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Old 02-15-2019, 07:22 PM
Wesley Clark is offline
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Is there any way to safely cut down a loose branch about 40' up


There is a tree that is right above where the cars are Parked, causing some people I know to have to park their cars elsewhere out of fear the loose branch will fall and damage the cars.

It looks to be maybe 2-4" thick, maybe six feet long. About forty feet up the tree.

Is there any safe way to get it down or is it best left to a professional? What would a professional charge?
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:26 PM
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Iíd hire a professional. A branch that size is heavier than you might think and can easily twist, bounce, and careen where you donít it expect it to go. A professional will climb the tree, tie a rope round the branch, cut the branch, and lower it slowly and safely. So says my brother the arborist. What it costs depends on where you are, but figure a solid hour of work/pay if itís easy and straight forward, transport and removal time, etc.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:32 PM
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What's a ballpark figure to have it done professionally? $200?
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:42 PM
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Is there a utility line anywhere close? If so make a phone call and the cost is zero.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:50 PM
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Is there a utility line anywhere close? If so make a phone call and the cost is zero.
You must have a different utility than us. Ours says they are coming right out but always waits until the tree falls over in the middle of a terrible rainstorm at two a.m. and kills the power for the whole neighborhood for days.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:10 PM
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You must have a different utility than us. Ours says they are coming right out but always waits until the tree falls over in the middle of a terrible rainstorm at two a.m. and kills the power for the whole neighborhood for days.
Ahem, I said the cost would be zero, I made no estimate of the timetable.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:34 PM
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What about your municipality? I saw a branch hanging over the road and called it in. They took it down within a day.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:54 PM
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The tree is on private property and not near a power line.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:07 PM
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Having done a bit of this type of work after some summer jobs on trail crews, I'd say hire professionals. 40' is pretty high up there, you really need safety gear to operate at that height. And lowering a chunk of wood that heavy takes care. There are a lot of ways things can go wrong.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:12 PM
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Call the city anyway. If people are avoiding certain street parking for it, the city might have a public works function for removing it. Even if they have a policy of billing homeowners, they should be willing to tell you how much. Then google arborists in your area and see if they’ll give you a quote.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:29 PM
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I'd recommend you watch some tree-cutting mishaps on YouTube if you're questioning whether it's worth hiring a professional (or hiring even a rank amateur, but someone that is not you).

ETA: maybe start with this one

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 02-15-2019 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:08 PM
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Call the city anyway. If people are avoiding certain street parking for it, the city might have a public works function for removing it. Even if they have a policy of billing homeowners, they should be willing to tell you how much. Then google arborists in your area and see if theyíll give you a quote.
My town will come out and cut off a tree branch if it overhangs a street and they consider it a risk. That sometimes makes for some oddly shaped trees, but they don't charge.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:36 PM
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Check with the municipality, and speak with an arborist. Forty feet in the air is no job for an amateur.

Every few years, I need to get an arborist to trim my backyard trees. They grow quickly, and to the point where branches endanger my chimney, and the neighbor's house. The cost is quite reasonable, considering the damage those branches could do to our structures in a windstorm. I won't speak to dollar figures, since I likely get a lot more work done than you would need, and I'd have no idea how to break it down on a "cost per branch" basis. But like I said, it is reasonable.

Anyway, having watched the crew up high in the trees, with their special tools, and with their safety equipment, and with the way they lower what they've cut off so that it damages nothing on the ground, I'm confident in saying that it's not a job for an amateur. What you are describing, OP, is better done by professionals.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:29 AM
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ETA: maybe start with this one
I suspect a few of those folks did not survive their mishaps.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:03 AM
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Can you throw a weight over the branch? If you can, toss a weight with rope attached over the branch. Use the rope to pull a wire saw ($6-$12) over the branch and cut. Take the distal part of the limb first, then work your way back.

If this is daunting, call a tree service.
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Old 02-16-2019, 02:09 PM
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The tree is on private property, in a driveway. Not near the street, so I don't think its an issue for the city/county.

Can people ballpark me on how much it'd cost to have it taken down, and where you'd find someone to do that? The people in question live in a small town, so I don't know if a company would be local.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 02-16-2019 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 02-16-2019, 06:26 PM
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The owners should ask if their homeowner's insurance will pay for it. Sometimes it will; it doesn't hurt to ask.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:38 PM
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Can people ballpark me on how much it'd cost to have it taken down, and where you'd find someone to do that? The people in question live in a small town, so I don't know if a company would be local.
I would look at "tree removal" and then explain I just wanted a branch down when I talked to them. At another house from my past there was a tree with some threatening branches. I called the local removal experts, they came and gave a quote for the branches or the whole thing, and we went from there. You may also want to check with some people at your local state/county/town parks departments; one may moonlight or be willing to.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:45 PM
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Arborist? You people most live in fancy areas. We have tree cutters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
Call the city anyway. If people are avoiding certain street parking for it, the city might have a public works function for removing it. Even if they have a policy of billing homeowners, they should be willing to tell you how much. Then google arborists in your area and see if theyíll give you a quote.
Iím sure policies can differ, but in my town if the tree isnít on the township easement then they wonít do anything even if itís about to fall on a group of nuns and orphans.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:59 PM
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If you have a big, long rope you can tie a rock/weight on one end, huck it up so you get it around the branch, attach the other end of the rope to your bumper and drive away from the tree in a direction that will do the least harm, making sure no one is around.
Now if that doesn't sound like something you want to attempt, then call a landscape/tree company, describe the issue and they should give you an estimate over the phone or come out and give you one. They'll likely just need a bucket truck and will have it down safely and quickly. Those type of stuck branches are called "widow makers" for a reason.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:38 PM
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Can people ballpark me on how much it'd cost to have it taken down, and where you'd find someone to do that? The people in question live in a small town, so I don't know if a company would be local.
This is going to depend very much on where you live, as prices vary tremendously. If it's a small town, though, ask around; it's entirely possible that somebody local has a side business cutting trees in the winter time even if you don't have a full-time local tree company. Depending on your town, check with garden centers, landscape services, or the feed store.

For ballparks, though, I just had a whole 45' maple tree taken out and hauled away for $900, by a couple of good ol' boys with a bucket truck (yes, I made sure they had liability insurance). A professional arborist had quoted $1500 to drop it; hauling would have been extra.
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Old 02-17-2019, 07:31 AM
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Heated with wood for about 10 years. I've cut down many a tree. Never a mishap.

But, you have to be dam careful. Recently, I had a dead pine tree that was leaning in a very bad direction. Right toward my shed. it was about 2 feet in diameter at its base. It would have to be roped up to take it down in the right direction.

But...

I had a guy on our property doing excavation work with a track hoe excavator. We looked it over, and ended up pushing the tree over by putting his bucket high on the tree and pushing. Worked pretty well. At least it missed my shed.

For a limb 40 feet in the air though, you need the pros that are good with rope work.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:15 AM
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They'll likely just need a bucket truck and will have it down safely and quickly.
IME, you'll pay much more for someone with a bucket truck then you will for guys who climb/use ladders. The crew that we use (ladders, ropes, climbing rig) has done a $500 job for us that a bucket truck quoted at $1700.

I handle most of our tree work. The ones that are too difficult for me, we try to let add up until we have a full day's work for the tree service we use. The cost per tree is way lower if they spend the whole day, versus coming out to do an hour or two work.

Taking down one limb, you will pay for them driving there, setting up, taking the limb, and then driving to their next job. They likely have a minimum fee, probably around $200.
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Old 02-17-2019, 11:11 AM
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IME, you'll pay much more for someone with a bucket truck then you will for guys who climb/use ladders.
My experience has been exactly the opposite, so OP needs to shop around if at all possible and find out what the standards are in his/her locale.
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Old 02-17-2019, 12:35 PM
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IME, you'll pay much more for someone with a bucket truck then you will for guys who climb/use ladders. The crew that we use (ladders, ropes, climbing rig) has done a $500 job for us that a bucket truck quoted at $1700.

I handle most of our tree work. The ones that are too difficult for me, we try to let add up until we have a full day's work for the tree service we use. The cost per tree is way lower if they spend the whole day, versus coming out to do an hour or two work.

Taking down one limb, you will pay for them driving there, setting up, taking the limb, and then driving to their next job. They likely have a minimum fee, probably around $200.
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My experience has been exactly the opposite, so OP needs to shop around if at all possible and find out what the standards are in his/her locale.
Bucket truck has a higher equipment cost, but rope and ladders has higher labor/risk cost.

Some areas, equipement is worth more than labor and limb, and some, labor and limb are worth more than equipement. Varies based on the individual as well.

To the OP, yeah, get a professional to do it, shop around and get a good price, but probably best not to go with the lowest price. Or at least, get someone else to do it and make sure to video.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:32 PM
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I'd recommend you watch some tree-cutting mishaps on YouTube if you're questioning whether it's worth hiring a professional (or hiring even a rank amateur, but someone that is not you).

ETA: maybe start with this one
Many of the classic run in the direction the tree is falling errors, as opposed to running perpendicular to it. Not saying I'd have the presence of mind to do it the right way myself, of course.

I remember it as a revelation during a kids safety presentation when the speaker told the kids to not try and run down the street to get away from the stranger in a van - instead run in away from the road. It was obvious when he said it, but I had never considered it before (and of course, movies always show a person running down a street being chased by a car).
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:09 AM
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I've noticed the rates for limb removal around here (MD) are better in winter, I guess they're not as busy and are itching for work.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:25 AM
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I've noticed the rates for limb removal around here (MD) are better in winter, I guess they're not as busy and are itching for work.
Many of the tree people around here do plowing during the winter. They'll do tree work, but they charge more for off season.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:26 AM
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I'd recommend you watch some tree-cutting mishaps on YouTube if you're questioning whether it's worth hiring a professional (or hiring even a rank amateur, but someone that is not you).

ETA: maybe start with this one
They added the wrong soundtrack

(OK, I know everyone was thinking the same thing...)
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:30 AM
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Yes. Call a qualified tree surgeon, make yourself a cup of coffee, go out in the yard and watch.
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