Should you prune your trees? Sometimes. This might not seem like a particularly helpful answer, but the suitability of your trees when it comes to DIY pruning will depend on the tree. Smaller trees allow you to prune them with both feet safely on the ground. This allows you to periodically step back and assess your work to ensure symmetry and general tidiness. But what about those larger trees on your property? There are a few rather important points to consider before your blade goes anywhere near their limbs.
How Tall Is the Tree?
There comes a point where your safety can be compromised when you work on a tree. This point is arguably whenever your feet leave the ground. It's not a simple case of climbing the tree with a hacksaw and removing the branches in question, as this can place you in peril and is unlikely to be as straightforward as you thought. Lower branches that need to be pruned can be taken care of with a sturdy ladder, but don't attempt this without assistance. You should always have someone with both hands firmly on the ladder to steady it.
How Big Are the Branches to be Removed?
Some pruning jobs are only removing excess foliage and minor branches, but there might be a problematic branch you've earmarked for removal. It might appear to be dead, and prompt removal will be best for the tree. But how big is the branch? It can be hazardous to attempt to remove heavy dead branches by yourself. You can't assume that the branch will drop straight to the ground, and you need to consider the damage to any nearby structures (whether on your property or your neighbours'), along with liability for damage. Would you automatically be covered by your insurance policy if you deliberately pruned a large branch from a tree which caused property damage?
Is There Anything Else Up There?
Any trees in the vicinity of overhead power lines must be treated with the utmost of caution. Even if the tree is of a height that makes you think a DIY pruning session will get the job done, you must ensure that no portion of the tree is anywhere near a power line. Likewise, any portion of the tree that is removed must not make contact with power lines when they drop to the ground.
If there's any doubt about whether you should do this work yourself, contact a tree pruning company. It's best to err on the side of caution since what might have seemed like a simple gardening job could easily place you in harm's way.