Everything You Need to Know to Cut a Tree Safely

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How to Cut Down a Tree Safely

Trees are precious elements of the landscape. They shade us, act as windbreaks, and bring natural beauty to our backyards. Well-groomed trees can even add resale value to your home.

However, sometimes these trees must be cut down. They may have become an eyesore or a nuisance or they may be blocking the house, other trees, or foliage. In extreme cases, trees can become a safety risk when they are dead or full of insects.

Chopping down a tree yourself with safety in mind isn't as simple as starting the chainsaw and screaming in the woods. There are some crucial tips for learning how to cut a tree safely.

Also, the most important part of safe tree pruning is knowing when it is best to hire professional tree specialists.

Check With Your Local Permitting Agency

You may need a license to cut trees, even on your property. Communities generally regulate the removal of trees larger than a certain diameter. This is especially true when your property is located in an environmentally critical area or near a coast or watershed.

Suit Up With the Right Safety Gear

Proper tree-felling safety gear includes:

  • Helmet
  • Hearing protection
  • Safety glasses
  • Clear face screen
  • Chaps
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Pants
  • Steel-toe boots
  • Protective gloves

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

Start with a chainsaw that is the right size for the job. For smaller trees, chainsaws 16 to 18 inches long work best. If the trees are particularly small in diameter, you can even use a 14-inch chainsaw.

Choose an electric or gas chainsaw, depending on the amount of cut you expect to make and the distance from the power source.

Another important tool for cutting trees for safety is a cutting wedge. Placed in the notches that you cut with the saw, a felling wedge helps guide the tree to fall in a certain direction. It also prevents the saw from getting stuck in the notch.

Estimate Where the Tree Will Fall

If you think you know the height of a tree, you may be wrong. Calculating the height of trees is difficult because it cannot be measured with common measurement techniques. Instead, estimate with the handle of an ax or a club of comparable size.

  1. Find a stick the length of your arm.
  2. Hold the stick upright, perfectly vertical, at the bottom of the stick. Your arm should be straight and level.
  3. Walk backward or towards the tree until the crown of the tree matches the crown of the branch.
  4. Mark where you are.
  5. Measure the distance from your standing position to the tree. This distance is approximately the height of the tree.

Clear the Surroundings to Create a Felling Area

The area where the tree will fall should be free of obstacles such as structures, power lines, adjacent buildings, vehicles, garages, and even other trees. If the tree falls on another tree, it can be difficult and dangerous to uproot.

In general, you want to create a generously sized safety beam, twice the height of the mast.

Work With a Partner

When you cut the tree with a partner, you have the second pair of hands and an observer who can watch the tree.

Devise an Escape Method

It should never be on the side of the tree where you expect it to fall. Even so, you still want to look for two escape routes, on your side of the tree, in case the tree falls towards you.

Be Observant and Listen

A tree that begins to fall is usually announced with a crack. Take frequent breaks to cut, either to rest, to see if the tree begins to fall, or to lean in an unexpected direction.

Evaluate Whether the Pros Should Take Over

Tree felling is one of those projects that seems extremely simple. However, cutting a tree cleanly, predicting where it will fall, and doing it all safely is often a task best left to professional tree experts.

Tall trees, large-diameter trees, nearby obstacles, and unusual tree characteristics are just a few of the reasons you may want to hire a tree removal service. Unusual features include large dead branches, dead trees, or trees that lean in one direction.

Know What Not to Do

The dangerous DIY tree trimming techniques are numerous. Some of the most commonly used techniques that can lead to injury or death include:

  • Stand at the top of a ladder when cutting the tree or any part of it.
  • Misjudging the extent of the fall and hitting a power cord or house
  • Pay no attention to loose or dead branches.
  • Cut directly on the head
  • Has no knowledge of pets or passersby.


Source: Guilty of Treeson

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