Tree Felling DIY: Essential Tips

If you have a tree on your property that needs to come down, it's possible to do the job yourself in some instances. Very large trees should be left to the professionals, but someone who is comfortable using a chainsaw can fell smaller trees as long the proper techniques are used. This article offers some crucial tips for those thinking about tackling this job themselves. 

Special Considerations 

If a tree has an obvious lean in one direction, don't try to fell the tree so that it falls in another direction. Cut the tree so that it falls along the same path as the lean. If you see any broken branches that have not fallen off the tree, do not cut the tree down. The branches might to fall and injure you. Also, do not fell the tree if any obstacles, such as power lines, fences or buildings, are nearby. 

Escape Paths 

Always clear two paths behind the tree, so that you have an escape route if anything goes wrong. The paths should be on the opposite side of where you expect the tree to fall. They should be spread apart in opposite directions and be at a 45 degree angle to each other. These paths should be completely free of any debris, vegetation or other obstructions. You don't want anything in your way if you need to use them. 

Axe Handle 

It's essential to have some idea of how much space a tree will take up when it lands on the ground. This area is known as the "felling zone." To estimate this distance, hold an axe handle upright at arm's length. Back away from the tree in the direction you plan for it to fall and close one eye. Walk back until you reach a point where the top of the axe is flush with the top of the tree and the bottom of the axe is even with the base of the tree. The space between the tree and where you stand is the approximate felling zone. 

Two Cuts 

To cut down a tree properly, you need to make two different cuts. The first cut is a V-shaped notch in the direction you want the tree to fall. Cut the notch about one-fourth to one-fifth of the trunk's diameter. 

The other cut is called the felling cut and is made on the opposite side of the tree as the notch cut. It should be made level with the middle of the notch cut. Place a wooden wedge in the cut when you are about halfway through to prevent the tree from pinching your chainsaw. Do not cut all the way through the tree, but leave a small hinge about 1-1/4 inch thick. This hinge will help ensure that the tree falls in the right direction. 

Felling a tree is not an easy task, although it's doable for someone who is familiar with the proper procedure and has experience using a chainsaw. If you would prefer to leave this task to an expert, however, contact a local tree removal contractor like Arbor Man Tree Care