Branching Out: Keeping A Healthy Environment Through Tree Care

Tips for Effective and Safe Tree Lopping

Tree lopping should almost always be left to a professional from a tree removal company like Ashmere Tree Solutions, especially when doing more than just some simple trimming and when cutting down very large trees. However, if you must try this job on your own, you need to ensure you take the time to do it right. Note a few tips for effective and safe tree lopping on your own property.

1. Have an exit route planned

When you start trimming or removing trees, branches and the trunk can fall in any direction. A professional tree lopper will have his or her exit route planned before they make cuts, so they can quickly and easily get out from underneath these hazards. Ensure that the area around a tree is clear of other branches, vehicles, equipment, and anything else that might get in your way of a quick exit.

2. Find the dead side

Solid wood that is alive is more difficult to cut than deadwood. To find the dead side of the tree, give it a few light smacks with the backside of an ax. You should be able to tell the difference between a solid sound and a side of the tree or branch that is more hollow. You'll want to cut on the hollow side, for an easier cut.

3. Making the cuts

Start with a horizontal cut halfway through the trunk or branch; this will weaken the wood so it's easier to cut. You then want a wedge cut, either from the top or bottom of the horizontal cut. This wedge cut should also go halfway through the branch or trunk. This helps the wood to start breaking.

Make a back cut next. This is a wedge cut on the other side of the branch or trunk. The back cut will help the branch or trunk break even more. At this point you should walk away from the tree or branch and note if it will fall on its own.

4. Add more wedge cuts

If the tree or branch doesn't fall with the first set of cuts, you'll need to make more wedge cuts on the side where you started until it does. With each wedge cut, listen to the tree for any snapping sounds. When you hear these, this means it's ready to fall and you need to run out of the way. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to getting out of the way of a branch or trunk that may be falling; wait until you're sure it's not coming down before you return and try more wedge cuts.