Cutting trees is one of the most crucial parts of maintaining a garden. Spruce up trees by cutting dead or wayward branches to keep them healthy and beautiful. Remove huge trees that are obstructing power lines or causing damages to your property. Learn the proper ways to cut trees using four methods--pruning, felling, limbing and bucking.
Pruning is a way to maintain a tree and make it healthier in order to produce more flowers or fruits. The tools most commonly used for pruning trees are hand shears, lopper shears, pruning saw, chainsaw and pole pruners.
Use hand shears for cutting small branches and twigs. Lopper shears are effective for cutting slightly thicker branches, at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cut large, woody limbs that are 6 inches in diameter using a pruning saw. Use chainsaws to cut branches and limbs that are 3 inches or less in diameter; however, avoid using them for smaller branches, to prevent shredding. Use pole pruners to cut branches that are too high to reach without a ladder.
Start pruning deciduous trees during the dormant season, from October to November when all leaves have fallen and when the nutrients are all in the roots. Pruning is preferable from January to March; however, you must complete pruning before spring starts.
Felling is a method of cutting down big trees at their trunks. Tree felling techniques consist of three basic parts--top, bottom and back cuts. Start by making a notch cut, which is the cut that determines the direction of the fall. A notch reduces the splitting of the tree. Create a notch cut about one-third the diameter of the tree, with a 45-degree angle wedge cut. Make a top cut at 45 degrees of the notch. Create a leveled bottom cut of the notch that meets the top cut. Make a back cut at the opposite of the notch cut, at least 1 to 2 inches above and parallel to the horizontal cut of the notch cut. Be sure to stop before reaching the undercut. About two inches of uncut wood should remain to create a hinge.
You can fell a tree against its natural lean by wedging, where you insert one or more wedges in the back cut. Saw the back cut, and then drive an axe to the wedges.
Limbing and bucking are two methods of cutting trees after they have fallen. Remove unwanted branches from the trees through limbing. Limbing starts from the base of the trunk, and ends at the top portion of the tree. Evaluate the limbs on the underside of a fallen tree carefully, however; they may be under severe stress.
After limbing the trees, you can start bucking the trees. Bucking is a way of cutting each tree to usable lengths. The two bucking techniques used are the downward and upward bends. A downward bend is a method of bucking from top to bottom, while the upward bend is from the bottom to the top. Cut from the upper side of a fallen tree when working on a hillside to prevent pieces from rolling after bucking.