What is Sectional Felling?


15th April 2019 | Info

Sectional felling or dismantling is the process of removing a tree using aerial operations (working off the ground). A tree may need removing due to many possible factors, including limited space in the surrounding area, construction or landscaping purposes or simply for the health of the tree.

There are many different methods and techniques that can be adopted when sectional felling/dismantling. These techniques will need to be adapted, as every tree is unique.

Factors that may affect the method of choice for dismantling a tree include the following:

  • Size of the tree to be dismantled
  • Shape/form of the tree
  • Access/drop zones (how much space is around the tree)
  • Health and stability of the tree

The following methods may be used when sectional felling/dismantling:

Work positioning

Sectional dismantling using work positioning techniques requires a trained and qualified Arborist using a harness and ropes to climb to the top of the tree to secure an anchor point, before then abseiling down to begin work from the lowest branch. With tree surgery tools such as a top handled chainsaw and hand saws, the climber will work their way up the tree removing sections using approved and current cutting methods.

In some situations, the use of a rigging kit will be required. This is installed on an anchor point within the tree that has enough strength to hold the weight of the pieces to be lowered. A rope will usually be placed in a pulley block to create less friction and wear on the equipment. Branches and timber will be attached using the end of the rigging rope and held by a competent person on the ground at the other end of the rope, generally with the aid of a tree surgery lowering device such as a block that is attached to the tree. The rope can be wrapped around to create friction, giving more control and maximising the safety of the ground staff. The pieces are then cut by the Arborist in the tree and lowered to the ground in a controlled manor by the ground staff.

Aerial access using a MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platform)

A MEWP may be used when the tree is unsafe to climb, so if the tree is dead, dying or diseased. Ground conditions will be assessed by a competent person to ensure the stability of the machinery to be used. The platform operator will employ a harness and lanyard to control the risk of falling from the basket and will be attached to the basket at all times when operating the machinery. Operators should be trained and competent in the use of a chainsaw from a MEWP in order to carry out the works.

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