The Dangers of DIY Tree Removals & Trimming

man incorrectly using chainsaw on tree

It can be incredibly tempting to trim, limb, or fell trees on your property by yourself. Incredibly tempting, but also incredibly dangerous.

Costly damage and devastating injury—even death—may result from tackling DIY tree-care work. In most cases, this is complicated and risky maintenance best left to professional arborists, who bring to the task the expert knowledge, specialized equipment, and seen-it-all experience required.

The Dangers of DIY Tree Removal & Trimming

According to Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) statistics, 80 people die on average each year in the United States from tree-care activities. And that stat, of course, doesn’t capture the countless injuries these activities result in as well.

The job of cutting down a branch or felling a small tree can look quick and easy; it rarely is. Your average homeowner lacks the proper machinery—such as bucket lifts, brush choppers, and chippers—many tree-care jobs demand. (And, needless to say, such machinery when controlled by an inexperienced operator presents great danger, too.)

Accidents From Limbing Trees

dangerous use of a chainsaw to remove tree limb

Tens of thousands of people are injured every year in chainsaw accidents. Kickback, when the chainsaw blade lurches back toward the body of the operator, is a leading reason. Dropping the chainsaw, or being struck by falling branches or boughs, are also very real (and potentially disastrous) possibilities. Cutting through a tree limb or subsidiary trunk may abruptly free a pinned or braced branch you weren’t aware of that can suddenly slam your way, or cause the limb you’re working on to move with violent speed.

Wielding a chainsaw overhead—a major no-no—is all too common among do-it-yourselfers. So is trying to cut limbs with a chainsaw while standing on a ladder. It’s all too easy to lose your balance and fall (with that chainsaw, mind you). Dropped limbs can strike you or the ladder, sending you to the ground.

Whether it’s a chainsaw, handsaw, axe, or any other tree-care tool, a dull blade is generally much more dangerous than a properly sharpened one. Many accidents stem from dull blades catching or slipping.

The Hazards of DIY Tree-Felling

Felling a tree so that it falls safely and without damage to property is much harder than it looks. A 2012 review of civilian tree-care accidents published by Tree Care Industry Association found that two-thirds of victims who died felling a tree with a chainsaw were killed by the tree falling in a different direction than the intended one.

Furthermore, the so-called “barber-chairing” phenomenon – unknown to many do-it-yourselfers – can take even experienced tree professionals off-guard with potentially fatal consequences. Barber-chairing refers to internal stress within a tree being felled via a hinge and back-cut causing the trunk to suddenly split vertically. This splitting happens with violent speed and causes the trunk to break in two. The person cutting the barber-chairing tree is often struck by the cantilevering trunk as it splits, or crushed by one of the falling trunk sections.


We’ve already demonstrated the big-time dangers of DIY tree care in terms of falling from ladders, being hit by branches or toppling trees, and being on the receiving end of a chainsaw blade.

Add to all of that the risk of working around powerlines, and the danger only amps up (so to speak). The high-voltage lines can electrocute you even if you aren’t in direct contact with them.

Expert North Atlanta Tree Removal & Trimming From Excel Tree Care

Long story short, you should leave tree trimming and felling to the experts. For hazardous tree removal, trimming, and other work around Atlanta’s North Metro area, look no further than Excel Tree Care.

To learn more about our tree removal services in Atlanta or to land yourself a free quote, call the Excel Tree Care team at (404) 964-6508 or drop us a line at the website!