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.