Safe, Injury-Free Tree Maintenance: Tips for DIY Work

Welcome to my blog. My name is Kerry, and I love to do DIY work around the home. While painting high ceilings and putting in garden beds seems to be easy for me, I find climbing into a tree with a saw to trim branches very scary and potentially dangerous. Luckily, over the years, I have gotten past the fear and have found ways to service my trees safely and efficiently without risking grave injury to myself. Sometimes, I admit that I have to call in the pros, but I'll help you identify when that's a necessity as well. Take a look at these posts. I hope they move, entertain and inform you.

Advice on felling a tree safely by yourself


While normally, this type of work should be done by professional tree loppers, there are certain scenarios whereby it is acceptable to have DIYers conduct the tree felling by themselves. This is normally when the tree is relatively small and does not have many branches.

Even if it is a small tree, you should still take the same safety precautions as you would if you were felling a large tree. It is important that you know the correct process for efficiently and effectively cutting down trees. Here are some tips that will help you with this project.


Before you start doing any cutting, you need to ensure that you have all the necessary equipment within arm's reach. You will need to have a comprehensive set of protective gear that includes protective eyewear, solid and thick boots, a hard hat and heavy duty gloves and clothing. There should be a first aid kit close by in case an accident occurs. You will need a chainsaw and an axe for the cutting.

Preparing to cut the tree

It is always a good idea to plan out how exactly you are going to cut the tree. You need to check if it is leaning to one side, look for any broken or dead branches, ensure that the falling area is clear of everything and make sure that no branches of nearby trees will be in the way.

Finally, always have an escape route in mind if something unexpected happens when the tree is cut.  If a tree does fall in your direction, the best option is to shelter behind another nearby tree.

Cutting the tree

By tapping on the tree trunk with your axe, you will be able to determine if it is dead (it will have a hollow sound) or alive. Dead wood is easier to cut, so you want to find the area where there is plenty of it.

Make sure you know exactly where the tree will fall by looking at the way it leans. Make sure to also factor in the tree bouncing or rolling. Give it a large margin of safety.

Make your first cut at around hip height and cut into the tree about one third of the way. The tree should fall in a perpendicular fashion to this cut. You can then make what is called a wedge cut, whereby you create a wedge shape by creating a cut either above or below the previous cut on the opposite side. Your final cut should be slightly above the initial cut. Make sure that you get out of the way when the tree begins to fall.

For help with this process, or if you want to leave all the work to the professionals, contact a local tree lopping service. 


19 November 2015