Cutting tree branches or overhanging branches is an inseparable part of a property owner, whether it’s trimming of the beloved tree that has been amusing you for several decades now or cutting off that branch that has been hanging over your parking slot dangerously close to the ground.
Before you start cutting tree branches
As scary as the process might appear to you when bracing yourself and preparing to type in the search bar “How to cut tree branches?”, removing tree limbs is actually not that much of work.
First things first, let’s review all equipment and skills you would need for this unforgettable adventure – cutting tree branches.
Backed up with bravery and the absence of the fear of heights, please make sure you do not have any dizziness, headache, increased blood pressure, balance problems, or anything that can cause falling down from the height. Next, we check the equipment for limb removal:
- An extension ladder
- A chainsaw
- A rope
- A pruning saw or pole saw
- Safety equipment, like goggles, gloves, and other things you believe you may need to protect yourself from small branches, insects, etc.
Before you start, read the instructions on the equipment used and make sure to strictly follow them. We also strongly advise you to have an assistant during the whole process (you can ask your relative, a friend, or a neighbor) who would be able to give you a hand in case you require help or things get out of control.
If you do not feel confident of cutting tree branches yourself, lack the equipment, possess any of the symptoms from the list of medical precautions, it would be best if you could hire the professionals to do the job.
10 easy steps to cut tree branches
If you still are full of energy and determination to push through this dangerous mission yourself, here are the steps you can follow to make tree limb removal flawless and easy.
- Place the ladder at a 75-degree angle to the roof against the building next to the tree a branch of which you wish to cut. Make sure to have your ladder extended enough (3 feet above the roof at least)
- Get to the top of the ladder and make it to the roof so that you have solid support during the operation. Important: if you cannot find the spot that allows reaching the branch without leaning over the space with no solid support, do not risk your safety and order professional service with a cherry picker to get the job done.
- In case you are able to reach the branch from the stop you chose, cut a small section of the branch with the chainsaw or pruning saw. This section should be small and light enough so that you can hold it and drop when having done the cut without difficulty and/or putting your balance in jeopardy.
- Repeat step 3 several times until you are not able to reach the branch anymore (branch, however, might still have some undesired length)
- You may stop at this point if you find the results of your work satisfactory. However, if you desire to cut the branch further, you need to change your location and make the following preparations:
- After a thorough examination of the branch and making sure it can support the ladder and your weight, you can lean the ladder next to it and continue cutting the branch in small sections. Look out to not cut too close to the point of contact between the branch and the ladder! In case if you have your doubts about the security of this step, we encourage you to skip it.
- Once there is no more space on the branch to put the ladder against, it is time for the third (and the last) phase of the operation. Make your way up the ladder to the branch and tie a rope to it at least 1 foot away from its edge. The end of the rope should reach the ground and have a slack of the length of the remaining branch.
- This time the ladder is to be put against the tree trunk; the position should be stable and solid, close enough to the branch so that you could reach it with the best saw for cutting tree branches without much leaning forward.
- While you perform the cut, ensure your assistant is pulling the rope away from the property to avoid any possible damage. If the branch is too thick or heavy for a person to handle it, ask you, assistant, to tie the rope to the car to effectively pull it away.
- When the mission is accomplished and the branch is successfully cut, make sure to fold down the ladder back to its storage state and collect all your instruments. Check the roof and the other branches of the tree for any items left behind.
Useful Videos: Step-By-Step Cutting Tree Branches
In these videos, you will find out how to cut tree branches properly and how to trim a tree limb that is out of reach
Cutting a tree branch, bear in mind
Speaking generally, cutting limbs and trimming trees is not a difficult procedure. However, it does involve a certain level of risk and a set of precautions is to be taken (we talked about them at the beginning of the article, if you skipped that part, we advise you to get back to it and devote a minute of your time to look them through).
Now that you have a clear picture in mind about how to cut tree branches, we have some tips to share with you that would enhance the safety of the operation and make the experience more enjoyable.
Thorough preparation is the key. Not only you need to have all the equipment at hand and gather all your courage to cut the limbs yourself, but also there are preparation actions to be taken.
Inspect your tree first; understand what exactly it is that you need to remove (if there is anything to remove at all), look out for slippery spots, and unstable surfaces as you move around during examination.
Such checks better are run on a permanent basis with desired frequency (however once a month is considered to be sufficient). You do not necessarily require a ladder to inspect your tree; a pair of binoculars can be used for the inspection of branches that are hard to see from the ground.
Next, when you understand the scope of upcoming work, make a plan. Choose carefully in what sequence you need to cut the branches when there are several to be cut and where and how you place the ladder.
Cut by small pieces. As we mentioned in the easy steps, the branch is always to be cut not the whole one at once, but step by step in small pieces that you are able (except the last one) to hold with your own hand.
This way you would keep the situation under control and not risk dropping the piece of wood, jeopardizing your balance or risk to fall.
Don’t cut the branch collar. When it gets to the last final cut, which is believed to be the most difficult to perform, you would want to make your cut right above the spot where the collar is. Please ensure not to remove any part of the collar itself! Collar plays an utmost important role in the healing process.
When damaged, it cannot perform its function right, and the tree risk getting infected or rot. It is a highway to a tree’s death.
Make the branches short enough. First, it will give you the ultimate level of satisfaction with the completed job, because what can be more beautiful than admiring the fruits of our own efforts?
Second, leaving part of an unnecessary limb would result in the tree having difficulty with forming the scar tissue that keeps the wound open for too long and can result in potential infection.
Do not use tree paint. Despite common beliefs, tree paints that are advertised as tree wound dressings and healing supplies often do more harm than good.
Trees have the amazing ability of self-healing, as long as they are provided proper opportunities and conditions. Let that tree cuts dry, and you will see your tree happy and healthy in no time.
Use the right tools. All the tools you decide to use for tree limb removal must be clean and sharp. Dull rusty saw leads to infecting the fresh wound and drastically decrease the tree’s chances of healing properly.
Timing matters. Just like for human beings, trees are very sensitive to the season changes, temperature, humidity, etc. Certain times of the year are better for trimming than the others.
Winter is considered to be the best season for such manipulations due to the favorable temperature conditions; in cold the flow of the tree sap is slowed down since there are no leaves to nurture, and the infections and bacteria are less active during this period of time, so your tree is less likely to get sick during its healing.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help. It might be the hardest part of all – to admit you have problems and call the specialist to assist you with them.
However we ensure you, the money you pay and the displeasure you might experience is worth having your tree being treated properly, saving your property from potential damage, and avoiding risking your health.