Trees are majestic natural landmarks, habitats and shade-givers. They are also important recycling centres of carbon dioxides. However, there will come a time when you need to cut one down. The tree could be rotting from the inside, diseased, dead or simply because it’s blocking someone’s view. The smart thing to do is to hire professionals to do the job, since the task is very skill-intensive – and not to mention dangerous. A single error or miscalculation can lead to injuries, property damage and loss of manhood (amongst your peers).
However, sometimes the tree that needs cutting is quite small, and it would make sense to do the cutting on your own instead of wasting hundreds of dollars for a 10-minute job. If you really feel that way, then you should probably read our tips below first before getting started. It might save you from a massive fine or loss of limbs or life.
Are You Allowed to Cut Down Trees in Your Own Home?
Actually, legislation varies depending on where you live. Even if you planted a tree 10 years ago, you might need a permit before cutting it down. Sometimes, you might need approval from a certified arborist, who will inspect the tree to ensure it is not a protected species and that the fall will not injure people living in surrounding homes. So, before doing anything, go to your local council and speak to someone there. Apply for all the necessary permits and pay all the required fees. Wait for the approval to be mailed to you before taking the next step.
Do You Have the Tools?
Contrary to popular belief, you probably won’t have the strength or stamina to take down a tree using an axe. The likelihood of injuries is also higher when using an axe. As such, you will need a chainsaw. The size of the chainsaw needed is highly dependent on the diameter of the tree. It’s always a good idea to sharpen and oil the chainsaw blade in advance. You will also need a few other tools for the task, such as felling wedges, a sledgehammer, ropes and an axe (to make quick cuts, if required).
Next, you will need a helmet, safety goggles, a pair of gloves and full-bodied working attire that should ideally cover all exposed areas of your skin (because sawdust, as well as insects, can cause some irritation). You’re ready to go. So how do you cut down a tree?
Techniques for Felling a Tree
Follow the instructions below to the letter. The technique below has been perfected over hundreds of years, so you don’t have to improvise - no good can come from it.
- Make an estimate of the height of the tree.
- Decide on the felling direction. The felling direction should be a clear space with no obstructions.
- Use the chainsaw to cut a notch on the tree. The notch should be facing the felling direction. The notch should be at least halfway through the tree. This is the most time-consuming part of the process.
- Tie a rope around the tree, and extend the rope towards the falling direction. In the event the tree goes rogue and tries to fall in another direction, pull the rope to steer it back into the right path.
- Go to the opposite side of the notch and make an incision using the chainsaw again. As the incision gets closer to the notch, the tree will begin to fall. If it’s leaning in the wrong direction, guide it using the rope.
- Step away from the tree as the base might kick back a few feet once the top portion lands on the ground.
That’s it. You’ve successfully cut down a tree and reaffirmed your manliness. You will now be treated with deference by your peers. Revel in the glory of being an urban lumberjack.