Cutting down a mature tree can be a dangerous thing to do, so it should be handled by properly trained and equipped professionals whenever possible. If you are unable to hire a professional and need to fell the tree yourself, then these tree cutting tips may help everything go smoothly.
Before you start down the path of learning technique, you need to have the right equipment for the job. Your equipment should all be in good repair and you should test it before using it on a tree. The following list covers the main pieces of equipment that would be needed to cut down a mature tree on your property.
- Chainsaw: This is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you’ll need. The chainsaw should have about 3.5 horsepower and it should have a 20 inch bar. The bar length indicates the depth that the blade can penetrate, so 20 inches should be enough to cut down most trees.
- Safety Glasses: Many people overlook the importance of using safety glasses when doing work like this. However, the truth is that flying debris can seriously harm your eyes when cutting with a chainsaw.
- Leg Protection: If you hit a knot in the tree, then the saw can kick out of the tree and hit you in the leg. It is recommended that you use either knee-high safety boots or wear heavy leg protectors.
- 1000 LB Test Rope: The rope should be roughly three times longer than your tree is high. It will be used as a safety backup in case there is an issue.
10 Tree Cutting Techniques
You should look over all of your gear before you get started to make sure it is all in good working order. If possible, you should have some friends come over to help you. Not only will they be able to help direct the fall of the tree, but they will also be around in case something goes wrong. While it’s not recommended to cut a tree yourself, if you’re going to proceed, the first thing you should do is assess the risk of the tree falling on anything other than the ground. You definitely do not want to cut the tree only to have it fall on your house, fence, or worse…a neighbor’s property. Once you are ready to go, you can start following these steps to safely cut down your tree.
- Determine how tall the tree is.
- Based on the height of the tree, decide on the direction you want the tree to fall.
- Clear the area in the fall-zone from any debris or anything that could be damaged.
- Tie one end of the rope to the tree at either the middle or above the middle.
- Hand the other end off to your friends and have them stand outside of the fall-zone at a safe distance.
- Cut a v-shaped notch into the tree on the side you want the tree to fall.
- The notch should be at roughly knee-height, should cut to the center of the tree and should look like a shallow “v”.
- Move to the other side of the tree and start slowly cutting into the tree until you meet your notch cut.
- When the tree starts to fall, quickly walk away from the tree at a 45 degree angle.
- If the tree doesn’t fall over all the way or gets caught on another tree, have your friends start pulling on the rope until the tree finally falls.
General Tree Cutting Tips
We highly recommend hiring an expert tree cutting service or arborist to cut your tree for you. That said, here are some general tips if you plan on doing this yourself. You can find additional tree cutting and felling tips here.
- Never stand directly behind a falling tree. The stump can snap and send the tree kicking back toward you causing massive injuries.
- Do not approach the tree with the chainsaw if it fails to fall. Only pull it with the rope. The tree is under massive pressure and could snap.
If you’re worried cutting a tree might not be for you, reading our cost guides can help you assess the cost and budget for a professional contractor or arborist: