In this article, I will be giving you tips on how to cut down a tall tree by yourself.
As much as you may love your tree, there are instances where it just has to be taken down. It is not easy, and it’s more complicated with tall trees.
Cutting Down A Tall Tree By Yourself
Tree felling can cost quite a sum of money, and it may be an expense you are not prepared to incur. That being said, you may decide to take it down yourself.
If you don’t have the slightest clue where to begin, then I suggest you keep reading.
Most people will call a professional arborist to cut down their tall tree, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, if you must cut down the tall tree yourself, make sure you take the proper precautionary steps before you begin.
If the tree trunk has a diameter of more than 16 inches or is surrounded by dangerous obstacles such as a power cable, you should call a professional to handle the task.
Also, make sure you abide by your state’s tree felling regulations, as many states regulate the felling of tall native trees.
Reasons For Cutting A Tall Tree
Several reasons can prompt you to cut your tree down. The experience you get from knowing what these reasons are will help you do better with your next tree.
So what are these reasons trees are cut down each day? I will point them out below.
A storm has damaged it – Storms are not a strange occurrence. Most adults would have experienced at least one storm in their lifetime.
Storms don’t just affect small trees. They can damage tall trees too. The wind from a hurricane can tilt your tree to a dangerous position. It can also break the branches and leave them dangling over your roof.
The tree is infected – If your tree is infected (or infested) by several pests and diseases, then you have to take it down.
Leaving an infested tree in your yard isn’t just bad for you. It’s also bad for the other trees. If the pests can make the tree their home, what will stop them from exploring other trees and even your building?
The damages caused by pests to your tree, if unattended to, will cause extra damage to your property, especially wooden furniture.
In such a situation, you need to cut it down.
Keep this in mind, the taller your tree, the bigger the home it creates for pests.
The tree is obstructing the view – Your tall tree may have grown to the point where it blocks off your view from your window. That isn’t very pleasant if you ask me.
As a homeowner, you would love to have a good view of your yard from the upper floors. If your tall tree obstructs your view, taking it down might be favorable.
You don’t want the tree anymore – You may have loved it when it was young, but as it reached a mature height, you fall out of love and decide to go for a smaller tree.
It doesn’t matter if the tree is infested or poses a threat in a case like this. It might be healthy, but if you no longer want it, you no longer want it, right?
Tools You Will Need To Cut Down A Tall Tree By Yourself
After considering all the factors involved and you’re sure you’re good to go, then you can proceed with cutting down your tall tree.
Below are the tools you will need to accomplish your mission.
- A chainsaw
- Strong ropes
Personal Protective Gear
Do not attempt to cut down a tall tree yourself if you do not put on the proper protective gear.
These include –
Hard helmet – To protect your head from falling branches.
Gloves – To protect your hands from blisters caused by handling the chainsaw. Also, to help you get a better grip on the saw.
Goggles – To protect your eyes from sawdust and to fly wood chippings
Work boots – To protect your feet from pieces of sharp branches or wood chippings lying on the floor
Padded headphones – The noise from a chainsaw could get loud. Padded headphones will protect your ears from the noise.
If your tall tree is dead, rotten, or showing signs of deterioration, be extra careful when you cut. Dead or weakened wood increases the risk of an accident.
Make sure your ropes are solid and well knotted around the tree, as you may need them to guide the direction of your fall.
Lastly, make sure you mark out at least two escape routes if the tree falls in a direction you didn’t plan. Be sure to have everyone move away from the surrounding areas of the tree for their safety.
Steps To Cut A Tall Tree Yourself
Follow these steps –
Examine the area and the tree
This is the first thing you need to do.
Take a good look at the tree and try to identify signs that point to the most likely direction the tree will fall.
A significant sign regarding the tree’s falling direction is a noticeable lean. The direction it leans towards is the direction it is likely to fall.
When you have determined the direction the tree will fall, be sure to clear out all obstacles around. These include vehicles and other garden furniture.
If you cannot remove the obstacles around the tree’s leaning direction, then you have to guide the tree’s fall away from that direction using the ropes.
Make the first cut
Start by making an undercut. You will do this with your chainsaw. The cut should be a V-shaped notch, made on the side of the tree that faces the direction where you want it to fall.
You will make this cut at the low end of the tree trunk. The bottom of the V-shaped cut should be straight, while you should make the top cut downwards at an angle of 45°.
The ends of both the angled and straight cut should meet at a tip and go halfway into the tree trunk. This would create a wedge that you will take off.
Make the second cut
The second cut should be made on the tree’s opposite side and should go about 8 inches deep.
This cut will eliminate the stress behind the tree and will trigger the tree’s fall in your chosen direction.
The back cut should be made a bit higher than the point of the initial undercut. It would be best if you made the back cut more elevated than the undercut because you will need a little piece of wood to act as a wedge, which will cause the tree to fall cleanly by the force of its weight.
A small tree would require a push, but its weight will do the job for you and fall on its own since it’s a tall tree.
Be sure to move to one of your selected escape routes as the tree starts to fall.
If you’re up for it, you can take your ax or chainsaw and cut up the felled tree into bits and pieces of wood.
You can load up the pieces into a wheelbarrow and move them away from the felling site.
After your tall tree has been cut, you will still have a tree stump.
You can also call on a stump grinding or removal service to get the job done, although this will cost you some money. Renting a stump grinder and doing the work yourself may be cheaper.
If you are patient, you can burn or rot the stump, as those options carry a minimal cost. However, these methods will take a lot more time than grinding.
The choice of how you want to remove the tree stump is yours.
What To Do With The Felled Tree?
The fallen tree is still valuable, as you still have much to gain.
You can use your chainsaw and cut up the foliage into tiny bits, which you can use as mulch for your garden. You can also use some of the mulch to hasten the rot of the tree stump (that is if you plan to rot the stump).
Also, the wood from the tree itself can be used for firewood at home.
Selling the felled tree to loggers is also a good option.
First, you will make some decent money from selling a tall tree, as size matters a lot. Secondly, the loggers will be responsible for removing the tree from your yard.
I trust this article on cutting down a tall tree by yourself has been helpful.
Remember to follow your state’s tree felling regulations, and most importantly, stay safe!