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  • Writer's pictureKent Arboreal | Tree Work

DDIY (Don't Do It Yourself) Tree Surgery

Updated: Jun 24, 2019

I know what you were thinking. Those chainsaws arent too expensive. All I need is a few branches removing from that old tree. Why should I pay for a professional tree surgeon? I think I'll just do it myself. But even the simplest tasks with a chainsaw can be dangerous for a number of reasons. For a start the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that you need doesn't come cheap. Here is a little list of the minimum equipment you'll need to safely operate a chainsaw, and why.

Chainsaw: You can pick up a reasonable small chainsaw from around £200. There are cheaper unbranded ones, but you get what you pay for and they tend to be underpowered, unreliable, and generally just not up to the job.

Chainsaw file: £5. Blunt chains dont cut, they just get hot and make a lot of noise. The file will help you keep the teeth sharp on your chainsaw.

Chain Oil: £15. This stuff keeps the bar and chain lubricated and stops it from overheating, corroding, blunting, and worst of all, breaking.

Petrol: £7. You already know what this does.

2 Stroke Oil: £15. This is added to the petrol to lubricate the engine. Tools like chainsaws don't have their own oil sump, so the oil is added to the petrol directly. Don't forget it, or your chainsaw will over rev and seize up becoming a £200 doorstop in an instant.

Chainsaw gloves: £20. These are thick leather gloves with armour woven into them. They protect your little digits from the chainsaw. They won't survive a direct hit, but they will protect against some contacts with the chain.

Chainsaw helmet: £25. This is a hard hat to protect against falling debris with in built visor for eye protection and ear defenders because those saws can get pretty darn loud. You can also use a hard hat, goggles, and ear defenders, but its a more awkward set up and will cost pretty much the same.

Chainsaw Trousers: £120. These are made of a thick material which will choke the chain up and stop it turning if they come into contact with it. They won't save you a nasty cut, but they will certainly help to prevent a potentially much worse injury.

Chainsaw boots: £100. Knee high super heavy duty workboots to stop accidental contact with your lower leg.

So that's your bare minimum basic kit, clocking in at £507. You haven't even started yet.

The next problem is approaching how you are going to safely work. All that kit doesnt suddenly make you safe. In fact, believing that it does can actually be more dangerous than not having it at all. Complacency breeds mistakes. A certified chainsaw competency course that includes felling trees wil set you back another £1000. The only way to learn to safely use these tools is to take the course. Years of practice will help, but even that's no substitute for proper chainsaw training. If you intend to cut anything above waist height, there is no safe way to do so without proper training, so your list of possible DIY chainsaw jobs is beginning to look pretty limited now.

Getting rid of the waste is also a pain. Cut branches are bulkiy and take up a lot of volume and so are very difficult to easily get rid of. The best way is a wood chipper. Now a small garden one that can handle small branches efficiently will be another £800. Of course there are cheaper ones on the market, but to put it bluntly, they're rubbish. A quality portable one such as the Hyundai HYCH 1500 will set you back £1600, and it's not particularly portable weighing in at 200 KG's. The big tow along ones can cost anything from £5000 to £50,000 and beyond. But for the sake of this exercise we'll assume you bought the £800 one and so the DIY job cost now stands at £2307 as opposed to a few hundred for a professional tree surgeon to do it safely, twice as well, and in half the time.

It's a no brainer. Find a tree surgeon.

Kent Arboreal provide professional tree surgery, hedge cutting, and garden clearance services in East Kent, Thanet and Medway. We are fully insured and excellent value for money.

As well as being tree surgeons, Kent Arboreal are also bloggers, writing regular blogs of wildly varying quality on all things arboreal.

Give us a call on 0800 772 0159

or email us at

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