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When to Remove a Tree

Whether you’re clearing space to build a house, creating a clear line of sight or simply adding beauty to your yard, sometimes it is necessary to remove a tree. While homeowners can remove small trees with the right equipment, it is best to leave larger trees to the professionals. Doing so will protect you from expensive home damage, property injury and possible liability issues.

A professional arborist can inspect a troublesome tree to determine if it needs to be removed. They’ll look at the overall condition of the tree, including the health of its roots, trunk and branches, as well as if it’s in close proximity to power lines. An arborist can also help you determine if you’ll need a permit to remove a tree from your property.

Before you decide to remove a tree yourself, make sure you’re up for the challenge. You’ll need heavy-duty gloves, sturdy boots and a chainsaw with a bar at least as long as the tree’s diameter. A hard hat, protective eyewear and ear protection are also essential. You should also have a fall plan with at least two escape routes. Many times a tree doesn’t fall in the direction you expect, so it’s important to have an alternate path out of the area.

It’s Time for a Pro

A number of things can signal it’s time to call an arborist for a tree removal, such as deep cuts, missing or damaged leaves and trunk rot. These signs can indicate a serious problem that will probably lead to the tree’s eventual collapse. Mushrooms growing on the base of a tree may be an indication of internal decay, as well.

Other red flags include a sudden leaning of the tree, which could mean the roots are breaking down and the structure is becoming unstable. Trees that are buried in a lawn or near a driveway, road or sidewalk are also likely candidates for removal. They can cause severe damage to the structures below them, and they’re a hazard for passing motorists or pedestrians.

An arborist will assess the height of the tree to ensure there’s enough room for it to fall in a safe direction. They will then clear away anything that could be damaged by the falling tree, and plan the drop zone. They’ll also consider any conditions that might make the tree more difficult to bring down, such as a crown tilt or a crooked trunk.

Removing a tree can be gratifying, but it’s not for everyone. Unless you’re experienced with a variety of tools and have a clear plan, it’s usually best to leave this job to the pros. Besides, the cost of repairing your house or car after a tree falls on it will far outweigh any savings from taking on this challenging job yourself.

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