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Old 10-16-2014, 02:51 PM   #21
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I trim and take down dead ones (<2' dia) on my own, but I have a tree guy take down any big ones that present problems. My tree guy just took down a 48" cottonwood about 75' tall in a day and a half, and removed all debris. It's amazing what the pros can do.

If you have a chain saw, and your trees aren't too big, and you can trim them safely, then try it . Otherwise go with a pro


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Old 10-16-2014, 04:15 PM   #22
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I w*rked in the timber and mills for over ten years. I know I'm a lucky guy, got all my limbs and can walk. Many I worked with have passed fom trees, saws, and gravity doing the unexpected thing.

Dead/rotten trees(widowmakers) are the worst. To anyone with a chain saw on a ladder, have someone praying for you.

Someone mentioned uninsured trimmers, I can guarantee that happens, I've seen it. Many of these guys are working to eat that week, insurance is a luxury.
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:09 PM   #23
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For the big trees professional services.

For the small ones/taller bushes I'll do those myself.

I have no delusions about what I am capable of and don't try to do things I am not simply because it is cheaper....hospital bills get really expensive real fast
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:10 PM   #24
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....hospital bills get really expensive real fast
Not to mention the pain involved....
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:26 PM   #25
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If you ever find yourself near a ladder trimming, YOU ARE STUPID.

Ladders are never indicated for tree work. You won't see a ladder on any respectable tree trimming crew's work truck. If you do it yourself, you shouldn't use a ladder either. If you are, you may die. And I'm not kidding.

I am a DIYer to the max, but every 7 years or so, I drop $2k for tree work. Here in the south they grow like weeds. Just part of maintenance.

You want a story? I'll give you one. Friend from church fell off a ladder during tree work last January (9 months ago) and is still in rehab. He will never walk again. His life is ruined. Probably better if he died.

Here's how ladders kill you with trees. It is always unexpected.

1) You just fall off. Duh-oh.
2) You cut the limb, trunk shifts, ladder is on trunk and shifts and falls off or shakes you off.
3) You cut limb that ladder was leaning against. (Don't laugh.)
4) Limb falls cleanly. Yeah! But then "bounces" back and hits ladder at bottom, and shakes you off.
5) Ladder falls on you.


See #4? This is the sneaky one that gets a lot of people. They can't envision the branch falling and bouncing around. Some of the bounces have huge energy.

Watch a good tree crew. A branch NEVER falls. They always rope it up and lower it. It is a thing of beauty to watch.
Agree with everything you said. Need to add #6 - The saw kicks sending you off the ladder.
#7 - The saw kicks sending the chain saw cutting into your neck.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:02 PM   #26
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Since my first chain saw (I still have it) my policy has been that if I can't keep both feet on the ground I hire it out. Some risks are worth taking, ladder+chain saw is not.
I prefer to use a hand saw as it will not do nearly the damage if it slips. For a chain saw you are supposed to wear greaves (lower leg protection), eye and ear protection and a hard hat. If cutting overhand I may put a helmet on. (Since the lawn has a few low hanging trees, I use the riding mower with a Laccrosse helment, makes hitting a branch a lot less painful)
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:11 PM   #27
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I'll do simple stuff like trimming what I can reach with a pole saw, or even a bit higher with a rope saw (flex saw tied to rope on each end that you can throw up over branches to cut 'em). Other than that, it's time to seek professional help.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:23 PM   #28
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I've taken down a couple of decent-sized trees (about 4" diameter trunk) by myself using only a now saw. Each time it took weeks, a little at a time, small bits at a time. On the first one the saw slipped and gouged a small flap off my thumb that needed stitches.

We do hire professionals to trim our bigger trees regularly.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:24 PM   #29
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For multiple reasons - my safety being one of them -I happily pay to have my trees trimmed. Last week, for the second time in 2 years, I was ht by a car while cycling. It takes a lot longer, now that I'm in my 60's, to recover from injuries. I don't want to think about the possible injuries I might sustain from DIY tree trimming.
And, how's this for a sobering reality: The owner of the tree service I use is a paraplegic, his injury sustained when a cut branch struck him in the back.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:29 PM   #30
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< 2", 2 feet on the ground. After that, call in the cavalry.

Not only for safety, but a good arborist will know what to cut, and what to leave to keep the tree healthy. I tend to trim what I think will look right, and end up over-trimming when the liberated branches would have sprung to the desired height with only half the removal. I haven't killed a tree, yet...

I've experimented with all sorts of DIY and home maintenance, and found that there are some jobs that are best left to folks who do them every day for a living. Just had a DIY patio replaced that, in spite of my best efforts, sloped the wrong way.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:32 PM   #31
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I have no problem dealing with even big trees by myself.
I have a pair of climbing spikes (learned to use them in a summer job while in college) and I can handle chain saws to any degree short of juggling them.

Alas, DW (who has always been smarter than me) puts her foot down on this kind of work, and so we always hire the pros. It bruises my ego a bit, but I know she's right.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:34 PM   #32
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I have 100's of trees on my property, most of which are well over 50' tall. I'll trim some of the lower branches on the smaller trees near the house but I just don't mess with the other trees on the property unless they die. A couple of year ago we lost several really big (50+ foot) trees due to the drought. I cut down two of them (both pines) but I called out a professional for the 5 hardwoods that had die. (They just looked too dangerous) I think he charged me $750 for the five trees, He and his three helpers, cut them down to about 3 foot stumps and cleaned up everything. After watching him and seeing the equipment he used (and needed) I'm glad I had him handle them.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:48 PM   #33
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A friend of mine fell off a ladder last year and died. We won't even attempt to do trees. Our lives are too precious to do something dangerous we neither have the equipment nor the expertise to handle.


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Old 10-16-2014, 10:15 PM   #34
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20 years ago, I could and did regularly climb up 40 feet in my maple trees to trim them, notwithstanding my young wife's vocal disapproval. Now I hire it out.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:55 PM   #35
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We hire a tree service with an arborist and they thin and shape the big trees. We have to get the top branches cut back every year or two to keep the critters from using our roof as a squirrel superhighway.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:24 PM   #36
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We hire a tree service with an arborist and they thin and shape the big trees. We have to get the top branches cut back every year or two to keep the critters from using our roof as a squirrel superhighway.

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Old 10-17-2014, 06:52 AM   #37
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I trim with an electric pole saw or hire a trimmer for more dangerous jobs - usually for $250 to $350. If I need a tree removed, I just have them drop it, then I cut it up and place a "free wood" ad on Craigslist.
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:08 AM   #38
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4) Limb falls cleanly. Yeah! But then "bounces" back and hits ladder at bottom, and shakes you off.
That happened to me. I was on a 12' step ladder, with a 11' gas powered pole saw. Limb leaf end hits the ground, trunk part is in the air. After it got cut loose, the trunk part hit my ladder leg. The whole limb sort of 'rolled over' and made it about 12' to my ladder.

I saw it happening, so I scurried down the ladder and jumped off.

And a few years earlier I had a limb (8") snap and hit me in the forehead. Almost knocked me out. I went off the ladder and broke a wrist. It could have been much worse...
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:29 AM   #39
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I usually hire a local tree trimmer and have 3 or 4 come and give bids. in my situation I found a guy that was insured and had all the equipment, would work reasonably priced to have what I wanted done. I was in the tree trimming and logging business for 20 years and could tell you horror stories about accidents that happened to homeowners cutting their own trees and cutting down dead elms for firewood. If you value your health, mobility and ability to enjoy your retirement, remember it only takes one mistake to cause serious injury.
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:45 AM   #40
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I will go as high up on a ladder as I am tall (5 feet 7.5") with a hedge trimmer or pole saw to trim shrubs. That is not, however, a very useful height for trimming trees. Mr. A is less confident of his balance and won't climb a ladder any more.

Despite the high cost ($3K for a 20-year-old tree), we hire out tree removal. We can still manage to cut up a blown-down Bradford pear, but can't rent a work truck anymore to haul the remains to the landfill. The place where we rented the battered truck went out of business, and the other rental places charge for every scratch.

The stories about ladder injuries and deaths are in line with what we've observed and heard about (and don't want to experience). Be careful out there.

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