Avoiding Trees in Wires: Safety Tips

Homeowners can easily become injured – many times fatally – while attempting to trim trees near overhead electrical wires. Though it is tempting to try to save money with this “do-it-yourself” approach, the potential for electrocution is not worth the risk.

Terrible accidents can happen when a homeowner uses pole-mounted cutting tools and/or metal ladders when attempting to trim backyard trees and shrubs. Too often, an energized overhead wire is not noticed and is touched by pruning tools, causing injury or death.

These are not freak accidents; they are preventable.

Tree limbs can conduct electricity. When trees grow near overhead electrical wires, they can contact the wires and become energized.

There are several things that can go wrong for do-it-yourselfers trying to trim tree branches. For example, if proper tree cutting techniques are not understood, the cut branch can swing in unpredictable directions as it falls and could easily land on an energized wire.

Don’t be fooled by the voltage of the lines. You may think that working on the trees or shrubs near your home’s service line is safer than working near the high voltage secondary distribution lines on the pole by the street, but that’s simply not true.

There are three-wire (called “triplex”) lines connecting the power lines on the pole to your house (meter). Service wires leading from the pole to the house can pack a punch. The type of shock you might have received (and survived) when changing a household light switch is not the same type of shock you will receive if you contact a low-voltage utility wire.

A common house circuit carries 120 volts but the electric flow is usually limited to 10, 15 or 20 amps. A common “house drop” (service wire) contains 240 volts and up to 60 amps or more. Given the right set of circumstances, even the shock a person gets from a common light switch can kill, but at the same time, it is easier to break electrical contact while standing inside a house. If a person is climbing a ladder or is in the tree, it may be more difficult to break contact with the energized wire. This means that the service line over a typical yard could easily kill a person.

Here are a few tips to avoid trees in wires:

• Look for power lines before pruning trees and large shrubs. If lines are anywhere near the tree, don’t attempt any tree work. Professional tree climbers have the training and equipment needed to perform these tasks safely.
• Never climb a tree in order to prune it. Even if the wires aren’t currently touching the tree, remember that the tree’s branches will shift once you begin climbing or removing limbs.
• Wearing rubber-soled shoes or rubber gloves while tree pruning will not prevent a fatal shock.
• Never extend long-handled saws or pruners into a tree without checking for power lines. Electricity is always trying to go somewhere, and it will easily travel through metal, water, trees, and/or the ground.
• Don’t move ladders or long-handled pruning tools around the yard without first looking up. Always read and heed ladder-use safety labels.

More importantly, call Abundant Tree Care Services. They have the knowledge, experience, and specialized equipment to care for your trees safely. For the safety of their employees and the public, Abundant Tree Care follows the ten-foot rule. If access is needed within ten feet of a power line, Abundant Tree Care will work with the electric company to make the line safe while the work is done.

Ask to see Abundant Tree Care Services certificate of insurance, and don’t forget to check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers the cost of tree services.

Call Us Anytime with Tree or Shrub Questions 502-297-1578

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When to Prune Trees

With every season, no doubt, many of you step outside to take a look at your landscape and trees. Life can get busy, and we know pruning trees isn’t always at the top of the to-do list. Whether you want to make your trees safe and healthy from deadwood, or if you want to enhance the aesthetics of your landscape, your trees will need some pruning. If you’re thinking it’s time, make sure you know when the best time to prune your tree is! There are multiple reasons as to why you should prune your trees in the Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall.

Keep in mind that some species of trees vary in their care. Also, getting rid of dead branches or light pruning can occur during any time without harm to the tree.

Abundant Tree Care - Louisvilel Arborist - 39Pruning Trees in Winter

Winter is a great time for pruning trees; this is when a tree is considered to be “dormant.” There is no new growth happening. The benefit of pruning in the winter is that it encourages the tree to grow more vigorously in the spring. The best time is to wait till after the coldest part of winter is over. If you see sap leaking out from your maples, walnuts, or birches, this is called “bleeding.” It will cease when the tree leafs out in the spring and will do no harm to the tree.

Pruning Trees in Spring

If you want your flowering trees to be enhanced for next year, try pruning them in the Spring. For trees that bloom in the spring, you should prune them after that season’s flowers have faded. For later-blooming trees, do it in the winter or early spring.

Pruning Trees in Summer

Spring and Summer is when trees are in their growing season. Often in the summer, you realize which branches need to be cut because of how they stick out or are weighed down by leaves. You can prune these branches to slow the growth, or direct it, in the way you would prefer. The Arbor Day Foundation explains the reason for this slow down in growth: “…you reduce the total leaf surface, thereby reducing the amount of food manufactured and sent to the roots.” One issue to watch our for when pruning your trees in the summer is sun scald. Sun scald occurs when previously shaded bark tissue is exposed, and is just like sun burn on humans.

Pruning Trees in the Fall

Fall pruning is the least ideal of all seasons to prune trees. This is the time in the life of the tree when energy is being redirected to the roots and trunk to store for next years spring bud brake – so there is not extra energy for healing wounds. Additionally, during the fall there is an increase of fungal spores relative to spring, summer, and winter.  Pruning in late fall after temperatures have decreased and trees have become dormant is just fine. And, again, deadwood removal is fine any time of year.

5 Different Methods For Pruning Trees

 

pruningtrees

There are several methods to pruning trees.

It’s important to know the correct solution to ensure long life and health for your tree. Here we describe the services we offer to help you determine what might be best for your trees! We’re also happy to talk with you, inspect your trees and give you an estimate for our expert pruning services.

Raising –

Raising means to “raise the crown” which basically means clearing some of the lower branches.To avoid leaving wounds or marks, regular raising of the canopy should occur on younger trees. The reason for raising is to accommodate more urban environments. It is generally implemented when tree limbs get in the way of structures or people.  The preferable clearance for structures is 10′-15′.

abundant tree care pruning services

Reduction –

Reduction is a practice that focuses on the skillful and discriminate reduction of stems that may need to be cut back for several reasons. One of the practices we do NOT do is topping trees. When you top trees, you remove crucial branches or trunks that cause large wounds in the trees, leaving them open to decay. We want to respect the natural branching of a tree; to keep the beauty of a tree one should avoid topping.

Reduction requires in depth knowledge about how a tree grows back and which branches are necessary. We can preserve your tree’s natural form but perform the necessary cuts to keep your tree healthy and manageable.

Canopy Thinning –

This is often performed on trees that are overgrown.  Often, thinning is necessary for tree structural reasons.  Also, increased light penetration (to help your grass or other plants grow) is often a reason for such pruning. The best practice is to not remove more than 15%-20% of the foliage on the tree and one should only be cutting branches that are 2 inches thick.

Structural Pruning for Younger Trees –

This pruning practice is probably the most overlooked by clients and so-called tree care professionals.  Because most site conditions in an urban environment allow for more light to your tree than if if was in the forest, your tree grows much differently than its natural setting.  Proper structural growth for your tree from tree establishment is crucial for the health of your tree later in life, particularly in the context of storm damage prevention.

There are several steps to proper structural pruning including:

  • selecting the branch that will be the dominant trunk
  • identify branches that will be competing with the dominant trunk
  • removing or shortening the branches

Dead Wooding/Canopy cleaning –  

This straightforward pruning practice removes all dangerous and aesthetically unpleasing dead wood from you tree.

Abundant Tree Care has the professionals and equipment needed to take care of those hard pruning jobs. We know trees! Call for an estimate.

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The Ultimate Tree Pruning Guide

ultimate tree pruning tips advice from an arborist

Everyone can prune their own trees but the secret is to prune them correctly. If you don’t prune your trees properly the result may be more than poor curb appeal but a dying tree. Use these pruning tips to become more successful in your pruning techniques and sit back and enjoy the view.

General Tree Trimming Tips

  • Not sure if you need to prune your trees?  Read this article on why pruning your trees is important.
  • 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 2 inches in diameter, removing it is fine. If it is between 2 and 4 inches in diameter, you might not want to do it. If the branch is more than 4 inches in diameter, you should only do so if you have a really good reason and better call a certified arborist.
  • Only trim branches that have weak, V-shaped, narrow angles. Retain branches that have strong, U-shaped angles.
  • Use this article for the best tree pruning tools and be sure you keep them sharp.

Tree Pruning Techniques

There are several general approaches to pruning, each for a specific purpose. Learning the right methods to pruning is the 1st step in keeping your trees healthy and helping them live a long life.

  • Cleaning is removing dead, diseased or weak branches from the crown of a tree.
  • Thinning is removing branches to allow more light to penetrate, reducing stress on heavy limbs and encouraging retention of the tree’s natural shape, removing crossing branches that may rub on each other.
  • Raising is removing lower branches to provide clearings for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians and views.
  • Reduction is cutting back tree limbs to reduce the size of the tree and make room for utility lines.

Making the Cut

arborist tree pruning tipsSelect a spot about 3 inches from the collar of the branch (the thickened, collar-like place where the parent and child limb intersect) and make a cut about 1/3 of the way through the branch. This will prevent the branch, when severed, from tearing through the collar or the parent branch and harming future growth. Make this first cut on the underside of the limb.

Cut slightly beyond this first slice and cut straight through the branch to be removed then make a final cut through the remaining portion of the branch, as near to the collar as possible, without touching the collar itself.

How to Prune a Maple Tree

Maples trimmed at certain times of the year will “bleed” or drip from the pruning cuts. Bleeding is most likely to occur when Maples are prunied in the seasons just before and right after winter. Studies indicate that “bleeding” doesn’t hurt the tree, so it becomes more of a cosmetic issue. If you want to prune Maples without bleeding, it must be pruned when it is fully dormant in the middle of winter or during late spring/summer when it’s leaves are in fully.

How to Prune a Dogwood Tree

If you trim Dogwoods in April or May, it will make them more susceptible to the dogwood borer. This insect severely damages the vascular system of the tree after boring into the trunk.

How to Prune an Oak Tree

Oaks should be not be trimmed from April thru October due to the prevalence of Oak Wilt disease. These pathogens that may be present during those times and a beautiful Oak is one tree you want to keep healthy.

When to Call in an Expert

If you’re inexperienced using the tools needed for the job that must be done it may be time to call a professional arborist. Tree pruning is more about what you can reach from the ground and one fall from a ladder or high up in a tree would be well worth having an arborist take care of the job for you. Give us a call for a free estimate and you might be saving you and your tree from harm.

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Tree Pruning Tools Arborists Use

 

best tree pruning tools by an arborist

Pro Tree Pruning Tools

The 1st step of doing great tree trimming is having the right tools. Great tree trimming can’t be done with a pair of scissors or a hack saw because the right tools keep the tree healthy and looking great. The best reason to have the right tools is your safety because you can’t take care of your trees unless you take care of yourself.

Anvil Hand Pruning Shears  These small, hand-held shears have just one blade, which cuts as it closes onto a flat surface. The best time to use these shears is when you have very small, easy-to-reach branches with a diameter of half inch or less. Reserving these shears for cutting smaller, dried & dead twigs or small branches is best.

A less common pruning tool are bypass hand pruning shears. Similar in capabilities to anvil shears the bypass shears have 2 sharp cutting blades used for more precise cutting for those that insist on a clean, sharp cut.

Limb Loppers – Loppers are similar to hand shears, but they have longer handles and bigger blades. These longer handles give you more leverage for larger branches. Most loppers can effectively cut branches up to two inches in diameter.  Use loppers for easy to reach branches that are too thick or a little hard to reach with shears.

Long Pole Saw Pruners Combination – This is a great tree trimming tool as it gives you access to most branches up to 20′ off the ground. The long pole pruner feature allows you to get access to 1/2″ branches then the saw component gives you the ability to cut larger limbs with some patience.

Pruning Saws – Pruning saws are at the top of the arborist’s favorite tools. Pruning saws are similar to traditional hand saws but specifically made for tree pruning. The best time to use pruning saws are when a branch is within reach but loppers can’t handle the job. A pruning saw will aggressively cut through most any size but leave under 2″ to shears and then the sky is the limit. When you get past 6″ though you may find your arm or hands give out and it might be time for a chain saw.

Chain Saws – To trim a tree and do it in a timely fashion a gas powered chain saw can do the work in a lot less time than shears or saws. That being said it’s important to maintain your chain saw, keep it well oiled, and sharpen the blades after every major use to ensure maximum efficiency.

Wood Chippers – Now that you’ve gotten serious about tree trimming you’ve got a lot of limbs and branches to clean up. A wood chipper makes clean up quick and easy how so you don’t have to look at old branches for weeks in your yard.

tre pruning safety tips from an arborist

Tree Pruning Safety

If you decide to take on trimming your own trees make sure safety is your 1st priority. Here’re some safety tips you should follow before you get out the shears and fire up the chain saw.

  • All tree trimming or removal work within ten feet of a power line must be done by trained and experienced line-clearance tree trimmers.
  • Do not trim trees in dangerous weather conditions.
  • Perform a hazard assessment of the work area before starting work.
  • Get trained on proper chain saw us age before you operate one.
  • Do not climb with tools in your hands.
  • If broken trees are under pressure, determine the direction of the pressure and make small cuts to release it.

These and more tree pruning safety tips from OSHA can be found in this Tree Trimming and Safety Removal Guide.

If pruning your trees is not how you want to spend your weekend then give us a call. We’d love to discuss your trees and shrubs care. At Abundant Tree Care Services we want to help you keep a safe property and sustain your trees so you enjoy them for generations.

 

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Pruning Your Trees is More Important Than You Think

With hurricane season already upon us, many homeowners living near the ocean are taking part in their annual tree pruning traditions. Here in Kentucky, though, we don’t usually endure harsh weather conditions from hurricanes. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, on the other hand, do cause some major problems. These storms are just the reason why tree pruning is just as important in the bluegrass state as it is in Florida.

Why Should You Prune a Tree?

If you’ve never pruned your trees, you’re n0t alone. Many never do because it is falsely believed that letting a tree grow in its natural form is best. Pruning your trees actually extends their lives by keeping them from damage that could cause an early demise, leaving you with a big, empty spot on your property. Here are some other reasons pruning your trees is something you should do each year.

Pruned Trees = Healthy Trees
  • Removing damaged or diseased branches to prevent insects or disease from going deeper into your healthy tree.
  • Thinning the density of the tree allows more air and sunlight to penetrate giving way to a healthier tree.
  • Simply eliminating crossing branches prevents tree-on-tree damage.
  • If your tree is young and you have two codominant leaders in the structure, prune down to one., n the earlier years lop off co-tree leaders leaving. Two large trunks make for a future split but having one primary trunk helps a tree last for many years

Tree Pruning for Family & Property Protection

Did you know a branch of a tree can weigh over a hundred pounds? Imagine that branch broken and falling as a loved one is walking underneath it. Of course, broken limbs can break more than bones; they can damage cars, wreck garages, and fall on your home resulting in water, roof, and major personal property damage.

When Should You Prune a Tree?

Those damaged or diseased limbs should be removed as soon as you spot them. Other than that the best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth has begun. It’s true that pruning can be done anytime but it’s always good to avoid hotter dry periods and extreme cold.

tree pruning advice from an arborist

Tree Pruning Advice

Did you know you can prune your own trees? Read up on some tree pruning tips and you can have your home & family protected from that next falling limb. Use the long-handled pruning saw on ornamental trees that are 15 ft tall or less allowing you access from the ground.

As far as those limbs near the power lines, or 20 ft & higher up, you’ll definitely want to call in an experienced arborist. An arborist doesn’t merely come to your property and cut down a bunch of trees. Instead, they will assess your property and make only the changes that are needed to keep your property safe. A bonus of calling an arborist: What you can learn from an arborist can be used later in all of your expert personal pruning.

Only prune if you’re trying to achieve one of the following goals: to train the plant, restrict growth, maintain plant health, or enhance the safety of your property.

Prune in this order: Remove all branches that are dead, damaged or diseased at their point of origin. Then make any training cuts that are needed. Lastly, make any corrective pruning cuts. Here’s a step-by-step tree pruning guide to help you in more detail.

Use the right pruning equipment: Check out this helpful guide for picking out the right pruning shears.

Call Us Anytime with Tree or Shrub Questions 502-297-1578

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