How To Cut Down A Tree

Cutting down a tree on your property can be quite the task, whether you are looking to hire professionals like us or are wanting to do it yourself. Here are a few steps to get you started, what you can expect, and what you need.

Inspect The Area

Having a tree that needs to be cut down on your property can be the start of a big task. The first step is to make sure to inspect the area. Is it safe to cut down large branches, limbs, or the tree itself? Is there a risk to property or people? If so it may be better to hire a professional. Check for the following:

  • Diseases
    • Is the tree free from disease and just needing to be removed?
  • Are there dead limbs?
    • As a tree falls these limbs can be projected large distances, unlike live limbs that often stay on or very near the tree.
  • Is there anything in the way?
    • A tree is much taller than you imagine and needs a very large fall line to make sure it’s safe. Is there a large area for the tree to safely fall?

Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment

Once you know there is a safe area to fell a tree it’s time to make sure you have the right gear to properly and safely do so. What you’ll need

  • Safety glasses: can be used to make sure any splinters or debris are kept your eyes.
  • Ear Plugs: while not commonly thought of, chainsaws are quite loud and can cause damage to hearing without proper protective equipment.
  • Hard Hat: any falling debris can cause serious injury.
  • Gloves: Gloves are there not only to protect your hands but also great for making sure you don’t slip and have a firm grip.
  • Chainsaw: to cut down the tree or limbs.
  • Felling wedges: while most do it yourself will not use felling wedges they are critical and can help point the tree in the right direction to fall.

Always check with your on local regulations as your county, HOA, or city may require a permit or a licensed professional to cut down a tree in your area.

Fall Length & Plan Your Route

We talked about this earlier but it’s a critical part of cutting down a tree. Double-check your fall line and make sure that you have more than enough room. If you think it is going to be close or “it should be enough room” we recommend hiring a professional. A tree falling can crush a car, crack the foundation of a pool, and go through your roof with ease.

While working on cutting the tree you’ll need to make sure you have a way to safely step away from the tree after it begins to fall or if something unexpected happens. If the tree is tall enough and has to be cut in multiple sections while still standing, your best bet is to hire a professional. Tripping or a slow escape path can cause you to be in harm’s way. Make sure to have a clear path.

Correct Cutting

Cutting down a tree can be seen as counterintuitive and complex. The first thing to look for is what side of the tree is heaviest and has the most growth. Often people will begin to cut down a tree and not realize that they are cutting in all of the right spots but that the tree is weighted to fall in the opposite direction. Make sure you know which way the tree wants to fall and how to counteract that if it doesn’t align with your fall line.

Begin cutting. Which side you cut on is where the tree will fall if everything else is done correctly.

  • Cut at the right height
    • A comfortable working height is best. Cutting higher or lower can be dangerous.
  • Cut at a 45-degree angle
    • You’ll be cutting a notch so you’ll have an angle on the top of the notch and then a flat cut at the bottom of your cut. This allows for the saw to work effectively and minimizes pinching the blade due to pressure from the tree leaning.
  • Small Cuts Add up
    • You are not cutting through the entire tree. Start with making cuts that are about a third of the way through the trunk of the tree.
  • Use your wedges as necessary
    • While small trees are relatively straightforward, old-growth trees require special chainsaws that are the right size or wedges.
    • Wedges stop the pinch of the tree on the blade that adds unwanted pressure.

The Fell Cut

After you have notched on the correct side you’ll want to make the final cut. Slightly above the top of the notch created you’ll make a cut that is 180 degrees or a flat cut. The goal is not to connect these to but to allow the weight and pressure of the tree to cause the tree to lean. Once the tree starts to lean and move use your path to safety. If everything is done right the tree will fall in the line setup.

As always, cutting down a tree is a much larger task than most people imagine. If you are looking for a safe, efficient, and professional tree removal team in the northeast reach out to us to see how we can help.