Trees that are located within 10 to 20 feet of a structure or that have limbs that extend above a structure may pose a risk to the building itself in the event of high winds or heavy snows and need to come down. Such situations should be handled by a licensed and insured tree service whenever possible. If you find yourself in a situation where you must cut down trees too close to a house yourself, the following steps should be taken to assure the trees come down safely. The size and location of the tree will determine the method used to cut it down.
Inspect the site to see whether any utility lines are near where dropping branches might get caught or tangled. If there are, you must call your utility company and have their technicians drop the lines before beginning to take your trees down.
Clear the area below the tree to be cut. Be sure there is nothing that falling branches might damage near where you will be working.
Wear proper safety equipment. Minimum safety equipment includes: hard hats, eye protection, ear plugs or other hearing protection, steel-toed boots and work gloves.
Tie off the top rung of the ladder to the tree or branch. Do not place the ladder in the trajectory of falling branches.
Smaller Trees with Open Area Away From House
Tie a rope to the top half of the tree, about midway or above. Tie the other end to a vehicle frame or towing hitch.
Cut the trunk of the tree above ground level. Guide the tree’s fall toward the open area and away from the house by applying tension in that direction with the vehicle.
Chop the felled tree into individual sections, small enough to be moved easily.
Large and Small Trees in Close Quarters
Begin as close to the top of the tree as possible. Work your way down, moving around the tree to avoid removing too much weight from any one side.
Cut branches that have open area beneath them from the top of the branch so that it naturally swings downward before the cut is complete. Make sure there is no one below you, and finish the cut, allowing the branch fall straight down.
Tie one end of rope to the end section of the branch to be cut, beyond the cutting site. Tie the other end of the rope to a branch that is lower than the branch that you are cutting. This allows the end section to swing down and back toward the tree and be gently lowered to the ground, without damage to the structure.
Cut branches extending over the structure in blocked sections, starting at the tip of the branch and moving in toward the trunk, controlling the falling section’s course with the rope. Do the same for sections of trunk, as you clear the branches from each section until you have taken it down to the ground.