DIY removing large conifer trees

We are moving into a new house soon. The back garden has a "hedge" of overgrown conifer leylandi which are over 30' high.
One of our first jobs will be to cut them all back to 6-7 feet to make them manageable ( we don't care what they look like) then in the summer remove them completely.
I don't want to pay a company to do this because, naturally, money is a bit tight when moving house and also I like to have a stab at things myself.
Commercial companies will grind the roots away and dispose of the trees which is nice but I am wondering whether that is necessary as a removed conifer will not re sprout and, hopefully, using the method below, will not leave a large root in the soil to get in the way of gardening.
My idea is to lop them as above, and then, when their time comes, to dig/cut vertically through the radial roots as deep as possible and using a tow-rope with a slip knot around the trunk of the tree to use the car pull them out of the ground.
Has anyone tried this? Or should I bite the bullet and get a firm in?
Also, any suggestions for the disposal of the trees apart from repeated trips to the dump as conifers do not, even when shredded, seem to be the best ingredient for rotting down naturally. As much as we love bonfires, we don't really want a big one (actually we do!) until we have met our new neighbours and got to know them.
Thanks for ideas/experiences...
Steve
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Steve wrote:

Mm. I had some, and the stumps proved surprisingly easy to remove. Actually all I did with one was bow saw it flus with the ground, and leave it there. After a year I built a fire on it.
Then I gravelled over it.

Oh. Shame. They burn like anything.
Cut em into logs and sell them for firewood..stack for a year or so..otherwise they are a tad violent.
The brush stiff - hire a chipper.

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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Yes, thanks. That is one option but we want rid of trees and their roots and the missus wants to garden over the hole ASAP.

Ah, good idea. Maybe I can persuade her that a multi-fuel fire is needed...all that energy sitting in the garden for free...

I know about chippers, but I don't know what to with the chippings apart from throwing them into the inferno or making paths from them.
I bet that they will burn like hell when they (eventually) dry out :-)
Steve
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Steve wrote:

Mulch. Or compost.

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Steve wrote:

An experience, not an idea I'm afraid. When removing such a screen of trees, you may find a sudden increase in traffic noise if near a road. And this may be worse than not having the towering triffids in your garden. If you're in the country side then you are very fortunate ! Simon.
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<snip>
Moderate numbers of people are killed every year by snapping cable. Stay in the car, adn don't have anyone else within range.
Quite large numbers of people are also killed by falling trees...
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Ian Stirling wrote:

Good point Ian and, no, there will not be anyone within the dangerous range, just me in car, in reverse, watching for any danger or snag and my wife will be well out of the way (for once).

They will be already have been reduced in height, as I mentioned, to about 2m so I think that this will not be a problem.
Thanks for bringing the potential safety aspects up though. Possibly us DIYers don't always think through our plans fully with regard to the safety implications either to us or our helpers.
Steve
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It's worth noting that it's actually easier to remove taller trees, since you get more leverage. Friend just just shifted a moderate size conifer - plot was to dig around, hack the longer roots, then pull it down. The tree wasn't big enough to kill people though - I'd expect most of the horrid cypresses to be recent enough for this not to be a problem.
cheers, clive
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Clive George wrote:

Thanks Clive What height was the tree when he pulled it down?
I think that appx. 2m still leaves quite a lot of leverage available. Maybe I will not need to drag them out out with the car after all!
Pure muscle power alone might do it and impress the missus to boot ;-)
Steve
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5-7m or so I think.

Sounds good :-) He did have a couple of mates to help - made for a fun morning.
cheers, clive
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I tried to pull out some 2m apple tree "stumps" with a Range Rover & failed miserably. Had to borrow a JCB in the end and dig them out.
--
http://www.strike-the-root.com /
[email me at huge [at] huge [dot] org [dot] uk]
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On 2 Jan 2007 17:12:52 GMT, Huge wrote:

I've taken out a row of Leylandii using a Land Rover. It's relatively easy, but you really need a chain, slip ring and a length of plaited rope. You also need to be damned careful. If the rope comes loose, there's a lot of energy in it.
Leylandii and privet are both best pulled out using a 4x4 IMO. It's not *that* hard and it clears the roots far better than stump grinding.
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If the trees are in a group you could try my technique of placing a scissor car jack between two different diameter trunks and winding.
Where the trunks are similar sizes I put a brace between two trees to double the effective strength and push over a third.
What ever the technique used for levering the trunk you will need some elbow grease with a good sharp grubbing mattock.
Brian
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Brian Drury wrote:

Good thinking! Could you use a Spanish Windlass to pull two together?
--
Dave
The Medway Handyman
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Huge wrote:

Leylandii are not robust trees. They seem to have far less root than most.
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Show me the stats and an official, reputable source for fatalities caused by the whipping action of a snapped cable. While you're at it, do you have a source for official figures on the number of arms broken by adult swans?

--
Clint Sharp

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http://www.hassandlass.org.uk/query/MainSelector.aspx Says that in 2002, in the age group 15-75, 103 arm bone injuries were the result of chickens/ducks/swans etc.
I can't seem to find it broken down further.
On the cable front, I can't find any cable statistics, however:
http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?SX29678 http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061202/NEWS01/612020348 http://www.ohsu.edu/croet/face/reports/2005-24-1.pdf
I don't think you can really count breaking suspension car cables, or Saddam, which were quite a few of the hits.
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Ian Stirling wrote:

Good point that. I used the car to pull out a tree root in the front garden. Rope under enormous tension came adrift from the car and smashed the lounge window! SWMBO was less than impressed.............
Thankfully the room was empty at the time.
--
Dave
The Medway Handyman
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Note to self: Always set up camcorder when doing high energy DIY tasks for possible reselling of mishap footage.
Though knowing my luck the rope would have hit the camcorder before hitting the window :-)
H
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Steve wrote:

I saw a program of "down on the farm" and they got some contraption which was a big pulley/lever device which using a tractor extracted the tree (stumps) from the ground. I would imagine your method would work although maybe a bloack and tackle from one tree to another might be less hard on the car. I saw a neighbour trying it with a puny plant in his front yard and the wheels kept on spinning and the clutch smoking.
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