Tree Care Safety FAQs

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.


16 thoughts on “Tree Care Safety FAQs

  • January 12, 2017 at 2:53 pm
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    Thanks for sharing! And the tricky part of it is that trees often die from the inside out so you don’t know what your getting into when you start the project. It can be extremely dangerous dealing with a decaying tree.

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  • October 31, 2016 at 3:50 pm
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    Thanks for explaining why I need to hire a contractor to remove my trees. I didn’t realize that there can be complications if I try to do this myself, like if my tree falls in the wrong direction, or if it damages something or someone when it falls. A certified contractor would know how to prevent this from happening, so I should hire someone to prevent any accidents from happening on my property.

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  • October 6, 2016 at 11:00 am
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    These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to regularly have a professional assess your trees to see if any are a safety hazard. There was a pretty big windstorm in my area recently, and several of my trees’ branches were damaged and fell off. I’m worried that a few of them might be a hazard now, so I’ll definitely look into having a professional come and assess the situation. Thanks for the great post!

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  • June 1, 2016 at 7:16 pm
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    I thought you made a really compelling case for hiring an arborist to perform my tree work for me. It seems really likely to be hit by falling branches, or for my tree to fall in the wrong direction when cutting it down. I want to make sure that there aren’t any accidents when removing my tree, so hiring a trained professional with the right equipment could prevent damages to my property.

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  • April 20, 2016 at 12:59 am
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    Sound knowledge as to why you should probably consider a professional rather than DIY tree care.

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  • April 11, 2016 at 8:28 am
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    Now that I’ve seen your list of reasons why I shouldn’t perform my own tree work I realize how dumb it was to think I could! I was going to try and to go do some tree pruning in our back yard but what if I underestimate some of the sizes of branches that bug me. I’ll just have to hire a professional tree service to come and check it out. Are there a lot of accidents that occur because people tried to do their own tree service?

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  • April 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm
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    This is some really important information for any DIY aficionados out there who insist on removing trees from their property on their own. Removing or other tree work is often much too dangerous for the average person, and should be left up to the professionals whenever possible. We’ve all seen enough videos on YouTube to know why trees falling in the wrong direction are so dangerous. Thanks so much for writing!

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  • January 7, 2016 at 3:14 pm
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    I really enjoyed your advice on how to appropriately remove any unwanted trees. I would agree that there are many things that you should be aware of when removing a tree, such as which direction it will fall. I am looking to take a out a tree in my yard, I’ll have to save this post to reference in the future. Thank you for sharing!

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  • December 30, 2015 at 1:53 pm
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    I am trying to remove some trees in my backyard, but this article scared me out of doing that by myself. I hadn’t considered the various examples of things that can go wrong in a project like that. I will be sure to hire a service, even if it is pricey to do so. Thanks for sharing this information with me!

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  • December 15, 2015 at 6:54 pm
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    This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that tree work can be dangerous. I have a couple of trees in my backyard that are dead and need to be removed. I’ll definitely look into hiring a professional to do that, so they can do it safely and efficiently. Thanks for the great post!

    Reply
  • November 19, 2015 at 6:58 pm
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    Tree removal service is one of those things I’d never be able to do. I have a huge phobia of a tree falling on me. Which brings me to trying to find a tree removal service. There’s an old oak tree that looks like it’s going to come down on my home. I’d like to get rid of it, before it decided to come down on its own!

    Reply
  • October 26, 2015 at 8:35 pm
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    I really liked your tips about why tree removal can be dangerous if you do it yourself. I have tried cutting down trees by myself and I agree that it is no easy task. In my opinion the best and safest option is to hire a tree removal service. Thank you for sharing.

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  • October 19, 2015 at 2:06 pm
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    I thought that your point about hiring a professional to perform proper tree maintenance to prevent incidents was explained really well. An unhealthy tree toppling over during bad weather seems like an excellent example of why it’s important to maintain your trees. This brings to mind a number of times when I found a few trees in different neighborhoods I’ve lived in that have fallen over after a bad storm. Luckily, no one was ever hurt when this would happen, but if those trees were cared for properly, then they would most likely still be standing.

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  • October 19, 2015 at 9:25 am
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    I always worry in the fall; if you get a wet snowstorm early then you get lots of branches that break off trees and that can cause a lot of damage. I’m hoping to get a big tree by our driveway either heavily pruned or removed this fall. I’m worried that it’s going to fall on my car, like you said. Is fall a good time to remove trees?

    Reply
  • July 2, 2015 at 10:50 am
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    Thanks for pointing out at all the different ways tree work can be dangerous. I have seen some bad accidents from people being careless. A lot of times ladders and chainsaws don’t mix. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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