The Dangers of DIY Tree Cutting

Cutting down your own tree can save you a lot of money, but is it worth the risk? Learn about the dangers involved with DIY tree removal before you grab your ladder and chainsaw.

There are various reasons for it to become necessary to cut down a tree in your property: a) so that you could keep your yard neat and attractive, b) if a tree becomes rotten or poses a threat to your loved ones or home, c) to make room for another structure. You might be tempted to make a go at it yourself to save money, but it’s important to realize that cutting down trees, or even trimming trees, is a hazardous activity. It requires specialized knowledge in a variety of areas, such as cutting techniques, dangerous tools, physics, and more. Recognizing the dangers involved in tree cutting is important so that you can take the necessary safety precautions if you do decide to accomplish the task yourself.

Common Tree Cutting Risks

  • Falling trees, limbs and branches. – Cutting down trees entails removal of branches before eventually cutting the tree down itself. You risk either being hit by the branches and loose tree limbs, or by the tree. A simple YouTube search will yield dozens of videos of people, just like you, cutting down trees that then fall on their homes, vehicles, roadways, or electrical poles. If you’re not an experienced tree cutter, it’s a safe bet that you will miscalculate the angle of the fall or underestimate the height of the tree and damage your property or your neighbor’s. Worse, you might end up like this man from Mississippi who was killed in a tree-cutting accident. Sadly, his is not the only tree-cutting story that ended in tragedy.
  • Falling from a great height. – One of the primary dangers when working from a great height is falling. This danger is further exacerbated if you need to bend away from your center of gravity to work away at a branch or if you are handling cumbersome tools.
  • – Falling trees can land on power lines as they are being cut, damaging them. If your tree hits a power line, you are risking electrocution, and even starting a fire.
  • Injury with tools. – OSHA requires tree-cutting professionals to use head-to-toe protective gear. They undergo extensive training in the proper use of dangerous equipment, such as chainsaws, ropes, cranes and wood chippers to successfully and safely cut, fell and dispose of trees. Regular folks who attempt to perform the task themselves without safety gear or the expertise to use the tools required for the job expose themselves to injury or even death.

Laws Regarding Cutting Down of Trees

You might not know it but in some places, you can’t just cut down trees just because they’re inside your property. Make sure to check state and local laws so that you don’t accidentally break them, thus getting in trouble with the authorities. Some important things to remember include:

  • You may be forbidden from cutting a tree down no matter how much you want to do so depending on where you live and how old the tree is, where it’s situated, how healthy it is, and whether or not it actually poses a risk to property and life.
  • You may need to secure a permit from the concerned government agency before you can remove a tree in your property.
  • Conversely, some states reserve the right to remove trees on private properties that could affect the health and safety of other trees or people. However, they concerned government agency must first give notice to the owner to remove it themselves.

It may seem like a good idea to cut trees down yourself, but the reality is it isn’t worth the risk. It’s strongly recommended that you hire a professional arborist to do the job for you.