Dead ash

Stumpsprouts

Branched out member
Location
Asheville
Dead Ash is no joke. Just trying to get my bearings after getting clonked on the head proper.

Was asked to remove 25” ash with 95% dieback. Had serviceable tie in points in two adjacent trees. Brush had space to be bombed into a terrible quagmire of small shrubs and trees and vines on a steep creek. Client wanted the brush to be hauled away. I was in ‘nice guy mood’ and agreed to not only catch the brush on the ash, but also float the brush into the yard 100’ away in a floating block in a white oak so that folks didn’t have to try to drag the brush out of the jungle.

All this rigging went well. Very well. Was mostly done but took an opportunity to use a limb on the ash to rig out a silly oak tree over the house. That went well.

Came back for the last two pieces of brush. The piece I was rigging was about 8” diameter, you can see where it came off the tree on the top right. The piece was caught a bit too hard and shook the tree. A portion of the last remaining brush (you can see where it broke out) landed on my head and shoulder.

In the moment I felt a bit dizzy and confused, and also just a blanket pain. I got myself into a position to lower to the ground… even though I knew I had to come down, some part of me (the adrenaline I suppose) was not ready to leave one last brush piece up there. I wanted to stay up. But after thinking about it for 10 seconds I came to the ground.

I really regret saying yes to doing dead ash trees like this. I know it’s a lot of companies policy to avoid sending a climber up an ash tree with a certain percentage of dieback. Sure, I had good tie in points and that made the risk significantly lower. But I certainly should have said a big eff no to lowering anything off of it. I had space to bomb everything and that’s exactly what should have been done.

This is day one of my ‘no climbing dead ash trees’ policy. Of course there are situations where you can dance on top of a dead eff with a great TIP and turn it into salad, and sure I will take on something like that. But at the point I have two months of work on the schedule, I’m done with this nonsense.

I think I’m ok, leaving my truck here and the wife is picking me up. Going to go get some ice cream and take the rest of the week off. I know I’m lucky and it could have been a lot worse… it also could have been a lot better.

Stay safe everyone.
 

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Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
Whew...glad you're OK

We all get clonked once in a while. Be sure to pay attention to any lingering discomfort. Share how you feel with your wife so she can keep an eye on you. There have been cases with latent injuries that didn't incapacitate until later. Too often us Tough Guys just tough it out. Not a good practice.
 

Reach

Been here a while
Location
Atglen, PA
I too am glad to hear it wasn’t worse! Thank you for the explanation of what happened too, hopefully someone here will learn something from it that saves them from a major injury. And I definitely understand your “no climbing dead Ash” policy - we have the same one, with the exception of climbing big wood only, and working off a crane. Otherwise, we just bomb pieces or cut and chuck with a spider lift.
 

Frankie 1

New member
Location
Buffalo
I’ve used a maasdam rope-puller on a few dead ash and had the top snap off with not much pulling force. Now I send the rope all the way down down the backside and tie off about a foot above the felling cut. Glad to hear you are ok ... those ash can creep up on a guy
 
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Lupin_IV

Participating member
Location
St Paul
There’s a YouTube channel called “EAB university.” Great videos about EAB and others. There’s a video on climbing dead Ash. Acoustical studies were done on dead ash. I don’t remember the number of years dead, maybe 2. It was shockingly low. They have a comparable… acoustic transfer(?) to a styrofoam cup.
 

Tuebor

Carpal tunnel level member
Location
Here
There’s a YouTube channel called “EAB university.” Great videos about EAB and others. There’s a video on climbing dead Ash. Acoustical studies were done on dead ash. I don’t remember the number of years dead, maybe 2. It was shockingly low. They have a comparable… acoustic transfer(?) to a styrofoam cup.
Thanks for mentioning this. Here's the video: Dealing with Ash Trees: When to Climb, and What to Do If You Can't

There were two dead ash in the yard behind me. They have been dead for years. One lost all of its limbs over a decade and took on a lean. In June, it broke at ground level and fell on my neighbor's garage, crushing it. Caught the power lines on the way down, broke a pole in half, and a primary landed in an short oak in my yard and started it on fire.

Finger pointing and lawsuits ensued between my neighbors, the city - who neglected to respond to neighbors' complaints to condemn the tree, and the local electric utility. The remaining ash is dead but maybe only for 6-8 years, so it still has a lot of big limbs left. It's probably around 95' - the line clearance guys came with an 86' lift and couldn't reach the tops and gave up. The landing zone is between power lines, fences and a garage and is about 20' x 20', all on one side of the stem. It's been three months since the first tree fell and the line clearance supervisors finally returned yesterday to come up with plan B for the remaining tree - which is now to rig off of an elm tree in my yard (105' tall with limbs intermingling with the ash limbs). I only heard part of their conversation, but it sounds like a GRCS on my elm, gin-poling a rigging line above and across the primaries, and a portawrap on the ash. I'll post photos if I'm home when it comes down.
 

Lupin_IV

Participating member
Location
St Paul
Thanks for mentioning this. Here's the video: Dealing with Ash Trees: When to Climb, and What to Do If You Can't

There were two dead ash in the yard behind me. They have been dead for years. One lost all of its limbs over a decade and took on a lean. In June, it broke at ground level and fell on my neighbor's garage, crushing it. Caught the power lines on the way down, broke a pole in half, and a primary landed in an short oak in my yard and started it on fire.

Finger pointing and lawsuits ensued between my neighbors, the city - who neglected to respond to neighbors' complaints to condemn the tree, and the local electric utility. The remaining ash is dead but maybe only for 6-8 years, so it still has a lot of big limbs left. It's probably around 95' - the line clearance guys came with an 86' lift and couldn't reach the tops and gave up. The landing zone is between power lines, fences and a garage and is about 20' x 20', all on one side of the stem. It's been three months since the first tree fell and the line clearance supervisors finally returned yesterday to come up with plan B for the remaining tree - which is now to rig off of an elm tree in my yard (105' tall with limbs intermingling with the ash limbs). I only heard part of their conversation, but it sounds like a GRCS on my elm, gin-poling a rigging line above and across the primaries, and a portawrap on the ash. I'll post photos if I'm home when it comes down.

good call, I am horrible about linking stuff. Would love to see that setup, please do post if ya see it go down!
 

Stumpsprouts

Branched out member
Location
Asheville

Jonny

Been here a while
Location
Buffalo
I might. I reserve the right to refuse though. For myself, I’ll refuse when the client gets their quote. If I’m climbing something like that for another tree service, they need to get my input beforehand.

The one I posted was what I climbed today, went smooth enough considering how little room there was. The last top I had to negative rig made me a little leary, but it was light and it all came down fine.
 

Stumpsprouts

Branched out member
Location
Asheville
I might. I reserve the right to refuse though. For myself, I’ll refuse when the client gets their quote. If I’m climbing something like that for another tree service, they need to get my input beforehand.

The one I posted was what I climbed today, went smooth enough considering how little room there was. The last top I had to negative rig made me a little leary, but it was light and it all came down fine.
I highly recommend watching the video someone posted on this thread. It may change the way you feel about taking on a tree like this, especially if you would be rigging out of it.
 

climbingmonkey24

Branched out member
Location
United States
Dead Ash is no joke. Just trying to get my bearings after getting clonked on the head proper.

Was asked to remove 25” ash with 95% dieback. Had serviceable tie in points in two adjacent trees. Brush had space to be bombed into a terrible quagmire of small shrubs and trees and vines on a steep creek. Client wanted the brush to be hauled away. I was in ‘nice guy mood’ and agreed to not only catch the brush on the ash, but also float the brush into the yard 100’ away in a floating block in a white oak so that folks didn’t have to try to drag the brush out of the jungle.

All this rigging went well. Very well. Was mostly done but took an opportunity to use a limb on the ash to rig out a silly oak tree over the house. That went well.

Came back for the last two pieces of brush. The piece I was rigging was about 8” diameter, you can see where it came off the tree on the top right. The piece was caught a bit too hard and shook the tree. A portion of the last remaining brush (you can see where it broke out) landed on my head and shoulder.

In the moment I felt a bit dizzy and confused, and also just a blanket pain. I got myself into a position to lower to the ground… even though I knew I had to come down, some part of me (the adrenaline I suppose) was not ready to leave one last brush piece up there. I wanted to stay up. But after thinking about it for 10 seconds I came to the ground.

I really regret saying yes to doing dead ash trees like this. I know it’s a lot of companies policy to avoid sending a climber up an ash tree with a certain percentage of dieback. Sure, I had good tie in points and that made the risk significantly lower. But I certainly should have said a big eff no to lowering anything off of it. I had space to bomb everything and that’s exactly what should have been done.

This is day one of my ‘no climbing dead ash trees’ policy. Of course there are situations where you can dance on top of a dead eff with a great TIP and turn it into salad, and sure I will take on something like that. But at the point I have two months of work on the schedule, I’m done with this nonsense.

I think I’m ok, leaving my truck here and the wife is picking me up. Going to go get some ice cream and take the rest of the week off. I know I’m lucky and it could have been a lot worse… it also could have been a lot better.

Stay safe everyone.

Glad you're OK, as others have said, be aware of how you feel over the next couple weeks etc. even if you think you're fine. Definitely an eye opener.
 

chris_girard

Participating member
Location
Gilmanton, N.H.
Any particular difference between ash and other species that makes ash more of a risk compared to say oak or maple?
For sure. Dead Ash loses a lot of it's integral strength fast, compared to Oak and Maple. Becomes brittle and doesn't flex well, therefore making it harder to accomplish some technical hinging and swinging of limbs as you're rigging the tree out.
 

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