How to Safely Remove a Tree From Your Property
First of all, it should be stated that removing a tree is a big decision and should be considered carefully as once a tree is removed, it can take years and even decades to replace it. One might choose to remove a dead or dying tree due to the tree’s health, safety reasons or aesthetic purposes. However, occasionally live trees may be removed due to interference with other trees, buildings, or utility wires. Whatever the reason, don’t make choice lightly and take care of the removal properly. Also keep in mind, that removing trees can affect more than your property especially near a property line. To avoid legal action, make sure that there is good communication with all involved.
Tree removal doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. There are seven steps for removing trees of reasonable size, such as a diameter of about ten inches and height of 20 feet or so. These seven steps would also assume that the tree is on fairly level ground. If your property is on a bluff or shoreline, keep in mind, that root systems are different in these areas, and you may want to contact a professional. You will definitely want to call a professional for trees larger than the aforementioned.
1) Check the surrounding area for interferences as obstacles. This may include other trees, your prize rose bushes, your cherry red convertible, over head wires or a fence.
2) Stand back, tilt your head, and stroke your chin as you studiously observe which way the tree is leaning. The best fall would be its natural angle of growth. Check the tree for safety hazards such as dead or hanging branches. Check the trunk for wounds. If there are wounds present, it may mean the tree is hollow or rotten. If you suspect a tree may be hollow or rotten, you will want to call a professional as this changes the direction the tree may fall and put you and others in danger.
3) Establish two escape routes once the tree is falling. One leading from each direction of the expected fall line.
4)Grab a hand saw or chain saw and UNDERCUT. You want a 90 degree V shaped notch cut into the side of the tree to serve as a guide or aim slot for the tree in the direction you want it to fall. Make this cut about one fourth of the tree’s diameter in depth. Even if a tree is skinny(small diameter) do not cut all the way through. It won’t fall the way you want it to. Do your undercut.
5) On the opposite side, about two inches higher than the hinge part of your under cut, do your BACKCUT. This is what will release the stress on the tree, allowing it to fall. NEVER make the backcut lower than the undercut or the tree will fall in the opposite direction. Also NEVER cut through the undercut or you will lose control of the tree. Additionally, it should be noted that especially sappy trees can clog up your chain saw causing your saw to kick back and cause you injury.
6)Once your tree starts to fall, take off down your chosen escape path. Do NOT stand there admiring your amazing tree cutting abilities as trees can bounce over the stump.
7) You’re now ready for LIMBING. Start removing the branches from bottom to top, working from the side opposite you. If you are on a slope, do not stand downside of the tree. FOLLOW STEP SEVEN EXACTLY for your protection.
Once you have a bare log, cut into lengths of about 24 inches for fire wood or bundle as dictated by your local collection bylaw.