When stormy weather strikes, trees are often the casualties. Thunderstorms, hurricanes, even winter ice storms—each and every storm can exert a damaging influence on deciduous and coniferous trees alike.
On my northern Wisconsin farm, spring and summer thunderstorms—depending on their severity—can leave a trail of windblown destruction in their wake. The red pines and Scotch pines planted in windbreak rows tend to take the brunt of the damage. On good days, a few large branches might be the only losses. On bad days, a storm might fell entire trees.
It’s important to clean up storm damage as quickly as possible—the longer you leave it, the more problematic it becomes. These eight tools and machines will help speed up and simplify the process so it’s a minimal interruption to your normal farm work.
Hands down, the first tool you need is a chainsaw. For slicing through thick branches and cutting logs into sections, a chainsaw will significantly reduce the time and effort you spend compared to other options.
Just be sure to wear all appropriate safety gear.
2. Pruning Loppers
Pruning loppers are useful for cutting smaller branches into manageable pieces.
The canopy of a large tree can be quite a tangle. Rather than fight your way through with a chainsaw, pruning loppers can be a simpler option.
3. Wood Chipper
What to do with the many small branches that blow down even during light storms? You could haul them to a brush pile, or you could run them through a wood chipper.
If you have fruit trees in need of mulch, wood chips can be a valuable commodity.
4. Tractor with Attachments
A well-equipped tractor will make a huge difference in how easily (and quickly) you can clean up a fallen tree.
A forklift attachment is a must-have tool for handling logs. And a grapple makes a big difference when handling branches.
5. Log Splitter
If you want to turn trunk sections and large branches into firewood, a log splitter will save you the trouble of splitting them with an axe.
Tow your log splitter out with your tractor. Then put it to work right where the tree fell.
6. Bow Rake & Shovel
Even after you clean up the bulkiest debris from fallen trees, there’s bound to be many twigs, pieces of bark and leaves/needles the storm spread across the area.
A simple bow rake, paired with a large shovel, will go a long way toward gathering and scooping up the mess.
7. Wagon or Trailer
Whether you’re hauling the entire tree to a brush pile or just carting away the leftovers, a wagon or trailer will do the job. Plus, it’s a convenient way to carry your chainsaw, pruning loppers, bow rake and shovel.
If you find yourself with a few large logs, why not turn them into lumber? A portable or semi-portable sawmill lets you put the logs to good use without ever leaving your farm.
Have all of these tools and machines on hand, and you’ll make quick work of any storm damage that affects the trees on your farm. But of course, here’s hoping they spend more time in your toolshed than not!