If you have received a quote from a tree trimming service, any time in the recent past, you will understand why learning to deal with some of the smaller branches around your yard is greatly to your advantage both pocketbook wise and time wise. Trimming a low hanging tree branch is something that most likely can be handled by any able bodied adult in a household.
Reasons you might need a low hanging branch trimmed could vary, but some that I have run into included a branch that was blocking a satellite dish signal, and basic pruning. The branch that was blocking the satellite dish had leafed out after the dish was installed. With full foliage, the signal was coming in and out, literally with the flow of the wind moving the leaves. Removal of the branch was the only way to allow the signal through without having to relocate the satellite dish itself. Do keep in mind that for pruning beyond the most basic, you should also take note of pruning rules, such as when to prune, types of cuts, and sealing off the cuts when necessary.
Before you begin trimming any branches, you will first need to assess the branch or branches that need to be trimmed. If a branch is anywhere near a power line, roof, or other structure, call a professional. When we trimmed the branch blocking the satellite dish, it was several feet from the dish and we had no worries that it would fall onto the dish itself. The last thing you want to do is create more problems than you already have. Also, note that I am referring to low hanging branches that need to be trimmed. Not whole trees that need felling or branches halfway up a huge tree. Once these factors have all been considered, you will need to gather the following tools:
Tri-fold saw or other small sized handsaw (Tri-fold saws are a good choice over a typical handsaw for the simple reason that they are smaller, making them easier to maneuver, and the blade can be locked in a angle, making it easier to get at some awkwardly angled branches)
Wheelbarrow or wagon if you will need to cart the debris any distance
For those of you who feel that a hardhat and eye protection is going overboard, they are not. A small amount of caution can save you many troubles. Even small branches can do damage, and sawdust in an eye is nothing to take lightly.
With hardhat in place and eye protection on, take the handsaw, and first saw off any small appendages, that might block your field of view for when you begin sawing the actual branch. Next, place the saw in the crook of the branch. With fluid movements, saw the branch off, keeping yourself out from under any part of the branch that is going to fall. Avoid making short, jerky motions with the saw. Not only will it take longer to cut through the branch, but it will also make it more work than need be.
Once all the branches are on the ground, cut any long ones into smaller pieces so that they will fit into a wheelbarrow or wagon. Dispose of in your chosen manner. If you have a fireplace or wood burning furnace, recycle the branches if they are of a burnable wood by stacking to dry.