Although it is tempting to not spend money on purchasing or hiring a wood chipper, it has become impossible to work as a tree surgeon if one does not have one.
Even if it were possible to burn all the brash and branch from a job, it takes a long time and labour to start a decent fire and burn all the material.
Chippers condense the branches into chips enabling you to transport roughly ten times the volume of branch that one would be able to carry if it was not chipped.
The chips can be used as a mulch for keeping weeds down in the garden, for animal bedding, or for bio fuels.
There is a market for wood chips - you can offset the cost of chipping by selling your wood chips.
Which Wood Chipper?
- Tracked wood chipper or on wheels?
- 6" or 9"?
- With a winch or without?
- Diesel or petrol?
The answer to these questions is how much are you prepared to spend and what is the bulk of your work.
Most tree surgeons argue diesel engines are more durable than petrol and cheaper to run (not to purchase) because you can use red diesel. 6" chippers are more common although they cannot take as big a branches as 9" chippers.
- Often tracked chippers are useful in areas where there is no vehicular access and it means you do not need to take the branches to the chipper. For instance they are very useful along rail tracks and for clearing huge tracks of ponticum.
- Tracked chippers are also very useful with winches as they can pull timber the right way and come in very useful.
- A trailer is needed and they are much more expensive than wheeled chippers.
- Quick to move on roads
- No trailor required
- You have to bring branches to the chipper
- No winch facility
The Mandatory units in the Certificate of Competence in Stump Grinding Operations(ASG02) is critical before using a Stump Grinder. A stump grinder is useful for three reasons:
- Prevent any more shooting growth from the stump.
- Aesthetically, it is nice to remove unsightly stumps.
- When moving or strimming, equipment isn't damaged by old stumps.
Stump Grinders come in all shapes and sizes and again it is important to get the stump grinder that is appropriate to your needs. Smaller ones will cope grinding out small trees and ponticum but not with a large old oak stump!
Log / Timber Removal
Any tree surgeon will tell you that felling or dismantling trees are a small part of the job when it comes to tree surgery!
There are several ways to cut your costs when pricing or costing out a job.
- Farmers may take wood from you free of charge in exchange for the potential fire wood.
- Log suppliers or wood burning stove centres may take it off your hands.
- Sawmills/ wood turners are often keen to take nice bits of native hardwood and there is a chance you will receive money for "waste wood". Wood Turners particularly like bits of ewe, laburnum, cherry and burrs of any kind and if you have any nice long lengths of elm, oak, ash, or sycamore, saw mills are always keen to get there hands on it.
- Contract in a timber lorry to take away large trunks and branches to your yard and you can process it in your own time there. This can save enormous labour costs and clear the site quickly and easily. There has to be good vehicular access though.
Cherry Pickers and Elevated Platforms
There is a course which one should do before one works on an a cherry picker: CS47 Use of a chainsaw from a Mobile Elevated Work Platform.
Elevated platforms can be hired and are essential when working on dead diseased trees which are risky to climb and dismantle.
Vans 4x4 Vehicle Trailers
A tree surgeon would be at a loss without a trailer. A tree surgeon may have a selection of trailers:
- A tipping trailer for firing wood chips into.
- A trailer to carry a tracked chipper.
- A small trailer for small deliveries of logs and for a quad to tow a wheeled chipper into position.
I doubt if there is any tree surgeon who has not wished that he had the time and equipment to process large beautiful straight bits of timber into table tops and cut bits of wood for furniture and construction. There are no excuses not to process all sound bits of timber as the industry has more than enough portable mills out there which enable anyone to convert their timber into lovely bits of wood to keep rather than just for fire wood.
There are three ways to deal with large bits of timber.
- Bring the timber to the sawmill via timber lorries.
- Take the portable saw mill to the timber.
- Where it is difficult to access, one can fit a frame around a large saw and by using a ladder as a guide, mill the timber on site.
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