Last Updated on March 13, 2022 by woodcutter
Trees enhance the aesthetic appeal of any property. However, there are times when we need to remove a tree from our garden or backyard. This may be due to various reasons, such as a tree growing very near our house and posing a hazard of toppling over, an unhealthy tree with decayed limbs threatening to break off, etc. Regardless of the reason, removing a tree involves safety concerns and can be deftly handled by certified arborists. But for a tree of a manageable size, we can tackle the job by applying the right techniques and tools for the purpose.
When it comes to tools, a chainsaw is an easy and effective tool for cutting down trees efficiently. Let’s take a look at how we can safely cut down a tree with a chainsaw:
Preparing for Tree Cut
There are certain things we need to consider when preparing to cut a tree. Safety gear stands at the top of this list, followed by the proper equipment, tree condition, direction of tree fall, and plan of action.
- Safety Gear
We need to invest in proper safety gear to keep ourselves safe during our tree-cutting venture. Among the must-have safety gear are a chainsaw helmet, chainsaw gloves, safety glasses, chainsaw chaps, and heavy-duty work boots.
- Cutting Equipment
We need suitable equipment to carry out the task competently, such as a chainsaw and chainsaw chain tools. When selecting a chainsaw, we have to decide between an electric chainsaw or a gas-powered chainsaw. Another point to remember is that the edge of the chainsaw’s chain must be sharp enough to cut through a tree easily.
- Tree Condition
The next thing to do is to examine the condition of the tree. Is the tree a healthy one? Does it have any dead or decayed portions that could easily break off? Are there any cracked branches? In other words, we need to look for signs that tell if the tree is healthy or not.
- The Direction of Tree Fall
It is important to ensure that the felled tree reaches the ground unobstructed. That’s why we have to look out for any obstacles that might come in the way of its fall, such as fences, power lines, buildings, vegetation, etc.
While planning out a tree’s fall, we need to remember that most trees tend to fall in a natural direction depending on their lean, shape, and size. We have to access this carefully before making any cuts.
- Plan of Action
The final step of the preparation stage is to form a plan of action. Details such as the path of our retreat when the tree is felled or where the helpers stand must be thought out and communicated in advance. This is a crucial safety measure that needs to be addressed efficiently.
How to Cut Down a Small Tree with a Chainsaw?
Before we start cutting a small tree, we must ensure that our chosen chainsaw is appropriate for the task and is in good working condition. After all, no one wants to face a situation where the chainsaw won’t start just when they are ready to cut a tree.
We have to keep in mind two things when cutting a small tree using a chainsaw: the front cut and the back cut.
- The Front Cut
The front cut needs to be in the direction in which we would like the tree to fall. We have to begin at our waist height and cut into the tree trunk at an angle of about 70 degrees. The next thing to do is make a straight cut from the top to meet the first cut. The aim is to create a perfect triangle that should come off easily. But the cut must not be too deep as its purpose is to help the tree fall into our preferred direction.
- The Back Cut
When making the back cut, we have to start at the back of the tree. The first step is to make a straight cut about 2 inches from the bottom cut at the front. But we have to avoid making too deep a cut. It is the back cut that makes the tree fall. Sometimes the tree may not fall towards the front. By inserting a wedge at the back, we can direct it to fall towards the front. We need to retreat when the tree starts falling and watch from a safe distance.
How to Cut Down a Tree with Electric Chainsaw?
An electric chainsaw is a powerful piece of equipment that needs to be handled carefully. Else, it can cause us serious injury. To cut down a tree using an electric chainsaw, we need to adopt all necessary safety measures and proceed as follows:
- Clearing Prop Roots and Tree Limbs
We need to start by cutting away the support roots and small branches attached to the lower trunk that can hinder our work. When dealing with the appendages, we have to see that they are lower than our shoulders. This is because using a chainsaw above our shoulders can be extremely dangerous. Also, we have to cut the limbs from the top with the help of a downward stroke. Our position should be such that the tree trunk remains between us and the chainsaw.
- Making Directional Notch
Once we have decided upon the tree’s direction of fall, we have to inflict a series of cuts to make it happen. These cuts, also known as directional notches, help to determine the path of the tree’s fall.
We need to make a top cut into the tree’s trunk, cutting at an angle of 60 degrees and between 20 to 25 degrees of the tree’s diameter. A parallel cut needs to be made below the top cut until it reaches the top cut. The curved-out notch that occurs on the tree’s trunk will mark the direction of the fall.
- Creating a Felling Hinge
The next thing to do is to make a horizontal felling cut that lies a few inches above the undercut level we made on the opposite side of the tree trunk. This helps to create a hinge for the tree’s fall. This hinge must be around 10% of the trunk’s diameter to be effective. To start making the tree fall, we have to apply a felling wedge as a lever. At this point, we need to retreat from the tree at a 90-degree angle to ensure complete safety.
Cutting down a tree using a chainsaw requires skill and knowledge. As long as we take safety precautions and use the proper techniques, we can cut down a tree safely. In the case of any doubts, we can contact a professional arborist to do the job on our behalf.