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How to Cut Down Trees Close to Your House

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Great care must be taken when felling a tree that grows near a home.

A tree that is in failing health or has already died close to your home is a danger to your home and to your family. Falling limbs can damage siding or roofing, or can fall on people walking by. Additionally, a large storm can push the tree over onto your home. In order to remove a tree that has died close to your home, you must cut it down in such a way that it falls away from your home.

Examine the tree to determine the overall structure of the tree. A tree’s branching habit and the direction that it grows in will strongly influence the direction that it falls. If a tree is growing over your home, you will have to remove the tree in sections. If the tree already grows away from your home, you can simply cut it down from the trunk.

Examine the area around the tree for hazards and obstacles. Remove any obstacles such as children’s toys, lawn or patio furniture and parked cars from the drop zone. Look for any overhead power lines. If you see hazards such as this, you may wish to consider having a professional remove the tree.

Tie a tripod ladder to the trunk of the tree. A tripod ladder is build with a wider base so that fruit pickers can climb into the canopy of fruit trees. Tying the ladder to the tree will stabilize it. Climb into the tree and tie a rope to a limb that you wish to remove from the tree. Throw the rope over a limb higher into the tree, and then secure the rope to the ground.

Saw the limb away from the tree where the base of the limb meets the trunk using a pole saw. The limb will not fall to the ground and potentially hit power lines or damage your home because you have tied it up. Lower the limb to the ground slowly with the rope. Repeat this process until you have removed as many limbs as you need to from the tree.

Start a chain saw motor and leave the saw at the base of the ladder. Climb the ladder and tie a rope to the section of trunk that you wish to remove. Pull the saw up with you. Cut the tree’s trunk in small sections using the chain saw. Lower the trunk sections to the ground slowly with rope. Lower the saw to the ground before descending yourself.

Drop the trunk and remaining limbs by making a wedge-shaped cut that opens in the direction that you want the tree to fall. The wedge-shaped cut should extend one-third of the way through the tree and should open between 45 and 90 degrees.

Make a second cut in the opposite side of the tree that is slightly higher than the point of the first cut. The tree will fall in the direction of the wedge cut. Carry away the sectioned tree trunk and limbs that you have removed.


Things You Will Need

  • Tripod ladder
  • Chain saw
  • Rope
  • Pruning saw


  • Always wear the proper safety equipment, including a hard hat, safety goggles, long sleeves and long pants, leather gloves and sturdy shoes when felling a tree.
  • Never use a chain saw to cut a tree at an angle higher than chest-height. Doing so can cause you to injure yourself. If you work from a ladder using a saw, always use a fall-arrest harness to prevent falling from the tree.
  • To remove the stump, you can leave the stump in place and put a planter on it, dig the stump out of the ground or cover it with sod and allow it to rot on its own.


  • If you choose to cut down a tree near your home, you assume the risk that the tree will fall onto your home. The only way to be completely certain that you can remove the tree without damaging your home is to hire a professional arborist to remove the tree. A professional arborist can remove a tree in sections using a crane to minimize the chance that debris will fall onto your home.

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.