DIY Tree Removal

In this article, we provide some background, precautions and steps for the homeowner to remove small trees on their property. 

Tree Removal Overview - Safety & Precautions

While large trees should be left to professional tree service companies and their certified arborists.  With their liability insurance and training, they are the best and most qualified to take on the difficult job of removing large trees.  For tips on how to select the best tree service company in Green Bay WI, please refer to this article.  However, when homeowners have a smaller tree that needs to be removed, due to storm damage, disease, or just aesthetic purposes, here are some helpful suggestions on making the process safer and more efficient.

Chainsaws can be very, very dangerous.  One slip or mistake can cause serious injury or worse.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions for both operations and safety, and take your time.  The tree isn’t going anywhere.  

Assess your ability to remove the tree given surrounding property structures, power lines, vehicles, etc.  Determine if you think you are fully capable of staying safe and ensuring the integrity of these structures.  If you have any doubts, call a professional tree service company.  

When looking at the general area, assess the tree you want to remove.  Note how the tree may fall given the orientation of major branches and the weight that they will pull on the tree as it falls.  If the tree is leaning in one direction, it will be very hard, if not difficult, to get the tree to fall any other way.  Also, note if damage or decay may result in the tree falling in a specific direction.  Also, assess smaller branches that could be removed prior to falling the tree, which will make the process simpler and safer.  

Now back to your chainsaw – it should have a bar that is at least as long as the tree’s diameter.  The chain should be sharp and in good operational condition.   Also, ensure you have adequate fuel as you won’t want to run out during the tree removal process.  Remember to ALWAYS wear eye and ear protection.   A few additional tools, such as a wedge and sledge will make the removal of the tree easier in some cases.  

Tree Removal Process

For smaller trees, less than six inches in diameter, a single cut right through the trunk should be adequate to bring the tree down.  For larger trees, several cuts will be necessary.  The first cut should be one-half the way through the trunk on the side you wish the tree to fall.   The second cut should be above the first cut angling down to form a wedge, approximately 45 degrees.  The third cut should not go all the way through but instead cut from the opposite side towards the bottom cut.  When you reach the midpoint, note as the tree should begin to fall in the direction of the first two cuts, collapsing the wedge.   Watch carefully in case you need to vacate the area quickly.  Also, turn the chainsaw off if you do need to move rapidly.  If the tree fails to fall, use wedges in that last cut (the third cut) to start the tree moving in that direction.  

Once the tree is down, begin cutting limbs and branches being careful to avoid chainsaw kickback.