Winter Tree Prep

Just when you think its fall, its winter (at least here in Wisconsin), so we took advantage of the nice fall weather we had back at the end of November to cross-off one more outdoor project before the snow set in. We wanted to do something that not only needed to be done but that would also make a huge impact for us over the winter. Perhaps you recall last years winter when an abundance of heavy, wet snow bent and broke many of our trees and almost took out one of our cars (as well as our garage and power lines). With that being said it didn’t take us long to decide that pruning the trees around our property would be the best use of our time. But before I dive into that, here are some photos of last years damage.

  • Winter 2012 Snow Storm- Front of House
  • Winter 2012 Snow Storm- Back of House
  • Winter 2012 Snow Storm- Broken Branches up Close
  • Winter 2012 Snow Storm- Backyard upclose

Peddy started by tracked down a pole chainsaw (pole pruner) for us to rent from A to Z Rental and, being the intelligent man that he is, discovered that if he picked it up on Saturday that we could keep it until Monday morning for the one day rental fee of $72! (Not bad, considering new ones start in the hundreds and this way we don’t have to worry about maintaining it.)


The saw extended to 11′ which meant no ladders were needed in order for us to prune the lower portion of the trees, although Peddy did have to get up on the garage at one point in order to reach our neighbors tree (more on that shortly). The pole chainsaw worked sooo much better than the manual pole saws we’ve used in the past and in our opinion only had one negative aspect; the starter.

Just like a lawn mower or snow blower it had a pull start which was easy enough, but once the neck strap was on (to help support the weight of the saw) the starter wasn’t reachable. That meant either putting the saw down or having a second person start it, we found the latter to be the most efficient. However, I wouldn’t let that deter you from doing it yourself.


Our goal was to tame the lower portion of the trees by removing any dead branches as well as any that had the potential of making contact w/ our heads. But before we started cutting we walked around our property and decided which branches on which trees needed to be removed, so there would be no surprises along the way.

After Peddy trimmed the first couple of trees I attempted to do a little trimming but found the saw to be a little too heavy to want to hold above my head. Lucky for me Peddy was nice enough to do all of the cutting as I did all most of the branch piling (again he was nice enough to pitch in at the end!)

Day One Branch Pile

It turned out the trees in our backyard didn’t need a lot of pruning (because they all broke last year!), however that still left the biggest, most problematic tree…our neighbors 60′ evergreen that overhangs our garage and driveway. In the three years that we’ve lived in our house we’ve dealt with it dropping berries and sap all over our cars and other outdoor belongings, as well as the branches putting extra weight on the garage and swallowing our cars in the winter when the snow weighs them down. After talking with our neighbors it was clear that if something was going to be done about it, we would have to do it ourselves. So we did.


In order to reach the lowest branches on our neighbors tree Peddy had to get up on the roof of the garage; which was slightly difficult considering the branches hung down very close to the roof and it was covered in pine needles making it very slippery. Once he was up I could barely see him. (The photo below made me think of ‘Where’s Waldo’ but instead it would be ‘Pinpoint Peddy’!)

15He began cutting down the lowest branches being careful not to get hit when they fell. Some of the larger branches had to be cut down in smaller sections because we feared they might take out our already unstable garage.




It took him about 45 minutes to remove all the branches from our neighbor’s tree (that hung over our property line) and a total of two days to finish it all. Piling the branches and cutting them into acceptable pickup size took the longest and by the end of day two we had two huge piles that each measured about 4’ tall and 6-8’ wide. Luckily we got them out just in time for the last yard waste pick-up!


It was amazing how much sunlight our property receives now that we’ve trimmed off all the dead branches and we are hoping it will help melt all this snow a lot faster, even if we still have a few months to wait. Perhaps we’ll even be able to plant some additional gardens (can you tell I’m thinking spring?)!

And just for kicks here’s one last comparison photo!


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