Is there a tree in your yard you want to cut
down? We’ll show you how to use a chain saw to
fell trees – those with a diameter less than the length of your saw’s cutting bar. Before you start, be sure you’re familiar
with the operation of your saw and follow all safety recommendations. For some tips,
check out our How to Use & Maintain a Chainsaw video. For larger trees, trees that are near a structure,
trees that you want to fell opposite of their lean, or any tree you feel uncomfortable tackling
– call a professional. Start by taking a good look at the area. Be
sure there are no structures, power lines, people or pets close to a radius the height
of the tree. Then pick a direction you want the tree to fall, and plan a clear escape
path – opposite the direction of the fall and at a 45-degree angle. Clear the area around the tree, and make sure
there are no loose branches overhead. With the tree on your left, make a 70-degree
cut on the side facing the direction you want the tree to fall. Use the felling sight on
the top of the saw as a guide. Cut to a depth of about a quarter of the tree’s diameter.
For the next cut, turn the saw sideways and cut horizontally to meet your first cut, creating
a notch. Be sure the cuts meet. For the felling cut, move to the opposite
side and make a horizontal cut slightly above the previous cut. Saw until you have enough room to insert a
wedge. Then finish the cut being sure not to touch the wedge with the blade. Don’t
cut through – leave about 10 percent of the width as a hinge. When the tree begins
to fall, move away down your escape path. Once the tree is down, remove the branches
– called limbing. Work carefully starting at the base.
You can cut downward – called a pulling chain – or cut upward – called a pushing
chain. Offsetting cuts keep the chain from binding. Limbs on the underside can be cut
if you have a good working height. Limbs under tension can be cut later when the tree can
be turned. Large branches can be under great tension
and should be cut starting from the outside, working toward the trunk. When you’ve removed the limbs it’s time
to cut the trunk – called bucking. Look for where the wood might compress as it’s
cut. Cut a third of the way through the side where compression might take place, then cut
a 1-in offset from the opposite side to keep the blade from binding and give you more control.
A wedge can also be used to hold the gap. For logs on the ground, cut through most of
the way, then turn the log and finish the cut so the blade doesn’t contact the ground.
For logs supported on one end, cut up from the bottom, then finish the cut on top. Cut the pieces into manageable sizes and stack
them away from the work area. By working carefully and safely, you’ll
successfully cut down that tree. Want more great ideas and how-to’s? Go to
Lowes.com/HowTo or just click to subscribe. Next, learn how to prune your hedges.