It’s a common sight for many: Fallen branches and debris are strewn about the streets after a hurricane or strong storm. Traffic will be heavier until the roads are cleared, but soon everyone is back to their daily routines. On occasion, however, a fallen tree will require more intervention.
In the video below, a backyard tree has fallen, leaving a mess to clean up. Paul Firbas, the resident of the home, called upon a friend to help with clearing the fallen tree, and decided to document the process. Though he owns a chain saw and appears fairly adept at using it, the unnamed friend does not seem to be a professional arborist or licensed tree-removal contractor.
TreeRemoval.com lists the average cost of clearing a fallen tree between $75 and $150, though there may be additional fees for hauling or chipping services. It can be tempting for residents who own chain saws to try and save a few dollars by doing the work on their own. Proper and safe tree removal, however, is not as easy as one might think. The Washington Post reported in 2012 that tree removal is one of the most dangerous occupations in terms of fatality rates, double that of police officers and detectives.
The short video below, though fun to watch, illustrates one of the potential dangers in undertaking a tree-removal job as an amateur. The chain-saw user in the video has taken many of the necessary steps to safely clear the fallen tree: he is wearing most of the recommended safety equipment, and has already removed the smaller branches from the main trunk. But perhaps in his eagerness to cut the trunk into small pieces, he forgot a basic principle of physics. Watch what happens after he finishes cutting through it.
Although everyone in the video had a good laugh, a heavy tree that unexpectedly shifts or moves can be very dangerous. SevaCall recommends professional help, particularly for very large or partially fallen trees, but also offers some tips for those doing it themselves. After securing all the right tree-cutting equipment, one should cut away smaller branches, and clear debris away from the work area while progressing. When ready to begin cutting away at the trunk, begin close to the base, moving toward the top of the tree. Though the heavy root mass may still fall back into its former place, this will reduce the danger of having the entire tree suddenly right itself.
Of course, prevention is ideal. Tree City USA warns against allowing hazardous conditions to develop, such as top-heavy, lopsided and decaying trees, which can all lead to property damage or injury should they fall. In order to prevent an expensive hazardous-tree removal, care should be taken early and regularly to maintain healthy growth. Tree City recommends an annual inspection by a certified arborist along with seasonal inspections by the homeowner for major changes in shape or health. Trimming and pruning should be done regularly, and though some tree service companies may be willing to top trees, it is not a recommended course of action. Finally, be sure to water trees during especially dry seasons.