[INFOGRAPHIC] The Biggest Tree in the World by Volume

The biggest tree in the world by volume is not the tallest or widest, but the overall volume of its trunk makes it the biggest tree on Earth. The biggest tree on earth is the General Sherman Tree located in the Sequoia National Park in California. It stands at a staggering height of 274.9 ft or 83.8 m[1] and has a bole volume of 52,508 cu ft or 1,487 m3[2], a mass of 2,472,000 lb. or 1,121t. [3]

The Biggest Tree in the World by Volume – General Sherman

biggest tree in the world by volume - general sherman

General Sherman Statistics


The General Sherman stands 274.9ft (83.8m) above base.1


General Sherman has a circumference of 102.6ft (31.3m) at the ground. 1

Max Diameter

The max diameter of the tree is 36.5ft (11.1m) at the base. 1

Diameter at 60 Feet

The tree’s diameter is 17.5ft (5.3m) at 60 ft (18m) above the base. 2

Diameter at 180 Feet

At 180ft (55m) above the ground, General Sherman has a diameter of 14ft (4.3m). 2

Diameter of the Largest Branch

The largest branch has a diameter of 6.8ft (2.1m) 1

Height of First Large Branch

The first large branch is 130ft (39.6m) above the base. 1

Estimated Bole Volume

The estimated bole volume is 52,508 cu ft (1,487m3 ). 3

Estimated Bole Mass

The estimated bole mass is 2,472,000 lb or 1,121 t. 3




[1] “The General Sherman Tree”. Sequoia National Park. U.S. National Park Service. 1997-03-27. Retrieved 2011-08-12.

[2] Flint, Wendell D. (1987). To Fin the Biggest Tree. Sequoia National History Association. p. 94.

[3] Fry Walter; White, John Roberts (1942). Big Trees. Palo Alto, California: Stanford University Press.

Finding the Right Tree Climbing Gear for Your Tree Removal Project

Finding the Right Tree Climbing Gear for Your Tree Removal Project

As any good arborist knows, part of their job description is monitoring the health of trees and knowing when they need to be cut down. The size and location of the tree often is a determining factor in what type of climbing gear will be needed for the project. Arborists especially focus on individual trees to determine what climbing equipment they will need. The first steps therefore are studying the tree(s) in their current state for breakage, rot and disease. Once the arborist, sometimes known as a tree surgeon, has determined that the tree in question has to be removed; then he/she studies the ecosystem, the surrounding area and notes any obstructions such as utility poles. It is important that he/she makes a determination based on on-site observation and has a detailed plan in place. It is also necessary to observe how sturdy the tree(s) are and plan out where tree limbs will fall when cut. This is for safety reasons.

Tree Removal Safety Equipment to Get Started

Once you have determined how heavy the tree is, you’ll need to both stabilize and make sure your rigging system can take the weight. Rigging systems often use a combination of pulleys, blocks, ropes, cables and hoists to safely bring down trees. Depending on the type of rigging system you use, you still have to determine force and distance factors along with weight factors. A poorly designed rigging system could end up costing you.

Types of tree rigging systems

All tree rigging systems use a combination of ropes, pulleys and fiddle blocks. Some systems also use cable and hoists to bring down tree limbs safely. The determining factors for what type of tree rigging system are: location of the tree, weight of the tree, angle of the tree, obstacles, and clearance. You want to make sure that you have a good estimate of each of these factors before deciding which tree rigging system is right for your project. Determining the pressure points is also an important step to determining the right safety equipment to use.

Mechanical Advantage:

This system uses additional ropes, pulleys and fiddle blocks to increase your muscle power to pull over trees, add tension to slide lines and lift tree limbs.

Natural Crotch Rigging:

As the name suggests, this system uses the tree’s natural friction to lower tree limbs to the ground using just rigging lines.

False Crotch:

This rigging is often used when the tree is not in bad enough shape to be removed. Using various rope tools such as eye slings, whoopies or loopies with arborist blocks or pulleys to cut and lower specific tree branches makes this system easy and creates the least harm to the tree.


This device is primarily used to carry heavy loads safely and efficiently. A tree pulling kit or a fiddle block set work best with this system. The load can be moved laterally in a drift line system or lowered safely to the ground.

Dynamic Spar Rigging:

This rigging system uses dynamic forces to drop pieces into a rigging point below where the wood is being removed. Strong components that can withstand both the force and the weight of the wood are a must with this system. Decelerating equipment that lowers the pieces gradually is suggested to mitigate the impact. Once the pieces have ceased their momentum, a slide or a drift line can be used.

Limb Lifting:

This rigging system is used when you need to lift a tree limb vertically and is typically “tip tied” and lifted using a rigging line and a block or pulley. A lifting/lowering device should be utilized with this system.

Knotless Rigging:

This system is mainly used to lower small lighter branches quickly and easily. It uses only a rigging line and should only be used for static loads.

Spider Leg Balancer:

This is a balancing system designed to help maintain the tree’s shape and the limb’s orientation after being cut from the tree. The balancers provide adjustability to manage the load while at the same time maintain balance while the limb is lowered. This lessens the swing and movement of the limb after it is removed.

Drift Line:

This system was mentioned in the Port-a-Wrap system, but can also be used in the Mechanical Advantage, the Spider Leg Balance and the Dynamic Spur Rigging systems. It is mainly used when an obstacle prevents the tree from being lowered directly down or it needs to be transferred over an obstacle such as a stone wall.

Slide Line:

Like the drift line system above, the slide line system can be used in conjunction with the Mechanical Advantage, and the Spider Leg Balance Rigging systems. It is usually used to transfer wood long distances and is not recommended to be used for dynamic loads.

Once you have determined what rigging system you will use, you can then decide what tree removal equipment you will need for your project.

Tree Climbing Ropes

An essential piece of any tree removal equipment is tree climbing ropes. When you are looking for tree climbing ropes, there are four essential attributes that make tree climbing ropes different than ordinary ropes. These are elasticity, abrasion, tensile strength and durability. An arborist has to have a good understanding of the following factors; weight of the working load and the rope’s breaking point, the rope’s resistance to heat and water, and its resistance to sunlight and chemicals.

Types of climbing ropes


Static ropes are often used as slings and safety straps since they are more resistant to abrasion. They can also be used to haul lines. Static ropes are made of polyolefin, nylon and/or polyester materials with Kemmantle, Laid and Braided construction.


Dynamic ropes are primarily used as lifelines due to their flexibility and versatility. They can be easily worked with to create essential knots and can absorb the force of a fall. Nylon dynamic ropes are the most popular material used with Laid and Braided construction.

Tree Climbing Ropes and Gear Storage

Tree removal gear has to be stored correctly for its continued use. As was mentioned in the last section, a tree climbing rope has certain characteristics that make it unique. In order to maintain those characteristics, ropes and other gear need to be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. You should never step, drive over or place other heavy equipment on top of your rope. Proper washing when necessary and coiling without placing on a rusty nail or hook will ensure your rope lasts. Harnesses, belts and saddles should be checked regularly for splits and worn areas.

We’ve talked a lot about ropes. You can find out a bit more about tree roping from the National Tree Climbing Guide.

Tree Removal Harnesses, Belts and Saddles

Safety and fit are the main concerns when looking for the correct harness. You should look for harnesses that have sturdy back padding, rings to place ropes through and leg straps. Tree removal harnesses are sometimes known as saddles due to their familiar western style leg straps. Belts can be very useful to hold spikes, rigging hardware and other rigging equipment.

Pulleys, Blocks, Carabiners and other miscellaneous tree removal equipment

Tree removal climbing gear such as pulleys and blocks are essential tree removal gear. You should make sure that all components that you assemble for the rigging system you’ll use are compatible with the other parts of your existing rigging system. Carabiners are often used by mountain climbers, but tree climbers use carabiners to link cable or rope in a pulley system to haul wood. The right tree removal climbing gear helps maintain safety while climbing trees, cutting tree limbs with chainsaws and lowering wood safely to the ground.

Arborists know that it’s important to have the right tree removal and climbing equipment for the job. Using this equipment correctly could mean the difference between life and death. Determining first what type of rigging system you need before doing the job can save you time, energy and boost your reputation as a tree expert. This was only a small outline of what you can do, as every tree is different and calls for combinations of rigging systems.


Contact us today if you need help assessing the right equipment for your tree removal project or if you need a hand removing your trees, 812.327.4573.

What is Tree Topping and Does it Harm the Tree?

tree topping forrest

What is Tree Topping?

Topping is basically butchering of tree branches to stubs or to lateral branches that are not large enough to take the terminal role. A lot of trees will have several “tops”. When a tree is topped it creates a lot of stress in the tree and then starts to produce water sprouts. Where the water sprouts start to grow they are a very weak. Topping is often used to reduce the size of the crown. A homeowner may feel that a tree has become too large and near their house, or that tall trees may pose an undesirable risk. If the home owner wants the tree topped, the new branches that grow back are weaker than before and will usually grow to the same size tree in the matter of years and sometimes just in one year.

What Will Topping Do to a Tree?

Trees need leaves to produce food for the whole tree, removing too many of them can temporarily starve a tree and put the tree in survival mode. When topping a tree or taking too many branches off forces rapid growth of multiple shoots (water sprouts) below each cut trying to produce new leaves quickly as possible. If a tree does not have enough stored energy to grow the water sprouts, it will be seriously weakened and may die. When a tree becomes stressed with large open wounds from severe pruning, the tree is more vulnerable to insect and disease. The tree may not have energy to chemically defend the wounds.

When a lot of the leaves and branches are removed, the remaining branches that were usually in the shade and are now quickly exposed to the sun and can cause sunburn of the tissues under the bark and can lead to cankers, bark splitting, and death to the branches. The sunburn happens more often in younger, thin barked, dark barked and trees that are going through drought. One of these or combination along with suddenly being exposed to sunlight can create sunburn. When a tree is in survival mode that causes a tree to produce water sprouts come at great cost to the tree. These water shoots are created near the surface of the old branches. Unlike your typical branches that grow in overlapping wood tissues, these new shoots are attached only in the outermost layers of the branches and are poorly attached. A lot of tree climbers don’t even like to climb past where new growth started after a tree has been topped. The new shoots grow quickly, as much as 20 feet in one year in some types of trees. The water shoots are easy to break during windy or icy conditions. While the original goal was to reduce the crown to help the tree and protect the house, the risk of a limb breaking has now tremendously increased.

If a tree has a dead “top” it’s okay to cut it off, but that just means another branch just took the terminal role of the “top”. It can be difficult sometimes to trim up a tree exactly how the homeowner wants it done, but there is usually an alternative route to topping that the homeowner will be happy about, especially compared to topping.   I could drive through most neighborhoods that have mature trees and find several trees that had been topped, they are everywhere. Topping is a very common practice but isn’t recommended by arborists. If any company advertises tree topping as a service they do I wouldn’t recommend them to be hired.

Removing a Topped Tree

When a tree has been topped and is now unhealthy, it can a lot of times be very expensive to properly remove it. When climbing to remove a tree these water sprouts that have grown 20 feet or more and are very large branches to rig. Thankfully they are lighter branches usually and thanks to the help of an arborist block and porta wrap and some good rope a lot of these removals become doable but you are still dealing with a 20 foot branch dangling next to the arborist and usually overhanging next to the house. These branches make it very difficult sometimes to remove the tree. In some cases you can get a bucket truck to the tree, but bucket trucks don’t always get you high enough in the tree or can’t always get these trucks close enough to the tree. When a tree is too rotted to climb and can’t get a bucket truck close enough or doesn’t reach high enough, often times a crane is used. Cranes have different ranges in height like bucket trucks but a lot of bucket trucks reach 61 foot working height meaning where your hands can reach and some can go 75-85 feet, but less common. Cranes a lot of times reach 120-150 feet and that number sometimes includes the jib or sometimes the jib can add onto that height. There are definitely cranes that can go higher than that, but then prices go up really fast from there, usually you have to get permits just to move the crane and semis to bring in counter weights which result in very expensive setup fees.

Contact us today if you need help assessing the right approach for your tree removal project. Call us at 812.327.4573 or fill out this form for a free estimate.

Source: http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/resources/WhyToppingHurts.pdf