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How to cut down a small tree

Trees play an important part in our ecosystem and provide oxygen while removing harmful gases. Trees also provide shade and beauty. However, trees can also be a nuisance if they are too close to your home or driveway for example. In these cases, it may be necessary to remove the tree. While removing a large tree can be a big undertaking, small tree removal may be a task a homeowner can tackle.

A complete guide on small tree removal

Learning how to cut down a small tree is not difficult with proper steps and equipment. We will cover the basics needed to get started.

*It is important to stress that safety is of the utmost importance. Working with sharp tools can be dangerous if they are not handled properly. Further, downing a tree can result in injury or property damage it's not done properly. Please proceed with caution or contact a professional such as our company for assistance.

1. Equipment

The first step is ensuring you have the right equipment for the job. A small sapling may be able to be removed with a tree lopper or a quick cut from a saw. Small established trees will require a chainsaw, sledgehammer, and safety equipment such as work gloves and safety glasses.

2. Make a plan

Now is the time to take a look at the tree and surrounding area. Make note of homes, gardens, swing sets, or any other items you want to avoid the tree falling on. Evaluate the height and width of the tree to determine what direction it can fall without the branch is landing on anything.

3. Prepare the area

Before starting to remove the tree, we want to clear the area of anything that may be a trip hazard or cause you to lose your footing. The last thing you want is to trip or fall while holding a chainsaw. This may mean removing rocks, acorns, mulch, a bush, or leveling uneven soil.

4. Positioning

For safety, you will want to remain a safe distance from the cutting blade as well as the tree. Ensure there is ample room to do so. You will want to remain upright as stooping or stretching can result and accidents. Also, you are able to quickly react, if necessary, from an upright position in the event that the tree does not fall as anticipated.

5. Cutting technique

For established trees with a diameter of 7 inches or larger, a 3 cut technique is recommended.

  1. The first cut will be made on the same side of the tree as you want the tree to fall. You will make the cut her comfortable height when standing upright. This first cut will be horizontal to the ground and we'll go halfway through the tree.
  2. Your second cut will be slightly above this one on the same side. This cut will angle downward to meet the first cut. When complete, you should have removed a 60-degree wedge shape.
  3. The last cut will go on a direct opposite side of the tree. You want to make sure to stand to the side of the tree away from any of the cuts. From this position you will cut halfway through the tree, horizontal to the ground, a few inches above the first cut. You should not cut all the way through the tree. The tree should begin collapsing towards the wedge shape and fall on its own. If it does not fall on its own, you should use your sledgehammer to hit the tree above the third cut.

After the tree falls, the trunk that remains can now be cut straight across, close to the ground while ensuring you have solid footing.

6. Clean up

Cut the branches into manageable pieces to bundle based on your city's refuse collection policy. Larger branches and the trunk can be cut up, stack, and dry out for firewood.

As a reminder, safety is paramount. If you are unsure of the process or uncomfortable using the equipment, please call our team for a free estimate.

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