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How to Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High to Reach

How to cut tree limbs that are too high to reach featured image.

Want to know how to cut tree limbs that are too high to reach?

This post explores exactly that and gives you some steps to follow in doing so.

As trees age, they tend to require less pruning. Considering how difficult it can be to trim a tree that is much taller than you, this is a good thing. However, there are some circumstances in which you may find yourself needing to remove some tree branches that you cannot reach from the ground.

Young trees need to be trimmed often to help them maintain a healthy shape that works for your space. Older trees generally only need to be trimmed in a few circumstances. If one of the branches has grown over your home or power lines, it may need to be removed for safety reasons. In both of these scenarios, you are better off hiring a professional to do your trimming.

The other time you may want to trim an older tree is when you are trying to spruce up your landscaping. If you are trying to sell your home, your realtor may recommend trimming old, dead looking branches.

Cutting branches from a ladder can be done relatively safely if you keep in mind some tips and techniques. Below is a list of four steps to help you safely cut tree limbs that are too high to reach.

Position Your Ladder

Ladder placement is key for safely removing branches. You will want to rest the ladder on the tree trunk, not on a limb of the tree. If you are using a step ladder, get it as close to the trunk as possible while still keeping it decently even.

For larger ladders, it is a great idea to have someone else around to hold it for you.

Make Initial Cut

You will want to make a shallow cut on the underside of the branch you are removing. It should only go through the bark. Your goal here is not to take the branch down, but rather to prevent it from pulling more bark than necessary off the tree when it is removed. Make your cut roughly six inches into the branch. The point at which the branch connects to the tree is referred to as the “collar.”

Remove Small Branches

Starting at the end of the limb, you will want to start removing small branches. This can be done using a pole saw, pole pruner, or rope saw. A pole pruner is great because you can pull a trigger and remove any small branches extending from the branch you are cutting down.

A rope saw works by being wrapped around the top of the branch and then being pulled back and forth across it. Once you find the best way to remove sections, continue to do so.

Having small pieces falling is much safer than having large ones crashing down.

Make Your Final Cut

Once you have removed most of the weight, you can cut down the remaining piece of the branch. You will want this cut to be 2 inches away from the trunk, minimum. By doing this, you are minimizing damage to the tree. Your tree will naturally heal itself if you leave it alone, and nothing further needs to be done.

Safety Tips

Never stand directly under the tree branch you are cutting. Keep children and pets out of the area, as well.

If you need to, you can climb your ladder to use your pole saw. This should be done extremely cautiously and you will definitely need someone to hold your ladder. If you are not confident in your abilities to do this, call in a professional.

It is important to call in a professional if your branches are anywhere near a power line.

If you are removing multiple branches, be sure to remove them as you go. Otherwise, they can become a tripping hazard.

Wear the appropriate safety gear. Gloves and safety goggles are a good idea to protect yourself.

Final Thoughts

Trimming your own tall trees can save you quite a bit of money in labor costs. However, it is not a realistic option for everyone. You will need to have good stamina and upper body strength.

It is also very helpful if you are not afraid of heights.

When in doubt, you can hire a professional to do the trimming for you. They often have equipment and experience that the average homeowner will not.

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