tree care service

Tree Trimming and Removal Work

Do you have trees on your property that are too close to the house, power lines, or other structures? Do they need trimming or removal? If so, then this article is for you. 

Here we will discuss tree trimming and removal work in detail, including what it entails and who typically performs it. We’ll also talk about some of the factors that affect pricing for this service. Read on to learn more!

Tree trimming and removal work is an important service that needs to be done regularly in order to keep trees healthy. However, some hazards can arise if the tree is not trimmed or removed, such as branches falling on power lines, causing power outages. 

This blog post will provide you with information about when it’s time for these services and how they should be conducted.

What Is Tree Trimming And Removal Work?

Tree trimming and removal work includes lopping, pruning, trimming, repairing, maintaining and removing amenity trees, as well as ground operations relating to tree work like wood chipping, stump grinding and root pruning.

Amenity trees are recreational, functional, environmental, ecological, social, health or aesthetic value rather than production purposes.

Who Should Use This Guide?

This Guide assists duty holders, including arborists, tree climbers, horticulturalists, gardeners, tree workers, landscapers, builders, developers, and others in the amenity tree industry, manage their obligations under the WHS laws.

It does not apply to commercial forestry or work done in relation to growing and managing forests. Guidance on forestry and growing and managing forests are in the General guide for managing risks in forestry operations and Guide to growing and managing forests.

This Guide is also useful for workers and helps to ensure the health and safety of other people who may be affected by tree trimming and removal work, including members of the public.

More specific information on the requirements to manage the risks from falls, machinery and other hazards associated with tree trimming and removal work like noise and hazardous manual tasks is available on the Safe Work Australia website.

How Can Risks Of Tree Trimming And Removal Work Be Managed?

The following steps should be used to decide what is reasonably practicable to ensure workers and other people are not injured when carrying out tree trimming and removal work.

Find Out What Could Cause Harm

The following can help identify potential hazards:

Observe the workplace to identify how work will be carried out. Consider the physical work environment; equipment; materials, and substances used; work tasks and how they are performed; and work design and management. Hazards associated with tree trimming and removal work can include:

  • tree hazards
  • slips, trips and falls
  • manual tasks, i.e. lifting, pushing, pulling, repetitive movements, holding machinery
  • contact with energised overhead electric lines or underground services
  • crush injuries, entanglement, cuts and abrasions from the incorrect use or lack of
  • maintenance of machinery, e.g. chainsaws, wood chippers and stump grinders
  • being struck by vehicles or mobile plant moving on or working near the worksite
  • falling objects
  • punctures and cuts from tree branches
  • Allergic reactions to trees and poisonous plants, and biting or stinging hazards, including ants, bees, wasps and snakes.

Ask workers about problems they have found at the workplace.

Discuss the risks in carrying out tree trimming and removal work with the operators of cranes or other machinery you may be using at the site.

Talk to manufacturers, industry associations, suppliers and health and safety specialists and review incident and injury records, including near misses.

Visual Tree Assessment

The integrity of a tree is critical to the safety of those working in, under and around it. Therefore, before working on or accessing a tree by any method, a thorough visual assessment of the tree should be carried out by a competent person. 

The assessment should consider hazards, conditions, wind loading, structural integrity and location. This assessment should form the basis of a site-specific risk assessment and decision-making on whether the tree is safe to access, the method chosen to access the tree and the safe systems of work to be used on the site.

Assess The Risk

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In many cases, the risks and related control measures will be well known. However, in other cases, you may need to carry out a risk assessment to identify the likelihood of somebody being harmed by the hazard and how serious the harm could be. A risk assessment can help you determine what action you should take to control the risk and how urgently the action needs to be taken.

When carrying out a risk assessment, think about:

  1. The stability and integrity of the tree:
  • Is the tree decayed or dead and unsafe to climb or be attached to?
  • Is the species or the particular tree susceptible to branch failure when under load?
  • Is the tree stable in the ground?
  • Is the crown of the tree leaning heavily in one direction?
  • Is the tree suitable to be climbed?
  1. Ensure that no person, plant or thing will come within an unsafe distance of an overhead electric line.
  2. Ground surface conditions including the type of soil, underground services, underground tanks, leach drains and gradients of the ground surface.
  3. Maintenance of plant and equipment.
  4. Access by people and management of traffic.
  5. Animal and insect management, e.g. are there insects or other animals in the tree that may risk a worker?
  6. Workers being trained include emergency procedures, working near overhead or

underground services, use of equipment, work tasks and on-site communication.

  1. Action plans about hazards and the nature of the work, including number of workers, each worker’s role and job process after discussion with workers.
  2. Weather conditions including heat, humidity and wind speed are suitable to start the job and are monitored to ensure they are suitable to continue working.
  3. Common hazards like vines, creepers in crown, nails and wire are identified and removed or controlled.
  4. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is fit for purpose and, where appropriate, in accordance with the relevant Australian Standard.
  5. Establishment of exclusion zones.

Take Action To Control The Risk

The WHS laws require a business or undertaking to do all that is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise risks. The ways of controlling risks are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of risk control. 

You must work through this hierarchy to manage risks. The first thing to consider is whether hazards can be completely removed from the workplace. For example, carry out the work from the ground as this eliminates the risk of falls and issues with tree integrity.

If it is not reasonably practicable to completely eliminate the risk, then consider the following options in the order they appear below to minimise risks, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • First, substitute the hazard for something safer, e.g. redesign the work process so less hazardous equipment, materials or quantities are used; use a plant specifically designed to lift a person like an elevating work platform (EWP) to gain access to the tree rather than climbing the tree.
  • Isolate the hazard from people, e.g. set up a restricted work area; minimise emissions and noise from machinery through venting and containment or isolation barriers.
  • Use engineering controls, e.g. a boom-mounted pruner.
  • If, after implementing the above control measures, a risk still remains, consider the following controls in the order below to minimise the remaining risk, so far as is reasonably practicable:
  • Use administrative controls, e.g. rotate jobs and vary tasks to minimise the risks associated with repetitive manual handling tasks; provide safety information, training and instruction; use written safe work procedures.
  • Use PPE, e.g. safety eyewear, face shields, hearing protection, safety helmets, boots, cut-resistant leg protection and reflective, high-visibility clothing.

A combination of the controls set out above may be used if a single control is not enough to

minimise the risks. Consider all possible control measures and make decisions about those controls which are reasonably practicable for the workplace. 

Deciding what is reasonably practicable includes the availability and suitability of control measures, with a preference for using substitution, isolation or engineering controls to minimise risks before using administrative controls or PPE. Cost may also be relevant, but only consider this after all other factors have been taken into account.

Check control measures regularly to ensure they remain effective and that the system is working as planned, considering any changes in how the work is carried out.

Tree Trimming & Pruning: Tips & Techniques

By knowing the basics about tree trimming and tree pruning, you may be able to handle the majority of this kind of work yourself. In addition, there are a variety of great trimming tips and pruning techniques that can help keep your trees in excellent shape. 

With the right knowledge and equipment, you can prune your trees as necessary to maintain their appearance and health and to eliminate potentially dangerous dead branches and other common issues.

While there are many tree trimming techniques out there, youyou only need to concern yourself with the basics to keep things in order. Alternatively, you can hire a professional and not think twice about it! Read our guide below for more information.

Reasons to Trim or Prune a Tree

Trees are generally trimmed for one of three purposes: aesthetics, safety or health. For example:

  • AestheticsPruning a tree effectively helps to maintain its shape and appearance. However, you shouldn’t try to impose an unnatural shape or size on a tree. The amount of trimming and pruning that will be needed could seriously damage it.
  • Safety – Dead or broken branches and limbs can fall off at any time, which is a serious safety hazard. In addition, if the branches of a tree obstruct your vision while driving, they should be trimmed away. Finally, tree limbs and branches occasionally grow too close to utility lines. Contact the utility company to handle such issues.
  • Health – It is sometimes possible to save an infected tree by strategically pruning away affected branches and limbs. Thinning the crown of a tree improves airflow, which can be very beneficial. If branches are crossing or rubbing together, they should be trimmed or removed to don’t fall unexpectedly.

Factors Considered Before Pruning a Tree 

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Careful inspection of a tree: While trimming a tree certainly has its benefits, trimming it without mapping the trim’s impact on the tree’s overall health can send the tree into shock and harm its future growth. At Same Day Tree Works, our tree surgeons thoroughly inspect a tree before preparing a trimming action plan. This ensures that the development of any tree we trim is boosted further. 

Remove dead and weak branches: A tree’s health and appearance are negatively affected by dead branches. It’s also possible for dead and weak branches to break and fall at any time. Also, trees with crossed branches tend to have a reduction in light and airflow. Therefore, it is crucial to cut off the dead branches of trees as soon as possible. 

Follow 1/3 rule of pruning: Approximately 1/3 of wood needs to be cut whenever pruning is done. This moderate tree pruning technique promotes new growth in a balanced manner. Most of the stems are lost on the top section, allowing more light and air into the flower. This pruning technique keeps the foliage and nutrients in balance & helps the plant heal faster. 

Prune your trees with sharp tools: It is necessary always to prune your trees with sharp tools. This helps in easy pruning and does not lead to any fatal complications. 

Balancing Aesthetics & Safety: A tree situated within human habitation should be periodically audited for safety in normal and extreme weather conditions, such as storms. Along with protection, our team of arborists at Same Day Tree Works ensures that the tree retains its aesthetic aspects, even after pruning. 

Time to prune trees: Pruning summer-blooming trees in early spring is a great idea. Whereas you need to prune hedges and evergreen trees in early summer. A good time to prune fruit trees is late winter. However, it is possible to prune a tree at any time during the year if it is infected, diseased or dead. 

Don’t cover pruning wounds: Painting the wounds of a tree will make it look better. However, a paint job will not affect decay. But it is possible to spread tree diseases and pests by painting over wounds on trees. Therefore, it is better not to worry about painting the pruned area and leave it as it is.

General Tree Trimming Tips

It’s almost always best to trim or prune a tree during its dormant season. Although you can technically prune a pine tree at any time, it is still better to do so when it is dormant. The only exception is when a hazard exists.

Be conscientious about the size of the branch that you are going to remove. If it is less than five centimetres in diameter, removing it is fine. If it is between five and 10 centimetres in diameter, you might not want to do it. If it is more than 10 centimetres in diameter, you should only do so if you have a really good reason.

Only trim branches that have weak, V-shaped, narrow angles. Retain branches that have strong, U-shaped angles. Lateral branches should be between one-half and three-quarters the diameter of the stem at the point of attachment. Otherwise, they should be removed.

When pruning is complete, the ratio of living crown to tree height should be two-thirds.

Try to prune away branches when they are young. They are much easier to manage at that point, and the risk of leaving nasty scars is much lower. Don’t trim a branch too close or too long. You shouldn’t leave a large stub or remove the branch collar.

Tree Pruning Tips

The following tips and techniques will help guide you if you’re planning on pruning a tree or if you just want to educate yourself about typical tree trimming care and maintenance techniques.

If you need to thin the crown of a tree, you should keep the following tips and techniques in mind:

  • Keep lateral branches as evenly spaced as possible, especially on young trees.
  • Prune away branches that cross other branches or run against them.
  • Never remove more than one-fourth of a living crown at once. If you need to remove more than that, spread it out over a number of years.
  • To provide clearance for pedestrians and for other reasons, you can raise the crown by carefully pruning the tree. Maintain live branches on at least two-thirds of a tree’s height. If you remove too many branches near the bottom half, the tree may not be able to develop a strong stem.
  • If you need to remove more than half of the foliage from a branch, just remove the whole branch.
  • Only reduce the crown of a tree if it’s really necessary. For example, prune lateral branches that are at least one-third of the stem’s diameter need to be removed.

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Tree Trimming Techniques

  • Before cutting, look for the branch collar, which grows from the stem tissue at the bottom base of the branch. Next, look for the branch ridge on the upper surface and is parallel to the branch angle at the stem.
  • Always cut outside the branch bark ridge and angle your cut down and away from the stem. Take care not to injure the branch collar.
  • Use the same technique to prune dead branches and living branches.
  • If a stem is too long, use the three-cut technique: Make a notch on the side of the stem that faces away from the branch that’s being retained; make the second cut inside the crotch of the branch and above the branch ridge; the third cut will remove the stub by cutting through the stem parallel to the branch bark ridge.

Keep these tricks and techniques from this tree pruning guide in mind before taking on the task of pruning and trimming your trees.

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