In this article, I will be talking about different tree-cutting techniques for beginners.

If you haven’t tried cutting down a tree yourself, and you’d like to learn the basic techniques of tree felling, then stay with me.

Tree cutting, also known as felling, is a difficult job to do. It may look easy when you see the pros do it on TV, but trust me, it isn’t.

Reasons Why Your Tree Has To Be Cut

There are many reasons different species of trees get cut down every day.

Being a newbie to the world of tree maintenance, you may not be able to spot the danger signs in a tree. These signs will let you know that your tree is no longer safe, and it just has to go.

Let me list out a few reasons why you should cut your tree.

It was hit by a storm: If there is a storm, your tree has to put up a fight to remain standing. If it is strong enough, then the storm will pass without any damage to your tree. If it isn’t, then you will have broken branches and possibly, a leaning tree.

This is a dangerous situation that poses a threat to your home and human life.

For this reason, the tree just has to go.

It is infested with pests: Having an infested, or infected tree remain in your yard is a terrible idea. This is because the pests can spread out to other healthy trees and infect them as well.

Not only that, but these pests can also make their way into your home and damage your wooden property.

If the pest situation cannot be controlled, then the infested tree has to go!

You want to plant another tree: This is a less serious reason to have your tree cut down. Maybe you just don’t want the tree anymore and you have a better tree to replace it with.

If the already existing tree doesn’t fit into your landscaping plans, then you will need to cut it down.

Tree Cutting Equipment

To learn proper tree-cutting techniques, you need to have the right equipment to work with. Make sure every tool you use is well maintained and will function at an optimum level.

Below are the tools you will need to master the important tree cutting techniques.

Chainsaw: This is the most popular and important tool as far as tree felling is concerned. What about the ax? You might ask. Well, the ax is a good cutting tool, but you will spend 10 times the effort and time unlike when you use the chainsaw.

The blade of a chainsaw is very sharp, and it rips through tree trunks with ease. I recommend using a chainsaw that has at least 3.5 horsepower, and a 20-inch bar.

The bar length will determine how deep into the trunk the blade can penetrate.

Hard helmet: You need to wear a hard helmet before you start cutting, and this is for obvious reasons: To spare your head the pain of being accidentally hit by a falling branch.

Safety goggles: Being a beginner, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if you forget to put on safety goggles. A flick of sawdust in the eye may serve as a painful reminder.

If you want to avoid such pain or injuries to the eye, then you should put on your goggles before you put saw to the trunk.

Safety boots: Your feet need protection too. Remember, after sawing, there will be lots of wood clippings on the floor. Some of these can spike into your feet if they are not well protected.

Strong pull-ropes: I didn’t want to include ropes at first since I am talking about basic techniques for beginners. Ropes are mainly used to control the direction towards which a tree falls.

Ropes are especially useful in the case of a leaning tree in which you want to fall in the opposite direction.

The rope you use should be three times the length of the tree itself.

Now that all your cutting and safety gear is intact, we can proceed to the tree cutting techniques for beginners.

Basic Tree Cutting Techniques

Before you start, be sure to have a few able hands around. They can help guide the fall of the tree using the ropes, as well as assist you if something goes wrong.

Do the following:

Assess The Situation

Since you’ve made up your mind to cut the tree yourself, then you have to assess the situation before you begin.

Check to see if the branches of the tree are caught in-between power lines, or are leaning on a fence. Also, clear the surrounding areas of the tree, remove cars, and other valuable property that may be in your yard.

Assessing the situation before you cut is very important. You don’t want your tree falling on your home, even worse, your neighbor’s fence!

Determine The Height of the Tree

This is the second technique for tree cutting. When you have calculated the height of the tree, then you can decide which area is suitable to fall.

Hopefully, you must have already cleared out the surroundings of the proposed fall zone. If you have not, then you must do so before you cut.

Make The Knots

Take your ropes and make strong knots around the top part of the tree trunk. Make as many strong knots as you deem fit, then have your friends hold on to the other end of the ropes. Have them stand at a safe distance that’s outside of the fall zone.

When the tree is cut, they will pull it in the direction you want it to fall.

The rope technique is important, as it gives you the power to choose where your tree will fall.

Make A V-Shaped Cut

For your tree to have a smooth fall, you will make a V-shaped notch on the side of the tree that’s facing the direction where you want it to fall. Cut at about the knee height of a regular-sized person.

This V-shaped cut should reach the center of the tree, and the tips of the top and bottom cut must meet in the middle.

Make A Back Cut

When your V-shaped cut is ready, go to the opposite side of the tree and make another cut. This cut should be made about 3 inches above the bottom of the V-shaped cut.

Make the back cut go deep into the middle, but let it not meet the tip of the V-shaped cut in front.

The back cut is known as the wedge, and this is what allows the tree to start falling under its weight.


After the back cut has been made, the tree will start to fall. Your friends with the ropes can give it a hard pull to drag it in the right direction.

So, those are the basic tree cutting techniques for beginners. But that is not all you need to know, there are safety techniques too.

Let’s look at a few of them below.

Safety Techniques In Tree Cutting

First of all, if you are not up for cutting the tree yourself, then you don’t have to, especially if you have no prior experience. You can hire an arborist to do that for you.

On the other hand, if you feel you are ready to go, then keep the following in mind, especially things you shouldn’t do.

Don’t stand behind a falling tree: You may wonder how that can be dangerous since the tree is falling away from you.

Well, the stump of a falling tree can snap right off, which will send the tree kicking back towards your direction at a speed you may not see coming. The damage this can cause to a human being is better left unsaid.

Do not approach a tree that you have already cut: If you have made the front V-shaped cut and the back cut, then you need to get out of the way.

If the tree fails to fall after making these cuts, do not approach it with your saw to make another cut. It has been cut and its weight will manifest soon enough. When it does, it might be too late for you.

In a case like this, instead of approaching the tree, ask the people on the other end of the rope to pull. Problem solved!

Other Safety Tips

If you find that the branches of your tree are in-between power lines, then you have no business trying to cut it down yourself.

In a situation like that, you MUST call the relevant authorities to come and take a look at the situation.

If you decide to be a hero and cut the branches away from the power line, then you are putting yourself at the risk of electrocution!


There you have it, those are the basic tree cutting techniques. They are very useful for beginners who are still trying to get the hang of tree felling.

I hope you’ve learned a thing or two.

Take care!

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