Tom's Blog

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dealing with a large blow-down

Last summer we lost a large bur oak on our south-facing slope. See last July's post for details.

Unfortunately, as the July photo above shows, this tree fell in a dangerous spot, and presented a considerable hazard for next spring's burn of the south slope. We could not leave it lying. We waited until the prairie had senesced and the tree had time to "age" before dealing with it. Yesterday, Integrated Restorations came in with chain saws and cleaned up the site.

Even though the big tree was down, it was a major job to cut because it was not completely on the ground. As last summer's photo shows, the branches were still high in the air. The wood of a bur oak is dense and hence very heavy. Cutting such a tree down is not a trivial task. Obviously, we left it for the professionals.
As the photo above shows, there was lots of wood here, and the site was up the hill from the town road (Pleasant Valley Road). The crew cut up all the small stuff and made a brush pile. The big wood was cut into pieces, rolled down the hill, and taken to the cabin, where Craig split it with an axe. We now have enough fire wood for the rest of the winter.

The brush pile was placed in a location where its flames would not damage any nearby trees. (Dry brush piles burn especially hot and create high flames.) This brush pile will almost certainly burn up when we burn the south-slope prairie this spring.

The photo here also shows down the hill the still-black Crane Prairie which we burned a few weeks ago.


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