cut down a tree

There’s a huge tree in your yard that’s brushing against the house. Or it’s blocking your view as you back out of the drive. Or it’s rotting and ready to fall over.

There’s not a lumberjack to be found and your wife wants it gone. What can you do? Of course, it does take a bit of know-how. Don’t even think of tackling the job if you’re not the handyman type. You really do have to know what you’re doing (like make sure vehicles and other objects are out of the way.) Also, make sure the tree isn’t in the line of electrical wires or buildings that could be damaged by it’s falling.

Besides having the tools, you’ll have to have good judgment. For tools, you’ll probably want a chain saw. You may know someone that owns one or check at an equipment rental outlet. You also might be able to use a crosscut saw or bow saw if you can find either one and if the tree isn’t too huge. If you can cut the tree with a handsaw, the tree can’t be very big and you’ll have no problems anyway.

Plan on using the wind and create some guides by tying cable or rope to something large and heavy. You’ll be cutting the way the tree is leaning and if it’s rotten, you’ll have no control because there is absolutely no way to hold onto it.

To start, you’ll be making a notch on the trunk at the height you’d like to cut. The tree will be falling towards the notch so make sure you put it in the right spot. Make the notch one-third of the diameter and one-third of the width of the tree. A tree that’s 9 inches in diameter should have a notch about three inches high by three inches deep.

Start cutting on the side opposite the notch. Take your time, follow your guides and everything should fall into place.

That’s not saying it will fall into place. If you do lose control, there’s not much you can do except get out of the way.

That still doesn’t guarantee that everything will end up fine. There are innumerable things that can go wrong. The tree could fall the wrong way or it could get hung up on nearby objects.

If you’re not experienced with a chainsaw, you could have problems with things like “kickback” if the saw doesn’t have safety equipment.

There’s also safety equipment that should be worn as well and it’s actually a requirement for most professionals.

Got some doubts about doing it yourself? Hire the professional. The peace of mind and the professional approach will be worth it in the end.

After all, yelling, “Timber!” really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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