Once I heard from a smart-alecky (pretentious) guy that cutting a tree does not need any tricks or techniques to follow.

He said, ‘You just have to hold the chainsaw properly and determine the tree you want to shred, as he had done it when he was 12.

It’s clear that you do not possess this thought otherwise, you will not be reading this article. So keeping that in mind I am going straight to the techniques of cutting a tree safely.

In case you believe that fellow please read this.

There are many cases registered in the newspaper where persons get seriously injured (and in some cases died) because of not following the right techniques and safety measures while cutting a tree.

Don’t learn it through the hard way, instead follow the techniques and stay safe.

How to Fell a Tree (Tips and techniques involved in the cutting process)

A matured tree is very hard and dangerous to cut; also before cutting you must take the advice from an expert or trained professional. But if you are unable to hire a professional then don’t worry I will guide you through the whole process.

First thing first, safety equipment

  1. Prepare yourself by wearing a helmet with eye and ear protection, so that any kind of sharp pieces of the tree cannot hurt your sensitive organs.
  2. Most importantly chaps that have Kevlar lining specially designed to bind up the chain of the spinning saw in any accidental and unfortunate incidents.
  3. Additionally, steel-toed boots with chainsaw gloves obviously padded with Kevlar will complete the whole safety procedure.

Choosing the correct chainsaw

Perhaps, this is the most important piece of equipment you are going to need. The chainsaw must have around 3.5 horsepower and a 20-inch bar.

The bar length indicates the depth that the blade can insert itself into the tree and 20 inches is enough to cut down a mature tree.

Test Rope

The rope will be for safety issues. I will clarify it later. Just keep a rope hand 3 times longer than your tree.

Inspect the area for danger

Always search for the overhead danger like the power cords and hanging or dead limbs.

Also look for if the canopy of your victim (tree) is entangled with some other one. The direction of the wind is also a factor which you must pay attention to.

As this can affect your Reichenbach fall, I mean the fall of your tree.

Also, focus that if the downing tree can bend in the wrong direction and hurt your head because of the other trees around.

Assess your victim to lean

Assess the tree from all the direction possible, and also look at the top as well as the bottom of your victim.

As that will help you to decide whether the tree wants to fall in a particular direction or not. This will determine your cutting technique.

If the wind and the falling direction of the tree are in a different direction then do not try to cut it that day. Try it on another day when the direction of the wind will be in your favor.

Check the height of your tree for safety


The height of the tree is another important thing that you must take into consideration before cutting it. After deciding the direction of falling, you may miss out the valuable things that the downed tree can damage.

Even houses, cars, or an outhouse can get into the way of your tree, on which it will show no mercy.

To determine the height, move to a distance from the tree from where you can clearly see the tree. Then raise your arm over the tree. If the length of the tree is at your fingertips then the tree is taller than the distance you covered.

Now assess if the distance you covered on the falling side of the tree is empty or the neighbor’s car is in between. It is the high time you must change or modify your plan.

Determine the escape route first


As there is no expert involved in these whole processes the most important thing that you need to determine is the escape route.

No one knows when an unwanted accident can happen. So it will be safe for you if you determine the escape route earlier.

Cut like a wedge of Stilton


Focusing and determining all the tips now cut a piece of wood from the tree shaped like a wedge of Stilton. The cut should be made from the direction you have determined the tree will fall to the front.

The cut should be a quarter to the third of the whole thickness of the tree. And the bottom cut must be horizontal.

After that, you need to chop it from the backward. While doing it start the cut a little above the level of the horizontal cut.

The saw or axe must be kept parallel to the back side of the jaw like shape which is created by removing the wedge of cheese.

Have patience


After cutting the wedge the tree will start to fall. Don’t cut the tree all the way through as the remaining portion will control the fall of the tree.

It is for your own safety. While the tree starts falling stand away from it. Do not just stand there and admire the view of falling as you will definitely going to hurt yourself (like it is illustrated in the photo).

Also, the edge of the branches can give you cuts and scratches. So it’s safe to step out at a distance or use the escape route when you assume that the tree is going to fall.

Let’s have a look at all the processes at once:

  • Wear all the safety guards you need and prepare your chainsaw for cutting.
  • Assess the above head area for any kind of hazard like electric cords.
  • Examine the surrounding of the tree.
  • Determine the height of the tree and also the area where the tree is going to fall.
  • Based on the direction of the wind and height of the tree work out the direction the tree is going to fall.
  • Secure the fall-zone before the tree damage everything.
  • Try to tie one end of the rope I have mentioned earlier to the tree in the middle or above the middle.
  • Now call one or more of your family members and tell them to hand the other end and stand on a safe distance avoiding the fall-zone.
  • Now pierce a v-shaped notch into the tree, and it should be on the side the tree will fall.
  • Do not cut through the entire tree as the tree will suddenly fall in the wrong direction and it may hurt you or your assets.
  • When the tree starts to fall, step back from it and stay in a safe place with your family members and watch the tree to fall down on the ground.
  • If the tree gets stuck on the middle way or by another tree then instruct your friends to pull the rope.

Bottom line

Though no instruction can replace a visit from an expert on your site, but still if you do not have the resources available to contact or consult a professional you can follow these instructions.

As all of them are given, keeping in mind the safety measures. For the first timers, I will always recommend them to start with the comparatively small tree.

It will give you enough experience to help you in cutting the mature ones. I hope this article will help you a lot.