Trees are magnificent things. They stand tall and proud for 365 days each year, braving unforgiving winter weather systems and replenishing their luscious green leaves each Spring. Felling a tree is always risky, as the falling trunk can crush homes, vehicles and people. Trees and tree branches can twist and turn as they fall, and can behave unpredictably when cut. This is why precautions should be taken to make the felling of a tree as safe as possible.
Safety Is Paramount
You’ll need more than just a chainsaw and your common sense to fell a tree safely; you need to invest in appropriate safety equipment including felling wedges, which help to prevent the chainsaw from getting pinched into the tree slices. It’s worth making sure you have some other forms of cutting equipment for less straightforward cuts. There are plenty of places to check out the sort of tools you need. Try here for instance.You should also wear a helmet that can protect you from falling branches, earmuffs, face screen and safety glasses.
Kevlar chainsaw trousers are a useful piece of safety equipment when using a chainsaw. The Kevlar used to make the trousers is so tough that it will stop the chain instantly if it ever makes contact.
Plan The Felling Zone
If you don’t want that tree to fall on your home, car or yourself, then you had better make a good plan for where it will land. Often trees are taller than they look, so be sure to record the trees full height and leave ample space for settling when planning the felling zone. It’s easy to underestimate the size of a tree, so try to err on the side of caution.
Clear The Cutting Zone
Clear the space around the trunk to provide a safe, secure and stable surface for you to stand on when using the chainsaw. Trees situated on hills or on uneven ground can be a problem. Access platforms can resolve this problem, and can be hired at a reasonable price. They provide a sturdy, elevated platform on which you can stand and use a chainsaw safely.
Size Up The Tree
Study the tree and look for dead branches that may be broken or only loosely attached to the main part of the tree. You might even find that some branches have fallen off altogether but are still supported by other branches. Never cut down a tree if you can see loose branches, as they can fall on your head as you try to fell it. You can consider climbing the tree safely to remove these loose branches, or hire an aerial work platform (or cherry picker) to get further up the tree.
Next look to see if the tree is leaning or unevenly weighted. If it leans in a particular direction or has a more dense collection of branches on a particular side then it will probably fall in that direction. Notches can help to direct a symmetrical tree in a particular direction, but leaning or unevenly-loaded trees are more difficult to manipulate.
Once any dangerous or loose branches have been removed, it’s time to make the cutting notch. Situate the notch on the side of the tree corresponding with the direction you would like it to fall, and ensure it is at least as deep as one-fifth of the trunk’s diameter. The felling cut (the horizontal cut right through the trunk) should meet the point of the notch, and when the tree begins to fall the hinge should help to guide the tree the right way.
If you’re unsure about cutting down a tree, and certainly if you’re inexperienced at using a chainsaw, you should call a professional tree surgeon that can help to save or remove the tree safely on your behalf. Doing it yourself might be cheap, rewarding and exciting, but it’s not worth putting your life, your car, your home and even your shed on the line for.