“What’s this? Another tree/branch/large shrub in my yard that wasn’t there before the storm? I better gas up my old chain saw and go cut it up!”
Stop! Just don’t.
Yet another storm has brought distress into your yard – uprooted trees, broken branches, and stray debris abound. As a proud homeowner, you are understandably tempted to fire up your old chain saw and take matters into your own hands. But before you do, ask yourself: “Am I capable of removing this large tree/limb myself, or should I seek professional help?”
The answer is always, without a doubt, “I need professional help!”
Why? Major tree damage cleanup will require the use of a chain saw and climbing equipment. Unless you are experienced in the use of such equipment, and are comfortable working off the ground, it is best to have you work performed by a competent professional.
“But my chain saw is right here!” You insist. “It wouldn’t take me long at all! Besides, I’ve used a chain saw before to cut up an old fence. What could possibly go wrong if I cut up this giant tree branch in my yard?”
Plenty can go wrong! Unless you are a professionally trained tree worker who knows what to look out for, that is.
Post storm clean-up hazards may include the following:
- There could be overhead and/or nearby electrical wires that create potential hazards and limit the options for tree cutting. Torn, hanging limbs overhead could make it extremely dangerous to cut downed limbs underneath them.
- Most chain saw work on large limbs or trees requires the experience of a trained operator to prevent injuries. Wood under tension (one or both ends of the fallen tree or branch pinned under other branches or debris) can have different types of binds at different places. Releasing that tension with chain saw cuts is extremely dangerous and can seriously, or fatally, harm the chain saw operator.
- Uprooted root plates or root balls are unpredictable. Cutting the trunk of a fallen tree from an uprooted plate releases the pressure holding the root plate. The roots are still anchored and may have enough tension that they will pull the stump and root ball back into the hole. It could suddenly sit back into the root hole, trapping anything nearby underneath it.
- Slope and uneven footing surfaces are dangerous while operating a chain saw.
- Watch that bar tip! Cutting branches on the ground can cause you to bury the saw bar in the dirt or hit hidden obstacles, causing chain saw kickback.
- Many homeowners injured doing their own tree work were working alone at the time, significantly lengthening emergency response time and hospital stays. Always have at least one other person work with you. In case you get trapped or injured, there’s someone to call for help.
Find a professional
A professional arborist can determine the best way to accomplish the task at hand, and has the experience and proper equipment to do the job. And in doing so, they just may prevent an injury or even save a life.
To find a professional tree care company in your area, use TCIA’s ZIP Code Search tool. This will provide you a tailored list of TCIA member companies in your region, so you know your tree canopy is getting the best treatment possible!