How to Cut Down Tall Trees


Although people grow trees in their gardens or backyards for a variety of reasons such as shade purposes, privacy, to block winds and to dress up a spot, there are times when trees need to be removed. It may be because it is diseased or dying, becoming too invasive and threatening the integrity of the structure of your house, preventing sunlight from reaching smaller flowers and plants planted nearby or because you want to clear the area and grow something else. This labor-intensive task is tiring and best done with some help from family or friends.

Step 1

Determine the direction the tree will fall after you cut it. Make sure there is no obstruction in the way of the fall, such as a fence, another tree, lawn furniture, a person or your house.

Step 2

Stand next to the tree in the direction it will fall after it is cut. Cut a "notch cut" into the tree, which involves three cuts. The first cut is made downwards into the trunk at an angle of 45 degrees, all the way through one-third of the trunk.

Step 3

Cut horizontally into the trunk to form the second cut, meeting the previous cut to form a triangle. This triangular wedge resembles a slice of melon, when removed, and forms the hinge on which the tree pivots.

Step 4

Move to the opposite side of the tree to make the third and final cut, called the back cut. Make a horizontal cut into the trunk, slightly higher than the previous horizontal cut. The tree falls immediately as this cut reaches the appropriate depth. Make sure you and your helper are well out of the way. You may want to cover your ears during the fall if you are not wearing earplugs.

Step 5

Remove the stump of the tree trunk. If it is large, use an axe to remove as much of it as you can. Dig a trench around the stump with a shovel so you can reach the roots underneath and sever them. This helps the stump break free, so you can remove it easily.

Step 6

Clean the fallen tree after it hits the ground. Cut off branches with a saw, and use a chainsaw to cut the trunk into 3-foot logs if using it for firewood, or 9-foot logs if you want to sell them. Cut the trunk into 2-foot sections if it is rotted so it can be discarded easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Chainsaw
  • Axe
  • Shovel
  • Saw


  • Bobvila: How to Fell a Tree
Keywords: tall trees, cutting tall trees, cut tall tree

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.