How To Cut Down a Tree

Man cutting trees
Cutting down a tree for no reason at all is a strict no-no. However, in the most extreme of circumstances, it may become necessary to cut down a tree - the tree is diseased, is a hazard for power or telephone lines, is dead or week and likely to crash into your or your neighbor's house in the next storm or downpour. Felling the tree in a safe and correct manner takes up time, effort, patience and the right equipment. If you need to cut down a tree for any of the reasons stated above, read carefully through the instructions written below. These will guide you through a step-by-step guideline on cutting down a tree in a safe and harmless manner.

Step 1

Equipment required. To cut down a medium to small tree, you will need the following equipment:

  • Chainsaw with a sharp chain, gas or oil to power the motor
  • Safety gear for the face, head, hands, legs and feet
  • A felling axe
  • Pruning shears or saw
  • Tall ladder

Step 2

Getting started. First don all the safety and protective gear including a thick helmet, gloves, face protecting goggles or full visor, thick and sturdy shoes and leg protectors. Kevlar gear is the best and safest option. Tree-felling or cutting equipment can be rented or bought from the local tools store.

Step 3

Lopping off high branches, twigs, dead wood, etc. Using the ladder, climb to the top of the tree to cut down and prune the top of the tree, using pruning shears or saw. Cut the branches and other pieces of wood all around the top moving the ladder as you progress. If there are other trees in the vicinity which are not being cut, but have branches overlapping and mixing with the tree you'll be cutting down, trim away such branches and foliage as necessary to provide a spacious clearing around the tree to be cut.

Step 4

Cutting down the main trunk. Once you have cleared the top of the tree of all branches and dead wood, clear the debris around the trunk area. Place a self-supporting ladder next to the main tree trunk, power up the chainsaw and start cutting down the trunk in manageable rings which you can toss down once the piece is fully removed from the top of the trunk. Continue this process until you are down to the last piece of trunk which will be the tree stump.

Step 5

Removing the stump and underground roots. If you don't mind the cost, rent a stump remover which grinds away the remaining wood on the stump. Face the remover away from the house or the street since it spits out a large amount of debris which can scatter and fall as far as thirty feet. The other method of removing the stump is to hack away as much of the wood as you can with an axe. Next dig a trench around the circumference of the remaining stump and cut away all the exposed roots of the tree. The stump then comes off easily as it is no longer connected or rooted to the ground.

Before cutting down a tree, check the local forestry laws applicable in your area, you may need a permit for cutting trees. Also, if you're not comfortable using the various tools required for cutting, you should hire a professional tree removing service. In fact, hiring professional help is the best option when it comes to cutting down large and/or tall trees, since some degree of expertise is required in making the different cuts which will allow the whole tree to fall without any damage and the felled wood can be used productively.


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