How to Successfully and Safely Cut Down a Tree

Did you plant a tree in your yard many years ago and are now thinking of cutting it down? Or, maybe you’ve moved into a new place and want to cut down a tree obstructing your home’s view. After getting a signal that you can fell the tree on your lawn, here’s what you need to do to come out of this hazardous task in one piece successfully. Cutting down a tree is not a task anyone can undergo without following the proper safety procedure. If done incorrectly, you put yourself and the people around you in harm’s way. Continue reading to get an idea of how you can safely and successfully cut down a tree. 

How to Cut Down a Tree

Inspect Your Surroundings 

The first step for a successful DIY tree cutting job is to inspect your surroundings. Take a good look around the area and make sure that there is no obstructions present. Check to see if there are power lines, buildings, electrical boxes, and the like near the radius of the tree. You must ensure that there are no overhead and ground obstructions that will affect the cutting process. A rule of thumb to remember is that the free space around the tree should be double the tree’s height. 

Calculate the Felling Zone and Your Escape Route

After ensuring that the location is clear of any obstructions, the next step is to calculate where the tree will fall. Although you might not be able to calculate the exact landing spot of the tree because of external factors like uneven growth and overcrowding, making an estimate is good enough. A trick many people use to estimate the felling zone is called the “ax handle trick.” Hold your ax at arm’s length and slowly walk away from the tree until the top and bottom of the tree meet the top and bottom portion of your ax. The area you are standing in will be the estimated location the tree will fall. While you’re at it, you can also plan your escape route. Pick two different paths that are clear of any obstructions. 

Wear the Proper Safety Gear

Now that you have an overview of where the tree will fall and in what direction you will run, you can start gathering your safety equipment. The staple gear you should have are the following: a hard hat, goggle/safety glasses, gloves, earmuff/earplugs, felling wedges, and chainsaw protective gear. Don’t attempt to cut down a tree without acquiring all of the safety gear above. One wrong move, and you might be the one returning home missing a limb. 

Ask for Professional Help 

If you’re not confident that you can see through the job safely, you can always ask for professional help. For starters, you can hire tree cutting services that offer a range of jobs. Whether you’re looking to remove, trim, or inspect a tree, an arborist will know what to do. Depending on where you live, the people in your area should be able to give you an idea of who the best would be. For those who live in Sacramento, for instance, most of the houses do have plenty of trees on their properties. This is why it’s important to find a Tree Removal Sacramento service that can provide professional help whenever a job looks too difficult to handle alone. This is relevant, regardless of where you live. A good professional will give you great advice and visit on a regular basis. 

Use the Right Tree-Cutting Tools 

For those who wish to continue with the DIY tree cutting job, here’s the next step. After double-checking that you have all the safety gear, inspect your tree-cutting tools, mainly your chainsaw. This portable gasoline, electric, or battery-operated saw is a very dangerous tool that only capable people should handle. Look over your chainsaw and check to see that the following equipment is present and working: the chain brake, chain catch, throttle lock, and spark muffler. 

Decide on the Stump Plan

The next step is to decide on your stump plan. Which direction do you want your tree to fall? To get the tree to drop the direction you want it to, you’ll need to create the notch, the portion that allows the tree to fall correctly, on the side of the tree where you wish it to fall. The “fall side” of the tree will be on the same side of the notch—ready your chainsaw and position yourself on the right side of where the gap will be. Hold the chainsaw horizontally and cut into the trunk, maintaining a 70-degree angle. Continue this procedure until you’ve sliced about 1/3 of the trunk away. Don’t forget to wear all of your safety gear and mind your surroundings. It’s also best to make the notch at a nice working height, not too high up or too low on the ground. 

Cut the Tree Into Firewood

Move to the opposite side of the notch to land the “felling cut,” or the cut that will make the tree fall. Once you notice the tree slowly falling, immediately run to safety. The final step is cutting the tree into firewood. Remove the branches from the tree trunk and then cut the tree into 16-inch portions. 

We hope these tips have been helpful! Make sure to use the tree for firewood or give it to someone who can use it!

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