how to cut down a tree

How To Cut Down A Tree in Five Easy Steps

Cutting down a tree from your property may be necessary if it poses a safety risk to your family, blocks your plans for a new pool, is situated too close to your house or fencing and other items, or it is a reason for neighbourhood disputes. This can be a difficult decision, but sometimes it is necessary.

When you decide to chop down trees, you need to choose whether to hire a professional tree lopper or do it yourself. However, before you start, you must understand that tree cut work is dangerous and can cause severe harm or even death if not done correctly. Therefore, be sure to take the necessary precautions before proceeding. Avoid using a chainsaw without proper knowledge and training.

However, if you are determined to do it yourself, you can continue reading to learn about the steps involved in cutting down trees.

Things To Do Before Cutting Trees

When cutting trees down, it is important to use proper techniques and follow safety precautions due to the potential danger. Before cutting trees, follow these basic tips to ensure efficient and safe tree removal.

Check for Required Permits

Can I cut down a tree on my property? You might ask that question. Before cutting down a tree, check if your state or municipality requires a permit. You can search online for local or state ordinances to ensure you obtain the necessary permits. You might incur penalties for cutting trees without a permit.

➜ Check this out: How to Get Council Approval to Remove a Tree

Gather Proper Equipment

To avoid injuries while chopping down trees, it’s important to wear appropriate equipment for cutting tree branches such as safety goggles and a helmet or hard hat. Falling debris can hit your head and eyes, so these items will help protect against that. You should also wear Kevlar chaps to safeguard your legs from chainsaw grazes. You can buy all this protective equipment online or at a local hardware store.

Tree cutting equipment you might need:

  • A hard hat
  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Work gloves
  • A chainsaw
  • Felling wedges
  • Protective jacket

Examine The Area Around The Tree

Before cutting down the tree, inspect the surrounding area to ensure no structures or other trees nearby could impede its fall. Consider any obstacles, such as power lines, fences, and roads. If you’re not confident examining the area yourself, you can contact an expert for a comprehensive arborist report.

You need to have a clear area where the tree can safely fall. If there are too many structures in the vicinity, it might be best to hire professionals instead of attempting it yourself. If you cut down a tree and it falls into another tree, it could create a dangerous chain reaction.

Estimate the Fall

Measuring the height of a tree accurately and predicting its falling direction can be challenging. Examining the tree for any irregular growth caused by factors such as disease or overcrowding is recommended. If the tree is unbalanced and weighs more on one side than the other, it will naturally fall in that direction, making it difficult to control where it lands. In case you are felling a tree against a lean, the situation becomes even trickier and you require some serious skills and experience to get the job done safely.

Clear The Area

To prune a tree, use shears to remove excess growth around the trunk. Also, cut away any low-hanging branches. Finally, remove all the debris around the tree when finished.

Find Your Escape Path

To stay safe when a tree is about to fall, first face away from the direction it will fall. Then, turn 45 degrees to the left. This is the best path to escape. Ensure your escape path is at least 4.6 meters (15 feet) long to stay a safe distance from the falling tree.

To increase safety measures, devise another exit strategy at a 90-degree angle from your initial route.

Steps on How to Properly Cut Trees

Felling a tree may seem daunting, but it can be done safely with the proper equipment and precautions. Follow this simple guide for step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Make a 70-Degree Angle Notch Cut

How to notch a tree to fall a certain way? Cut a notch into that side of the tree where you want it to fall, at a 70-degree angle using a chainsaw. The top of the notch should be the shallow part of the cut, while the bottom of the notch should be the deepest. Do not cut more than a third of the way into the tree. Cut the bottom of the notch 30-61 cm (1-2 feet) above the ground.

To have complete control over the chainsaw, tightly grip the handle using both hands.

Step 2: Make a Horizontal Cut

Use the chainsaw to create a clean, horizontal cut at the base of the notch you formed earlier. This cut will ensure that the bottom of the notch is straight. However, be sure not to go beyond a depth of β…“ into the tree.

Step 3: Make a Bore Cut on the Tree

To perform a bore cut:

  1. Insert the saw blade tip into the tree instead of cutting from the side.
  2. Place the chainsaw blade 30-61 cm (1-2 feet) away from the notch cut and carefully saw through the tree.
  3. Saw in the opposite direction of the notch until you have made a clean horizontal cut at the other end of the tree. This technique will weaken the tree but won’t cause it to fall over.

Step 4: Cut Through the Remaining Portion

Place the chainsaw on the end of the tree opposite the notch and cut the remaining wood that connects the tree. If all the previous steps were carried out correctly, the tree should start falling gradually towards the direction of the notch.

Step 5: Walk Out of the Way as Tree Falls

When the tree starts tipping, activate the chainsaw’s chain brake and take it out of the tree. After that, run down the path you have planned to escape at a safe distance. While walking away, keep your eyes on the tree to ensure it doesn’t lean or fall towards you.

Reasons Why We Cut Trees

Although we cherish trees and nurture thousands of forests while planting millions of new trees yearly, we also cut them down. Even though trees are indispensable for our survival and we must keep planting more, felling trees, when carried out responsibly, can prove beneficial to forest health. Whether for sustainable timber harvest, safeguarding trees and populations, or generating new habitats, continue reading to learn why tree-cutting is acceptable.

Minimising Tree Fall Hazards

As trees grow, their roots loosen, and their branches become heavier, making them top-heavy and prone to falling. To avoid the risk, cutting them down can be beneficial
Big trees can be a hazard because they might fall on houses or roads, potentially causing accidents. Cutting down trees growing too large for their space is crucial to prevent this.

Space for Construction

If you’re just cutting down a tree, it can be simple. However, removing the stump and the tree’s roots is important if you plan on building something. This is because roots continue to grow and can threaten the stability of a building’s foundation.

If the walls of a house start to crack and they are perimeter walls, it is important to attend to them immediately to prevent the house from collapsing, which could pose a security threat.

➜ Find out How to Remove A Tree Stump

To Make Space Aesthetically Appealing

If trees become dead, unproductive, or lose their natural beauty, owners may choose to remove them. However, since most owners do not have the necessary equipment to take down a tree, they must find a suitable service to do it for them.

Improving Forest Restoration

According to a scientific study, thin forests can enhance forest restoration. According to an international team of researchers, thinning trees can enhance the growth of new trees and boost the forest’s overall health.

Cutting down trees in a forest can improve its ecosystem by allowing more sunlight to reach the ground, which triggers the growth of healthier and more disease-resistant plants.

Prevention of Diseases and Infestations

Cutting down trees carefully is crucial as trees can be a breeding ground for diseases and pests, which can spread to other plants and trees. While trees play a significant role in our environment, removing them can help prevent the spread of these infestations.

Tree Felling Techniques You Need To Know

To minimise the risk of injuries during tree felling, it’s crucial to use proper techniques. Advanced tree felling techniques may be necessary for safe and effective felling in some circumstances and environments. Here are a few examples:

Bore Cut

Try using a bore-cut technique to prevent the barber chair effect when cutting down a tree. This involves using a chainsaw to create a straight cut through the centre of the trunk perpendicular to the ground.

By keeping the back part of the trunk more intact, the tree is more likely to remain upright while falling. Remember to lead the saw with the bottom of the bar tip instead of the top when using the bore cut technique. Once the bar tip is covered by wood, rotate the saw and plunge it through the tree.

Tree Driving

Tree driving is a technique where one tree is used to bring down another tree. Both trees need to be partially cut before the driving tree is knocked down to avoid the entanglement of branches.

The driving tree should be tall and heavy enough to bring down the other tree and ideally have a natural lean in the right direction. However, it requires extra precautions and planning as it involves felling multiple trees.

Felling Aids

Felling aids can assist in carefully and securely falling trees after a standard notch and back cut. These aids include metal breaking bars which can be slipped into the back cut to allow felling in the tree’s desired direction, as well as wedges that can hold the tree in place and prevent it from leaning back. A sledgehammer can also safely knock a tree down in the correct direction.

Piece-By-Piece Removal

When removing a tree from a residential or commercial property, experts carefully cut it into small pieces. They will first use a crane to secure the largest section of the tree before cutting its branches and trunk bit by bit. This method ensures that nearby properties remain undamaged and eliminates any risk of injuring people passing by.

Back Pulling

A winch system is used in the back pulling to pull a tree against its natural lean. This method helps avoid buildings and power lines when cutting down trees. Additionally, it helps to position the tree for a safer felling process. To control the direction of the fall, professionals set up the winch as high as possible.

Cutting Trees Made Easier with Tree Wise Men

Sometimes, you may need to remove a tree from your property for safety reasons if it obstructs your pool plans or is located too near your home or other facilities. While it may be a tough choice, it may be necessary.

If you plan to remove a tree, you should decide whether to hire a professional or do it yourself. It’s important to understand that tree work is dangerous and can result in severe injury or death if done incorrectly. Therefore, take necessary precautions before proceeding.

If you believe it is risky to remove a tree on your own, consider seeking professional help. Tree Wise Men are certified to safely remove trees for various important reasons, including preventing fire hazards, preventing accidents, or managing damage after a storm. Our primary priority is your safety. We will handle the situation for you, easing all of your concerns.

If you have any inquiries or require guidance on tree-related matters, including tree removal services, do not hesitate to reach out to us today.


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