How to Cut Down a Tree

There's no doubt that trees beautify the landscape, but sometimes it's necessary to cut them down. Cutting down a tree isn't easy, especially if it's a tall one. It takes planning and the right equipment, such as a chainsaw. Before you start, check the area for dangers. Does the tree touch or is it near power lines? Is the tree-falling direction away from people and traffic? Remember, "safety first."

  1. Determine the direction the tree will fall. The tree's height should be the major determining factor when deciding where you want it to fall. Make sure you have a clear spot with no obstacles in the way.
  2. Cut down any branches you can reach while standing on a ladder. Only cut branches that aren't too large.
  3. Cut a V-shaped notch into the tree. Start sawing about 3 feet (91 centimeters) up the trunk. Saw into the tree with a downward motion, at a 70 degree angle on the side facing the direction it will fall. The cut should take up 80 percent of the tree's diameter. To complete the notch, place the saw about 15 inches (38 centimeters) below the cut you just made, and saw into the tree with an upward motion. Saw at a 70 degree angle, stopping when you reach the first cut. The notch should fall out.
  4. Move to the other side of the tree, opposite the notch. Hold the chainsaw blade parallel to the ground and saw horizontally into the trunk. Don't cut all the way through. Instead, leave a "hinge" of about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters). The hinge will stop the tree from immediately falling down, giving you a chance to get out of the way. As soon as you finish the hinge, shut the saw and move away. The tree will start shaking and wobbling, and will soon fall down.