How to Cut Down a Tree Safely

How to Cut Down a Tree Safely

Did you know that trees can be more than just beautiful scenery to admire? With the right guidance, they can also be a source of lumber that you can use to make furniture and other items. In this blog, we’ll share some tips to help you fell a tree safely and cut it into pieces with minimal waste. So let’s get started!

Decide if it’s safe

When attempting to cut down a tree, it is important to assess the situation and make sure that you have the know-how and safety equipment necessary to do the job. Before beginning, it is imperative to verify that you are in compliance with all local laws regarding tree trimming or removal.

When determining if it’s safe to cut down a tree, consider some of these key factors:

  • Assess the size of the tree – trees with a diameter of more than 15 inches generally require professional assistance due to safety concerns.
  • Inspect the area for any hidden power lines and buried utility lines before beginning. Trees located near power lines should always be handled by a certified arborist.
  • Plan how you will dispose of the wood – significant pieces of wood may not fit in your yard waste bin or other small containers for disposal. Consider renting a dumpster or making arrangements for large debris removal before cutting down your tree.
  • Be aware of dropping direction as limbs may strike bystanders and nearby property during the process; additionally, consider wind direction when felling a large tree as breeze can cause it to fall unexpectedly into unexpected directions if not taken into account ahead of time. Functioning protective gear such as sturdy gloves and eyewear are recommended while chopping or cutting a tree down.

Wear the right safety gear

Before you begin cutting down a tree, you must protect yourself physically by wearing the proper safety gear. Wear steel-toed boots to protect your toes from falling debris. Wear protective eyewear such as safety glasses, goggles or a face shield to protect your eyes from dust and wood chips. Wear hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, to guard against the loud noises created when cutting trees with power tools. Although heavy-duty gloves are not necessary for most tree cutting jobs, they help keep your hands clean and give you better grip on the chainsaw handle.

Depending on the size of the tree and depth of the cut, you may need safety harnesses that attach to heavy-duty ropes if you are working at great heights. Make sure all safety gear is in good condition before beginning work.

Estimate the fall

Before you start working, you should consider the direction and area the tree will fall. Estimate the fall of the tree by looking for surrounding obstacles, barriers, objects and living things that may be harmed if the tree falls in a certain direction. If possible, set up beginning and end points on opposite sides of where you anticipate the tree to fall to act as visual markers or guideposts. Use pieces of visible string or rope to create an imaginary boundary around trees and objects that are in danger of being damaged by the falling tree.

See also  How to Prepare for Landscaping After Tree Removal

You should also ask anyone in your work area to move away from where you’re cutting down a tree as soon as possible so they stay out of harm’s way.

Clear escape routes

Before you decide to cut down a tree, it is important to consider the safety of yourself and those around you. Falling trees can be dangerous, so it is important to plan out escape routes in order to provide an ample amount of time for bystanders and yourself to get out of the way. It may also be a good idea to have a safety spot in case you need additional time to react.

While cutting down a tree, it is important that bystanders remain at least two times the height of the tree away from the cutting zone. This will provide enough space for take-off and landing zone for an uncontrolled fall. Clear paths should be established on three sides as potential escape routes depending on which direction the tree falls during cutting. Make sure that any pathways away from the tree are wide enough, free of obstacles and do not run underneath power lines or other trees if possible.

There should also always be a look-out who strictly observes for any signs that indicate movement or instability during cutting and dropping of this tree, who can then warn all present with adequate time for escaping purposes before further cuts are made or drops happen suddenly.

Cut the notch

When cutting down a tree, it is important to know how to appropriately cut the notch in the side of the tree you intend to have it fall on. Make your first cut slightly above the area where you would like the tree to fall and then cut downwards approximately 2/3 of the way into that side of the tree. This should make an L-shaped “notch” in the tree – ideally, only one round or rectangular notch should be made per tree.

Additionally, your first cut should be facing away from where you want your tree to fall, angled back at a 45-degree angle; this will help ensure that your second downwards cut takes off any natural pressures that may be pushing out against your proposed fall route. The two cuts should meet together and create one 90-degree corner which will finish your notch.

Make the felling cut

Once you have carefully identified and marked the intended felling direction of the tree, it is time to commence cutting. Always cut from the uphill side of the tree, as this will help lessen the risk of a backcut kickback.

Start by making a horizontal line on the side of your chosen felling direction with an axe or chain saw. Position your cuts approximately one-quarter to one-third of the way into the trunk and make a series of small parallel slices on each side to form a V pattern. Be sure not to cut in too deep, as deeper cuts can result in instability and increase the chances of unwanted movement or splitting during felling.

See also  Tried and Tested Methods for Removing Tree Stumps

If your V pattern is uneven or deeper than necessary, it may cause binding and interfere with your desired direction for fallen tree.

Remove branches and cut firewood

Before you even bring out the chainsaw, it’s important that you remove as many branches from the tree as possible. The less resistance there is while cutting the easier it is to control the direction of the falling tree. So, begin by cutting away any branches that you don’t need.

After this, you can begin to cut firewood slices (rounds). Start by cutting a straight horizontal line around the circumference of your tree. Remember to stand to one side and work in an up-down direction with your chainsaw pointing away from your body at all times. Continue until you have created several evenly sized slices or firewood rounds.

You should leave these rounds on the ground and proceed to notch the tree – then you can begin cutting your wedge with absolute confidence!

Get help from a tree service specialist

It is always best to hire a professional for this type of job. Local tree service specialists are experts in assessing the safety of trees and helping you decide whether to tackle the job yourself or call a tree service provider. An experienced tree service specialist can advise you on the safest way to make a cut, or recommend alternative solutions if the tree poses too large of a risk.

Additionally, the specialist can inspect your property for other trees that might become hazardous due to root rot or tall rodent nests. These inspections will help uncover any potential risks so that appropriate steps can be taken before anything serious happens. If a different approach is needed, such as using cranes and specialized gear, the specialist can help you find qualified contractors who will safely remove any fallen branches.


When cutting down a tree, it’s important to practice safe working techniques. Start by clearing the area and determining where the tree will fall. Take the time to prepare and use the proper tools for cutting and removing the tree, such as saws, axes and wedges. Always wear safety gear such as goggles, hard hats and boots when operating tools.

Cut into the tree along a predetermined path while avoiding damaging trees or other property. Scale and buck the logs after felling them, taking breaks when needed and making sure that your footing is secure.

Lastly, don’t forget to clean up by removing all sawdust and debris from the worksite before you’re done. By following these steps, you can safely cut down a tree without putting yourself or others in any danger of injury or property damage!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *