10 Steps to Successful Tree Felling with a Chainsaw

There is no doubt that trees are a vital resource to the life of any human being. While they serve to protect the environment in various ways, it’s also a valuable resource thanks to its many uses that include being a source of fuel and a building material. Their usefulness to humans have led to increased logging activities. However, cutting down a tree comes with possible dangers that are coupled with the use of a chainsaw. How do you proceed to cut down a tree while ensuring your safety?

Individuals involved in tree felling activities, who are the main target of this tree felling guide, need to know the best tree cutting techniques. This is for the sole reason that they remain safe amid the dangers involved.

In this guide, you’re going to learn how to cut done a tree with a chainsaw through a 10 step-by-step process that is explained below.


Part 1: What is Tree Felling?

Tree felling is a term used to refer to the process involved in cutting down a tree. While the term “felling” might be confusing, it’s actually derived from an English word, fellan, that has to do with falling. Tree felling is a part of tree logging and is carried out by individuals referred to as tree fellers.

Three felling involves a number of processes beyond the actual cutting down of the tree. Done mainly for safety purposes, tree felling will have to be preceded by activities to prepare them for falling. It also involves the preparations for use or transport that are done after the tree has been brought down.


Part 2: Steps Involved in Tree Felling

  1. Obtain the Required Permits

Tree felling is not something you can just wake up to do at any day. Most regions do have policies that serve to place limitations to tree logging activities. This is done for several reasons that include the protection of the environment as well as other people’s properties.

You may have intentions of cutting down a tree that has grown within your property. However, the height and/ or leaning of the tree may be such that the tree will fall on another person’s property when cut. As such, the regulations in place will force you to seek a permit before you can cut it.

Permits are also required for tree felling in view of protecting the environment. It’s common knowledge that trees play a vital role in preserving the environment. Most countries and regions will have environmental policies that limit the cutting down of trees, especially for certain tree species.

  1. Determine Direction of Tree Felling

Before putting your chainsaw on a tree to cut it, you will need to determine the direction the tree will take once cut. This is done as a safety precaution to ensure the tree feeling exercise does not end up in a bad way. Considering the weight of the tree, you should think of the outcome (in case the tree falls on a piece of property or people) before cutting it down.

From where the tree stands, you be able to determine the direction it will take based on its leaning angle. You will also have to consider its height. You may find that the tree tends to fall towards a piece of property. If this is the case, you will have to consider other options or the consequences (having to pay for damage caused). The tree could also be leaning towards a public area and felling it down without thinking about this could lead to injuries to a lot of people.

The direction of tree felling is done in view of the safety of the tree feller, properties near the tree, and other people

  1. Put On Proper Safety Gear

When it comes to tree felling and the use of chainsaws, the safety of the feller should be given top priority. The reason for this is pretty obvious; one wrong move could lead to catastrophic results. However, this can be easily avoided by putting on the correct safety gear.

The first gear is the helmet. This is important to protect the tree logger in case a heavy branch falls in the logger’s head from above. The logger will also need earmuffs as well as a face to protect his ears and eyes. Eye glasses will come in handy to offer protection from the much dust associated with tree felling. Most importantly, the logger will need Kevlar chaps. This are necessary to protect the logger’s legs from injuries resulting from the chainsaw falling on his legs. 

  1. Prepare a Getaway Path

Tree felling techniques will not have any meaning if the fail to consider the logger’s escape routes. This is done as a safety precaution and is necessary even if you have determined and are sure of the direction the tree will take after being cut. Why is this necessary?

While you might have determined the direction of felling tree, factors like wind and other distractions may lead the tree to another direction. As such, the logger should get out of the tree zone immediately after cutting. To do this, you have to create two escape routes that are in the opposite direction to the tree direction, and they have to be distant apart (45 degrees apart is most suitable). The logger should then proceed to clear all objects and vegetation that would prevent him from escaping easily.

  1. Cut Down Low Branches

Another vital step before cutting down a tree with a chainsaw is to cut down the branches on the bottom part of the tree being cut. This is done for a number of reasons that include;

The tree might have branches that are either broken or dead. The process of cutting it with a chainsaw might cause disturbance leading to the branches falling down. If this happens, they will most likely fall on the tree logger and injure him.

The direction the tree will take after being cut will partly be influenced by the weight of its branches. You might find that branches appear more on the side of the tree you want to avoid. To ensure the tree falls in the direction you want, you have to cut down these branches.

Some branches may also lead to destructions. Consider tree branches in view of nearby houses, power lines, fences, and such like things and cut all affected branches before felling the tree.

  1. Plan for the Cutting Notch

Planning and cutting the trunk’s cutting notch is one of the most important tree felling techniques. Made on the falling side of the tree, using a tree felling machine, the notch serves to direct the tree to fall on the desired side.

A common practice among many tree loggers, and which is highly recommended for other truck felling activities, is to make a notch with a depth of at least one-fifth of the trunk’s diameter. It should also be made in such a way as to allow the notch’s point to meet with the felling cut. Once done, the hinge created by the notch will help to guide the tree to fall on the desired side.

  1. Cut the Notch

As stated above, the notch should be cut on the side of the falling tree direction. To do this, you should adjust your chainsaw in such a way that it points towards the falling side. Doing this will help create the point of notch, which is the exact point where the bar and bark meet.

For best results, it is advisable to highlight the point of notch by marking it with a chalk before cutting it. Additionally, the point of notch should be placed at a height you can reach without any difficulty. Please note that you can adjust this to make it suitable for you.

To cut the notch, you should begin with the top part before proceeding to the bottom part. While cutting the bottom part, you should be able to control the throttle with the help of your thumb finger. If you succeed to meet the notch well, the wedges will fall off by themselves. If the wedges fail to fall, which happens in most cases, you have to make cut extensions to allow the wedges to come out.

  1. Place Wedges on Large trees

It would be impossible for someone to tell you how to fell a tree with chainsaw without the issue of wedges coming up. Wedges play a vital role in as far as chainsaw cutting tree is concerned. They serve two important roles; to guide the tree to fall on the desired side and protecting your chainsaw from getting pinched by the tree. This is especially true for large trees with a diameter of more than 18 inches.

A notch has to be created, using the process explained in the step above, before cutting to be able to place wedges. The cutting should be made to be deep enough to allow the penetration of the wedge. After cutting enough depth, you should leave the bar inside the notch cut while the chainsaw is still running inside, and then proceed to place the wedges inside. While doing this, you should lock your chainsaw’s brakes for security purposes.

When wedges are placed correctly, they help prevent the tree felling machine from being pinched. Without the wedges, this is bound to happen when the tree leans towards its side; preventing the chainsaw from being removed and stop the tree felling exercise as a result.

  1. Make the Tree felling Cut

Now that you have completed the above steps, you’re ready to proceed with the main exercise; to cut down the tree.  To do this, you have to make a cut that connects the point of notch from both sides of the tree felling side. The cut lines should not only be straight but equal on both sides as well. Make the cut until the tree begins to fall.

The minute the tree starts to fall, you should immediately pull out your chainsaw and put the chain brake lock on. You should then walk away from the felling tree slowly following the escape routes you created in the steps above. All this while, you should never let your eyes go away from the falling tree. This is for your own safety as the tree may change its direction and head toward your side.

  1. Cut Off All Branches

Now that you have successfully brought down the tree, it is time to prepare the tree for use or ease of transporting them. This is done through the cutting off of all other remaining branches. Please note that branches on the top part of the tree could not be reached when the tree was still standing.

Tree branches should be cut from the bottom part of the trunk heading towards the top part. While doing this, it is advisable that you position yourself on the right side of the trunk in such a way as to make you face the top part. This is in line with recommended tree felling techniques for two reasons; your safety as well as the efficiency of the chainsaw as it will involve placing the tree cutting machine on the tree. The support given to the cutting saw will make it more efficient and keep you safe. 



In this tree felling guide, you have learnt of the effective ways on how to cut down a tree with chainsaw. The step-by-step process that have been shared above are based on the best tree felling techniques, which have been used by many and proven to be effective. The main goal behind these steps is safety; not only the safety of the tree feller, but nearby property and people as well. They also serve to make the tree cutting machine safe and efficient. Following these steps will guarantee high efficiency and lower cases of destruction to property or injuries to people.

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