Make yourself acquainted with these important safety tips before you take a saw to an unwanted tree in the garden.
Felling a tree is never a task to be carried out lightly, whether it blocks your view, is sick or damaged, or takes up space that you would like to use for something else. This is a project that, if not done properly, can have serious consequences, including damage to your home and surrounding property or severe injury to you or bystanders.
Don’t neglect safety gear.
Don’t take the chance of ignoring safety gear, even if the tree you’re felling isn’t extremely large. While you are unlikely to have any issues, safety should still be the top priority. You should wear:
- Locked, hard-wearing shoes or boots
- Pants and a shirt with long-sleeves
- Logger or strong hat
- Goggles which completely cover your eyes
- Ear protection-plugs or earmuffs designed for sound reduction
Know the boundaries.
It’s better to leave the job to a professional if you’ve never handled a chainsaw, does not have all the protective gear you need, or are facing a rather large tree. Although it’s not extremely difficult to fell a tree, it takes preparation, concentration, and care, so don’t take on the project on a day you don’t feel your best.
Choose the right equipment.
Although you can easily cut down a very small tree or sapling with an ax, a chainsaw is the best instrument for most trees above that scale. In general, for small to medium trees, a 16-to-18-inch bar is best, and a 20-to-24-inch bar for larger trees or for cutting up a large firewood tree that has already been felled. You should be fully familiar with its usage before firing up your chainsaw.
Don’t just cut.
You will need to take the time to observe both the tree you are cutting down and its surrounding area before felling a tree. Is the tree near to your home or a fence, garage, or parking area for another structure? Are there any nearby utility lines? Is the tree dead or diseased, or does it have branches that are split or dead? Does the tree lean in the opposite direction of where you like it?
Start by having a notch.
It is possible that aiming the chainsaw straight through the middle of the trunk before the other side comes out would carry the tree down on you instead of away from you. With a notch, proper tree felling begins. Stand facing the tree so that on your right and your escape routes on your left are where it will fall. Slick on the side of the tree facing the direction in which the tree would fall.
Stand facing the tree so that on your right and your escape routes on your left are where it will fall. Slice down into the trunk at an approximately 70-degree angle on the side of the tree facing the way the tree would fall.
Continue to cut at that angle until the chainsaw is roughly one third of the way through the trunk of the tree. No more than two feet from the ground should be the bottom of this cut.
Now, at the bottom of your first cut, cut horizontally into the wood. You will have a notch cut in the trunk where the two cuts meet.