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How to Cut Palm Trees

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You may need to cut or prune palm trees if they're dying, growing too close to a building or if you need to clear a path for construction. You can do the job yourself, but you need to be very cautious, especially with tall palm trees, because you'll have to climb to the top of it to prune it and, in some instances, to bring it down.

Cutting Down Shorter Palm Trees

Put on your safety goggles and gloves. Protect yourself from splinters and sawdust when cutting any kind of tree.

Determine the direction in which you want the tree to fall. Ensure that it doesn't smash anything when it comes down. If the tree is too tall, you may have to bring it down in sections (The instructions for this felling method are in Section 2.).

Use a chainsaw to cut the trunk of the palm tree on one side and remember that the uncut side of the tree should face the direction in which the tree will fall. If the tree is small enough, you may be able to push the tree down.

Continue cutting toward the uncut side until the tree leans where you want it to go and push it so that it begins to fall. Step away, as the tree may sway toward you as it comes down.

Cut the tree in small sections for disposal.

Cutting a Tall Palm Tree Down in Sections

Put on your climbing tether and have your assistant assure that it's on your body correctly. Follow the instructions for your specific tether.

Wrap the tether strap around the base of the tree

Ascend the tree, with the chainsaw, to the highest point where the trunk can hold your weight without breaking. Tighten the tether strap so you don't slide down the tree.

Cut the tree with the chainsaw about 3 feet above the tether strap and push the section away from you so it safely falls to the ground.

Move down the tree and cut another section, just as you did in the previous step. Continue doing this until the tree is small enough that you can cut it down from the base without damaging anything on the ground.

Descend from the tree and remove the tether.

Follow steps 2 through 5 in Section 1 to cut the tree down from the base.

Cut the sections into smaller sections for disposal.

How to Prune a Palm Tree

Put on your climbing tether using the instructions that came with the tether. Have your assistant ensure that the tether is appropriately tightened.

Wrap the tether strap around the base of the tree.

Ascend the tree, carrying the chainsaw, to the very top, where the leaves are.

Examine the leaves that are dead (they'll be yellow or brown in color), loose or broken. Remove leaves that are parallel to the ground.

Pull off the dead or damaged leaves by hand, if possible.

Use the chainsaw to remove all the other bad leaves.


If you can operate a utility truck with a bucket crane on it, you may be able to rent one and use it to go to the top of the tree instead of having to climb it. The job will go much faster and the bucket crane is safer than the tether.


Cut palm trees with care, as you can hurt or kill yourself if you don't do it correctly. If you feel that you can't accomplish the task safely, contact a professional to remove the tree

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