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Tips for DIY Tree Removal

Tree removal can be very dangerous and even life-threatening. It is never recommended to remove a tree on your own unless it is a small one that you are confident you can handle safely. Otherwise, tree removal should be left in the hands of professionally-trained and equipped tree service contractors. If you have a tree on your property that is fairly small, but needs to be removed, you can possible do it yourself with the right tools, knowledge, and planning.

Tree Removal Preparation

Proper preparation for small tree removal involves gathering all your needed supplies, as well as, a comprehensive inspection of the tree. Look to see if the tree leans one way or the other, and plan an escape route in case it does not fall the way you expect it to fall. Also, examine whether or not there are any obstacles in any direction of the tree, including vehicles, structures, and other trees. If you are sure there is enough safe clearance for the tree to fall, then you can move on to gathering your equipment and tools. This includes:

  • Safety Gear (Utility gloves, goggles, hard hat, steel toe boots, etc.)
  • Chainsaw
  • Ax or Hacksaw
  • Ladder
  • Rope
  • Wedges
  • First Aid Kit

To Remove a Tree

Once you have all your equipment and supplies, you can get started removing the tree. First, use your ax to knock on the bark a few times, and in a few different places, to learn how solid or hollow the tree is. Finding a less dense area to cut will be easier. Next, plan which side of the tree you want to make your cut. Look to see where the tree naturally leans; it is better to cut a tree in the direction in which it wants to naturally fall. Be sure the area where the tree drops is level so the tree does not roll or bounce after it falls.

Make a horizontal cut at hip-height, and about 1/3rd into the tree. Do this on the side of the tree where you want it to fall. If you want the tree to fall to the right, you must make you cut on the same side so it falls inward, towards the cut. The tree will fall perpendicular to your horizontal cut. Your second cut should create a wedge into the tree. So make the second cut at an angle from the initial cut. It should look like a lemon wedge.

Your third cut is called a back cut, and is should be made on the opposite side of your wedge cut. This cut will make the tree fall over on the side of your wedge cut. Make it about 1.5 inches above the wedge cut, and as thick as possible. You can also use a wedge to prevent the tree from settling onto the chainsaw. Add more wedges as necessary until the tree begins to fall. Then run! But do not turn your back on the tree as it falls.

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