- Safety precautions, tools and devices
- Work front assessment, crown pruning
- What comes first: felling or cutting
- How to properly trim the trunk
- Sawing the trunk and lifting the stump
Landscaping of the site and maintenance of the garden are not complete without the fall of old trees. Without proper organization of work, there is a risk of damage to buildings or serious injuries. Today we will tell you in detail how to cut down a tree correctly and fill it in the right direction..
Safety precautions, tools and devices
We hope it is not worth explaining why felling trees requires a special approach to ensuring the safety of work. You must have a clear and sober idea of what threats to life, property and surrounding objects are posed by an uncontrolled fall of cut branches and the tree itself. Likewise, be aware of the dangers associated with working at heights..
We will give some safety recommendations as we describe the felling technology, but most of them have a general meaning, which means that these requirements must be met even before you pick up the chainsaw.
First of all, decide on the insurance issue. If there is no special insurance available, link it yourself:
- Fold a rope (from 1 t per break) about 2.5 m long.
- Pass it between the legs with a loop back.
- Tie a figure eight knot at the front of the belt.
- Wrap the free ends around the torso, passing each into a loop at the back..
- Tighten the ends and tie them at the front over the figure eight.
Figure eight knot diagram
Diagram of the “figure eight” knot for tying a carbine or cable
The front loop is designed to hold the carabiner, which attaches to a safety lanyard twice wrapped around the tree trunk. At the ends of the sling, you should tie eight knots or a Prusik loop. You can throw it anywhere, but it is better if a massive branch or branch is located just below. Keep in mind that wrapping a loop around the waist is not a good idea; if you fall, there is a high risk of injury to the ribs and spine.
Another strapping option is presented in the video:
When trimming and felling, it is necessary to clear the exit paths in advance. Of course, the fall of each cut branch should be controlled by an assistant with the help of a tied rope, but no one is safe from the fact that the branch suddenly changes its trajectory..
Never work from a ladder. To secure yourself at a height, wrap the second sling twice around the trunk and thread your feet through the loops at its ends. Work is allowed only in closed clothing, glasses and gloves. The head should be protected by a helmet or at least a tight hat. In addition to the chainsaw, also stock up on about a hundred meters of strong guy rope and keep a light hook on hand in case the branches bind tightly.
1. Work clothes. 2. Helmet. 3. Safety glasses. 4. Hook. 5. Rope. 6. Felling wedge. 7. Chainsaw. 8. Hand saw
Work front assessment, crown pruning
The main problem with felling trees is that it is impossible to predict exactly how the crown mass is distributed. Accordingly, you cannot accurately predict the trajectory of the fall, even if you correctly cut the trunk. To facilitate the work, it is recommended to carry out work in the spring or late autumn, when the crown is at its lowest. The weather should be calm and dry, and the tree should not be slippery after a recent rain.
First set up a ladder and cut off any lower branches that are within reach. The stepladder must be installed in such a way that the trunk of a tree is between it and the branch to be cut. The most advantageous position, even when working without a stepladder, is when you hold the chainsaw with both hands, while hugging the trunk as if.
It is necessary to trim the crown strictly in sequence from bottom to top so that the trimmed branches fall freely and do not get entangled in the lower ones that have not yet been cut down. The rope for which the assistant helps to control the fall should be tied 1–1.5 m from the trunk. The branches must be cut so that branches remain 30-40 cm long, on which you can easily put on safety slings or lean on your feet.
When the ladder is not high enough, place a leg strap on the most comfortable branch or wrap it around the trunk at the desired height, and then rest your feet on the loops. You need to position yourself so that the cutting site is at chest level or slightly lower. Hugging the tree with one hand, wrap the second sling (or better the chain) twice to secure the belt, connect the loops with a carabiner and twist the coupling on it. The second advantageous position is with your back to the trunk and standing with your feet on the branch being cut, while you must cut it off, of course, half a meter in front of you.
Before you start cutting, adjust the length and height of the lines for more comfort and make sure you have enough room to maneuver. After that, you can lift the chainsaw from the ground by the rope tied to the handle, while the tie point should be chosen as far as possible from the tool controls.
What comes first: felling or cutting
Some trees don’t need pruning, and some won’t be knocked down otherwise. Especially if gas pipelines or power lines are located near the crown. As we have already said, the main purpose of pruning is balancing the tree, therefore, it is not necessary to prune branches from the side where the blockage is planned.
The height of the tree is of no less importance. If you are unable to clear the desired length under the tree, the trunk must be shortened. Naturally, before that you have to cut off all the lower tiers of the branches, sometimes you even have to cut off the branches from the side of the blockage. What to do – sometimes the crown is intertwined in a very bizarre way.
When working in the garden and green spaces, neighboring trees often interfere. If it is not dead wood, it is not advisable to touch them. It is much better to cut the branches piece by piece, starting with the branch farthest from the trunk that you can safely reach. Even if small fragments of branches get stuck in their own or neighboring crown, the assistant can easily pull them down and to the side.
It can be said unequivocally that felling should be started only if:
- The tree after processing with its appearance clearly makes it clear that it will fall exactly as you need.
- The height of the tree is 30-50% less than the length of the cleared area, similar to the width of the crown.
- There are other trees or stationary objects nearby, to which you can attach guys to guide the trunk in case of a fall.
How to properly trim the trunk
Now you can go to the simplest part of the process and knock down the cleaned trunk. It’s really simple, the main thing is to make the right undercut.
From the side in which it is planned to cut the tree, we make an oblique cut from top to bottom with a chainsaw by a third of the trunk diameter at an angle of 60 °, as shown in the figure. Next, from the bottom, we make an incision straight or at an angle of 30 ° so that we end up with a wedge. The tree will fall in a direction perpendicular to the fold line after knocking out the wedge, so it is advisable to make the joint of both cuts as straight as possible.
On the reverse side, we retreat upward from the plane of the lower incision by 2/3 of the trunk diameter or slightly more. We cut obliquely and downward, directing the incision to the inner corner of the wedge-shaped notch. When you get closer to the center, you will hear a characteristic crackling sound, and the tree will begin to roll slowly. The saw must be immediately removed from the expanding incision and calmly move five meters away from the tree.
No need to tie or pull on any ropes, the trunk will fall by itself. On the contrary, there should be no people in the direction of the fall. However, do not forget that it is still worth tying the braces..
Sawing the trunk and lifting the stump
It remains only to clean up after yourself. Indeed: do not leave the sawn tree and stump as they are. First, cut off all remaining branches and branches to their very base. Cut the forks across to cut off both diverging parts with one cut. Depending on which tree you felled and how you plan to use the wood, cut the trunk into pieces, taking into account the available transportation method.
The remaining stump is too tedious to remove by hand. Using a wood drill 16–20 mm, drill vertical holes in the cut of the trunk of such a depth that they go 15–20 cm below ground level. You need to drill in a checkerboard pattern at intervals of 5–7 cm. Using a funnel and a cleaning rod, fill in openings of ammonium nitrate to the top, cover from above with a piece of roofing material. By the next season, the stump will turn into dust, and you can easily remove its remnants.
You can clearly see how to cut trees correctly in the video below: