News reports continually remind us that even experienced woodsmen and tree climbers are easily killed while felling trees. Whether death occurs due to them falling, kickback of the trunk, or being crushed under the tree, the important lesson is usually best to leave large tree removal to competent, insured professionals.
The larger the tree the greater the risk! Since many amateurs will still attempt their own tree removal, this page includes a partial list of important do's and don'ts when removing a tree.
Never cut trees from a ladder. It's too easy for the ladder to kick-out and cause a serious fall.
Never cut branches close to utility lines. Electrocution is a very real possibility.
Never allow spectators in the work area. Trees don't always fall where you plan.
Never wear tree spikes for climbing unless the tree is being removed. Spikes will damage tree bark and create entries for insects and disease pathogens.
Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying chips and debris.
Wear a hard hat to help protect your head from falling branches.
Wear approved chaps to protect your legs from a chainsaw, as well as earplugs for noise.
Wear clothes with a snug fit.
Cut the proper notch at the tree's base to prevent kickback. Kickbacks can be fatal.
Beware of potential damage to sidewalks, driveways and lawns from heavy tree trunks dropping.
Make sure there's enough room for the tree to fall without damaging buildings and contacting other trees. If a felled tree gets hung-up in another tree, it can be very hazardous to finish the removal.
Watch for "spring loaded" branches that may “whip” you when they are cut.
Cut-up the tree trunk from the uphill side in case the trunk rolls.
If you climb a tree "tie yourself in" at least two places: 1) attach an approved safety line over a high sturdy crotch, and 2) tie yourself in with an approved tree climbing belt. If one device fails the other will help prevent a serious fall. Note: These techniques should be left to professionals.