Why the answer is the tree owner, of course. Does this answer surprise you? It shouldn’t, because tree owners are an important cog in the wheel when it comes to any tree removal project. Tree owners provide valuable information that the rest of the crew depends on in order to properly and safely perform their jobs. Let’s explain, shall we? So, put your hardhat and work boots on and let’s go!
There’s a lot to consider before your crew arrives. If you have a small lot and the trees you want cut or removed are located in or near the area of your property lines between you and your neighbor’s. Then you will need to find out exactly where the property lines run. Even if your 100% sure you “think you know” where the property lines run. It’s best to be certain. Take a look at the plot plan of your home or if you don’t have a plot plan of your property you can obtain one from your town offices. You may want to pick up a copy of your neighbor’s plot plan as well (just to be safe). It’s imperative to know where the boundary lines run since it can get pretty ugly legally if you happen to have your neighbor’s tree cut down. In the past courts have required individuals to compensate their neighbors for trees that were mistakenly cut down. The more troublesome of these scenarios is when the property line splits a tree and then Massachusetts Tree Law looks at the tree as being jointly owned by both parties and both parties need to agree to any “tampering” of the said tree. For more information on Massachusetts tree law a good source is: http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/law-lib/laws-by-subj/about/trees.html
Now that you have confirmed you are the sole owner of the tree or trees you wish to have removed. The next item on your list of job responsibilities is what lies in the “drop zone” of the tree? This is the area where predictably the tree will fall. When trees get cut they will fall hard and anything buried beneath the ground that is potentially fragile could sustain damage from the tree drop. Septic systems for example can get crushed, especially the tanks, since they are made of concrete and therefore brittle. Now a broken up septic system is a problem we don’t even want to think about! What a mess that would create! How about any other underground vaults or lines within the drop zone. Even tiny irrigation heads which most are made of plastic and usually tucked just under the loam. If your heads experience a direct hit from a tree fall they would certainly break. Do you live on a water well? Some well heads stick above ground while others can be buried just beneath the surface. Again, typically located inside a cement pit with a cement cover. You certainly don’t want to have your water source jeopardized. As you can see, the importance in knowing where underground utilities, tanks or lines are located can prove to be invaluable information. Once you have located these the safest thing to do is mark them with fluorescent spray paint. That way when the rest of your crew shows up there is no questions where everything is and they can make adjustments accordingly to get the job done safely without damaging the underground buried structures.
Ok, so you’ve surveyed the land to confirm the trees that are to be taken down are 100% yours. You’ve scoured the landscape to be certain there is no buried surprises. Now, take a look above your head. Where are the power lines for your house? Are there electrical lines within the area where your crew needs to work? Did you know that the third largest cause of death with tree work happens to be electrocution? For this reason, OSHA standards for tree crews working near powerlines are a minimum distance of 20 Ft form powerlines. If you have powerlines within the required minimum distance you will need to contact your local electrical company. Your crew members will thank you for taking their safety into consideration.
Ok, great job! You have covered everything and your work is complete. You have proved yourself a worthy member of the team. Now when the rest of your crew shows up they can get right to work. You have allowed them peace of mind and insurance that the job will flow smoothly and there won’t be any unforeseen damages whether it be an irate neighbor or a sudden leak under the ground or the least popular outcome of toying with electricity.
Again, thank you for taking the time and effort to do your part of the tree arbor project. If we can have more individuals partake in their responsibilities as described above then we could all rest a bit easier and safer.
It seems that everyone who owns trees has asked themselves that same question at one time or another: “Should I do the tree work myself or should I hire a tree care professional to handle it for me?”
Whether you have a branch that has sustained damage during a recent storm or an entire tree withering away from decay, when it comes to tree work, there are certain elements to be addressed long before a single cut is made.
Let’s start with tree physics and biology. Tree professionals undergo years of training and experience before they can easily decipher the precision of felling a tree. Believe it or not, tree physics is the first thing that is learned and must be considered when it comes to cutting into trees. The law of gravity, of course mostly dictates where the tree or limb is going to fall, but also additionally, the physical makeup of the tree is a big player as well. Experts assess the tree’s weight distribution and how it’s positioned. It’s imperative to learn and anticipate how a tree is going to fall once it’s cut. Tree arborists can identify when there are potential hazards for back lashing, twisting, splitting or splintering. You must be prepared in advance for each one of these scenarios. It’s far too late once the tree is cut to try and redirect the way it’s falling. A professional tree care worker scans the trees with a keen eye and has the knowledge to almost foretell how a tree will fall. Trees and their limbs are much too big and heavy to stop them from falling a certain way once they start to go and there will be no time for adjustments.
The cut is just as important, in other words, how the cut into the tree is going to be made. An expert can easily assess which type of cut is best for the application, a hinge or pollard, for example. Maybe reduction thinning is a more appropriate approach. Knowing where and how to cut into a tree is essential in how the branch or tree ultimately falls. Another aspect for consideration is what parts of the tree are going to be left after the cut. How much of the tree will remain? The North Carolina State University Extension states that “Every cut must ensure little loss of photosynthetic activity as possible” this safeguards the health of the remaining tree.
Jon Herring of the Iowa DNR Forestry Bureau insists that when it comes to tree felling, a good felling plan along with taking safety precautions are essential. Professionals always have an action plan factoring in the tree lean, height and wind in regards to where the tree is going to fall, where they’d like the tree to fall, and is it possible with no potential hazards in the way?
What about the equipment that is going to be used to tackle this arbor project? Is the chainsaw that is being used properly sharpened? Using a dull chainsaw requires the operator to put extra pressure on the saw increasing the risk for incident through loss of control.
Trees are obviously very tall so merely getting into proper position poses a unique situation. A lot of, do-it- yourself individuals will use ladders. When typically, it is not recommended to use extension ladders since the ladder must be at least 5 Ft. beyond the area of the cut. One should never cut below the top of the ladder. Not only are ladders extremely unstable but also place helpers in a dangerous location. There have been several incidents where willing helpers holding the ladder in position ended up becoming victims themselves of serious or fatal injuries for being in the wrong place while holding the ladder. A professional tree crew comes fully prepared with all the proper equipment of saws, ropes, pulleys, chippers and buckets to address the tree care work in a methodical, safe and appropriate manner.
The old-adage of measure twice cut once, can also be used when it comes to tree work. Measure and analyze the potential hazards of: electrical lines, nearby passing individuals, having a completely clear and open drop zone. All of these aspects are a must to consider before that cut is made and not just the first cut but each and every cut.
All the above mentioned tips and much more, are carefully considered by tree professionals each any every time they perform a job. They have years of training on tree physics and biology, they attend seminars and clinics on an on-going basis to stay ahead in the industry, learning from other industry professionals. Tree experts have all the proper equipment and keep it properly maintained. Through their training and expertise, they can easily assess how to approach a tree or limb that needs to be cut and removed. Tree crews work as a single unit where crew members are always on the lookout for one another. They assist each other constantly through voice and hand signals, thereby keeping everyone safe at all times. Some tree crews believe the most dangerous part of their job is driving on the roads that got them to the job. Once on site, through teamwork and all members following the highest safety standards they know they have each other’s backs. They perform as a single, smoothly run operation, similar to a well-greased tree cutting machine.
On a final note, tree work can be extremely dangerous especially when the individual who is operating the saw is under-educated, that’s when accidents happen. Statics show that from 2009-2013 sadly there were 408 fatal tree care accidents in the U.S. and the top three reasons were: Struck by Tree; Fall from Tree or Electrocution. The next time you need some tree work done, we urge you to seriously consider the value of the risk. Accidents happen, and at high costs, do not become a statistic, please contact us professionals instead.
The use of cranes within the Tree Care Industry have become increasingly popular over the past few decades. Cranes have been proven extremely useful for those hard to reach tree removal scenarios. In some regards using a crane for tree removal is about having the “right tool for the job”. With a crane’s lengthy reach capacity and their ability to lift several tons at a time. Cranes without question have increased the efficiency and safety of tree removal for both tree professionals and their clients.
We work with a 24 ton crane that has a 105 Ft. reach, this is considered a standard size crane used for tree care work. Cranes are utilized for several reasons, but mainly when safety and accessibility are limited. For example, a crane with its long reach can give a tree trimmer easy access to a tree. Otherwise, a tree climber may be required to traverse the tree among the thick branches in attempt to gain position to make his cut. This expends his energy making it more difficult to keep his safety in check. Another example is when the area around the base of the tree is too tight for an aerial bucket truck to appropriately fit, eliminating the tree climber’s option to use the bucket for maneuvering into his position. Dropping trees is an extremely dangerous profession and part of keeping tree workers safe is having a safe working environment where they have room and the abilty to move should something go wrong.
A typical scenario when using a crane to remove a tree would be as follows. The crane operator sets up and positions the crane in an open area either in or near the street. A tree climber gets fashioned with a safety harness and lifted by the crane into position on the tree. The tree climber would then secure himself to the tree before releasing himself from the crane. Then a second rope, sling or harness gets attached around the tree where the other end is secured to the hook of the crane. Once completed, the tree trimmer repels down the tree a short distance to his desired location where he is to make the cut. Through voice and hand signals with a ground crew nearby, they signify to the crane operator to apply resistance on the line. The resistance is applied and the tree climber goes about making his cut. While the tree trimmer is making his cut the crane operator slowly and steadily increases the resistance on the line. Once the cut is complete, the top of the tree is safely removed and the crane easily maneuvers the tree top to the predetermined location where the ground crew is located. They unhook the tree top and get to work busily removing branches and cutting the top into log lengths or taking the smaller portions and running them through the chipper.
This precision orchestrated event is performed within a very short amount of time and with the use of the crane doing all the maneuvering and heavy lifting the tree crew can focus on sawing and cutting. This procedure is repeated until the entire tree is removed. By removing a tree in this manner there is no need to have the tree dragged or equipment driven across the property leaving broken branches or ruts in their wake. With the crane positioned in an ideal location away from the tree and work crew, the remaining clean-up is minimal. Some simple raking and blowing takes care of the remaining debris.
Utilizing a crane works in favor for both crew and client. From the tree crew standpoint, the tree climber is effortlessly placed into the appropriate location for the cut. Whereby if he was climbing the tree, majority of his energy would be expelled on the ascension to the location of the cut, leaving room for misjudgment from exhaustion. Also, there are instances when there’s limited or no access available to the tree. This is an issue when a bucket truck cannot be brought in due to a septic system in the way or the grade of the land is too severe or the area is too tight to fit a vehicle. When those particular issues arise, a crane with its extended reach is the solution.
In regards to the advantages for the client, in most instances the crane allows for the other tree equipment to remain on or near the street in an open and easy to work area. Resulting in minimal property disruption and clean up. The only evidence the tree work was completed is a missing tree. The crane also allows the crew to work at their highest level of efficiency therefore the time it takes to complete the job is cut in half.
Though every tree removal job is unique and each comes with its own set of different variables. In most instances, when the degree of safety or level of difficulty are in question with space and access being minimal. Then it is recommended to incorporate the use of a crane allowing for a safe working environment, easy clean up, minimal property disruption and efficient tree removal.
If you would like additional information on using cranes for tree removal, please refer to the links below:
Own property in Massachusetts? Does that property have trees on it? If you’ve answered “yes” to those two questions, then how about one more? Have you had a tree risk assessment performed on your trees within the past year? If you have, that’s great, congratulations! You get to enjoy the benefits of knowing you have secured yourself against negligent liability and get to reap the additional benefits of sustaining healthy strong trees on your property. If you happened to answer “no” then you may want to keep reading to see what risks you may be unknowingly exposing yourself to.
The Native Tree Society, ranks the following tree species as the most popular trees in Massachusetts: Tulip Poplar, Bitternut Hickory, North Red Oak, Black Cherry and Striped Maple. All of which grow on average to 100 Ft. in height. Trees, just like any other plants we own on our properties such as our lawns, shrubs, and gardens need to be attended to and properly maintained. Trees are by far the largest plant species we own making it reasonability understandable that it’s important for us to ensure their good health.
Healthy trees often-times succumb to pests or disease and deterioration of the tree’s health can happen rather quickly where the limbs or the entire tree becomes compromised. Often times the damage is done internally where the average individual won’t notice any obvious signs in the demise of the tree’s health. Trees can also sustain injury from storms for example that break off vital limbs or branches. Trees can be located in the wrong place, get hit and struck by machinery or vehicles causing external injury to the tree’s bark exposing the tender inner portion of the tree to the elements. There are also multiple different types of tree boring insects that infect trees, taking up residence and slowly killing the tree over time. All of these mentioned scenarios will take a healthy tree and turn it into a hazard. According to, Mr. Jeremy Rappoport, Rappoport Development Consulting Services LLC, who writes on the HG.org website,
"A tree is defined as being a hazard when it’s unhealthy and in the event it falls, will strike a target of some kind."
That target could be homes, garages, cars, out buildings and people. The target could be on your own property or a neighbor’s.
When these large 100 Ft. hazardous trees fall and strike a target there is most likely going to be significant damage or loss sustained. The Arboristsite.com notes that the average 100 Ft. tree can weigh in at about 3-4 tons. With that kind of weight, you know the damage is going to be substantial. Hazardous trees or large portions there-of, typically fall during weather-related events with increased winds such as snow storms, blizzards, heavy rain or thunderstorms, also known as the worst times possible. When a hazardous tree strikes a target, let’s say your home for example or worse your neighbor’s home. Insurance companies get called, claims are filed and in some cases lawyers are brought in. There is a significant difference in the outcome of a claim when a hazardous tree has fallen versus a healthy tree falls. Hazardous trees are considered a nuisance and the property owner is liable for any damages. The MA Law Forum states that in Massachusetts when a healthy tree falls, however, it is more likely going to be considered “An act of God” where no one is considered at fault.
Massachusetts Attorney Robert Nislick comments that courts in Massachusetts have ruled when an unhealthy or hazardous tree has caused loss or damage the responsibility falls upon the property owner of the tree. The tree’s owner is whoever property the trunk grows out of. In instances of trees growing on property or boundary lines then the two owners would be considered “tenants in common” in relation the ownership of the tree.
The best advice for property owners with trees would be to be certain your trees are healthy and that they do not have any underlying conditions that deem them as being hazardous. Resulting in any kind of damage where you will be required to pay out of pocket. Protect yourself today and have your trees assessed by a trained arborist who can correctly determine the health of your trees. Have a tree risk assessment performed on your trees annually to ensure the safety and integrity of your property.
The Native Tree Society, http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldtrips/mass/big_trees_ma_1999.htm
Mr. Jeremy Rappoport, Rappoport Development Consulting Services LLC, https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=20246
MA Law Forum, http://www.malawforum.com/content/trees-overhanging-property-line
The Arborist Site, http://www.arboristsite.com/community/threads/tree-weight.13704/
Robert Nislick, Attorney at Law, “Trusted and Experience Massachusetts Attorney, https://nislick.com/2015/09/09/frequently-asked-questions-about-tree-law-in-massachusetts/
When it comes to proper tree care and maintenance, one of the essential aspects is tree pruning. The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) advises tree owners to properly prune their trees because:
“ A pruned tree is a happy and healthy tree, it allows for proper growth and a strong immune system.”
The best way to go about pruning trees on your property is to have a tree expert or arborist come in and assess your trees. These professionals are trained to seek out trees that are dying, diseased or pose a potential hazard. Once your trees have been assessed, then it can be determined as to how much is to be removed and which branches and limbs need to go. It’s also extremely important to note, that trees are only capable of having up to one third of their branches removed in-order to survive. For example, a tree cannot handle having its top removed. The lifeline of the tree is the main trunk and by removing the top you leave the tree susceptible to the elements and pests such as insects and rodents. Trees need the majority of their canopy to remain intact in-order for them to stay strong and healthy. Treehelp.com suggests;
“when deciding to prune a tree, as little as possible, is the best rule of thumb.”
Once the assessment is completed, the arborist will determine exactly how the tree is to be pruned. First, safety is taken into consideration. Does the tree or portion of the tree pose a risk to the property or individuals? Are there any sections of the tree that do or will interfere with powerlines and wires? These are the most important determining factors when it comes to pruning your trees. The arborist will consider the health of the tree. Are there any dead branches or limbs? Does the tree show any signs of decay or disease? Majority of the time when these factors are present the tree professional will also consider once those limbs are removed what will be left to the remaining tree and will the tree be able to maintain its health. Then the overall aesthetics come into play, what will the tree look like when they are finished? Certainly, we still want the tree to look appealing.
The final determining factor is the time of year. The best time to have your trees pruned is in the fall and winter. This is when trees go dormant and with all the leaves gone makes it a lot easier to see exactly how healthy or sick a tree really is.
When it comes to tree pruning it’s both an art and a science in regards to maintaining the integrity of the trees. As well as, adhering to what is best for the property and customer’s needs. Trees are large, heavy and always much bigger once they are on the ground. It’s important to hire a professional that is experienced with tree pruning. Branches, limbs and trees fall certain ways and all too often inexperienced novices who attempt to take down a tree or limb can very quickly and easily cause injury or damage. Once a tree is down it’s down.
Contact us for a free no obligation estimate. This is a great time to have your trees pruned, when going into the winter before a heavy storm hits you don’t want to have to worry about any branches or trees falling and causing havoc to your property.