A Guide to This Tree-Chopping Practice
‘Tree felling’ is another term for removing a tree. Specifically, it is used to describe the purposeful removal of a tree by cutting it in a way that forces it to fall down – hence ‘felling.’
Why is felling the most popular way to cut down a tree? Think about it – slicing from the top down would require a lot of work and time, and many cuts. Felling technically only requires one swift action (although the process is usually a little more complicated when performed professionally.)
If someone performs this regularly or professionally, they are called a ‘tree feller.’
READ MORE: The Top Reasons for Tree Removal
Frequently Asked Questions About Tree Felling
Is It Easy to Fell a Tree?
The process of knocking down a tree by literally making it fall over might sound straightforward. Still, there’s a lot of work and expertise that goes into a successful tree removal. After all, knocking over a tree comes with safety risks that affect surrounding people, wildlife, and properties.
What Equipment is Needed to Fell a Tree?
Tree felling isn’t a simple ‘one-and-done’ job – it requires a whole lot more than just a quick chop. That’s why it’s important to ensure that you have all the necessary gear before beginning the process.
Safety comes first – and you’ll want every bit of safety gear you can get your hands on.
Steel toe boots are a must for chopping down a tree. With sharp gear and falling tree remains, there’s plenty that can fall on your feet. You’ll need the toughest footwear around to prevent an accident.
Rugged, tough-skinned pants are also a necessity. Accidents happen to legs a lot more frequently than you’d realize.
Your hands are doing most of the work, from holding the chainsaw to grabbing tree branches and helping you climb. You should keep your hands as comfortable, functional, and protected as possible. A durable pair of gloves that still allow movement should be a must for everyone on site.
Head protection is also important – a good helmet can go a long way. This is particularly true considering that tree remains – and a whole tree itself – will be falling onto the ground.
Finally, it’s good to have eye and ear protection – these are both commonly overlooked parts of personal protection equipment.
Now that you’ve taken care of the safety aspect of your gear setup, you’ll need your tools.
There are two key tools involved in the tree felling process: an axe for chopping and a chainsaw for slicing. It may sound like you need to pick one or the other, but it’s actually beneficial to use both. For example, chopping branches is a great starting point, while the chainsaw is great for ‘the big slice’ at the end of the felling process.
How is Tree Felling Performed
The best way to chop down a tree is to commit to a step-by-step plan beforehand. This will ensure that the operation is safe and effective.
Arborists typically begin by surveying the area for potential risks – nearby structures, for example – and check to see if the tree is stable or leaning. This is important for knowing how to control the direction the tree falls in.
Arborists don’t simply let the tree fall and hope for the best. They calculate the ‘fall path’ of the tree, planning in advance where it will fall and land.
Debris near the tree – like fallen branches and logs – is removed first.
Usually, the arborist will climb up the tree and prune it, removing some of the branches, but still keeping a few up to ensure that the tree is stable. The arborist may perform a few chops at the top, but this is usually not necessary.
Then, the big chop is made. This is usually started with a notch cut at a 70-degree angle – it is cut at the side of the tree that will hit the ground. Then, a horizontal incision is made about a third into the tree. Next, a bore cut – or, a cut made with the tip of the chainsaw’s blade – is made into the other side of the tree. At this point, the tree should not have fallen yet.
Next, some small cuts or hammer wedges should be inserted into the ‘wound’ left by the bore cut.
At this point, the final cut can be made. This should be done from the opposite end of the first notch. Then, the tree will fall!
Where Should I Stand When The Tree Falls?
You should be as far away from the tree as possible – and especially steer clear of the landing area. We recommend getting at least 15 feet away, if possible.
When in Doubt, Call Green Thumb
Tree felling is an important procedure that requires thoughtful planning and action. It’s recommend that most tree owners seek help from a professional tree removal service.
At Green Thumb, our team of tree specialists has dealt with every kind of tree – and we can help ensure that your felling experience is simple and stress-free.