3 Things to Consider When Felling a Tree

Cutting a tree down can be dangerous, even deadly.  But it is something that, if you are homesteading, you will probably be faced with sooner or later, if not regularly.  Felling a tree is not something that should be rushed into or taken lightly, especially if the tree is particularly large, or close to a structure.  Before felling any tree, give it some thought, and be careful.


Limb pattern

Trees are not 100% symmetrical.  If a tree has anything obstructing its access to light on one side, it will grow more limbs in the other direction.  Limbs can also die and fall off, and when they do it is unlikely that they will do so symmetrically.  These factors will affect the direction the tree falls in.  This can be controlled by selectively removing limbs on the side that you do not want the tree to fall it.  This will make the tree unevenly weighted and help control its direction of fall.

Trunk shape

The shape of the tree’s truck will also affect the direction it is likely to fall in.  If the tree has an oblong truck, it is highly unlikely to fall in the direction the truck is wider in.  It will take quite a lot to change the direction of fall from the thin side to the wide side.

Making your cuts

Once you have determined the direction the tree will fall in is safe, you will have to start making the cuts that will bring the tree down.  This should be done with three cuts.  The first should be placed on the side that you want the tree to fall to, it should be nearly parallel to the ground but slightly higher as you get deeper, and should be about 50% the depth of the trunk.  The second cut should be placed on the same side, and should be at an angle, between 30 to 40 degrees, and it should connect to the first cut so that a wedge of wood can be removed.  The third cut should be placed on the side of the tree opposite from the direction that you want to tree to fall in.  It should be just higher than the first cut made, lower than the angled cut, and also nearly parallel to the ground but slightly lower as the cut gets deeper.  Try to make the third cut exactly opposite the first cut, for instance, if the first cut is from 2 o’clock to 5 o’clock on the trunk, then the third should be made at 11 o’clock to 7 o’clock.


Felling a tree is not something to take lightly.  Plan it out and be safe.


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