22 Apr

How To Fell A Tree


Felling a tree is a task which requires the relevant know-how and technique to be done properly. There are various stages involved in the felling of a tree, and here we break these down to make the task as simple as can be:


Familiarise yourself with your chainsaw before setting to work, making sure you can use it with ease. Ensure that someone else is present when you plan to fell the tree, as this is an important safety measure.

Choose the felling direction

Once the tree that is being felled has been decided upon, you should decide which way you want it to fall. Consider whether it is leaning, which way the wind is blowing and whether the branches hang mainly in one direction. If you are able to fell the tree across a rock or log, this makes your job a lot easier.


To limb the lower trunk, cut away any low branches that could get in the way. Ensure you do not stand directly behind the saw, or cut above shoulder height. Instead, use the trunk as a barrier between the person cutting and the saw itself.

Fell in the right direction

Once you have cleared your work area and path of retreat, you are ready to fell the tree. Create a hinge in the trunk to steer the tree as it falls to the ground to ensure the tree falls the right way.

Directional and felling cuts

To ensure your tree falls in the right direction, create a directional cut on the same side as you want the tree to fall. Next, make the felling cut by creating a horizontal cut from the opposite side. Make sure you do not saw through the entire stem of the tree, instead leaving a hinge of approximately 3cm which will control the direction of the felling.

Path of retreat

Once the felling cut is complete, place your saw down and lift the pry bar if you need to in order to make the tree fall. As the tree falls, move away a few metres and to one side to ensure you are not in the line of fire once the trunk itself hits the ground. The tree’s roots may well spring out, either sideways, upwards or even sliding backwards.

How to fell larger trees

Felling large trees is no easy task, so if you are inexperienced in tree felling you should avoid attempting it. If you do have the relevant experience, it is possible to fell trees with diameters of up to twice the bar length without professional help.

If you attempt it yourself, the technique remains the same involving the directional cut, but to start the felling cut you must first insert the saw into the side of the trunk, leaving an adequate hinge of around 1 ¼ inch, cutting with the chain pulling against the trunk.

Ask the experts

Never attempt to tackle the felling of a large or particularly difficult tree if you do not feel adequately equipped or confident in your ability. This also applies if the tree you wish to fell is close to a building, public road or overhead cable, all of which could have potentially dangerous consequences. In these instances, make sure you ask an expert to get the job done correctly and safely for you.
Here at Hitchcock and King, we are proud to serve as timber merchants and supply building materials at highly competitive prices throughout London. With over 40 years of experience in the trade, our expert team really know their trade, and are happy to help with any customer queries, so to find out more about any of our services or products, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to answer and advise on any enquiries you may have.