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Essential Safety Devices & Tips for Trimming Your Towering Trees

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The large trees around your property have provided you with shade, beauty, and plenty of sticky tree sap. To ensure your trees don't pose a threat to any nearby buildings, you might decide to cut down a few limbs off your tallest trees. However, this job can't be completed with just a ladder and pole saw—you'll also need several pieces of safety equipment and a few precautionary tips to ensure you finish the job without sustaining unnecessary injuries or causing any property damage.

Safety Equipment

Falling from even a moderately-sized tree can result in serious injury. Additionally, the tools you use to trim your tree can pose an even greater threat to your safety. Wear these items at all times to avoid sustaining serious injury in the event of a fall or accident:

Climbing Harness

A climbing harness will allow you to climb to the top of your tree with as little risk as possible. There are several different types of climbing harnesses, but a saddle harness will be sufficient for most tree trimming jobs. If a saddle harness doesn't feel safe enough for you, then opt for a full body harness instead.


Lanyards are sturdy ropes that clip to branches or other ledges on your tree. Some professional tree trimmers can perform an entire trimming job with just a lanyard, but it's safest for you to use your lanyard in addition to your climbing harness. Clipping your lanyard onto a sturdy tree limb will provide a secondary form of fall protection in case your harness breaks. Additionally, you can freely hang from your lanyard in case you get tired while scaling your tree.

If you aren't able to afford a lanyard after purchasing an expensive harness, you can make your own lanyard with arborist rope and a few other items you can find at your local hardware store.


Even with a harness and lanyard, there's still a possibility you'll fall while scaling or trimming your tree. In such a case, a helmet can keep you from sustaining a head injury that could leave you seriously injured or even hospitalized.

Safety Glasses

Sawing limbs and branches off your tree will send bark, leaves, and dirt flying throughout your work area. To prevent yourself from being blinded by this debris, wear safety glasses that either have a lanyard or elastic strap. Glasses without either of these features are likely to fall while you're several feet in the air—which would force you to descend your tree and retrieve your glasses before being able to continue with your work.

Safety Tips

Safety equipment won't save you if there's a fundamental flaw in your planning process. Follow these tips to ensure the safety of you and any bystanders while trimming your tree:

Check The Forecast

Rain, lightning, hail, and severe wind can present serious safety hazards to you while suspended a few dozen feet in the air. Keep an eye on the forecast a few days prior to beginning your trimming process to ensure you won't be caught off guard.

Plan A Fall Line

If you must remove a large tree limb, or if you're felling your tree, then you must plan a fall line. Your fall line should be leading away from any nearby buildings, power lines, and cars. To ensure your limb or trunk falls in accordance with your fall line, make sure you create a proper undercut and backcut.

By using these safety devices and following these tips, you can trim or fell your tree with as little risk of accidental injury or damage as possible. However, if you don't feel confident in your arborist skills, then stop and leave the job of trimming or felling your tree to a professional arborist. Contact a few nearby options through resources such as