Q: Why is it dangerous to perform my own tree work?
The average homeowner does not have the training, equipment or expertise necessary to perform safe tree work. Though tree work may seem simple, it is actually extremely complicated, technical and dangerous. Homeowners have been injured and even killed by falling limbs, faulty/misused equipment, or general carelessness. Here are some examples of what can go wrong:
- You are hit by falling branches
- Tree falls in the wrong direction
- Tree falls on house, car, or you, the homeowner
- The tree falls prematurely
- You find hidden decay after you have started cutting the tree/notch
- You realize your equipment is not adequate after you start cutting the tree/notch
- You underestimate the height/size of the tree
Q: Am I liable for tree care accidents that happen on my property?
It depends on the contractor you are working with, and the state you live in. To shield yourself from liability, always do business with reputable tree care companies with verifiable credentials and up-to-date insurance. Ask for a contract up front, and ensure it specifies conditions for liability. Read “Homeowner Responsibilities & Liabilities” for more details.
Q: How can I make sure my trees are safe?
Trees require regular maintenance to ensure they are safe and structurally sound. Small defects such as split branches, dead limbs, cracked stems and decayed wood all point to a defective tree. Unhealthy trees can topple without warning, or collapse during bad weather. To prevent this, have a professional tree care company or arborist routinely conduct a tree risk assessment, which can reveal defects before they become dangerous.