Whenever a tree has become overgrown it may be necessary to prune it. And whether you are removing whole branches or specific sections of the tree, you need to understand how to do it safely. Pruning trees generally requires working at height and this can leave you vulnerable to injuries from falls. Here are some tips for how to safely prune a tree.

Assess before you work

Remember that every tree is different and even if you’ve had experience pruning plenty of different examples, you need to complete a full assessment of the safety issues involved. For example, consider how secure the branches are and how high you’re going to need to get to prune. Never rush into a job without considering the risks.

Use the right equipment

Make sure that you understand the kind of equipment that you are going to need to use to prune the tree safely. In many examples it can be fine to use a ladder, but you’ll need to make sure that it can be set up safely. Don’t just use the closest ladder to hand – make sure that it is entirely appropriate for the work before you get started.

Wear the right protective gear

It’s important to wear the right protective gear while you carry out the work. Gloves, a hardhat and safety glasses are essential. If you’re using power tools then you also need to consider hearing protection and anything else that is recommended in the manual. Finally, remember that sensible working footwear with slip resistant soles are essential.

Be aware of powerlines

You need to be aware of powerlines as these can present a very serious hazard while you prune trees. In the case that you would need to get anywhere near powerlines you should leave the work to professionals.

Don’t work alone

You should never attempt potentially risky work like tree pruning on your own. You should always have a partner with you who stays on the ground while you do the work, then in the unlikely event of a fall or an accident they can summon help immediately. If you are on your own when you get injured it could be a long time before any kind of help gets to you.

The best time

From a gardener’s perspective, the best time to prune a tree will depend on the type of tree. Many trees heal quickest in the late summer, while others prefer to be pruned in mid-summer to help avoid the risk of diseases. From a safety perspective the best time to prune is in quiet and calm conditions – check the wind speeds and the risk of inclement weather before you get started. You also want plenty of light, and to avoid pruning when the sun is low in the sky.