Dead Trees | Impressive Removal Job

Two elm trees died on the property line between our house and our neighbor. We decided to split the cost and have them removed before they dropped dead branches and damaged our houses or injured a person. Their trunks were 14″ and 24″ in diameter. Equipment could not get to them between the houses. They couldn’t be dropped into a yard due to lack of space. In came the heavy duty 80 ft crane to my driveway. Because of its size, I had to sign a waiver for possible damage to the concrete. Nothing happened to the concrete.


Click these to embiggen




I stood in the yard in amazement at the process while I took these pictures. One of the neighbors ventured out to say this was the most excitement in years for the cul-de-sac.

Below are two image galleries. The first shows the process of removing the top of the trees. The second shows the removal of the main trunk of the trees. Some of the images are large and best viewed full size. Embiggen them with the button to the lower right of each. Captions tell most of the story.

Gallery 1 – Top Removal

Gallery 2 – Trunk Removal

The End Result

Except for a little sawdust and two stumps, there is little evidence of the incredible work done in the three hours before. The crew raked the area. They cleaned all the small sticks and twigs from the driveway and the street. When they left, there was no mess of any kind left behind. They even had drop cloths down to catch oil drops under the equipment. Good work.


A crew will return to grind out the stumps, add topsoil, and sow grass seed.


22 thoughts on “Dead Trees | Impressive Removal Job

  1. What an incredibly thorough job! I can’t believe how big the branches were going into the shredder! What great pictures. Big machine work is so fun to watch.

  2. Some words don’t change much as they come down through history. The botanical genus Ulmus uses the Latin name of the kind of tree known to us by the native English cognate elm. The Latin word became Spanish olmo, and there’s an Olmos Park in San Antonio. You may be familiar with the actor Edward James Olmos, who played teacher Jaime Escalante in the movie “Stand and Deliver.” Although your dead elm trees were still standing, you prudently got rid of them before they could deliver an unwanted package to your house.

  3. There’s nothing more fun than watching people who know what they’re doing, do a difficult job. I’m a great fan of crane operators, actually. After hurricane Ike, the cranes that came in to untangle the mess of damaged and sunken boats and demoished piers was amazing. They came in by road and by barge, and some were huge. And the operators? They were able to manipulate huge cranes with the precision of surgeons. A lot of people spent a lot of time just standing around watching.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The cranes are extensions of their hands and feet. They pick their way around, pick up pieces, move in subtle ways, and get the job done. What a breath of fresh air if our government leaders could do the same. Sorry for interjecting that. It’s a thing I have.

    • We have a new school going up a couple blocks from our home. It’s destined to be a STEM campus for high school and community college students. We’ve had the crane visible for almost two years and occasionally can see it swinging the boom around, long I-beams looking like twigs as they move through the air.

  4. We have a lot of trees at our place. One of them fell onto the road in a storm. Luckily no one was hurt and our next door neighbour removed it with a chainsaw and a truck (he’s a useful kind of neighbour.)

    • It is good no one was hurt. Now and then I see where people are killed or badly injured by falling trees or limbs. I have a friend who does forest assessments for logging companies. He is always mindful that limbs can fall on him even on a quiet and calm day as he hikes the forest. He works alone and would likely never be found.

  5. We are due for a visit from one of these in November to take out a maple that is threatening our neighbor’s house. They sure do make this job a lot easier and safer. Several years ago, we were visiting my sister in law in Bethesda. The houses there are quite tightly packed and the yard across the street had a tree that needed to be dropped. I am not sure why they didn’t use one of these…maybe expense…but a guy spent the weekend in that tree dropping it piece by piece with a rope. Great job he did…not a shingle, clapboard or shrub sustained a bit of damage.

    I had to go to Manhattan a couple of times in the past and was always amazed to see how, in the middle of the skyscrapers, cranes managed to get the work done from rooftops and vacant lots. One was a Trump property surrounded by several others of his. I can’t imagine the finances required for that type of undertaking.

    • That piece by piece approach of lowering the branches works, but is time consuming. Sometimes there is no other choice. Or, money prevents the use of something quicker. I was fortunate to be splitting the cost of this project with my neighbor.

      About 3 blocks away is a crane being used on construction of a 6 story education building. Each day a guy climbs and sits in the cab to drive it. That is even becoming a rarity. Many of them are driven remotely from a ground operator with a device similar to what model airplane enthusiasts use.

  6. Wow, what an operation! I expect the tree crews are getting lots of practice taking down dead ashes. I’m a little nervous about my neighbor’s 2, lined up upwind of the power line as they are.

    • So far, Iowa has not been infested with the ash borer. Soon, I expect, from what I recently read. They are really causing a mess.

      • Yeah, it is impressive to see the swath they have cut through our forest preserves. We aren’t worried, thought, because the ashes are such prolific seeders there are already tons of seedlings coming up.

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