Should I Shear, Saw or Pull?
This really is a personal preference but we will point out advantages and disadvantages of each.
Shearing has traditionally been the most popular way of cutting trees. The more versatile shears will not only cut at ground level but can power rotate the head and trim limbs. Shears are available to cut up to 16” trees. The larger shears do not have the rotate feature to side trim fields so are not as versatile as the shears that rotate. Shearing leaves a smooth cut and can cut at ground level so you can drive and mow over the stump. After shearing, the stump will need to be treated to avoid future growth (cedars do not require spraying). Tordon is a popular stump and brush herbicide that is available in ready to use containers. It runs from $25 to $50 per quart. Some shears have a spraying feature but there is a lot of waste of chemicals (expensive and not environmentally friendly). The chemicals are corrosive to the sprayer/tank and the nozzle can be clogged and/or broken in a brushy environment. Shearing is a quiet, safe method of cutting trees with very little debris other than the cut limb or tree.
Saws are quick and can cut larger trees. Saws usually require larger machinery with either hi flow or larger hydraulic pumps to operate properly. Your equipment must run at high RPMs on most models which may cause overheating of your hydraulic oil. Maintenance is higher on saws because the replaceable teeth will wear or break in rocks or fence posts. With speeds of up to 2,000 RPM a tremendous amount of dust can be created which is absorbed by you and your equipment. The higher RPMs can also throw debris. Like tree shears, sprayer attachments are available but have the same shortcomings. Some models can rotate for cutting limbs but beware the weight and high RPMs up over your head.
Tree Pullers are becoming more popular. It is a good way to clear a pasture or field because you do not leave a stump. Some think a large hole is left after a tree is pulled. This is not true as most of the dirt falls off the roots and into the hole. The roots can also be dragged over the area to smooth it out. You can expect to pull 4” to 6” trees if your equipment is around 80 hp or more. However, remember there are several variables when it comes to pulling – size of equipment, soil conditions and species of trees. Some models will allow you to dig/cut roots which will increase the size of trees that can be pulled. Pulling is a safe way to remove trees.