Cutting Trees Around the House

Cutting trees, points for the amateur

How many homeowners, look at the surrounding woods or foliage, and think that it would be convenient if they could actually remove some of the surrounding foliage around their homes?

What would the reasons be for removing trees around your home?

  • Safety / if there are trees that either lean towards the home, or spread branches towards the home or even over the home, their removal may be beneficial for the overall safety of the home.
  • Mold growth / if there are areas of your home that simply never get sun, it may be time to remove some of the shade trees that cause this to occur. Surrounding many established homes, are older trees that have matured to the point of covering the home in shade. Although this is a welcome advantage on hot summer days, this promotes mold growth, and limits the amount of drying out, by sunlight that your dwelling obtains.
  • Limits the view / in many well established homes, the growth of trees through the history of the home may limit the views that were available when the home was constructed. Trees have a tendency to grow much quicker than we can expect, and the limitations on the view may cause a negative situation.
  • Old vegetation / the age of many trees will determine the beauty and the health of these trees. There are several types of trees that will mature for long periods of time and become more beautiful and picturesque as they mature. However, some trees become lanky and woody as they grow, and at some point will require removal.
  • Maintenance nuisance / there are several types of trees that will become simply too much maintenance to properly maintain. There are types of pine trees that will deposit needles and pine cones constantly throughout the year, and the homeowner may simply feel it easier to take the tree down, than to maintain the area beneath the tree forever.
  • Security / in some instances, trees become hazardous to the security of the homeowner by presenting covered and hidden areas where stalkers could hide out. Of course this situation is completely determined by the type of neighborhood that the home is located in. However, tree removal could be required to reduce any areas of concern.

The most obvious and safest method of any tree removal around the home is to hire the professional. In most instances, the use of a trained arborist that is fully insured to perform this type of work, is the most efficient and practical method of tree removal. However, if this is either not feasible due to budget constraints, or you are simply the die- hard do it yourself, homeowner, listed below are some of the basic steps and recommendations of tree removal.

  • Safety is the most important aspect of homeowner tree removal. What are some of the most basic safety pointers if you are considering the cutting of trees on your property?


Where is the tree going to land, once it is properly cut and allowed to fall? What is the height of the tree, where it is located and how wide are the limbs off the trunk of the tree. Stand on all sides of the tree, and anticipate the area of yard that will be required, if the tree is allowed to fall without any type of “ topping “ or “ limb removal “ prior to cutting the tree and allowing it to fall. If the tree appears too large, tall or imposing, hire that professional, and reconsider any attempt to take the tree down yourself. This is important!


  • What type of saw will you use to cut the tree? If you are using a chainsaw, do you know the proper method of operating this saw? Have you ever used a chainsaw before? A chainsaw is a very dangerous piece of equipment and can cause severe injury. Make sure you know what you are doing when it comes to the operation of this chainsaw. If you are using a handsaw, again, the operation of this saw is important. Although not as dangerous as a chainsaw, a hand saw can cause severe injury if used incorrectly. Make sure you are well versed in the use of the saw you will use to cut the tree.


  • Make sure you use all safety equipment necessary to protect you from the saw, the branches of the tree, as well as any projected wood or other material, that may be projected off the saw or launched into the air as the tree is fallen. Gloves, goggles, and proper footwear with steel toes are required. Do not try to cut trees with sneakers and shorts. In many instances a tree is covered in vines that could be poisonous oak of ivy. It is essential that no matter what the temperature is, you are fully covered when cutting trees.


  • What will you do with the tree, once it is down and lying on the ground? Will the wood be used for future fires, used to make boundaries for planting beds, or simply piled and allowed to rot away. It is important to think about the amount of wood that will be created, once you actually cut the tree down.


  • Do you have the time to not only properly cut the tree down, but to clean up all the wood, the branches and the miscellaneous debris that will be created, once you cut the tree down?


  • Could there possibly be a secondary use for the fallen wood. If the wood is a valuable type of wood, such as cedar or oak, will the resultant fallen tree offer the opportunity for milling and future use? In most instances, the wood will be either allowed to rot away, or will be used in a fireplace, woodstove, or open fire pit. However, the opportunity to use this wood for other creative ventures should be considered.


  • Is it worth the effort? Cutting trees on your own property, is a complicated and dangerous task, if you have not already had extensive experience with tree cutting. The cost of having a professional arborist remove the trees that you would like cut down, in most instances, makes the most sense.

Although I did start this article with the intention of listing a number of simple instructions to properly and safely remove trees from your yard. As I developed the article, I realized that unless you are the diminishing number of homeowners that are both experienced and knowledgeable of handling complex and definitely dangerous tools, the most advisable suggestion is to have a professional take down the trees. Unlike other, less dangerous tasks that can be handled by the homeowner, the removal of trees from your property is almost always better left to the professionals.

Cutting trees is personally dangerous, as well as considerably hazardous to the surrounding properties. The incorrect calculation, a slipped chainsaw or an improperly cut tree, can result in substantial property damage and possible personal injury.

Call the professional that is both experienced, and most importantly properly insured to perform this work. In this case, it is probably not the correct decision to attempt to do it yourself!

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