Garden And Lawn Care: How And When To Remove A Tree

A tree should be cut down before it becomes dangerous. A sick or dying tree has limbs and branches with no leaves.

A tree should be cut down before it becomes dangerous. You will know this by looking at it. A sick or dying tree has limbs and branches with no leaves. When you pop off a dead branch, it is brittle and snaps, rather than bends like branches do that are filled with sap. Old trees, especially Willows, can rot from the inside out, and a heavy rainfall mixed with high winds can make the tree fall, sometimes breaking apart in four pieces. In the case of willow trees, sometimes you can feel a sponginess to the limbs. If that's the case it is rotting from the inside out, and could be very dangerous.

Animals and people have been killed by falling trees. Even if a limb falls and grazes your body, you could receive a serious injury. If you are pinned under a limb, it could take more than one person to pull the tree off you. Taking a tree down before in dangers life and limb is the smart thing to do. Whether or not it's your favorite tree, if it's dying there is nothing you can do to save it, and you must remove it quickly and safely.

If your tree has many branches, and some are low-hanging, you should remove them first. Get rid of any limbs you can that do not involved climbing on a ladder or in the tree. The fewer limbs that fall during the removal process, the better. If the tree has a low crotch, you can climb in that and saw above the limb, thus letting the limb fall below you and not injuring yourself. Never stand under a limb and try sawing it off.

Once you get all the limbs off that you can reach easily, you will need to assess the remainder and decide the easiest way to get it down. If you have a large chain saw, and someone is helping you, you can put a ladder up against the tree and operate the chain saw to the side, so that when the limb falls, it won't hit you. However, sometimes the limbs will crack before you've sawed all the way through them, and they can bind the saw or snap in your face. Because of this, your helper should tie a rope between the middle and end of the branch, and pull it away from you, so if the branch should fall you won't be injured.

If the tree is very tall, and the only way to get it down is to cut it from below, you will need to cut a v-shaped slit on the off side of the tree before you begin to saw on the side opposite the way you want it to fall. A helper should also have a rope tied to the trunk, as high up as he can get it, and attach the rope to an inanimate object so the tree will fall in that direction. If you have a tractor or heavy truck, tie the rope around the tree and to the vehicle. Then drive the vehicle forward, putting full tension on the tree, so that when it falls it will fall in that direction. However, make sure the rope is long enough so that when the tree falls it will not hit the vehicle.

Very high trees, such as old evergreens and tall maples, should be taken down professionally. If you ever saw the movie Spencer's Mountain, you'll remember the tree falling on the grandfather and killing him. Sometimes tree cutting should not be done by amateurs.

If you don't have a chain saw, there are hand saws used strictly for tree cutting. These are not for the fair of heart, and some of them take two people to operate. If you are an amateur, leave the two-man saws to the lumberjacks.

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