs can be expensive because of the size.

Sometimes chips for paper are worth more than lumber. However paper people are very fussy about their chips and I wouldn't think that was the case here.

Tom

Thomas J. Walz
Carbide Processors, Inc.
www.carbideprocessors.com

Good engineering starts with a Grainger Catalog.

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