Get the Proper Equipment
Before you start down the path of learning technique, you need to have the right equipment for the job. Your equipment should all be in good repair and you should test it before using it on a tree. The following list covers the main pieces of equipment that would be needed to cut down a mature tree on your property.
- Chainsaw: This is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you’ll need. The chainsaw should have about 3.5 horsepower and it should have a 20 inch bar. The bar length indicates the depth that the blade can penetrate, so 20 inches should be enough to cut down most trees.
- Safety Glasses: Many people overlook the importance of using safety glasses when doing work like this. However, the truth is that flying debris can seriously harm your eyes when cutting with a chainsaw.
- Leg Protection: If you hit a knot in the tree, then the saw can kick out of the tree and hit you in the leg. It is recommended that you use either knee-high safety boots or wear heavy leg protectors.
- 1000 LB Test Rope: The rope should be roughly three times longer than your tree is high. It will be used as a safety backup in case there is an issue.
Follow these tips.
- Determine how tall the tree is.
- Based on the height of the tree, decide on the direction you want the tree to fall.
- Clear the area in the fall-zone from any debris or anything that could be damaged.
- Tie one end of the rope to the tree at either the middle or above the middle.
- Hand the other end off to your friends and have them stand outside of the fall-zone at a safe distance.
- Cut a v-shaped notch into the tree on the side you want the tree to fall.
- The notch should be at roughly knee-height, should cut to the center of the tree and should look like a shallow “v”.
- Move to the other side of the tree and start slowly cutting into the tree until you meet your notch cut.
- When the tree starts to fall, quickly walk away from the tree at a 45 degree angle.
- If the tree doesn’t fall over all the way or gets caught on another tree, have your friends start pulling on the rope until the tree finally falls.
Common tree removal risks include:
- Power lines. Working near power lines is risky, and you should always assume that the wires are live. If you, your tools, or the tree hits a power line, you may knock out the power in your neighborhood – if you’re lucky. Most likely, you will be electrocuted. Another myth homeowners may believe about power lines is that the black coating on them is insulation. This is not true. The black coating on power lines is weather-proofing for the metal cable. You can still get electrocuted through the weather-proofing.
- Improper equipment. OSHA requires tree removal professionals to wear protective gear from head to toe. Tree care professionals are also trained in using equipment such as chain saws, ropes, cranes, and wood chippers to safely fell and dispose of a tree. Homeowners would need all of this equipment – and the requisite expertise – to perform a successful and safe removal. Without it, they expose themselves to unnecessary risk.
- Decaying wood. A dead or dying tree is often decaying from the inside out, making it extremely unstable. Even professionals sometimes use cranes to remove such deadwood. If you think your tree is starting to decay, find a professional to remove it before it collapses without warning. There are critical tree biology processes to understand when removing decayed trees, so professional help is always necessary.
- Gravity. Once the tree starts falling, you have no control over where it goes. It also may not fall the way you expect it to, even if you try to influence it with carefully cut indentations or ropes. Poor judgment could result in the tree falling on homes, power lines, or people.
Tree removal is a hazardous undertaking, requiring specialized equipment and highly trained individuals. A professional arborist can perform a thorough inspection of the damaged/problem tree to determine if removal is required. Before hiring a contractor, consult the tips below to ensure you’re making the best decision for both you and your tree.