How To Cut Down A Tree

What You'll Need
Chain saw
Safety glasses
Work gloves
Two people

If you have a diseased or non-producing fruit tree on your property, you may need to know how to cut down a tree. Cutting down a large tree can be quite dangerous if the correct precautions are not taken. Use this information to learn how to properly and safely cut down a tree. 

Step 1 – Assess the Tree

You will first want to assess the overall condition of the tree. Walk around the tree and note its lean, branch distribution for limb weight and where the top of the tree falls. Examine it for dead branches, cracks, loose bark or anything else that sticks out. Note whether there are any branches from other trees interfering with the tree that will need to be removed before proceeding.

Step 2 – Examine the Base

Look at the base of the tree for any sign of root instability including roots near a river or lake, other uprooted trees or fungus growth. Clear out a workspace around the tree.

Step 3 – Determine the Lay

Determine where you intend for the tree to fall. Try to select a direction that is close to the tree’s natural lean, while making sure not to get the tree stuck in the branches of another tree. Note that uneven ground can cause a tree to break, bounce, roll or even explode, so try to select a flat surface. Decide on the falling corridor.

Step 4 – Plan an Escape Route and Secure Rope

Clear an area at a 45 degree angle away from the tree and its fall corridor. Ensure that it is long enough that you can move at least 30 feet or more away from the stump. Use the ladder to tie a rope to an upper part of the tree to help in the case that it begins to fall in the wrong direction.

Step 5 – Cut a Notch in the Felling Direction

Using your chainsaw, make your first cut more than halfway through the tree. Then make the second to join this one in as a notch. The “mouth” of this notch should face in the direction that you plan on having the tree fall.

Step 6 - Cut the Other Side

Make a cut on the other side of the tree towards the notch. The tree should begin to fall in the direction of the notch. If it doesn’t, have the other person pull on the rope from the correct direction, being very careful to quickly get out of the way.

Step 7 – Clear the Way

When the tree falls it is very important to get out of the way quickly. It is hard to judge what a tree may do and any of its branches can be very dangerous. A tree’s size can be easily misjudged and result in serious injury or death when cutting it down. Be very careful to accurately evaluate the tree and create an adequate escape route before you begin any cutting.

Use these steps to successfully cut a tree down on your property. Be sure to use all necessary safety precautions and have someone to help you with this job for the best results.