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I'm trying to think of a practical and inexpensive way to tell at what point tree branches overhang our patio to know which parts can be used for a sukkah. The best ideas I've come up with that seem more precise than just eyeballing it (the branches are quite high) is to buy a drone and attach a long string to it, or use a level to point a laser straight up at the branches to see if they overhang. (Would a device like this work?) Any reasonable suggestions would be appreciated.

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    @ezra He said very high up. Presumably he doesn’t own a fire truck that he can reach those branches. :) – DonielF Aug 28 '17 at 2:29
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    I’m not sure what’s wrong with the laser pointer idea. Just grab a cheap one from your local Dollar Tree and check the branches at night, when you’ll be able to see the light on the laser pointer. – DonielF Aug 28 '17 at 2:30
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    You can probably do it with some shadow trigonometry. – Heshy Aug 28 '17 at 14:49
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    That device looks phenomenal. Any reason to assume it won't be good? – Eliyahu Jan 28 '18 at 4:25
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    Do we know for sure that the criteria "under a tree" means "vertical"? Because one could make a case that the issue is to not sit in the shade of the tree -- something a lot easier to check. – Nic Jan 29 '18 at 15:45
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go outside, take a strong flashlight, lay it on a flat surface underneath the tree and see if it hits the branches or just disappears into the blackness of the night.

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    The beam of a flashlight (as opposed to a laser) spreads outward, which means that it illuminates even nonproblematic branches that are not directly overhead. – Loewian Aug 31 '17 at 14:01
  • They do have flastlights which is a beam flashlight – sam Feb 2 '18 at 19:46
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Here are some simple methods to determine if it's hanging over the sukkah, and how much space it's taking.

Method one

This method is assuming that the sukkah is already built, and you're just trying to see if any part of the tree is hanging in. Otherwise, see method two, below.

The simplest and cheapest way, would be to look up at the tree while pressing yourself to the inside wall of the sukah. This way, if you see the branch, that would tell you that it's directly on top of the sukkah. But if you don't see it, obviously it's not actually on top.

Method two

For this one, make sure the floor of the sukah is flat. And not on a slant.

Get a good laser¹, put it on the floor of the sukkah facing up, and move it around while still facing strait up, and see if it hits the tree.

If it does hit the tree, move it around to determine how big of an area it's taking up.

If it doesn't hit the tree, that would determine that the tree is not hanging directly over the sukkah.


The drone idea is extra and unnecessary work. The laser will give you an accurate answer.

The product you mentioned in your question, is reviewed in this video on Amazon, where the reviewer says that while the product is amazing for indoor purposes, it barely has any use for outdoors being that the laser is not seen past a few feet in daylight. (Great idea otherwise)

1. You can use any accurate laser for this. Try to get one that has a flat bottom, so that you can stand it up accurately.

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    Is there any reason the product couldn't be used effectively at night? – Y     e     z Feb 2 '18 at 16:03
  • @Yez you could probably use it in case of "emergency" but at night it's not ideal anyway because it's too dark to see the tree... And if you shine a light to see the tree, then you won't see the beam of your product cuz it's too light for it... – aBochur Feb 2 '18 at 16:34
  • If the product is "amazing" indoors, then I assume it works well in a comparable level of light outdoors. So go outside at dusk, or whenever it is only as light as indoors, and you'll see the tree and you'll see the beam. – Y     e     z Feb 4 '18 at 3:06
  • @Yez i don't own this product. So i don't have a way to test it. My comment was on OP's question "would this product work" all I'm saying is, you might not want to spend the money on a product that might not work outside. Is it possible to make it work? Maybe, but I'd suggest using any other laser, just in case this one is a waste it your money – aBochur Feb 4 '18 at 4:11

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