How to Cut Down a Tree Safely: 6 Easy Steps

Have a tree in your yard which has become a nuisance now? Then you’ll need a chainsaw to cut down a tree safely. Make sure you have the right type of saw for the job, and that it’s in good condition.

If you are new in chainsaw market and not sure about the size of chainsaw you need then you can take help from What Size Chainsaw Do I Need? to identify your nature of work.

How To Cut Down A Tree Safely
How To Cut Down A Tree Safely

In spite of all these, you should read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using the saw. Below-mentioned steps will make the process to cut down a tree much easier and safer . Material You Have Before Cutting Down a Tree:

Following are the material/tools that are used to cut tree:

  • Chainsaw
  • Wedges
  • Ladder

How to Cut Down a Tree – Step By Step Guide

First of all measure the chainsaw bar according to the tree you are going to cut. Identify the length and then proceed further.

Before proceeding to the step by step guideline, make sure to read the safety measures first, to make the process of cutting down a tree safe and secure.

Safety First

Get yourself safety equipment first!

  • Helmet with hearing and face protection
  • Safety glasses-If your helmet does not have face protection
  • Leather gloves
  • Safety shoes
  • Wedges

STEP-1 Inspection

A tree is generally taller than it looks, so before taking any step, take a good look around the area. Inspect all the area around the tree. Inspect your chainsaw, it is well sharped and fuel or chain are in proper direction.

Look for overhead electricity wires, power line, or any other obstacle which may come in the way while the tree fells.

STEP-2 Estimate Felling Zone

The felling zone is the area in which you assume the tree will fell. Now the question is, how would you estimate the felling zone? Don’t worry! The answer lies in this simple trick.

Close your one eye, hold the ax at your eye level with one arm distance such that the top part of the ax matches with the treetop, and the handle of the ax matches with the base of the trunk. Now your feet lie at the position where the tree will fell.

Fell a Tree with Chainsaw
Estimate Felling Zone

Make sure to leave some more distance than your estimated zone as a precaution or safety.

STEP-3 Escape/Alternate Route

Always have an escape route ready. Try to have at least 2 escape routes when tree fells. The escape route should be a minimum of 20 feet away from the tree.

STEP-4 Plan the Notch

Now the most important part is to plan the notch. Place your left shoulder against the tree trunk facing the direction in which you want your tree to fell. 

How to Cut a Tree
Plan the Notch

The depth of the notch should be equal to 1/5th of the trunk diameter. 

By using the chainsaw make a 60 degree cut at the top and a 30 degree cut at the bottom of the notch, till it meets the top cut of the notch. The point where the bottom cut and top cut meets is the apex of the notch.

STEP-5 Felling Cut

After cutting the notch, now is the time to place a felling cut. For this purpose, move to the opposite direction of the notch. 

How to Plan a Notch
Felling Cut

The place where you need to make the felling cut should be parallel to the apex of the notch.

Use the chainsaw and make a horizontal cut till you can insert wedges in between the cut. Wedges help to prevent saw from getting pinched in if the tree starts leaning backward. Keep sawing until you leave 10% of the width as a hinge.

The moment the tree starts felling, pull the saw free and start moving across your escape route.

NEVER!  We repeat never!!! keep your eyes away from a felling tree. 

Keep your eyes on the felling tree along moving your escape route so that you can react instantly if the tree doesn’t fell in the planned direction.

STEP-6 Cutting The Branches

For efficiency, cut the lower branches from the trunk first and then keep on cutting the branches till you move to the top of the tree. This makes the use of chainsaw efficient and safe.


If you find this process difficult and risky, then get professional help. It will make the task of cutting down a tree safe and secure.

Bonus Tip:

Whenever possible, stand on the uphill side of the tree. Work from the left side of the trunk (as you face toward the top of the tree). This allows the safest and most efficient use of the chain saw because you can rest the side or bottom of the saw on the trunk and slice off the branches with a pivoting motion.


Make all the necessary precautions and follow all the instructions mentioned above . Cutting down a tree is not as easy as it seems, even with a chainsaw.

Stay safe and always have someone around to help you just in case something happens. If you are a beginner and don’t know how to handle chainsaw you can take help from our guide about how to use a chainsaw proficiently. This guide can make your tree cutting easier.

Also visit different chainsaw types to make your tree cutting work easier:

If you think this article has helped you in any way, or if you want to give any suggestions please drop a comment down below in the comments section.

How To Cut Down A Tree Safely | Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can you cut down a tree by yourself?

Ans: If the tree is small enough that you could remove it without climbing a ladder, it’s likely OK if you remove it yourself. If you have any doubts about whether it’s safe to remove the tree on your own, contact an arborist, and they’ll provide guidance.

Q: What tool is used to direct the fall of a tree?

Ans: The felling wedge provides greater felling force than the different types of breaking bar. In extreme cases, you can use a rope and winch, which is the safest and most powerful way to fell a tree. FOOT BREAKING BAR: The foot breaking bar is suitable for small trees when thinning.

Q: How do you dig out tree roots?

Ans: Use a pruning saw or reciprocating saw to cut through larger tree roots. Chop through hard-to-reach roots with an iron digging bar. After cutting all the roots, push over the stump, then roll it out of the hole. Backfill the hole with the excavated soil and loam.

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