The Risk Factors of DIY Tree Removal & Why You Should Leave It to the Pros
You’ve been staring out your window at a target all year, and it’s time—the tree has got to go.
While cutting down a tree may seem like a simple process, it’s actually quite complex. It requires a background of knowledge and experience to do properly and, more importantly, safely.
Cutting down a tree isn’t as simple as cutting away at the base of the tree and letting it fall to the ground. There are many considerations to account for and risk factors involved with do-it-yourself (DIY) tree removal.
DIY tree removal isn’t worth the risk, and it will likely cause more problems than it solves. So before you reach for your chainsaw, consider these risk factors and why it’s best to leave this work to the tree removal pros.
Tree removal isn’t as straightforward as you might think. There are many dangers involved that could lead to serious accidents without expertise.
Here are some of the most common causes of accidents for DIY tree removal.
If you need to use a ladder to remove limbs off your tree, then the tree is too large for you to remove safely. Climbing a ladder with a chainsaw in hand is extremely dangerous for a number of reasons. You could lose control of the chainsaw, lose your balance on the ladder, fall off the ladder, and seriously injure yourself.
Misplacement of ladders on uneven ground and using the wrong type of ladder can cause problems, as well. For example, if you aren’t at the proper height—the height of the ladder doesn’t extend at least three feet past the branch—large branches can over-leverage you. The branch will rise above the ladder when you cut it off, and possibly pull you off the ladder.
Using the wrong tools or faulty tools—such as dull chainsaws, pruners, or axes—to cut down a tree can cause a serious accident. It’s easy to lose balance if your tools are dull.
And if you don’t have all the proper safety gear, you’re even more at risk of injury. When cutting down a tree, you should wear harnesses, a hard hat, safety glasses, safety gloves, and chainsaw pants that jam chainsaws and protect your legs.
But with the amount of money you’d need to spend on the right equipment and gear, you’re better off hiring the professionals to do this dangerous work for you.
Risky Chainsaw Handling
Safely cutting down a tree with a chainsaw takes practice. You need to consider the angles of the cut in the tree, weight distribution, and insertion of the bar into the tree. You also need to have complete control over the chainsaw at all times. Otherwise, you will be at risk of cutting yourself.
One of the biggest risks of using a chainsaw is kickback—when the saw jerks backward toward the operator. And if there is a bolt or nail in the tree, the chainsaw can become unpredictable.
Lack of Knowledge or Experience
Lack of tree-cutting experience or knowledge about tree physics or biology can lead to accidents when cutting down trees. For example, attempting to cut off tree limbs in large, heavy sections will make the section difficult to control, and risk damage to the tree and yourself.
Safely cutting down a tree requires making precise calculations, such as the height of the tree and the angles you cut to determine when and where the tree will fall. Otherwise, a miscalculation can cause the tree to fall in the wrong direction and risk damaging property and causing injuries.
When it comes to cutting down a tree, there is the risk of tree limbs falling and damaging your property—house or car—or severely injuring you.
Falling tree limbs are large and unpredictable. The weight of trees and branches can be deceiving, as can their centre of gravity. And getting these safely to the ground might require a rope and pulley system if they’re too heavy to hold on your own.
Powerlines are a major hazard when cutting down trees. There is a risk of being electrocuted by powerlines hidden in the brush of the tree. And falling trees can also knock down powerlines, causing fires and power outages.
Trees can be full of dead or decaying wood patches, making them even more unpredictable when cutting down. And if you aren’t aware of this decay, you won’t have an accurate sense of the tree’s centre of gravity or its destination when it falls. It often takes arborists years of practice to identify the degree of decay in a tree.
Poor judgement, inexperience, and simple mistakes can lead to costly damage and serious injury during DIY tree removal. And those without years of experience and practice are more likely to cause accidents due to human error than professional arborists who have the necessary training and knowledge to remove trees safely.
When planning your tree removal, also consider the following:
You may need formal consent from a neighbour or a permit from your local municipality before cutting down a tree, especially if part of the tree is on your neighbour’s property. Otherwise, you’ll risk having to pay a fine if you do this work without acquiring the right permits.
Property damage is a major financial risk of DIY tree removal. If you can’t predict where the tree will fall, you’re taking the risk of having it fall on your car, house, or neighbour’s property. And this property damage will likely lead to large out-of-pocket expenses and increased insurance rates.
When removing a tree, you’ll need to cut in sections for easy cleanup and transport. If the tree is large and you’re removing it on your own, it could take weeks to haul away every piece of the tree. So a one-day job could turn into many days and weeks spent on cleanup alone.
Accidents to Others
If any friends, neighbours, or family members are nearby helping or watching you remove your tree, they are also at risk of being injured. However, professional arborists will secure a safety zone and keep people at a safe distance away from the tree removal area.
Arborists Have Training
Professional arborists have the training, knowledge, and experience to cut down trees safely and avoid any hazards.
These tree-cutting professionals have the expertise to:
- Prevent falls from the trees they are working on
- Identify trees and branches with cracks, decay, or unbalanced weight
- Remove trees without causing damage to property or hurting themselves
- Avoid overhead electrical wires
LEAVE TREE CUTTING TO THE PROS
With so many risks involved with tree removal, it’s best to leave it to the pros. Though you might think you’re saving money, DIY tree removal may actually cost you way more in time, money, and stress. And the risk of injury alone isn’t worth the minor savings.
But the pros have the tools, equipment, and skills to remove your tree safely, keeping you, your family, and your property safe from the many potential dangers of tree removal.