Let a professional arborist cut that tree for you | One of the biggest challenges when it comes to removing a tree from your property is ensuring it doesn’t hit anything on the way down. Nearby power lines, other trees, houses, and buildings can all be very close by, making the process of figuring out how to drop a tree exactly where you want it a bit complex.
It’s not enough to simply cut on one side and hope for the best. Guiding a tree downwards in a specific direction requires a good deal of preparation, not to mention the right equipment and a big time commitment. Read on for more information.
Familiarize Yourself With the Area First
Before you begin any part of the project, you need to ensure that you’re fully aware of the area and of any obstacles that might get in the way of the tree when it falls. Do a walk around the area and try to determine where the safest path for the tree might be. Make note of other trees in the area as well as buildings and power lines. Smaller obstacles, such as picnic tables, should also be taken into account.
You will also want to consider the traffic the area receives before you begin making any plans for cutting down the tree. For example, if the tree you want to cut down is near a sidewalk and receives a lot of foot traffic during certain parts of the day, you will want to avoid doing any major parts of the task during those times, if possible.
Make a Plan
Once you’ve mapped out the area in detail, you can move on to the planning phase. Decide what the best path for the tree is when it falls. Figure out what day you will perform the task and at what time. If there are any obstacles that can be moved, move them. Inform anyone who needs to know about the project you’ll be working on and caution them to avoid the area while you are working.
The next step is to estimate the “felling zone” of the tree. By taking an axe and holding it at arm’s length, walk backward with one eye closed until the top of the axe is flush with the top of the tree and the bottom is flush with the roots. Where you are standing is approximately the area where the top of the tree will land. Make sure this entire area is clear, along with a little extra space for safety’s sake. You’ll also want to make sure you have an escape route planned in the opposite direction you are expecting the tree to fall.
If during your planning phase you think that some element of it feels dangerous, put the plan on hold until you can ensure your safety and the safety of others. While it’s important to remove a tree that’s become a hazard, it’s critical that you only do it in a safe manner. If you do not feel safe performing the job on your own, contact a professional arborist like Mr. Tree and ask them to cut the tree down for you.
Get the Right Equipment
Your next step will be to stock up on the proper equipment. Exactly what equipment is best for the job depends on the size of the tree, as well as what you intend to do with it after it has been felled. You’ll need a hand saw and larger cutting equipment, such as an axe or a chainsaw. To prevent the saw from becoming stuck in the tree stump, you should also purchase some felling wedges.
Pruning shears are also a necessity, as you may need to cut away branches before you can cut the tree down.
You need safety equipment for yourself as well. Long pants and closed-toe shoes are a must, as well as a pair of heavy-duty gloves. Eye protection and hearing protection are important too, especially if you will be utilizing a chainsaw or other power tools. If the tree is taller, you may need to climb into it to trim away the branches. If so, you’ll need a helmet, saddle, and some pulleys for a safety harness.
Before you can begin the job, it’s also a good idea to get a friend to help you with it. While it might be possible to figure out how to drop a tree on your own, it’s always better to have an extra hand in case of an emergency.
Make the First Cut
After you’ve cleared the felling zone, planned your escape route, and cleared away any large limbs that might pose a risk, you can make your first cut in the tree trunk. Use your chainsaw to carve away a notch on the same side as the felling zone. This notch should be around one-third of the way into the trunk and can be created by carving two cuts at an angle, perpendicular to the trunk of the tree.
Felling the Tree
The next step when learning how to drop a tree is to go to the side of the tree opposite of the felling zone and make a straight cut with your chainsaw, all the way to your felling notch. For a larger tree, you’ll need to use those wedges you purchased when you were gathering your equipment.
Soon enough, you’ll notice the tree begin to fall. As soon as this happens, quickly move down your pre-planned escape route and wait for the tree to drop completely.
Cleaning Up Afterwards
Once you’ve felled the tree, the final step will be to cut up the tree and dispose of it properly. Sometimes, you may be able to earn some money by selling the wood, so visit the US Forest Service website to see if this is a possibility in your area. Either way, you will likely need to pay someone with the proper equipment to come in and take the tree trunk away.
You will also have to remove the stump, either by renting a stump grinder or using another, slower method. Once the tree has been removed completely, you are then free to build in the area or to plant a new tree if you so desire.