Trees are the largest living things on the planet. However, even a small tree can pose some risk to person and property, especially during a tree removal operation. We believe that our knowledge of trees and plants as biological structures makes us better equipped to safely remove trees. Following are the most common tree removal methods, listed from simplest to most complex.


Tree_FellingTree falling, or felling, is the process of cutting a tree at the base, and letting the whole tree fall to the ground. It is often the easiest and most inexpensive way to remove a tree. Felling can also be the safest method of tree removal, yet there is potential for catastrophic damage if not done properly. How the felling notch is formed, manner in which the back cut is made, and methods for overcoming back and side lean are all major factors determining the success of a tree felling procedure. While this procedure might be the quickest way to get a tree on the ground, it often requires the greatest amount of clean up on site. The ground may be depressed and branches quite often are impaled straight into the ground.




The most frequently performed tree removal technique in our Seattle area involves an arborist removing all of the branches on a tree as he encounters them on the ascent up the trunk of a tree. When the arborist  reaches the top of the tree, a felling cut is made and the upper portion of the trunk falls to the ground. The arborist then begins to cut and push sections of wood from the trunk, letting them free fall to the ground below. The arborist usually stops when the remaining trunk is short enough to be safely felled. This tree removal procedure is sometimes referred to as “cut and chuck.” While often quickly performed, there are limitations to this method due to safety and potential for damage to the ground below.





Spar pole rigging is different from the traditional tree removal technique, in that after the branches have been trimmed from the trunk, the top and subsequent pieces of wood are caught by a rigging rope and lowered to the ground by an arborist. Once the determination is made to rig pieces out of a tree, factors of safety become critical in this tree care operation. The weight of wood and the structural strength of the rigging point are two of the factors considered by the arborist team.






For zero impact tree removal, every part of the tree must be attached to a rope, and lowered from an overhead rigging point. A professional arborist will use  many techniques, such as slide lining/speed lining, lifting and lowering, floating anchor points, balancing branches so they float horizontally, and a combination of any of these methods. A crane is often utilized to remove a tree when the tree is deemed unsafe for an arborist to climb it.


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Tree roots are 'smarter' than you think. ... See MoreSee Less

TREE MYTH: Trees grow into sewer lines. TREE TRUTH: Trees never, ever (ever) grow into sewer lines unless there is already a breech in the line. Roots grow where nutrients and water are available. If there is already a crack in the sewer line, that means water, and the tree roots naturally seek it out. But, tree roots will not puncture or grow into a sewer line on their own. This picture visually shows that tree roots grow where conditions allow. Roots move where there are nutrients, water, and oxygen. A good thing to know when someone says, "we can't plant trees there, the sewer/utilities run through there."

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By Lorri Grueber, Frankfort city arborist

We are fortunate to live in an area with so many trees. So fortunate in fact, that we tend to take the trees for granted and say things like, “Aww, we’ll plant another one” or, “It’s just a tree.”

Your Forestry Advisory Board (or Tree Board for short) decided it was time to take action against these all-too-common phrases by showing the community exactly what kind of dollar value individual trees have.

Each Tree Board member was assigned the task of selecting five trees in high-profile areas, with predominantly pedestrian traffic (we didn’t want accidents occurring). As a group, we collected information on each tree: location, species and diameter — and made sure it was relatively easy to walk to each tree.

The data was then entered into a Tree Benefits Calculator ( and an annual overall benefit was calculated. There are five quantifiable categories used to achieve this figure. They are: stormwater management, property value, energy, air quality and CO2.

The figure does not account for costs associated with trees’ long-term care and maintenance.

To arrive at the “lifetime” dollar amount, we used 75 years. The majority of street trees do not live 75 years, but several of the trees used for this project are actually planted in larger spaces such as the Orlando Brown House, Lt. Governor’s Mansion and the old Capitol grounds. We knew they were older trees.

As trees increase in size, they become more valuable for many reasons; the ability to capture or slow more rainwater, larger canopies provide more shade thus further reducing energy expenses, more leaves can clean more air, etc. so, this dollar amount you see is a starting point.

The 19 trees that received tree tags provide a cumulative annual benefit of $141,969.75 in addition to making us feel safe, drawing us outside to walk, run or bike, healing us faster and being pretty — and that’s only 19 trees. If you consider how many trees are inside Frankfort city limits — they all comprise our urban forest — we have a multi-million dollar resource that we are generally taking for granted.

The commissioners did approve funding for a street tree inventory this summer. We are currently in the bid process for this. Once the inventory is completed, we will have an accurate accounting of all street trees with an accompanying dollar value.

We will also be able to prioritize removals and proactive maintenance and begin the work of getting our urban forest healthy again.

If you are interested in learning the annual benefit of the trees on your property, you may visit that same website. You will need to know your zip code, tree species, diameter and the type of property (which likely will be single family residential). It takes less than a minute.

If you are interested in learning more about urban forestry and basic tree maintenance, you might want to consider participating in the City’s “Keep Frankfort Forested” classes. They begin in October. Registration is open now and you may contact me via email at or by phone at 502-682-1914 for more information.

In the meantime, you may want to take a walk around town and look for these valuable assets and maybe, just maybe, give a tree the gift of a proper mulch ring as a way to thank it for its work.
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