Tree Felling Techniques by NPK Turf Services and Landscape, Inc.
Cutting a tree down is no easy task and can be very dangerous. If you have a smaller tree, say under 20′, and you are motivated it can be done at home. However, if you do not have the time, equipment, or if the tree is large, and or in a difficult spot it is advisable to hire a professional.
In this blog post I’m going to focus on the basic techniques of tree felling(cutting). This is a very basic general overview. Each tree will have its own unique attributes. Because of that this isn’t a set in stone how to guide, but more of a general overview. If you are tackling a DIY project and should have any doubts about the proper way to go about it. Consult a professional contractor.
- The first thing you will want to do is make sure you want to remove the tree in the first place. Trees are wonderful and it takes a long time to replace a tree that has been cut down. Consider the possibility of selective pruning.
- Next up is safety gear. You will want to have a properly working chain saw, protective pants, ear plugs, and safety glasses at a minimum.
- If tree removal is a necessity you will want to determine where you want the tree to fall, and to make sure you will not hit any power lines or structures when doing so. It will be easiest to have the tree fall in the direction of the trees natural lean. Almost all trees will have a general lean to them one way or another. They may have a ‘heavy’ side as well (more branches). Whenever possible cut the tree to fall in this direction. If you must fell the tree in a direction that is not the natural lean there are things you can do, but this is where experience comes into play. I would advise calling a professional if this is the case.
- Make sure the area where the tree will fall is accommodating.
- You may want to use a rope to help guide the tree down when you are cutting it. Basics are to tie the rope about 3/4 the way up the tree and have your helper pulling in the direction you want the tree to fall. This of course takes a bit of common sense. Make sure your helper is at least twice the distance away from the tree as it is tall, so it does not fall on them.
- Having a tree fall where you want it to go comes down to the cuts. This picture shows the cutting techniques.
- There are 3 major cuts in any tree felling.
- The first cut is the diagonal upper cut. This cut should be about knee height at a 45 degree angle down into the tree. Cut in approximately 1/4 to 1/2 of the tree’s diameter.
- Second cut will be directly below the first cut straight in to match up with the ending point of the first cut. This will make a ‘V’ shape. This is subjective. It may not make a perfect V shape, but that is the general idea of what you are going for. The initial V cut is also made on the side of tree where you want the tree to fall too.
- Once you have the V cut complete your third cut will be the back cut. This is the cut that will fell the tree, so be ready. On the opposite side of the V cut begin cutting into the tree a few inches above the bottom of the V. Slowly cut into the tree until the tree begins to fall. Once this starts to happen quickly vacate the area using the safe zone as pictured below. This is also when your helper should be pulling on the rope if you have rigged it this way.
- Once the tree is down (and you haven’t crushed anything!!) all that’s left is the clean up.
- This is by no means a perfect ‘How To’ guide for cutting down trees. I have glossed over or omitted some more advanced techniques, and have not gone in depth as to all the possible safety measures one should take. If you have any questions get in contact with us. We are more than happy to help.
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