Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cutting Tree Limbs

Exercise Caution when Cutting Tree Limbs

By Mark J. Donovan

Last weekend I decided to cut down a large Oak tree limb. The tree limb was approximately 8 inches in diameter and was about 25 feet off the ground. The limb extended out about 30 feet out and impeded the lake view from my home.

Since I was nervous about using a chainsaw at the top of a ladder I decided to instead use a tree pole saw. Though it was slow going I made excellent progress cutting through the tree limb, at least until the saw blade became pinched in the sagging tree limb.

After spending about 15 minutes trying to remove the saw blade from the pinched tree limb, I decided to get a long length of rope and throw it around the end of the tree limb. After positioning myself away from where the tree limb would fall, I began to pull on the rope. After just a couple of pulls the tree limb gave way. Initially it just pivoted at the point that I made the cut. However, just after the branch went vertical it separated from the tree and went cart wheeling over towards the water and my 12 foot row boat. In the process of cart wheeling, the tree limb ripped the rope through my hand and fingers. Fortunately I did not have the rope wrapped around my hands. However, the speed in which the rope slide through my hands created rope burns on my right hand. In addition, the root of the tree limb (again 8 inches in diameter) landed in my row boat, crushing the metal bow seat.

So what’s the take away in this experience? First, when cutting a large tree limb branch, cut from the top to make sure the saw does not bind in the cut. Second, if you are going to attempt to pull down a hanging tree limb make sure you are not underneath it and that the rope is in no way wrapped around your body parts, nor tangled under your feet. Finally, make sure there is nothing in the area that you value. In my case I am very fortunate not to have lost my hand and my boat it this project, but I will have some permanent scars to remind me of this experience.

No comments: