How to Fell a Tree the Safe Way

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how to fell a tree

Felling a tree, regardless of its size, requires proper planning, extreme caution, and focus. Safety comes first, and you should always seek professional assistance when in doubt or when dealing with a large tree. As a seasoned tree removal company in Virginia Beach, we know what it takes to fell a tree safely.

Keep reading to learn how to fell a tree like an expert.

Know Your Limits  

Tree felling may not qualify as inherently complex. However, you should hire an expert to minimize any risks of property damage or injuries. Should you opt for the DIY route, ensure you use the proper equipment and have an assistant who’ll serve as your lookout as you cut the tree. 

Make Sure You Have the Right Safety Gear  

You need the following safety gear for your equipment selection and protection:  

  • Closed boots or sturdy shoes  
  • Pants and a long-sleeved shirt   
  • Hard hat or logger’s helmet  
  • Goggles  
  • Earmuffs or plugs  
  • Safety glasses  

Do a Site Analysis  

Before cutting the tree, check its proximity to utility lines, your home, or other structures. While considering safety, it’s also worth noting that felling trees can raise home value, particularly when they pose risks or obstruct views. However, it’s important to consider that removing a tree can cause foundation problems, especially if it’s close to your home.

Low-Hanging Branch Removal  

Next, remove any low-hanging branches, as they may complicate the felling process. You also want to estimate where the tree may fall and plan at least two escape routes.  

How To Fell a Tree Using a Directional Notch   

A directional notch consists of two cuts that help weaken a tree in the intended direction of the fall by removing a triangular portion of the trunk. Consider using  chalk to draw a horizontal line around the lower part of the tree where you intend to cut it, then follow these steps:

  • Start by making a mark on the trunk facing the direction you want the tree to fall.  
  • Use a chainsaw to make the first cut starting slightly above the line you drew and cut downward at a 60-degree angle until you reach the chalk line. Aim for this cut to end up about a third of the way into the trunk.  
  • Make a second horizontal cut along the chalk line until it meets the first cut to form a removable wedge-shaped portion of the trunk. 
  • Use a mallet to remove or pry the wedge out.  
  • Next, make the felling cut on the opposite side of the tree along the horizontal chalk line.  
  • As you near the notch, the tree will lose stability and may lean slightly or rock.  
  • Keep cutting horizontally. As the tree begins falling, stop cutting, then back up toward your predetermined escape route and keep your eyes on the tree until it lands.  
  • Your tree should land safely on the ground.  

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Help  

Trust our team at Arbor Experts for professional tree care backed by expertise. We offer various professional tree solutions, including:  

  • Tree removal  
  • Land prepping  
  • Sump grinding  
  • Tree trimming and pruning  

Call us at (757) 500-TREE to schedule a service appointment in Virginia Beach. Reach out to our friendly team for more information on how to fell a tree safely or to learn the tree laws in Virginia Beach. 


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