How to Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High to Reach

Everyone with a backyard with overgrown trees needs to know how to cut tree limbs that are too high to reach. You don’t have to call a professional to do the work for you either. You can trim the branches the right way and keep yourself safe while doing it.

How to Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High to Reach

Best Time to Trim the Branches

The best time to trim overgrown trees is when they are dormant, usually during the winter season. At this time, trees are less likely going to contract pest infections or diseases due to open wounds.

However, if the tree branches or limbs pose a significant danger to family members or an obstruction, it’s safer to remove it no matter the season.

Safety is important. So when a branch or tree limb already looks damaged and might fall off any day, it’s time to cut it now.

What to Prepare:

  • Pruning Saw
  • Rope Saw or Pole Pruner
  • Ladder
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Steps to Trim High Tree Branches

Step 1: Raise the ladder to the desired height.

Extend your ladder to the desired height to give you close access to cutting the branch. Make sure you position it under the tree and rest on the trunk and not another limb.

Step 2: Cut through the bark of the branch

Use a pruning saw to begin cutting through the bark of the limb you want to trim, starting from the underside.

Make sure you position the cut to leave enough collar, which should be around six inches from the connection of the trunk and the branch. Saw only deep enough to remove the bark and move the limb in place at this step.

Step 3: Slash the small end of the branch.

After cutting the bark, use a rope saw or a pole pruner to cut off the small end of the branch that’s within your reach.

Step 4: Continue cutting off smaller sections of the branch.

Continue the process of cutting off the smaller ends of the branch until you are close to the 6-inch mark.

Step 5: Make the final cut on the branch

Using the pruning saw, if it is more convenient, make the final cut at least two inches from the trunk. It’s enough collar to allow the tree to recover faster and still prevent damage and infection.

Things to Avoid:

Cutting the tree limb too short

The branch collar of the tree allows the wound from the cut to heal. It builds the scar tissue that enables the tree to recover over time.

Cutting the tree parallel to the trunk will cut off any necessary collar for its healing process. Among the common signs of trimming off the entire collar includes rotten holes in the tree and leaking wounds.

Leaving the branch collar too long

However, leaving it too long can only hinder the process. Long branch stubs can do more harm as it interferes and prevents the healing process of the tree after trimming.

Forgetting to make relief cuts

Failure to make relief cuts when trimming trees can cause the branch to split off after some time due to the excessive weight of the limb. Ultimately, it will risk the trunk in incurring more damage in the future. It can also put the tree in the hazard of insect infestation or diseases.

Safety Tips

  • Wear protective gear like a helmet or hard hat when cutting overgrown trees to protect your head. A lot of things can fall out when you trim a large tree, like dead branches or broken parts of the equipment you are using.
  • Use safety goggles protect your eyes as you usually look up while doing the work. If you use a pole saw, sawdust can enter your eyes, and safety glasses can help shield them.
  • Avoid the wrong pruning cut. The proper way to cut a tree branch is a critical part of how it will recover after some time. The best pruning cut implies that there should be minimal damage in the tree so it can heal faster. For this, remember to cut the branch collar not too long but not too short either.

How to Cut Tree Limbs That Are Too High to Reach

Conclusion

Trimming trees is critical, especially for safety purposes. It is vital to have the right tools with you and make the proper cut on the tree. The best way to cut tree limbs that are too high to reach is to leave it with enough collar to recover.

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Jill Sandy

Jill Sandy

Jill is a sustainable focus gardener. She loves decorating her home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques she develops herself. You can reach her at jill@constantdelights.org

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh is our Head of Medical Review. He is a research physician at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. After accomplishing the program of level 1 sub-specialty in Pediatrics, he was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for his Master’s degree of Public Health in the University of Edinburgh in 2019

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