10 Tree Trimming Safety Tips To Keep In Mind

Last Updated on January 11, 2023 by Jason Nguyen

Tree-trimming activity requires a professional touch since it’s a risky procedure. Nevertheless, it’s also an excellent DIY project for a person with basic knowledge of using ladders, power tools, and working on height.

A slight mistake when trimming a tree can lead to fatal or severe falls. With that in mind, you must train on using these tools and working on heights to avoid accidents. Once you can handle the tree-trimming project, consider adhering to the following tips to remain safe.

1. Put On The Right Protective Gear

When trimming a tree, you use equipment that can cause severe personal injuries. For this reason, you need to protect yourself in all ways possible.

Suppose you’re trimming the tree using a trimmer or a chainsaw. In that case, you’ll need to protect your hands with leather gloves. You should also wear protective goggles to prevent debris from entering your eyes. 

Since a chainsaw produces lots of noise, you’ll need ear protection to reduce the noise accessing the ears. You should also avoid climbing trees with typical shoes; hence you should wear tree climbing boots. If the tree is close to an electrical wire, you should wear fitting, long-sleeved clothes, and a non-conductive hard hat.

2. Watch Out For Hazards

Your safety isn’t limited to wearing protective gear. Other potential hazards can cause severe injuries even when in the proper protective gear.

For example, the tree might have broken limbs that could injure you when you fall on them. On the other hand, electric wires can cause severe shocks if you aren’t careful.

Weak or dead limbs are also a safety hazard when trimming a tree, especially since you might need to step on the limbs to access some areas. Suppose you step on a weak or dead limb. You might fall and sustain severe injuries. For this reason, you should inspect the tree to determine if the limbs are reliable.

It’s also advisable to place hands and legs on different limbs to be on the safer side should one limb be weak or dead. If you think climbing a particular tree risks your safety, consider using an aerial lift. With that in mind, it’s crucial to identify possible hazards and plan to work around them without risking your safety.

3. Use The Correct Tools

pruning trees

For every activity to be safe, you must use the correct tools. It’s, therefore, vital to assess the tree beforehand and determine everything you’ll do during the trimming activity to choose the proper tools. With the right tools, you’ll not only be safe, but you’ll also work efficiently.

4. Ensure The Tools Are In Good Working Condition

Having the right tree-trimming tools is one thing and having the right tools in perfect working condition is another. The ladder must be firm, the climbing rope steady, and the cutting tools sharp.

Failure to which you might struggle using a weak ladder or rope, risking your well-being. Remember, you should avoid climbing the tree while holding the cutting tools. Instead, have someone pass them to you once you’re already up the tree.

5. Trim The Tree In Under Perfect Weather

You can enhance your safety by trimming your tree in perfect weather. This means when the tree doesn’t have too many leaves or when it’s sunny and not windy or rainy. For example, late fall is the ideal period to trim trees that shed their leaves annually.

During this period, these types of trees are bare; hence it’s easier to navigate through the tree structure. As for evergreen trees, you can trim them in late winter when they’re still dormant.

Nevertheless, if you have to prune your tree that requires climbing, it’s advisable to avoid rainy, stormy, wet, or snowy days. This way, you can avoid weather-related hazards when proceeding with the activity.

6. Understand How To Go About The Process

pruning tree tools

Tree trimming involves using trimming equipment such as a chainsaw. You may also need to climb up the ladder. With that in mind, it’s best to get training about using such equipment.

A power machine like a chainsaw can cause severe injuries, especially if you aren’t trained in using one. Also, you can sustain broken ribs if you fall off a ladder. That said, ensure to have proper training before engaging in tree trimming for safety purposes.

7. Don’t Work Alone

As earlier stated, you shouldn’t climb a tree while holding the trimming tools. Instead, you should have a partner to pass them to you.

A partner can also come in handy if you get tired and needs help. They can also offer a third eye for excellent results. If you’re working closely with power lines, your partner should work ten feet away from the lines for safety purposes.

8. Prepare For Emergency Falls

If you must use a ladder to access the tree branches, ensure to tie it to a strong branch. If the branches are very high and you need to climb higher, consider using an aerial lift instead of a ladder. It’s also essential to have a climbing rope for extra protection if you fall accidentally.

9. Be Mindful Of Other People’s Safety

Tree trimming safety isn’t limited to you as a trimmer. Your partner, passersby, and neighbors should also be safe during this activity.

If you’re working on a large tree that extends its branches towards roads or a neighbor’s property, you should erect signages or inform the neighbor that you’ll be trimming the tree.

This way, these people can keep off the area and reduce the chances of accidents. You can also put on high-visibility gear so that people can see you from afar.

10. Never Trim A Tree Under Alcohol Or Drug Influence

You should never engage in physical activity under drug or alcohol influence, especially if the activity involves climbing and using power tools. If you must trim a tree, stay clear of alcohol and drugs, lest you might put your and others’ well-being at risk.


Trimming a tree is among the riskiest activities one can engage in, especially if it involves climbing. However, the activity can be safe if you’re trained to handle it. However, if you aren’t trained but want to try it out, consider the above-discussed tips for a successful, safe tree-trimming activity.