How to Cut Down a Small Tree With a Chainsaw

Trees have many benefits, but sometimes a tree on your property may be dangerous. You may want to cut it down for some other reasons as well. It could be leaning dangerously towards your house, or maybe it is rotting and is likely to fall anytime.

Here is a simple guide to help you cut down a tree safely.

There are some cases where it is better to call a professional. If you want to cut the tree in the opposite direction of it’s lean, or you feel unsure about cutting down the tree by yourself, call a professional.

There are several guidelines, tried and tested by logging professionals.

Let’s take a look.

Personal Protection

First and foremost, your health and safety are critical.

After all, you are cutting the tree and not yourself. You will want hearing protection, eye protection, head protection and good quality leather boots on your feet. These will protect you from physical harm.

Chainsaw Check

Check if it is in good working order. The chain brake, throttle lock and chain catch should all be working correctly. Make sure you have the best chainsaw for the job.

Know Your Surroundings Well

There should be no power lines, people or pets anywhere close to the radius of the tree’s height. Anything that could make you trip like brush should also be cleared.

The Escape Route

It is quite easy to forget about your escape. You want to avoid escaping directly into the line of the falling tree. Being directly behind the falling tree is also potentially dangerous. The bottom of the cut part could shoot backward; loggers call it kicking back. It could cause some serious harm.

It is advised that your escape route should be approximately 45° from the line of the falling tree.

Here is a good visual from Worksafe:

Escape Route for Falling Trees

Make the Front Cut

The front cut is in the direction you want the tree to fall. Starting at your waist’s height, cut into the tree at about 70° angle. Next cut straight from the top of the cut to meet the first cut, making a perfect triangle that should quickly come off.

Avoid cutting in too deep as the front cut is only meant to direct the tree into the direction to fall off.

Make the Back cut

At the back of the tree, make a straight cut about two inches from the front’s bottom cut. Do not cut too deep into the tree. Cutting the tree clean off can be extremely dangerous. It is the back cut that will cut the tree. The tree might not fall towards the front, inserting wedge will help direct it. Inserting a wedge or as many wedges as you need at the back will ultimately prevent the tree from falling backward.

I found this video helpful as well:

Remember, that your safety comes first.

Second, choose a chainsaw that is appropriate for the tree you want to cut down. Don’t try to cut down a large tree with a small chainsaw.

Third, do not forget to plan your escape.