• STIHL Stanmore

How to Safely Cut Down Large Trees


Felling a tree with chainsaws takes planning and should be well thought through. If you are a beginner, it is a good idea to have someone who is an experienced chainsaw user with you to help.

Prepare to Cut Down the Tree

Think about safety first and the prevention of accidents when preparing to fell a tree. Look at where the tree is located and what objects are around it. Houses, barns, power lines, fences and other structures can be damaged due to falling trees or limbs. If there are roads located within the fall zone, set up warning signs. If you are a beginner and there are objects near, get an experienced person to assist with the felling.

Pay special attention to other trees as well. Making a tree fall can have a domino effect on other trees that may be smaller or weakened by tree rot and leaning. Even if you do not think the tree you are planning to cut down will strike an object, a tree that is hit by the tree you cut down could fall in an unexpected way, so it is best to imagine all possible scenarios before cutting.

Decide What Direction to Fell a Tree

Once you have a good idea of surrounding objects, look at the tree itself to figure out what direction in which to fell the tree. If the tree is naturally leaning in one direction, it may be better to fell the tree that way as long as there are no objects within the fall zone. If there are objects in the fall zone and the tree is leaning in that direction, you may want to get an experienced tree service to come and remove the tree professionally. Wind speed can also effect directional felling. Finally, consider the work involved in removing the tree once it has fallen and how easy or difficult it will be for you to access the area in the fall zone.

Getting Away

Make sure undergrowth around the tree has been cleared before you begin sawing. Remove all branches, fallen limbs or other obstacles on the ground around the tree. You want to be able to walk away from the tree at any angle without having to dodge or step over anything.

Clearing Tree Limbs and Buttress Roots from a Tree

If the lower part of the tree trunk has small branches or buttresses growing on it, clear them away with your chainsaw. To clear branches or limbs, use a pulling chain. Cut from the top and use a downward stroke along the lower edge of the chainsaw. Work at an angle that puts the tree trunk between yourself and the chainsaw. Never cut tree limbs at a level higher than your shoulders, as this is an unsafe way to use a chainsaw.

Rotten or Dead Trees

Use extra caution when felling a rotten or dead tree. Get the help of an experienced chainsaw user or tree removal service if you are a beginner. If the tree trunk looks discolored, feels soft or seems abnormal in any other way, there could be rot on the inside. Rotten trees require a much larger hinge to fall safely and are inherently unstable.

When a Tree is Lodged

If a tree becomes lodged or stuck in another tree on the way down, it is best not to leave the tree unattended. Get help from an experienced person. If you must leave the tree to call for help, rope off the area so that passersby are aware of the danger.

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