How to Remove Tree Limbs Overhanging a House

Remove tree limbs that are overhanging your house because the branches may damage the shingles.

Remove tree limbs that overhang your home to avoid roof damage.
This is a project to undertake before winter because snow and ice build-up can weigh down the branches and cause them to tumble down forcefully or snap off. Falling limbs can damage chimneys, puncture roofs and pull down power lines or antennas. Target any tree limbs that overhang the roof, as well as those that touch the roof -- these can scratch the roof surface or snag the shingles. .

Lean a ladder against the side of your house. Carry a pruning saw, lopper or chain saw with you. Pick the tool that best fits the size of the unwanted branches. Climb to the top and stand on the roof.

Target the unwanted wood, keeping the trunk and supporting branch unharmed. The wound is smaller this way, and the tree will seal the cut more effectively, blocking out disease and pest infestation.

Locate the branch collar or bark ridge near the union of the unwanted branch and other wood. A bark ridge is on the upper surface and looks like a line of bark that has been pushed up the branch. Branch collars are swollen areas of tissue on the under side of a limb.

Hold onto the branch with one hand if possible. Make the pruning cut just outside the ridge, angling down and away from the stem. Do not cut into the branch collar. Do not eat into the wood, damaging it. Use sharp tools and make a clean cut.

Remove the branch and drop it to a safe place below. Continue pruning any other offending branches or those that look weak.

Things You Will Need

  • Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Pruning saw, loppers or chain saw


  • Hire a tree trimming service to prune branches and limbs that are too large to remove on your own.
  • Remove large dead limbs right away.
  • Wear gloves for protection and goggles if you are using a saw.

About the Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.