If you have tall trees on your property, you know exactly how difficult it can be to maintain them. You have to keep them healthy, free of pests, well-watered, and well groomed. Taking responsibility for the well-being of the trees on your property is imperative if you want them to grow strong, letting them live for many years to come.
While it is easy to get wrapped up in exactly how to trim tall trees, it’s important to never lose sight of the most important thing: your own safety. No point in keeping those trees happy and healthy if you’re laid up with a broken leg, or worse! Here are some basic safety guidelines on how to trim tall trees safely.
Wearing the Right Protection
Before you attempt anything, make sure you are using the right kind of safety gear! Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is essential to any task with physical hazards. Trimming tall trees comes with its own set of risks, and if you want to know how to trim tall trees safely you’re going to have to account for them all.
First off, there’s the obvious fall danger. Falling even six feet can seriously injure a person, making trees 10 or 20 feet tall incredibly hazardous. Before climbing up a tree, invest in a quality fall arrest system. Exactly what system is best for you will depend on what kind of work you’re doing, but be sure to only buy equipment approved for tree work. It might be pricey up front, but money should be no object when it comes to your own safety.
Once you know you’re going to be secure in the tree, you’ll want to look into protective clothing and accessories. Goggles are a must, as you never know what might get blown back in your face while working. Helmets are also a necessity, especially if you’re working with someone else.
Tree debris can fall quickly and unpredictably, and the last thing anyone needs is a branch to the head. If you don’t already have a pair of study work gloves or work pants, they’re worth getting as well. Tall tree maintenance isn’t exactly easy on the body, but putting that extra layer between you and the work can save you from scrapes and blisters later.
Consider the World Around You
Once you’re suited up, it’s tempting to just scale the tree and get at it. If you put enough safety gear on anyone they can start to feel invincible, but part of knowing how to trim tall trees is knowing your surroundings. If you just start climbing, you might be ignoring significant dangers around you. Dangers which, if not accounted for, might just put that safety gear to the test.
Examine the area around you. Are there any potential hazards that might cause problems for you once you’re actually in the tree? One of the most common dangers of tall tree trimming is the presence of power lines.
When working around power lines, you should always assume they are live. A careless tree trimmer can easily make contact with the cables, and nothing good can come from that. At best, you could knock out the power to your neighborhood. It’s more likely that you’ll just electrocute yourself, and then knock out power to the neighborhood. Remember to always be mindful of any power lines around you, taking care to avoid any potential contact with them. The black weatherproofing they’re coated with is not insulation, and you can still be electrocuted even if you just touch it.
Take a look at the tree, or trees, you’re working with. Are there any weak points that could break suddenly? Is the tree healthy, or are there signs of decay? Tree rot can be hard to spot, making it a potential unnoticed danger. Decaying trees are incredibly unstable, meaning parts of it can come crashing down with little to no warning. Combine that with the already unpredictability of gravity, and you could have an entire tree raining down on you. Removing deadwood should only be handled by a professional with the necessary skills to mitigate the risks. It’s admirable to know how to trim tall trees on your own, but that doesn’t mean you should shirk expert help when it’s necessary.
You Are Your Own Best Tool
At the end of the day, trimming your trees comes down to you. Knowing how to trim tall trees is half the battle, but the other half is actually being able to do it. Tree trimming is an incredibly physically demanding task, and being in proper physical shape doesn’t just make the job easier. The better the shape that you’re in, the safer you will be. All the PPE and preparation in the world won’t help you if you don’t take care of your own body.
A good exercise regimen can ensure you work at maximum efficiency and safety. Building muscle helps you not only climb to the heights you need to reach, but safely balance and operate heavy tools like chainsaws. Endurance training helps maintain your energy throughout the day, allowing you to stay focused on the task at hand. It also keeps your nerves sharp, making it harder for a falling limb to catch you off guard.
People in the tree care industry have been compared to athletes, and it’s easy to understand why. The strength and energy needed to safely do the work go well beyond the requirements of ordinary lawn care.
Keeping yourself fit isn’t only important for the actual task itself. Anytime a person plans on engaging in challenging physical labor regularly, they have to make sure they are doing it properly or risk long term injury. Tall tree trimming is no different. Carelessly working with your trees can cause long term muscular or skeletal damage, but proper physical fitness and technique can prevent that. This means things as simple as knowing how to properly lift heavy tree branches without straining your back, or remembering to stretch before tackling the work to prevent any long-term muscle damage.
Taking proper care of your body can be easy, only taking some time spent exercising and a few minutes before beginning work. At the end of the day, your trees are important, but your own health is what matters most.