felling a leaning tree against the lean

Felling a Tree Against the Lean – How to Guide

When felling trees especially cutting a leaning tree it is important to have the right well-maintained equipment, to know what you are doing, and to take the required safety precautions. This is not a simple thing to do it takes skill, knowledge, and patience so that you can direct the fall when cutting down a leaning tree to prevent injuries or damage to property. To determine necessary mitigation measures, you may obtain an arborist report. It is always a good idea to hire expert tree fellers if you do not know what you are doing. There are two ways to fell a tree, felling with the lean and felling a leaning tree against the lean. Here we focus on the latter.

How to Cut a Tree To Fall a Certain Way

It makes sense that when you need to cut a leaning tree, it will naturally try to fall in the direction it is leaning. When you are looking at how to cut down a tree to fall a certain way there are a number of steps and methods to achieve this result. Why would you want to cut a tree this way? It might be leaning towards your house or business, a garage or shed, power lines or other trees even. In the process of how to directionally fell a tree large branches need to be cut off, felling wedges positioned correctly, and the right cutting methods then used. The wedges are to correct the lean otherwise it may not fall as you want. The best way to assure a successful felling is to contact a professional arborist.

Cutting Down a Leaning Tree – Step by Step Guide

For the job of felling a leaning tree against the lean, you will need some extra hands along with rope, a mallet or sledgehammer, felling wedges, chainsaw and an extension ladder or tripod ladder. The latter is better as it does not require as much securing. Here is a step-by-step guide.

Step One – Remove the branches

Most leaning trees have more growth on the side leaning to the ground and that extra weight adds to its lean in that direction. Removing the branches helps get them out of your way as well as reduce the pull. Use the ladder to reach the upper section making sure you attach a rope to the handle of your chainsaw first so you can pull it up rather than the unsafe option of climbing while holding it. Use the 3 cut method on the branches.

Step Two – Cutting a notch

Cut the notch into the side of the tree in the direction you want it to go. To make a notch make a flat cut then make a slant cut above. It should be ¼ of the diameter of the tree. Cut it at a height that is comfortable for you to handle the chainsaw at.

Step Three – Start your felling cut

In this step of cutting down a leaning tree start the cut through the tree moving towards the notch from the side opposite. Just go deep enough to place felling wedges behind the bar of the chainsaw without getting in the way. There should be ⅓ of the tree remaining still uncut to make sure there is no unexpected fall now.

Step Four – Time to drive in the felling wedges

Still with your chainsaw in the cut, and letting it run with a locked chain so no accident happens use a mallet or sledgehammer to drive those wedges in. You can use multiple wedges as needed to correct the lean and shims too. Drive-in wedges until the tree is upright. If the tree is not straightening then it is not safe to complete this felling and you should contact professionals for tree removal help.

Step Five – Complete the cut

Now your tree is no longer leaning in the wrong direction you can complete the cut. Unlock the safety on your chainsaw, continue the cut through the tree towards the notch on the other side and keep yourself and others out of the intended fall path of the tree. Always stay very alert and have at least two exit directions you can take in case something unexpected happens.

Example of Leaning Pine Tree Removal

If you have the issue of a large pine tree leaning here is a breakdown of how you can go about cutting it down and removing it.

  1. Have an estimation of the height of the pine tree and check out the area around it so you know what direction you should have the tree fall that is safest. Don’t forget to take into account the branches and their length.
  2. Make sure you have all the right protection, goggles, hard hat, work gloves and ear protection too.
  3. Use water to dampen the chain saw blade before you start to cut because when you pine trees there is the issue of the sap sticking to it and causing problems. You will need to rewash the blade with running water after every few cuts.
  4. Using a climbing harness climb the tree carefully and safely and cut the branches from the tree that are going to cause damage or issues when the tree falls. When you cut a branch place yourself above it. You are more likely going to need to cut a few lower branches, the upper ones on pine trees are shorter and tend to cause fewer problems.
  5. Place a notch on the side facing the direction you want the pine tree to fall. Use a hammer to knock it out.
  6. With your chainsaw make a straight cut from the other side, aim just above the middle of the notch, towards it, about halfway in.
  7. When you are almost at the notch you should feel the tree start to fall in the right direction. Make sure you move away quickly at a 45-degree angle away from the direction it is falling in.
  8. Use your chain saw to cut the tree into more manageable pieces for leaning pine tree removal.

How to Cut Down a Tree Leaning Toward a House

When you have the problem of having a large tree close to the house and leaning towards it that you want to remove, controlling the fall of the trunk and its branches is crucial. Felling a leaning tree against the lean is the only option here, letting it fall the way it is leaning will damage your home and potentially hurt people. A tree with a big enough lean could fall during any strong winds or storm. You need the same equipment as above, a tripod or extension ladder, a chainsaw, rope then a reciprocating saw.

  1. Before you start looking at how to cut down a tree leaning towards a house you need to make sure it is safe to proceed. Clear away vehicles and items that might be damaged by branches and have people and pets out of the home.
  2. Using the reciprocating saw and the ropes you can reach the upper branches and cut away the ones that are going to be a problem or could cause damage during the fall.
  3. For the larger lower branches use your chainsaw and use the 3 cut methods to remove them.
  4. Place a notch into the side of the tree that is the direction you want the tree to fall in and knock it out.
  5. Cutting from the opposite side of the tree make a cut towards the notch. As you feel the tree start to fall make sure you have a clear space to step away from the tree to stay safe.
  6. Cut up the tree into manageable pieces and remove the stump or treat it. You can use the pieces as firewood, for a project if you like to do such things or you can have it removed and disposed of.

Why Use Experienced Tree Loppers to Fell a Leaning Tree Against the Lean

There are some very good reasons why tree owners choose to use professionals when felling a leaning tree against the lean. It is not just that it is physically difficult work though that is one part of it. You need to be able to judge the height and length of branches with some accuracy, have escape moves in mind in case the fall does not go right, have the right tools, knowledge, skill and experience so that it is done correctly and safely.

At the end of the day, you can save yourself energy, time, stress, upset and even money by hiring a professional tree lopper to handle the job. Even if it is not a large tree there are still things that can quickly go wrong. If you have any doubt about felling trees yourself talk to a professional about your needs. Take a look in your local phone book or search online and check reviews. Ask your neighbours who they recommend. Finding the best local tree experts is the best solution.


Tree Pruning Perth
Tree Wise Men Perth Logo Icon

You Might Also Like

what trees can be cut down without permission

Understanding Permissible Tree Removal: What Trees Can Be Cut Down Without Permission?

By Alan Tweed | 03/01/2024

Understanding the rules about cutting down trees can be like trying to find your way through a maze – it gets pretty tricky, especially when figuring out what trees can be cut down…

What Trees Are Protected in Australia

Protected Trees in Australia – The Lowdown For Each State

By Alan Tweed | 01/02/2024

What trees are protected in Australia? Tree protection laws in different Australian states and territories vary considerably. However, they all stem from their respective state and territory parliaments, serving a shared objective. These…

Get a Quote Now

Fill in the form below and one of our friendly arborists will get back to you shortly.

Get a Quote Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.