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Tips to Cutting Down a Tree Trunk

By Cleveland Van Cecil ; Updated September 21, 2017
Some trees just need to come down.

Cutting down a tree trunk is a dangerous task, full of pitfalls for the uninitiated. Everything from the tree height to wind conditions need to be considered when felling a tree. Knowing a few cutting tips will keep you from losing a limb, and help you fall a tree with minimal effort.


Examine the tree for potential safety hazards that may make felling the tree difficult. Look at the direction the tree is leaning so that you can gauge which way it will fall. Look for any power lines or obstructions in the direction it is leaning to prevent any accidents. Once you have decided to fall the tree, wait for a day when the wind is low so it will not affect the direction the tree falls.


Choose the appropriate saw for the work that needs to be done. There are three saw sizes; light, mid-weight and heavy-weight saws. Light saws are good for small trees that are 6 to 10 inches diameter. Medium weight can cut trees that are 12 to 18 inches in diameter, giving you a little more room to maneuver. Heavy-weight saws are good for large trees, but are geared more towards professional wood cutters.

Cutting the Tree

The best way to cut a tree is using the wedge technique. Cut the tree about a third of the way through on the side that the tree will fall, then make a 60-degree cut into the wood to meet the first cut in order to create a wedge of wood that guides the tree as it falls. To finish the tree off, make a cut on the opposite end of the tree a few inches above the lowest part of the previously-made wedge. This will cause the tree to topple over the wedge, guiding the tree towards its final resting place.