When the tree is lying on the ground, branches may be storing enormous potential energy through mechanical strain. When a branch is cut, often with a chain saw, this energy can be released suddenly and the branch can jump dangerously. In addition, a branch may be supporting the tree, and the tree can fall or roll when the branch is cut. For these reasons, delimbing is a skilled operation requiring careful safety planning.
In British English, limbing can be synonymous with snedding. Alternatively, limbing can be used to describe the operation on larger branches, and snedding on smaller.