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Eric Rothenberger

Remax Central

DIY Tree Clean-Up? Think Again

Has a storm come through and taken down branches or entire trees in your yard? You may think you’re able to whip out the chainsaw and take care of the clean-up yourself, but think again. Unless you have experience working with this equipment—potentially high off the ground at that—it might be wise to call in a professional.

According to the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), there’s a wide range of hazards to look for when it comes to downed trees and branches:
  • Overhead and/or nearby electrical wires can create potential hazards and limit the options for tree cutting.
  • Torn, hanging limbs overhead could make it extremely dangerous to cut downed limbs underneath them.
  • Wood under tension (one or both ends of the fallen tree or branch pinned under other branches or debris) can have different types of binds at different places. Releasing that tension with chainsaw cuts is extremely dangerous and can seriously, or fatally, harm the chainsaw operator.
  • Uprooted root plates or root balls are unpredictable. Cutting the trunk of a fallen tree from an uprooted plate releases the pressure holding the root plate. The roots are still anchored and may have enough tension that they’ll pull the stump and root ball back into the hole. It could suddenly sit back into the root hole, trapping anything nearby underneath it.
  • Slope and uneven footing surfaces are dangerous while operating a chainsaw.
  • Cutting branches on the ground can cause you to bury the saw bar in the dirt or hit hidden obstacles, causing chainsaw kickback. 
If you do decide to take on the task yourself, don’t go it alone. According to the TCIA, many homeowners injured doing their own tree work were working alone at the time, significantly lengthening emergency response time and hospital stays. Always have at least one other person work with you to call for help, if necessary. And remember, removing large fallen trees should always be done by an experienced professional.