Author Topic: Tree trimming at 30+ft  (Read 9186 times)

bo_knows

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Tree trimming at 30+ft
« on: October 18, 2012, 08:06:37 AM »
Last winter, we noticed during some storms, that a large branch that hung over our townhouse was banging against the roof... and it was fairly loud.  We had forgotten about it, because we hadnt heard it... but recently the storms in our area have brought it to our attention again.

I don't want this thing damaging the roof any more that it already has.  It's a large branch, and it's easily a good 10ft higher than my 2-story townhouse, and it's coming from a tree that is 15 feet from the side of our end unit.

The local handyman quoted us $250 to cut this one freakin branch.  I cant imagine a tree service would be less.  I have a 23ft Extension ladder, which is enough to get to the roof, but I don't have much experience climbing all over a roof.   Anyone have any tips to roof safety? I feel like I can buy or rent a $50 pole saw and do it from the roof... if I don't kill myself.

Ideas? Thoughts?
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bo_knows

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 09:42:15 AM »
Bonus: One of the greybeards at my office has a telescopic tree-saw that I can borrow.  Now, all I need to do is confirm the exact placement of this branch and if I can get to it with my ladder.

I may have just answered my own original question... oops.
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igthebold

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 09:59:00 AM »
I may have just answered my own original question... oops.

The telescopic tree saw sounds like a winner. You may know these, but a couple things to keep in mind:
- be sure to undercut the branch further away from the "parent" branch than you want your regular cut to be. That way, when the branch starts breaking before you've made it all the way through it doesn't tear a strip of bark down the tree.
- be sure to trim the final nub down to the "bark collar" of the parent branch. This is the area that's sloping from the "parent" branch to the branch you're cutting. This will help healing. If you leave a 5 inch branch nub sticking out, it'll rot and potentially send disease up the parent branch into the rest of the tree. Since plants don't fight disease (they outgrow it) breaking past all its protection requires care.
- trimming in fall can be tricky, since the trees aren't in active growth mode. Trimming in spring after the buds break will help it heal more reliably. However, you're probably fine trimming it now.

bo_knows

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 10:03:47 AM »
- be sure to trim the final nub down to the "bark collar" of the parent branch. This is the area that's sloping from the "parent" branch to the branch you're cutting. This will help healing. If you leave a 5 inch branch nub sticking out, it'll rot and potentially send disease up the parent branch into the rest of the tree. Since plants don't fight disease (they outgrow it) breaking past all its protection requires care.


Hmm, Are you saying that it is not advisable to just cut the branch close to where it hovers over my house... but that you should cut it at the source tree?

Would there be an issue cutting a 20ft branch down to 10ft, in regards to healing/rotting?
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igthebold

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2012, 11:21:55 AM »
Hmm, Are you saying that it is not advisable to just cut the branch close to where it hovers over my house... but that you should cut it at the source tree?

Would there be an issue cutting a 20ft branch down to 10ft, in regards to healing/rotting?

Well, the key is to cut near the intersection of branches.. what's called a node. You can chop a branch in half, but just make sure you're doing it such that you end up with a little branch, or a future branch (bud) right at the end.

The reason I like to chop big branches completely off is that it's just inevitable that they look weird if I don't. However, you won't have a tree health problem if you leave the branch some resources to work with.

Below is a highly precise rendering of a tree. I hope it helps illustrate what I mean.


You could do worse than checking out a book on pruning trees. It'll give you an idea of how trees grow and what effect pruning has. It's actually quite interesting, though I understand if you don't want to spend the extra time.

Nords

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2012, 12:25:36 PM »
The local handyman quoted us $250 to cut this one freakin branch.
Ideas? Thoughts?
The detailed quote probably looks something like this:
"Labor to saw through branch:  $10."
"Experience, proper tools, safety gear, and liability insurance to not destroy your roof, your tree, your house, your car, or any of my employees while sawing through the branch:  $240."

In other words you're paying a professional for a nasty job instead of paying your own tuition at the School Of Experience.  It's similar to the debate about paying a surgeon to remove your appendix instead of doing it yourself.

http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Outdoor-Projects/Yard/Landscaping/tree-pruning-techniques

How important is this tree in your property plan?  When is it going to send another branch on to your roof, or a root up through your foundation slab, or fall over during a heavy snowfall & high winds?

http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Tools---Tips/DIY-Tools/Yard---Garden-Tools/how-to-cut-down-a-tree
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bo_knows

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2012, 12:40:39 PM »
The local handyman quoted us $250 to cut this one freakin branch.
Ideas? Thoughts?
The detailed quote probably looks something like this:
"Labor to saw through branch:  $10."
"Experience, proper tools, safety gear, and liability insurance to not destroy your roof, your tree, your house, your car, or any of my employees while sawing through the branch:  $240."

In other words you're paying a professional for a nasty job instead of paying your own tuition at the School Of Experience.  It's similar to the debate about paying a surgeon to remove your appendix instead of doing it yourself.

http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Outdoor-Projects/Yard/Landscaping/tree-pruning-techniques

How important is this tree in your property plan?  When is it going to send another branch on to your roof, or a root up through your foundation slab, or fall over during a heavy snowfall & high winds?

http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Tools---Tips/DIY-Tools/Yard---Garden-Tools/how-to-cut-down-a-tree

Ha! You're probably right about the quote. Luckily, this isn't QUITE as skilled as an apendectamy :)

Unfortunately, the damn thing is not on my property, but on the common property of the townhouse community.  Our HOA can't be bothered to even cut down this branch, let alone the whole tree.  Luckily, it's probably 20ft from the foundation of our house.  I'll just have to hedge a bet that it won't wreck my foundation.  If it does, I'll have to play hardball with the HOA.
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tooqk4u22

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 01:31:47 PM »
So let me understand...use ladder to get on roof, hang off roof to cut big branch that is 10' higher than roof.....hmmmm, what could go wrong?

Please, please think about safety staps.  Also beware of the branch kicking back when it goes.

Nords

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2012, 03:51:00 PM »
Unfortunately, the damn thing is not on my property, but on the common property of the townhouse community.  Our HOA can't be bothered to even cut down this branch, let alone the whole tree.
Well, now you're really screwed.  Your insurance company won't cover you for trespassing on common property, and your contractor could lose his license (or pay fines) for doing that.  If anyone gets hurt and this property-line issue comes up, you'll be personally liable.

You're probably allowed (by local law) to cut down any limbs intruding into your airspace.  However you might have to stay on your side of the property line to do the work.  You could notify the HOA of your intentions and perhaps obtain their permission to work in the common area.

This is a good situation for a phone call to your local neighborhood board or city council rep or state representative.  Even just mentioning your thoughts on that to the HOA might move them to more direct support.
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Another Reader

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2012, 08:12:08 PM »
The tree is in the common area under the control of the HOA but a branch is damaging your roof.  I would start with a polite but firm certified letter to the HOA, requesting them to remove the branch of the tree on their property that is damaging your roof.  Failing that, a second letter requesting written permission and indemnification of your contractor to come on their property to remove the offending branch.

fidgiegirl

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2012, 09:07:55 PM »
Yes, push it with the HOA before attempting a DIY on this one.  DH and I are pretty skilled DIYers ourselves but we would not monkey with this height of a branch without a lot more training.  I'd be scared it would fall on someone or knock down a power line or something.  HOA needs to step up.

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 02:38:51 AM »
I agree, try the HOA first. If the tree branch is " a large branch 10 foot higher than my two storey house"...that makes it a big tree  ( ie a lot bigger than a two storey house) with a big branch.

I've done some amount of  "minor" DIY tree trimming/removal over the years ( usually with a Y chromosome to assist with the muscle factor). Without exception the tree/branch is always a hell of a lot bigger on the ground (and on its way down) than it looked before it was cut down.  I'm with Fidgiegirl- sounds too big unless you really know what you are doing. But then I'm just a wussypants girl, what would I know?
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bo_knows

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2012, 06:26:04 AM »
We've already asked the HOA, via email (their preferred method of communication) and they said that it was "Not in the budget." unless I could "provide proof of damage".

To be honest, the HOA is terrible mismanaged, and low on funds (I already know this).  A neighbor of ours had a similar issue last month, with a branch that was dangerously close to their window, but mostly blocking a large portion of the view from their yard. They asked the HOA, and the HOA politely declined. They just ended up calling a tree service.

I re-assessed the limb yesterday afternoon.  I don't think that I need to necessarily get on the roof. I think my original assessment of "10ft higher than the roof" was a little off, or else how would it be hitting the roof during storms?  I'm going to get the pole saw from my coworker, set up my ladder, and see if I can reach it from 3/4 up the ladder.  If not, I might hire the handyman still.  It still burns me to think of $250, but such is life.
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igthebold

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2012, 06:48:36 AM »
It still burns me to think of $250, but such is life.

And broken arms and ribs usually cost more. :P

Woodshark

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2012, 10:44:05 AM »
First, word of warning. I'm a true blue dyed in the wool do it yourselfer. 12 years ago I was working on my roof, slipped off and ended up breaking both legs and my left arm. Two surgeries and one year later I was out of the wheelchair and off crutches. Can't get that year back. If your going to do it, be smarter than me and have some safety gear.

My advice is to wait until someone in your area is having tree work done. Listen for the sound of chainsaws. Stroll or bike over and ask "since your in the neighborhood what would it cost for one of your guys to pop by on his/her lunch break and cut back a couple of small limbs".  Be sure to tell them the size and that they just have to get them down. You will cut and dispose of them. I had a similar situation a few months ago. My cost dropped from $250 to $100 but I'm just a guy. My neighbor (who is a pretty female) got an entire small tree down for only $50 and a smile using the same tactics.

bo_knows

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 10:55:38 AM »
Heeding a lot of the warnings on here, I decided to try and call the HOA (the wife had previously failed to get them to do anything for us in the past).  It was a new community manager, and they said they already had a tree-trimming contract for the community going on as we speak. She added my property, and a note about the branch, to the contract and said she'd let me know when the work order got processed.

Crisis avoided mustachians.
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TomTX

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 09:05:05 PM »
Hooray!
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Nords

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2012, 09:27:04 PM »
Heeding a lot of the warnings on here, I decided to try and call the HOA (the wife had previously failed to get them to do anything for us in the past).  It was a new community manager, and they said they already had a tree-trimming contract for the community going on as we speak. She added my property, and a note about the branch, to the contract and said she'd let me know when the work order got processed.
Crisis avoided mustachians.
Whew.  At the very least, this implies that they've accepted liability for any further problems caused by that limb on your roof.

It's nice to see the homeowners actually getting benefits from a homeowner's association...
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bo_knows

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2012, 05:41:59 AM »
Whew.  At the very least, this implies that they've accepted liability for any further problems caused by that limb on your roof.

It's nice to see the homeowners actually getting benefits from a homeowner's association...

Exactly.  When my wife mentioned her previous experience with the HOA, I was already dreaming up the exact phrase that I would say to them if they declined. "What exactly will be the next step when that tree limb, which is on community property, damages my house? Small claims court?"
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fidgiegirl

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2012, 06:56:48 PM »
Great news, Bo.

paddedhat

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2012, 07:59:41 AM »
It still burns me to think of $250, but such is life.

And broken arms and ribs usually cost more. :P
The OP's first post may be throwing a huge flag on this play. There is a strong chance that the "handyman" with the $250 estimate has about zero in the way of coverage including liability or workman's comp. when it comes to the specific act of him playing "tree surgeon".  Now the guy may indeed have a general liability policy, and be covered for a million bucks or more. However, that does no mean that his insurer is aware that he performs high risk work, or is insuring him to do so. A legitimately insured roofer, or tree surgeon, spend a mind blowing portion of his gross business income on liability and workman's comp. which is why a lot of them do without, and have much lower rates. Given the situation, I wouldn't contract with anybody without proper certificates from his insurer, and a conversation with his insurer, confirming the fact that he is fully covered.
 After thirty years as a professional tradesman (electrician, builder, etc..) I damn near killed myself on Oct 8th.  I had a 24' extension ladder extended into the loft of my garage. My head was about 16'-17' off the concrete floor below when the ladder kicked out from under me. I woke up about 45minutes, to an hour and a half later. Having failed my first attempt at human powered flight, I was rewarded with a concusion, probable hairline fractures in a foot and a hand, and a bonus of six or seven horrifically bruised areas including a  3" x 24" black stripe across my back, just above my 'plumber's crack". This was followed by a really fast ambulance ride to the trama center, five hours of various pokes, prods and tests, a parting comment that pretty much went, "you are going to feel, and look, like a bag of hammered shit for a few weeks, but you are extremely lucky to be relatively injury free". The total tab was a touch under $7K.  Fortunately, the wife has great family coverage and it wasn't to hard on my wallet.

So, as you might imagine, IMHO, when I have tree issues in the future,  I have come to the conclusion that the professional services of a highly qualified, fully insured tree guy are pretty reasonable.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 08:11:26 AM by paddedhat »

frugal_engineer

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2012, 07:04:24 PM »
My parents property has several tress over 80 ft in height. A giant willow, basswoods, cottonwoods, etc.  Rather than pay a insured tree trimmer $1000s to trim the tress, my dad built a contraption to help him do so safely.  Basically he had some old aluminum sailboat masts laying around and constructed a pole about 30ft long.  At one end there was a base shaped like a "T".  The horizontal arms providing lateral stability and the long end acting as a lever arm.  He bolted an electric chainsaw to the other end.  The basic idea was that with plenty of planning of his standing position on the ground, he could tilt the chainsaw to the spot he wanted on the tree well above and in front of him and remotely turn it on and off to safely chop down pieces.

Granted, he was retired when he was doing this and had many hours to spend perfecting it, but he was able to accomplish at least $5000 in tree trimming for a few hundred bucks and his time, relatively safely.  Probably more safely than going up in a cherry picker and certainly safer than a ladder. 

Just another option for mustachian tree trimmers.

gavint

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2018, 05:31:40 AM »
Just a general reply to doing tree work at 30 or more feet:  Really, really think about safety, it is incredibly dangerous doing this kind of work without the proper training and equipment.  Lots of people get killed this way, even more do some really expensive damage.  Just do a search for tree felling fails on Youtube, it should scare you enough to not try it yourself.

PS:  I'm a qualified arborist, and do this stuff for a living.  With training, experience and the proper tools, the risks can be greatly reduced.  If you don't have these things, hire a professional - it's cheaper in the end.


hoosier

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Re: Tree trimming at 30+ft
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2018, 05:55:25 AM »
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever cut any tree branch from a ladder.  There's a really good chance the branch will knock the ladder out from under you when it falls.