Removing Overhanging Trees for Dummies

Overhanging Trees

Trees that have overhanging branches may seem like a minor problem, but there are in fact more dangers than one first imagines. The obvious one is that they can snap and fall at any time, damaging property or people, but it’s also an open invitation to animals that nest and climb to enter your home. Read this article to deal with overhanging trees once and for all…

Before we start, a word on safety; always have another adult with you at all times and always cut in sections. Use a ladder that is sturdy and can easily take your weight, while make sure it’s securely locked in position and get another person to hold it if you have doubts. Use goggles and gloves as well as a harness when needed. Most of these items can be purchased at places like, where you can find high visibility clothing too.

overhanging trees

The Plan

The first thing to do is think about how you are going to go about cutting the tree in question. It may seem a little obvious but it’s the most important step, so take your time and plan through the events in your mind. Where will I cut first? Is it safe? Will I be well balanced in that position?

Ladder use

Many accidents are caused by the improper use of ladders. Make sure your ladder is resting at a steep angle with around 3 feet spare above the roof. If you can’t reach the branch don’t stretch, take your time and move the ladder closer.

Cut in pieces

ALWAYS cut the branch in manageable sections. Balancing on a ladder with a heavy load is asking for it. Instead, cut small parts of the branch that are light and easy for you to handle. The best tools to do this are chainsaws for thick sections and pruning saws for thinner ones.

Rope method

To cut main branches, tie a rope about 1 foot from the edge and make sure it reaches the ground below whilst having enough slack. Now position the ladder to lean against the main trunk of the tree and cut the branch with a chainsaw. A chainsaw is a very heavy piece of machinery and you will need to keep both hands on it. This means that the distance between you and the branch should be very short in order to keep your balance as stable as possible. Make sure you wear a harness and that the surrounding area is clear.

As you cut the branch get another person to pull on the rope. You may need more than one person and even a vehicle to tie the rope to if the branch is a very heavy one.


It goes without saying that if the tree is shared with a neighbour you need to get permission to cut it, or if it is one of the thousands that are legally protected in the UK for that matter. Also if your tree overhangs onto a main road you need to be extra vigilant and might even require permission from the local authority or highways agency.