A Guide to Felling Trees
Felling trees can be a very dangerous activity if it’s not done properly. While larger trees are best left to the professionals, smaller trees can usually be handled by yourself. Below are some simple guidelines intended to keep you, and everybody around you, safe.
Before preparing to fell the tree, check that you have all of the equipment that you’ll need. First off, you’ll need protective gear such as steel-toed boots, goggles, gloves, kevlar leg guards and a hard hat. You’ll also need a chainsaw (obviously) and it‘s a good idea to bring along a first-aid kit in case of an emergency.
First off, carefully check your surroundings and make sure that nobody is in range of the tree you’re about to fell. The standard distance for people to stand is at least twice the length of the tree away. High visibility jackets should also be worn by everybody on site so that everybody can easily be seen.
Before you start cutting, decide which direction is best for the tree to fall, taking into account your surroundings such as obstacles and slopes etc. Carefully study the tree in question. Look for risks such as broken branches, rot or cracks and if the tree is leaning in a particular direction. Ideally, the tree should be felled so that it lands on an elevated part of the terrain so that removing any branches is made easier.
If you’re felling a tree close to buildings or power lines etc., it is really important to make sure the tree will fall in the direction and distance it’s intended.
Most of the time trees will naturally fall in a certain direction, primarily decided by the tree’s lean. If you absolutely have to fell a tree in a different direction, you need professional-know how and specialized felling tools, but, when possible, it’s best to fell a tree in the direction of the lean. There are many factors that affect felling such as, lean, length species, shape, diameter and rot, as well as conditions such as power or phone cables and buildings.
First make a horizontal cut about ? of the way into the tree, no higher than the height of your hip. The tree will fall perpendicularly to the cut. Next make a wedge cut (looks like an orange segment) at about a 70 degree angle to the horizontal cut, either from above or below the horizontal cut. Now make a back cut roughly 1 inch above the horizontal cut and stop around an inch before the wedge cut. During the back cut, plave a wedge into the back of the tree to ensure that the tree doesn’t rest on the chainsaw blade. Once you’ve finished the back cut, the tree will either be perfectly balanced on the stump or it will begin to fall. If the tree is balanced, hammer the wedge further in and get ready to run!
After felling the tree, perform limbing as necessary and cut the tree down to manageable chunks to transport.