Tress provides a lot of value. When you plant one on your property, it provides cool shade, and fruits and even increases the value of your property. However, if the tree comes dangerously close to power lines or its roots attack the foundation of your home, it needs to be brought down. To do that, you can search for “landscape companies near me” and let professionals handle the dangerous job. However, if you decide to cut down the tree yourself, you need to do it safely, and here’s how:
- Safety gear – Before you cut down a tree, it’s important to wear the right safety gear. Safety shouldn’t be taken lightly when it comes to felling trees. Otherwise, you may injure yourself or other people around you and can cause property damage as well. If you’re using a chainsaw to cut down a tree, make sure to wear a logger’s helmet to protect your head from falling trees.
Apart from that, you’ll also need to wear earmuffs to protect your ears from the loud chainsaw and safety goggles to protect your eyes from all the dust. While most modern chainsaws are designed to stop right before they cut down human skin, it’s better to raise the safety precaution by equipping yourself with Kevlar chaps. So even if you drop the chainsaw by accident, the Kevlar chaps can stop the chain instantly and save you from amputation.
- Felling wedges and felling zone – Felling wedges are strong pieces of plastic or wood made in the shape of a wedge. They protect your saw from being pinched while you’re making a cut. Make sure to get them from a nearby outdoor equipment store before you start cutting down the tree. Before you cut down the tree, you’ll also need to estimate the felling zone. Trees are taller than they appear and can fall farther than you think.
That’s why you need to use the ax handle trick to figure out the felling zone accurately. Hold an ax handle at arm’s length and close one eye. Now move toward the tree or back away from it till the treetop is even with the top of the ax and the bottom even out with the base of the tree. Now the position you’re standing at should be the position where the tree should rest after falling down. After you mark that position, move away a few more feet to allow more headroom.
- Clean a cutting zone and inspect the tree – After you’re sure about the direction and area in which the tree would fall, you need to make sure you have clear escape routes when the tree falls. Start by clearing away ground cover and bushes around the trunk and continue to do so away from the felling zone. Make sure you clear out two escape routes away from the felling zone. The escape routes should be around 45 degrees apart from each other.
Next, you need to inspect the tree. Check for dead branches that may be supported by other branches or are still attached after being broken. You also need to check if the tree is leaning in one direction or has heavy branches towards one side. You also need to make sure that there are no utility lines and buildings in the feeling zone. If you face any of the above conditions, it will require heavy equipment and machinery and should be handled by pros.
- Plan and cut the notch – A proper notch is around one-fifth the diameter of the tree’s trunk. You need to cut the notch on the fall side so that when you start making the cut, the hinge guides the tree in the right direction. Adjust the chainsaw to rest on the trunk and point towards the feeling zone away from you. Mark that position with chalk since it would be the center of the notch.
Make sure that the marked center is at a comfortable height. You can always trim down the stump of the tree later on. Start by making the top cut of the notch and then the bottom. If you’re cutting a tree that is thicker than 18 inches, you need to use wedges. You need to insert a wedge as soon as you make a deep enough top cut. Now keep the wedge in as you continue to make the bottom cut and tap the wedges further in. After that, you can finish the cut.
- Felling cut – Connect the apex of the notch on both sides with a line to make a cutting guide. The back should be even and parallel with the apex. Now proceed to make the feeling cut towards the back of the notch. When the tree starts to lean, pull out the saw, hit the chain brake, and walk away towards the escape route.
Keep an eye on the tree as it falls. You may need to change directions if something unexpected happens. You can also choose to have a trusted assistant a few feet away warn you about falling branches.
- Cut down the branches and trunk – When the tree falls down, start at the lower end of the trunk and cut down branches. Slowly you can make your way to the top. If your property is on a slope, make sure to always stand uphill. This way you can use the chainsaw in the most efficient and safe way.
When all the branches are chopped off, you can cut the log into 16-inch segments to make firewood. You can sell off all that excess wood, make some woodworking projects out of it, or simply use them for summer barbeques.
Trees are one of the best features of your landscape and provide a lot of intrinsic and monetary value by keeping cooling costs low and increasing the value of your property. However, if you need to cut down a tree, make sure to follow the above-mentioned tips for your own safety. Otherwise, you can hire pros for the job by searching for “landscape companies near me”.