Emergency Tree Removal


In nature, experienced loggers avoid trees that are twisted, warped or broken. But when trees have become damaged due to tornadoes, hurricanes or high winds, homeowners have no choice but to remove the damaged tree. Removing warped, damaged, twisted, fallen, leaning or matted trees with a chain saw is a dangerous process that requires care and caution. If you are unsure about removing the damage yourself, hire a professional arborist to remove the tree.

Step 1

Walk away from the tree and study it from a distance. Look for safety hazards such as downed power lines. If the tree is leaning against a structure, have the structure's integrity examined before removing the tree. Examine trees that have not yet fallen to determine the direction in which they will naturally fall.

Step 2

Remove any obstacles from the crash zone where the tree will fall. Clear away debris from beneath the tree that could trip you as you work. Plan an escape path that you can use to move away from the tree as it falls.

Step 3

Cut a wedge-shaped undercut into the base of the tree that opens at a 45-degree angle in the direction that you want the tree to fall. The undercut should extend one-third of the way through the tree's trunk. Make a second cut, known as a back cut in the other side of the tree. The back cut should be slightly higher than the point of the undercut's wedge. It should reach two-thirds of the way through the tree. The tree will begin to tilt and fall in the direction of the undercut. Step away from the tree and allow the tree to fall and all debris to settle before returning to the trunk.

Step 4

Cut the outer edges of the tree limbs first, beginning with the limbs on the top of the tree. Always completely clear an area of tree limbs that you are working in before moving on. Remove all limbs on the top of the tree, moving upward to the tip of the trunk before returning to the base of the tree to remove limbs on the sides and bottom of the trunk.

Step 5

Stand on the opposite side of the trunk from a limb you are cutting. The trunk will provide you with a barrier between yourself and the chain. Stop cutting periodically and turn off the chain saw to remove debris from the chain.

Step 6

Cut limbs or the tree's trunk by slicing straight through them from the top to the bottom if they are on the ground. If a limb or the tree's trunk is suspended in the air, cut the lower one-third of the trunk with the chain saw from the bottom. Then, cut through the upper two-thirds of the trunk from the top to meet your first cut. This will help you avoid trapping the blade.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear protective clothing including closed-toed shoes, leather gloves, a hard hat, goggles, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when cutting a tree down. Never make cuts above your shoulders with a chain saw. Using a saw in this position is dangerous. Pay attention to your footing and never stand on fallen limbs. These limbs can be jerked from beneath your feet suddenly if a tree shifts or rolls. Never stand downhill from a felled tree. The tree may injure you if it shifts or rolls downhill.

Things You'll Need

  • Chain saw


  • University of Arkansas:Tree Removal After a Storm
  • Iowa State University Extension: After the Storm - Managing Tree Damage
  • University of Missouri Extension: Felling, Bucking and Limbing Trees

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University Extension: Safe and Effective Use of Chain Saws for Woodland Owners
Keywords: removing trees, storm damage trees, wind damaged trees

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."