Ways to Chop Down a Tree

Diseased, insect-infected, dead and dangerous trees should be chopped down and removed. However, the size and location of the tree, combined with its surroundings, determine what method of cutting down you need to use. Using the correct method is essential for your safety and that of your property. Factors that may affect tree-felling are the weather, wind direction, the natural leaning of the tree and other trees in near the one to be felled.

Loppers and Saw

Lopping trees down from the top, may be necessary if the problem tree is too near a structure or is in a corner without enough room to fell the conventional way. If space is tight, a friend can move the branches away after you cut them down. Long-handled loppers, a hand saw, a ladder and a rope are needed when chopping down a tree by this method. Use the ladder to climb the tree, and use the loppers to cut off brushy branches that are in the way of larger limbs that need to be removed. After tying off larger limbs with your rope, saw the larger limbs between the rope. The branch should be lowered to the ground via the rope. Repeat the process until all the limbs have been safely removed. Saw off chunks of the tree's main trunk until it is down to within a few inches of ground level.


Use a chainsaw to chop down large trees that are away from power lines, utility poles, structures, people and roads. Saplings may be cut down in one cut using a chainsaw. For larger trees, determine where you want the tree to fall. Make a 45-degree notch one-third of the way through the trunk near the base on the side of the tree you want it to fall toward. A second notch is started on the opposite side of the trunk, two inches above the first notch. As the tree begins to lean, shut off the chainsaw and leave where the tree will not fall. Once down, the tree may be sliced into logs for easy removal.

Traditional Ax

Although the ax method is labor-intensive, it was the traditional way of felling trees before the invention of power tools. The ax should be sharp to avoid unnecessary strikes and the resulting worker fatigue. Using the same method for chainsaw felling, strike a notch in the tree trunk at a 45-degree angle on the side you wish the tree to topple. Make a second notch on the other side of the tree, two inches above the first notch. Walk a safe distance from the tree. After the tree has fallen, the branches and trunk may be processed with the ax.

Keywords: tree felling, chop down trees, tree cutting, lopping shears, pruning shears, chainsaw

About this Author

Victoria Ries is a freelance writer whose work has been published in various print magazines, including "Guideposts," "BackHome" and "Mother Earth News." Ries enjoys working on diverse topics, such as travel, animal rescue, health, how-to and home business.