The damage caused by a tree falling on your property can amount to thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars, depending on where it lands. That’s not to mention the legal and insurance nightmares it’s likely to put you through. Worst of all, an unsafe tree can pose a risk to people and animals in the area.
If you have an old, dead tree on your property, it’s not worth it to wait. That old tree has to go. But can you remove it on your own or do you require the services of a professional? The answer depends upon the equipment you have access to and your willingness to put in the time and effort to get the job done safely.
Step 1: Evaluate the Situation
Before asking the question, can I remove a tree myself, you need to take a look at exactly what you’re dealing with. The size of the tree will be a major consideration.
Needless to say, it’s usually much easier to remove a smaller tree than a larger one. How big is the tree in question? Does it seem to be a job that will require multiple people? Who do you know who can assist with the job?
You might decide not to do the job on your own at all. If not, you will need to contact a qualified arborist. In that case, do some research to see who is available in your area and the type of work that they do.
Make sure you read customer testimonials and double-check that your prospective arborist is both insured and certified to do the job.
Step 2: Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment
You also need to take an inventory of the equipment you have available to do the job. Tree removal is a big job and requires a great deal of equipment to perform safely.
Safety glasses, a hard hat, and steel toe boots are a must. You’ll also need gloves, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, and hearing protection of some kind. It’s a good idea to have a dust mask or respirator to prevent sawdust from entering your lungs as you cut.
As far as the cutting down of the tree itself, you need a chainsaw for the larger portions. Felling wedges are a must to prevent your saw from becoming stuck.
You may also need pruning shears and a handsaw for removing larger branches before you can cut into the trunk of the tree. Finally, you need a stump grinder or other material for removing the tree stump after the rest of the job has been completed.
Step 3: Create a Plan
Of course, even with all the right equipment, it’s not a good idea to simply go in and start cutting. You need to be aware of the property surrounding the tree and have an idea of which direction the tree in question will fall once it has been successfully cut.
Part of the planning phase involves clearing the felling area so that your tree doesn’t hit anything on the way down: remove any property that is at risk, and make sure no people or animals will be in the area.
You need to decide which, if any, branches you need to remove before cutting into the trunk itself. You will also need to have a plan in place for how you will dispose of the tree once it has been cut.
Will you attempt to cut it apart and remove it from the property yourself? Or will you secure the services of a company that can come in and remove the tree? In some cases, you may be able to sell the tree, which is worth looking into.
You also need to have a plan for how to remove the tree stump. Will you be able to rent a stump grinder? If so, do you have a method for transporting it to your area?
If a stump grinder isn’t available, will you be able to utilize other methods, such as burning the stump? In some areas, this method may not be legal. Take some time to research which methods of stump removal are available to you.
Step 4: Begin to Cut
The first step in felling a large tree is to ensure that the branches won’t catch anything on the way down. In most cases, you will have cleared away any property that is at risk, but if the tree is close to your home or other property, you may have to remove some of the larger limbs first. Especially with an old, at-risk tree, this can be a risky proposition. It’s usually much safer to contact a tree service, such as Mr. Tree, to do this job for you.
Finally, you can begin the process of cutting down the tree itself. If necessary, you may need to secure guiding ropes to help ensure the tree falls in the direction you want it to.
The other way to make sure this happens is to make a notch cut on the side facing the direction you want the tree to fall. Then you will use your chainsaw to make a felling cut on the opposite side. Use those felling wedges to prevent your saw from becoming stuck.
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Once you have cut into the tree enough, it will begin to fall. At that point, make sure you move to safety and allow gravity to do the rest.
Step 5: Cleaning Up
The final step is to clean up the fallen tree. If you have made plans to have a tree service remove it, you can contact them to let them know the job is done. They can also remove the stump for you, which otherwise can be a big, expensive job.
You may ask, can I remove a tree myself after it has been cut down? If you haven’t made arrangements with a tree service, you will have to cut the tree trunk into smaller parts and dispose of them afterward.
You may be able to repurpose the remains of the tree for firewood or even lumber. Otherwise, you will simply have to load them, piece by piece, into your vehicle and drive them away.
Image Credit: can I remove a tree myself by twenty20.com
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