As a technology journalist, I’m often asked the same old question: “I need to prune a tree. Should I do it myself, or call in a tree surgeon?” To which the answer is: tree surgeon! Tree surgeon! In the name of all that is good and pure in this world, don’t do it yourself!
Unfortunately, to get a tree surgeon you need to have something very special. Money.
So here’s my handy guide to doing it yourself.
Before you start, make sure you have the following:
- A sturdy ladder.
- A telescopic lopper (ideally one with a saw attachment). Don’t buy an own-brand cheapie, because it will break as soon as you wave it near a twig. Wilkinson Sword is your friend.
- Savlon, bandages and elastoplasts.
- More time than you could possibly imagine.
- A crippling fear of heights.
Got all that? Then let’s go lopping! First of all, let’s see what we’re dealing with.
Hmm, this could take a while. Here’s what you do.
- Rest the ladder against the base of the tree.
- Climb up the ladder.
- Realise you’re only one-tenth of the way up the tree.
- Climb up inside the tree. Warning: the tree will fight back, and you’ll lose most of your skin.
- Extend the telescopic lopper to its maximum length and wave it ineffectually at the branches.
- Get the lopper stuck between several branches.
- Fall out of the tree.
- Climb back inside the tree.
- Place the jaws of the lopper around a suitably annoying branch and pull the cord.
- Watch as the head of the lopper falls off and narrowly misses your face.
- Get ready to storm off to Homebase in “this lopper is shit!” fury.
- Read the instructions and realise you forgot to put a really important bolt – the “stops the head of the lopper falling off” bolt, as it’s known – into the lopper.
- Call yourself a twat.
- Put the really important bolt into the lopper.
- Climb back up inside the tree.
- Realise that the branches you need to cut are still too far away.
- Climb further up inside the tree, losing yet more skin.
- Climb to the very top of the tree.
- Look down.
- Realise you’re up very high.
- Very high.
- Very, very high.
- Panic some more.
- Climb back down and hack things randomly with the saw attachment.
After approximately six weeks, you should end up with three things: a garden that’s disappeared under several tons of branches, arms like the world’s shakiest junkie, and a tree that looks like this:
Tune in next week as I discover the best ways to fall off a shed roof!