You have an old tree in your yard and it’s leaning towards your home. That’s a dangerous situation that needs a quick fix. You can either search for “tree service near me” and hire professionals to do the dangerous job or try your hand at cutting down the tree safely away from your home. Here’s what you can do if you choose the latter option:
- Safety gear – Safety is key when it comes to felling trees and working with razor-sharp chainsaws. You need to wear absolutely essential safety gear to protect yourself. These include a logger’s helmet to protect you from heavy falling branches, earmuffs to protect yourself from the loud noise of the chainsaw, safety glasses and face screen to protect your eyes and face, and Kevlar chaps to instantly stop the chainsaw if it falls on your leg.
- Clear the area – Before you start cutting the tree move vehicles, lawn ornaments, potted plants, and any other object or equipment that isn’t stationary. This will prevent damage from falling branches and debris. If your tree is 20 feet tall, mark a radius of 25 feet around the stump and clear everything off from that space. This is going to be the drop zone.
Bring pets and children indoors and warn your neighbors about the tree felling so that there are no accidental injuries. You may even need to get permission from the local authorities. Otherwise, you may get slapped with hefty fines and expensive lawsuits. If the tree you’re cutting down is surrounded by bushes and other plants, you may consider cutting them down so that you have an easier time navigating the space.
- Take down the lower branches – You can use a ladder or ropes and harnesses if you’re feeling too confident. Use that equipment to climb up to the lower branches and cut them down. Lower branches are usually heavier and larger than higher branches and that’s why a chainsaw is the best tool.
When you’re cutting large branches, make an undercut from the underside of the branch by sawing upwards. Cut around ¼ of the path through the branch. After that cut is made saw downwards from the top till you reach around 6 to 12 inches from the undercut. This kind of cut will allow the branch to fall cleanly without breaking and splintering in all directions. You can also tie a rope around large branches to control their fall.
You need to use the chainsaw and the right cuts so that you can control the branch’s fall exactly the way you want. Instead of climbing with a heavy saw, you can also tie a rope around it and bring the rope with you while you climb the ladder. After you reach the desired height, you can use the rope to pull up the saw.
- Remove upper branches – After you set up the lower branches, it’s time to set up the tripod ladder and use a rope to secure the extension ladder to the tree. Since you’re climbing high and the ladder is too tall to stay stable, this step is very important. After you climb up, use a reciprocating saw to cut off upper branches.
While cutting upper branches you have to use a rope to secure them and bring them down safely. Otherwise, they can swing towards you and knock you down. When the tree is especially close to your home, using rope for securing the branches is always a good idea since it prevents the branches from damaging your home.
However, this is a two-man job, and you’ll need someone’s assistance on the ground to secure the tied-down branches and bring them down. Make sure that you don’t tie the rope around your fingers too tight. Otherwise, the weight of heavy branches can cause some serious damage.
- Fell the trunk – After the tree has been de-limbed, it’s time to bring down the thick trunk. Get the chainsaw and cut a right-angle notch in the tree trunk opposite the house or towards the direction you want the tree to fall. Make sure the notch is at least one-third or quarter way through the tree’s thickness. Once you make sure that everyone is out of the drop zone, you can start cutting the tree from the opposite side.
Make your way through the trunk from the opposite side towards the notch. Make sure that you have exit routes at all times and remain clear from the path of the tree. You can also cut the trunk into two sections if it’s too big to fall safely in one piece. Climb the ladder and cut a notch in the same way around 10 feet above the ground. This way, you can fall a trunk into two pieces without compromising on safety.
Also, make sure to tie a rope around the tree trunk and make another person haul the rope. While you’re cutting the tree, make the other person pull on the tree with leverage from a nearby structure or a truck and guide the trunk towards the direction you want it to fall. Make sure that the distance between the tree and your assistant is at least twice the height of the tree so that they are always out of harm’s way.
- Cut the stump – once the trunk is down, you can use the chainsaw to clear the stump at ground level. However, removing the root system of an old tree can be very difficult. If it doesn’t bother you, you can simply use a stump killer and make the stump rot away in its place within a few months.
As you can see, cutting down a tree takes a lot of careful preparation and is a risky job. A mistake could lead to accidents and damage your home. That’s why it’s best to search for “tree service near me” and hire experienced professionals to do the job for you.