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How to Fell a Tree (Illustrated Guide)

  • by
  • Gene Caballero
  • August 07, 2022

If you have a tree that is diseased, dying, or dead, you may have to remove it. And if you decide you are going to remove the tree yourself, you should be aware of a few things first. This infographic does a great job at providing a crash course on how to safely and properly fell a tree. Let's jump right on in. 

What are the steps to taking a tree down?

There are 6 simple steps to felling a tree. Step 1, determine where the tree should fall. Step 2, plan 2 escape routes. Step 3, make a 60-70 degree notch on the side you want the tree to fall. Step 4, finish the notch with a second cut. Step 5, cut from the backside of the tree until 10-20% of the tree is remaining. Step 6, as the tree falls, retreat through one of your two escape routes. 

Why do you cut a notch in the face of the tree first?

Cutting a notch in the direction you want the tree to fall helps the tree to fall in the direction you want it to go. By creating a notch or as it is often called a pie, you can come around the back and make a final cut that goes most of the way through the tree. By cutting the tree in this manner, you can use a wedge or axehead to push the tree in the direction you want it to fall. This all prevents the tree from falling in the wrong direction.

Determining Which Way to Fell a Tree

Look, you have a bit of flexibility if you cut down a tree using the steps in this guide. However, you must also determine where the tree's weight is at. If a tree has too much weight on the side opposite the direction you want it to fall, you may need to tie it off, or remove some branches to get it to fall correctly. 


Ultimately, you may want to consider hiring a pro to cut a tree down for you if you don’t feel safe doing it on your own. It’s no secret, that cutting down trees can be dangerous. This infographic was created by The Art of Manliness. For more great lawn care and landscaping, tips check out our lawn care blog or homeowners.  

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