Cutting down a tree is always a massive undertaking, but it’s twice as hard if that tree is growing close to your house. If a tree is growing too close to a home, the roots can damage plumbing pipes, while the branches can smash windows or cause other harm. Of course, if the wind picks up or if the tree becomes sick or damaged, it can pose an even greater risk to the property. When the tree becomes a threat to your home, you may have no choice but to cut it down.
Safely cutting down a tree close to a house might seem like an insurmountable task, but it’s doable with the right equipment and proper techniques. Below, we’ll take you through the steps required to get the job done with minimal risk to nearby property.
The first step is to ensure you have the right equipment for the job. You’ll probably have to prune away the branches before eventually cutting through the trunk, so you will need pruning shears, a chainsaw, and a handsaw. You may need several sizes of pruning shears, depending upon the different sizes of branches you will need to cut. Since you’ll be trying to guide the tree in a specific direction once it’s felled, you will need several good quality wedges to make this possible.
Safety equipment is also a must. Make sure you have eye protection, long pants, gloves, and if necessary, hearing protection. A hardhat is a key item, as is a first aid kit in case of minor injuries. It’s also a good idea to have a pair of steel-toed boots.
You may end up needing to climb into the tree to prune away large branches, and if this is the case, you’ll need rigging equipment as well. Since you’re trimming branches so close to your house, you won’t be able to simply let the branches drop and fall where they may. You’ll need pulleys and cables to carefully lower the branches to the ground.
Whenever you’re performing a risky job such as cutting down a tree close to a house, safety needs to be your first and most important consideration. Having the right equipment is the first step toward this, but there are other steps to take as well. You should never attempt to undertake a job like felling a tree by yourself. Always have at least one person to serve as a backup while you do the job. Another person is important not only to help you perform the physical part of the task, but also to serve as a second pair of eyes to make sure nothing is overlooked or missed. Get a trusted and capable person to aid you in your task.
The next step to ensuring safety is to make sure there is no one around that could be in harm’s way. Inform neighbors of what you’re doing and send family and pets inside, away from the tree’s path. Move vehicles well out of the path that you expect the tree to take. Property such as picnic tables and swing sets should also be moved.
Once you have everything you need to do the job, it’s time to begin planning. Walk around the tree and decide which, if any, branches need to be cut before the tree itself is felled. Plan the direction that the tree will fall. Ideally, there will be a clear path that’s directed away from the house, but this is not always as easy as it sounds. Take some time to plan the safest possible path for your tree. You will also need to make sure you have an escape route planned for yourself. You need to be able to move away safely if the tree falls in an unexpected direction.
You will also need to make a plan for what to do with the tree once it has been cut down. Do you have access to a wood chipper to mulch the tree immediately? Or can you contact a service to have it removed? This is worth looking into because, in some cases, you might be able to sell the wood and earn a little money from your hard work.
Carefully put on a fall harness and have your assistant nearby. With the shears in hand, start by climbing a ladder and cutting away the medium-sized branches. Take great care to make sure that even the smaller branches drop safely. They can often do more damage than you might think.
Larger branches should be lowered to the ground with a pulley system once they’re cut. Take your time with this portion. A large tree limb can seriously damage your property if it falls without being controlled the whole way down.
While you’re up in the tree to prune away the branches, you should also tie a rope around the higher part of the trunk. This rope will be used to guide the tree down as it falls.
You will already have started this part of the job during the previous step: the rope you tied around the tree will serve as a fall line, helping you to guide the tree where you want it to end up. You will then use your chainsaw to make a notched cut in the direction you want the tree to fall. Then you’ll make another cut on the opposite side. Use wedges on both sides to protect your chainsaw.
Gradually, you’ll deepen the cuts, driving the wedges in further until the tree begins to drop in the desired direction. Once the tree falls, you will have to hope that all your planning around cutting down a tree close to the house has paid off.
Another option, should you decide that cutting down a tree near your house is too risky a proposition, is to hire a tree service. There are several advantages to doing it this way. Having trained professionals with professional equipment to do the job is the most obvious, but there are others as well. For example, your tree service can often remove the tree from your property after it’s been cut. They can also help you plant a new tree in the spot, should you desire to do so.
Finding the right tree service can be a challenge in its own right. You’ll want one with highly trained arborists, as well as proper insurance, such as Mr. Tree. Take some time to research the tree services in your area to discover the best one available.