Six steps to cut down a tree correctly

When cutting trees, it is essential to use appropriate work techniques, not only to create a safe work environment but also to increase work efficiency. Look at this tree felling advice.

This tree felling advice:

  1. Preliminary planning

When it comes to felling trees with a chainsaw, preparation is key. If you plan the logging and the forestry equipment that you are going to take, you will not only be making the working day safer but also greatly facilitate the work that follows the felling. First, ask yourself if there are any major obstacles in the area, such as power lines, roads or buildings. Distribute warning signs if you know there is a road that crosses the forest area or that there are many people passing through that area on a daily basis.

  1. Check the direction of fall

Next, determine the direction of fall by carefully studying the tree. What do the branches look like and how do they grow? Also, note the wind direction. If you do not have cleared the direction of natural fall of the tree, stay away from it and check it with a plumb line (see the data box for information). Clear the area around the expected fall direction of the tree. It also clears a 45-degree zone behind the tree in both directions, to create an escape route. Have a look at this tree felling advice.

  1. Trimming the trunk

When you have cleared the area, place the warning signs in the direction of fall of the tree and the escape route that you have decided. You should check that you have enough fuel in the tank for the task in front of you. Then it will be time to prune the trunk to get rid of all the big and small branches that can hinder the path when making the felling cut. The safest way to prune is to do it with a chain of shot (under the sword) from top to bottom.

  1. Decide the cutting technique

Once the trunk has been trimmed to shoulder height, it is time to cut the felling. When doing so, it is important to remember two things: the hinge must have a uniform thickness with the appropriate dimensions and the felling wedge or the breaker bar must be inserted before the tree can engage the sword. The cutting technique you should use will depend on the size of the tree and the slope, as well as the size of the chainsaw. Here we have compiled information and this tree felling advice, about the different techniques so that you can find for yourself the method that best suits your conditions. / insert link to proper passage in “working with chainsaws”.

  1. Check if the tree has diseases

If you notice that the wood is discoloured and soft or if the lower part of the trunk seems swollen or sick, you should be very careful. This indicates that the tree is rotten and the fibres of the wood are weakened. If this happens, carry out logging in the direction of natural fall of the tree and use a winch if you are not sure. Putrefaction usually decreases the higher up in the tree, so one option would be to knock it down leaving a stump higher than normal.

  1. Choose the tool

You can choose between several demolition tools when cutting a tree. The size of the tree determines the type of forest equipment needed. In the case of smaller trees, demolition tools are not usually necessary. The manual force is sufficient, perhaps with the help of a long bar. The demolition wedge offers a greater demolition force than the different types of bars. In extreme cases, you can use a rope and winch, which is the safest and most powerful way to knock down a tree. Take a look at this tree felling advice data box to get more information about the different tools available.

How to calculate the height of the tree

Hold a stick with your arm extended in a straight line in front of you so that the length of the stick is equal to the distance between your eye and your hand; next, place the club in a vertical position so that a right triangle forms between the eye, the hand and the top of the club. Point to the tree and stand at a distance where the tree looks as tall as the length of the stick. If the tree is tilted, you will get more accurate results if you make the measurement from the side, so that the tree is not tilted towards you or towards the opposite side.

The distance between the place where you are and the tree will be equal to the height of it.

  • Estimate the height of a tree
  • How to measure the inclination of a tree with a plumb
  • Direct the plumb line to the top of the trunk of the tree.
  • Measure the distance from the point of impact of the plumb line to the centre of the trunk.

Cutting tools

The standing bar breaker is suitable for clearing small trees. Insert the tool before completing the felling cut and support all your weight on the lever arm. The tear bar is usually telescopic and can be transported in a tool belt cover. The breaker bar is used in relatively small trees. To maximize the lifting force, insert the tool (before completing the felling cut) in the centre of the felling cut as far as possible. Do the lift with your legs and keep your back straight. The impact bar is used in the same way as the breaker bar, although it can also be used as a hitting tool when using demolition wedges.

The felling wedges are ideal for medium or large trees. They are inserted before completing the felling cut and hit with an axe or an impact bar. Always use plastic or aluminum wedges to avoid the risk of damaging the chain if you cut them accidentally. The winch is used in situations where maximum strength and safety are required. To get the maximum effect, the cable is placed as high as possible on the tree. We hope you may have learned a lot from this tree felling advice.

Willard Bennett