The marvelous tree in your yard has provided your property with aesthetic appeal and shade for the past several decades. However, during this time, your tree has also grown to a staggering height—and it's now putting the safety of your household and neighbors in danger. Instead of continuing to let your tree grow, it's time for you to fell your tree and ensure the safety of the people around you. Before pulling out the chainsaw and getting your hands dirty, take some time to resolve these safety issues.
Felling a tall tree isn't an easy task. Although you may have removed several smaller trees in the past, felling your tall tree will require a bit more forethought—and equipment.
To fell a large tree, you'll first need to cut off any limbs that protrude a great distance from the tree's trunk. In order to accomplish this, you'll need to scale your tree (a hard enough task in itself) while carrying your chainsaw or cutting tools with you. Without the proper equipment, performing this task can prove deadly.
There are several pieces of personal equipment you'll need to safely remove protruding limbs from your tree. A harness, helmet, work gloves, lanyard, and safety goggles will give you the protection you need to safely scale and trim your tree.
Although you may be able to get away with using a simple body belt while scaling your tree, a chest or full body harness will ensure your safety in case of an accident. Full body harnesses provide the best protection against fall injury by providing the greatest amount of support. When used in combination with a lanyard (which you can make with arborist rope and some basic items), a full body harness will nearly eliminate your risk of fall damage while trimming your tree.
While cutting your tree, debris such as branches and leaves will dirty your work area and present a safety hazard to people, cars, and structures beneath your tree. Instead of risking injury and property damage, vacate and clear the area around your tree.
Although clearing your work area may seem like common sense, many do-it-yourself arborists make the mistake of not clearing enough space. Gauge your tree's height and use that measurement to create a safety radius equal to the height of your tree. By clearing this large amount of space, you'll be able to ensure the safety of the objects and people around you even if you experience a catastrophic failure while felling your tree.
If telephone wires or transformers are within range of your work area, then contact your city's respective departments to remove or disable them. Otherwise, falling branches can disrupt your neighborhood's utilities—which will both upset your neighbors and leave you with hefty fines.
The fall line of your tree must be determined well before you begin making your initial cuts. However, determining the fall line of your tree isn't always a straightforward task.
There are several factors that determine the ideal fall line of your tree. Terrain slope, tree shape, and surrounding structures must be considered while planning your fall line.
In the best case scenario, the terrain around your tree would slope downwards and away from any nearby structures, and the shape of your tree would naturally cause your tree to fall in that direction. However, chances are your tree wasn't planted or shaped with the intention of creating an ideal fall line. For this reason, you'll likely need rigging equipment (such as thick arborist roping and pulleys) to pull your tree into a safe fall line after you've made your undercut and back cut.
By addressing these safety hazards, you'll be able to create a plan of action that allows you to fell your tree with as little risk as possible. However, if you have trouble obtaining the proper equipment, clearing your work area, or planning your fall line, then contact your local tree service contractor to find more information.