Four or five feet is ok, but above that, especially with tools in hand doing something, I do not enjoy it. I mention this because of how I spent a big chunk of yesterday evening after work. A friend has a huge old maple in their backyard. Said tree has been damaged by wind and insects, and is going to have to come down. The problems are two.
First, it's not a single trunk, this thing split into five long ago. Second, a lot of it is long enough that if you just cut it at the trunk it'll fall on the house, the nieghbors' house, or the power line, so those have to be cut in sections; and the damn things are high enough I can't figure out how to do that in some way that does not involve bodily injury. In a more rural area(or if I knew someone with a silenced .22 rifle), it wouldn't be bad; get a solid rest and start putting .22's in a line across the branch a little back from the end and take a section off. Repeat as necessary. But that's out. Possibly a scissor-lift platform, but they're not cheap and money is a factor.
They checked with a couple of tree services, and prices ran from about $1200 to $2000 to take it down. I understand why, because even with the right equipment it'll be a bitch to take this all down, but they don't that much. So we spent the evening taking what I could reach for the day with a ladder and pruning pole(I've got one with a chain saw on the end). and reaching any of the stuff a section at a time involved being on the ladder and using the pole. Which meant, in some cases, worrying about either a: falling off the ladder or b: having a limb swing down other than how I expected and sweeping me off the thing.
If you've never done any of this, let me advise you of something; when you cut a four or five-foot section of 6" diameter limb off and hear it hit the ground, it is a powerful reminder of how much you do not want to be anywhere near it as it comes down. So I spent a bunch of time on a ladder with a long pole with a heavy end in my hands, cutting sections off one of the trunks.
We got most of one trunk down and sectioned and stacked, and when there's space there's another one, maybe two, that won't be much trouble. But the rest are going to be a real problem, and so far I can't figure out a good way to do it. Or I can figure out a way, but I'm not too sure how to go about it.
At least I wasn't on the Gulf coast, wondering about blowing/washing away.