Stumped: How to Remove a Tree Using a Chainsaw

Posted on: 12 April 2016

There are two methods which can be used to fell a tree. You can either use an axe or handsaw along with some brute force, or you can use a chainsaw. A chainsaw will complete the job with greater speed and less effort than swinging an axe all afternoon. However, if the proper techniques are not used, chainsaws and falling trees can present a serious hazard.

Preparation

Before you fire up the chainsaw, you should take a good look at the tree in question. Make note of where it is located and what objects surround it. Property, fences, and telephone lines can all be damaged by a falling tree. If paths or roads are within the fall zone, you should put out warning signs to alert pedestrians and motorists. You should also take into account other trees that surround the one you wish to fell, as often a tree will bring down smaller, weaker trees with it when it falls.

Decide on a Direction

Once you have taken into account the surroundings of the tree, you should examine the tree itself and work out which direction you wish it to fall. If the tree is leaning in one particular direction, it is best to fell the tree so it falls in that direction. However, if there are objects within the fall zone, which prevent you from felling the tree in that direction, you should consider calling a professional tree removal service who will be able to assist you with the removal.

Clear the Lower Limbs

Once you have established which direction you wish to fell the tree in, you should use the chainsaw to clear braces and limbs from the bottom of the tree. You should never cut tree limbs higher than shoulder height, as this is unsafe with a chainsaw.

The Direction Notch

The first cut you make into the trunk should be the direction notch. You should cut into the trunk at a 60 degree angle on the side that faces the direction you wish it to fall, cutting to a depth of around 25% of the diameter of the tree. You should then make an horizontal undercut which meets with the first cut. 

The Felling

Check that there is no one within the fall zone and then saw a horizontal cut into the opposite side of the tree, just about where the undercut is. You should stop cutting just before you join up with the directional notch. This creates a hinge on which the tree can pivot, allowing for a controlled fall. You should then use a felling wedge to lever the tree and commence the fall.

Retreat

As the tree begins to fall you should calmly but quickly retreat at a 90 degree angle to the direction of the fall, keeping your eyes on the tree. 

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