Tree care work in general is hazardous, but tree removal is especially dangerous. Successfully felling a tree requires knowledge of tree physics, biology, dangerous tools, advanced cutting techniques, and more. Homeowners who attempt their own tree removal may be injured by falling limbs, malfunctioning equipment, or the tree itself.
Common tree removal risks include:
- Power lines. Working near power lines is risky, and you should always assume that the wires are live. If you, your tools, or the tree hits a power line, you may knock out the power in your neighborhood – if you’re lucky. Most likely, you will be electrocuted. Another myth homeowners may believe about power lines is that the black coating on them is insulation. This is not true. The black coating on power lines is weather-proofing for the metal cable. You can still get electrocuted through the weather-proofing.
- Improper equipment. OSHA requires tree removal professionals to wear protective gear from head to toe. Tree care professionals are also trained in using equipment such as chain saws, ropes, cranes, and wood chippers to safely fell and dispose of a tree. Homeowners would need all of this equipment – and the requisite expertise – to perform a successful and safe removal. Without it, they expose themselves to unnecessary risk.
- Decaying wood. A dead or dying tree is often decaying from the inside out, making it extremely unstable. Even professionals sometimes use cranes to remove such deadwood. If you think your tree is starting to decay, find a professional to remove it before it collapses without warning. There are critical tree biology processes to understand when removing decayed trees, so professional help is always necessary.
- Gravity. Once the tree starts falling, you have no control over where it goes. It also may not fall the way you expect it to, even if you try to influence it with carefully cut indentations or ropes. Poor judgment could result in the tree falling on homes, power lines, or people.
In short, homeowners should never attempt their own tree removal. It isn’t worth the risk, and will likely cause more problems than it solves.