This has been going on for quite a few years. I think I was putting it off because I really didn't have a tool to do it easily.
The choices would have been to stand on the ground and cut with a pole pruner (the kind you manually saw back and forth with) or to drag a ladder back there and climb up and cut with my reciprocating saw.
Then last fall, I bought a battery powered pole saw. I only used it a little bit before the weather got bad, so I have been waiting for a nice day like we had earlier this week, to do some trimming.
I decided to start in a back corner, with this pine tree that had several dead and hanging branches that would scratch and stab me when I got close with the lawn mower.
The saw part of my trimmer is actually like a mini chain saw. It reaches up pretty high and will cut up to 6" diameter branches. Sort of heavy, but you can let it rest on the branch you're cutting. Just be sure to be ready to steady it once it cuts through!
Now, all clear under here - after I drag the branches into the woods to make brush piles for the bunnies to hide in.
That's the saw laying there in front.
That was enough cutting and clearing for one day. My muscles have hardly been used all winter so I have to break them in gently!
Walking around the yard looking things over, I noticed my witch hazel tree is blooming. The blooms are a sort of pretty pinkish fringe.
It has a few broken branches - I guess from deer chomping on it. Not enough damage to hurt it though.
I am so glad I had a chance to spend an afternoon outside. The weather has been cool and wet since then.