In this article, I’ll be giving you tips on how to cut a vertical tree branch.
A good amount of leaves can leave branches with a good amount of weight to deal with. While horizontal branches are prone to feel the weight more, vertical tree branches can also feel the brunt.
Steps To Cut A Vertical Tree Branch
Keep in mind that there are other reasons why a branch needs to be cut (besides the sagging caused by the weight of leaves).
These reasons include –
- The branch is dead or decaying
- The branch is infested
- The branch has grown too long and is beginning to encroach on other parts of your property
Before you decide to cut your vertical tree branch, you have to consider some things first.
Let’s get into the details!
Factors To Consider Before You Cut A Vertical Tree Branch
Consider these factors before you proceed to cut your vertical tree branch.
The Size Of The Branch
Trees have different sizes, this means the sizes of the branches would differ.
The size of the branch would determine certain things. One of the things the branch size would determine is the type of tools you will need to cut.
Simple pruning shears can be used for smaller branches, while chainsaws can be used for thicker branches.
The Height Of The Branch
The height of the branch would determine if you need a footstool or a ladder to get the job done. For branches that are not too high, you could use a pole saw or extendable shears for extended reach.
The Cutting Angle
Now, this is an important factor to consider when cutting a vertical branch. The angle you cut from will determine the way the branch will fall off.
Your Immediate Surroundings
For the safety of all, make sure you clear the space beneath the tree (for tall trees). You don’t want heavy branches falling on a person, as that can lead to serious injuries.
Tools You Will Need To Cut A Vertical Tree Branch
There are different tools you can use for this job, however, the size and the height of the branches will determine the tools you should use.
Here are the recommended tools.
A Chainsaw is no ordinary saw, it is a motorized power tool used for heavy-duty cutting. It cuts through branches quickly and easily, no wonder it’s the first tool that comes to mind when it’s time to cut off branches.
A Pole Saw
If you’re not too keen on handling a chainsaw while up a ladder, then a pole saw is your best bet!
With a pole chainsaw, you can cut vertical branches off tall trees with ease. A good pole chainsaw should be able to cut off a branch that is 8 inches thick in diameter.
There are different models of pole chainsaws and they all have different ranges. A pole chainsaw with a 15ft reach should do!
Pruning shears are small, handheld cutting tools meant for smaller trees. With this, you can easily cut the branches of small trees exactly to your specifications.
Pruning shears are not meant for thick branches!
Tree loppers are right in between a chainsaw and pruning shears (in terms of cutting ability).
Tree loppers can’t cut the kind of thick branches that a chainsaw can cut, but they can cut slightly thicker branches that pruning shears cannot cut.
They are a very effective tool for branch cutting.
Long Reach Tree Pruner
This is an excellent tool for cutting branches that are not too high up the air, but away from the reach of a human’s arms.
A long reach trim pruner can give you access to branches that are as high as 7ft above the ground.
They are easy to hold and they are usually not heavy. It’s great for smaller sized people.
A Pruning Saw
For those who aren’t big fans of power tools, a pruning saw is a great option for cutting down vertical tree branches.
They have super sharp teeth and are built to cut thick branches, smoothly and effectively.
Other Tools You Will Need To Cut Vertical Tree Branches
It’s a no-brainer that cutting tools are required to take off tree branches, but cutting isn’t where it stops. There are other aspects of cutting tree branches that you must cater to.
These extra aspects require the use of certain tools too.
These include –
This is used to climb up high trees and get to the branches that your arms can’t reach when standing on the ground.
This is very important when cutting vertical tree branches from tall trees. This is because you’ll be cutting from the branch’s closest point to the trunk, and the rest of the branch is vertically above the rest of your body (including your head).
A helmet can protect you if the branch accidentally falls in your direction and strikes your head. They are also important in the case of a fall from a ladder.
When using a chainsaw to cut a branch, wood clippings will fly with speed and they can hit your eyes. This is why you need a pair of goggles throughout the cut.
Cutting off branches is a job that requires the full use of your hands. You don’t just need them to hold and work the tools, you also need them to climb the tree (if it’s a tall tree branch you’re dealing with).
For this reason, be advised to protect your hands against potential injuries and blisters by putting on a pair of hand gloves when on the job.
How To Cut A Tree Branch Yourself
Before I get into the details I’d like to first outline the dos and don’ts involved in DIY branch cutting.
If the branches of your tree aren’t too high up (eye level), and the branches aren’t too heavy, then go for it!
Here are some don’ts when it comes to cutting trees.
If the branches are too high and are close to, or in between power lines, then don’t attempt to cut them yourself!
Also, if the branches are too heavy, you should contact a professional to handle the job.
Don’t put yourself at risk!
Now that we’re clear on that, let us proceed. Here’s how to cut a tree branch yourself.
- Be sure your cutting tools are sharp and clean (if it isn’t sharp you won’t be able to make clean cuts, and if they aren’t clean the tree can get infected)
- Cut from the branch collar or the branch bark ridge (the branch collar is the swollen part under the branch that connects it to the tree, while the branch bark ridge is the part between the bark and the trunk that’s raised slightly above the branch
- Cut slightly beyond the branch collar (the cut should be far enough not to cut the collar itself, but close enough not to leave a stub)
- For a branch, less than 1 inch in diameter, pick a spot slightly behind the branch collar and cut at a 45-60 degree angle to the bark ridge
- For thick branches, cut at about 15 inches up from the branch collar, then cut halfway into the bottom of the branch
- Move a few inches up from the last cut and cut into the top of the branch
- Make the final cut past the branch collar and let it fall
How To Cut A Vertical Tree Branch Near A House
It’s common to see vertical branches grow close to a building. Read on how to cut limbs over the house.
Create a knot with a heavy rope – Make several knots across different points of the branch and the tree to keep the branch from falling on your roof.
The heavier the branch, the more knots you will require.
Find the branch collar – This is where the cutting will begin.
Start cutting from a downward angle – You need a chainsaw for this.
Cut downwards (into the ground) so that water doesn’t settle into the wound. If water settles into the would, the tree will be at risk of rotting.
Bring down the branch – At this point, the branch will be hanging from the ropes. Make sure you have people on the ground to help you set it down.
Challenges Involved In Cutting Vertical Branches
Cutting off a vertical branch isn’t an impossible task, but that doesn’t make it easy either. It comes with a few challenges of its own.
Here they are –
- Preventing the cut branches from falling on a house.
- Preventing damage to overhead wires and power lines while working
- Taking the cut branches down after they have been cut
I hope this article on how to cut a vertical tree branch has been helpful.
Good luck, and stay safe!
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