DIY Tree Safety 101
Immediately following a storm or other accident involving damage to your trees, it can be tempting to grab a chainsaw and immediately get to work. However, the best idea in that moment is to step back, complete a full hazard assessment, and ensure that the work can be done safely. If you live in Alberta, and if it seems as though the job is a little bit more complex and hazardous than you feel comfortable with, calling a tree removal expert in Edmonton is probably going to be your best option.
Assessing the Risks
The standard procedure for a tree hazard assessment is to walk completely around the tree while looking up and down from the very top to the roots so you can clearly tell where the damage has occurred and how much there is. Most of the time, damage occurs due to wind or decay.
Decay often requires a professional arborist to come in and take samples, unless the damage has reached the point of structural instability; for example: visible rot on the outside of the bark. In this case the tree will like need to be removed outright by experts, and you will probably desire stump grinding services as well. Wind damage is easier to assess. After a storm, it is important to visibly check each tree in your yard to see which ones, if any, have been severely damaged.
If you have suffered a severe storm, with high winds or hail, you may notice damage to your trees. With the right tools, it is possible to take care of the downed branches yourself. For snapped branches or fallen trees within easy reach with or without a ladder, you can cut the damaged sections using a chain saw. Be sure to follow all standard safety procedures – including protective eyewear – as it is easy for small branches to break off and become a hazard.
The Arbor Day Foundation, an International Society of Arboriculture, have come up with a joint list of best practices for DIY tree work.
- Do not try to handle high branches or over the head chainsaw work by yourself, contact a professional arborist in your area to take care of that type of damage.
- Do a complete hazard assessment and take note if there are any structures, downed power lines, or other obstacles near the tree that could pose a threat during the procedure.
- Remove any broken branches still attached to the tree. This will prevent decay if the majority of the tree survived, and will also make clean-up easier if the entire tree needs to come down.
- Use a knife or a chisel to remove broken bark, keeping the green inner bark as intact as possible.
- Avoid the urge to cut back on healthy branches to make the tree look neat or symmetrical. Those branches are necessary for your tree to gather nutrients and repair itself.
Personal safety is more important than a quick fix, so never hesitate to call a professional if you feel the work is beyond your experience.