A dead or dying tree is a safety risk that should be removed as soon as it’s obvious. The longer you wait, the more likely the tree is to fall or cause damage. Tree removal is a big job that requires expertise, special equipment and proper disposal of the debris. A pro can get the job done quickly, safely and cost-effectively.
Tree removal is a necessary part of yard maintenance, but the process can be complicated and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. A professional arborist will start by assessing the situation and the tree to determine whether it can be safely felled. If there’s not enough room to fell the entire tree at once, or if something like a house or power lines prevent it from falling straight to the ground, the arborist will cut the tree in sections.
Next, the arborist will clear away anything that could be damaged by a falling tree, and they will also clear escape routes for people in the area. They’ll usually plan a primary path and a secondary one in case the first route is blocked by the tree as it falls. They’ll clear away obstacles like limbs, brush and garden tools from these paths to make sure people can get out of the way of the falling tree without getting injured.
You can remove small trees on your own if you have the right safety gear and space for it to fall, but larger ones can be more difficult to take down. It’s best to leave this task to a professional, especially if it’s an older tree that is in poor health or condition.
In general, a tree that has visible damage to more than a quarter of its trunk and branches suggests it’s time to cut it down. Cracks that span more than a third of the trunk and large fungi growing on the roots are other indications that it’s time to remove the tree. A sudden lean or signs of root lifting also indicate a need for removal.
When Should You Hire a Professional?
The best time to have a large tree removed is in late winter, when it’s dormant and easier to uproot. In New York, utility companies (like NYSEG) often prune or remove trees that are too close to their service lines and pose a threat of falling over, but you should have your own tree removed before it becomes a hazard.
It’s possible to find a pro who will remove your tree for free, but these types of deals are rare. Companies that offer free services typically do it in exchange for wood or other goods, such as landscaping materials. If you’re considering a deal like this, make sure to write down all the details and get it in writing before you accept the offer. This will protect you from being scammed or held liable in the event of an accident or injury caused by the tree.