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Felling a Large Pine Tree

Homesteading: Felling a Large Pine Tree
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I had to cut down a large pine tree in order to get my lightpole installed.

Felling a Large Pine Tree (or any tree) is causing a tree to fall down by sawing. Doing this safely requires planning and if you are a beginner, you should get experienced help.  I am not listing this in the how to section.  This is because I am not qualified to tell you how to do this safely.

The first thing to do is to think about safety.

Set up the area to prevent accidents.

Clear any underbrush and obstacles int the event you need to escape quickly.

Look at the tree to figure out what direction in which to drop it. If the tree is naturally leaning in one direction, it may be better to fell the tree that way as long as there are no objects within the fall zone.

If there are objects in the fall zone and the tree is leaning in that direction, you may want to hire atree service to come and remove the tree professionally.

As I said before clear any undergrowth around the tree before you begin sawing. Remove all branches, fallen limbs or other obstacles on the ground around the tree.  You need to be able to walk away from the tree at any angle without having any problems.

In many ways, your chainsaw cutting technique will be determined by the diameter of the tree trunk. For larger trees whose diameter is greater than the length of the chainsaw bar, you will need to make a plunge cut.

You will also need a breaking bar and a few felling wedges on hand. These are tree felling tools used to ensure trees fall in the right direction and will either prevent the tree from pinching the chainsaw blade while cutting or help you get your chainsaw un-stuck.

Steps for Felling a Large Tree

  1. Pinpoint the exact direction in which you want the tree to fall. Find a landmark from your surroundings to use as a guide.  Use the sights on the top of your chainsaw to line up the angle to the directional notch you plan to cut.
  2. Since the tree trunk is wider than your chainsaw bar, you will need to cut the directional notch from two sides. Make a top cut into the trunk of the tree at about a 60 degree angle, sawing to a depth of about 20 – 25% of the tree’s diameter. Move to the other side of the tree to complete the directional notch, making sure to line up the cuts as closely as possible so that the notch will be even.
  3. Make a horizontal undercut that meets the top cut. Again, if the tree is too thick, make the horizontal undercut from both sides of the tree.  Align the two cuts so that you can create one straight undercut. You should now have a notch carved out of the side of the tree facing the felling direction.
  4. Make sure there are no people or animals within the safety radius of the tree felling zone. This is at least 2 times the length of the tree you are felling.
  5. Make a plunge cut by inserting the lower part of the chainsaw bar nose into the tree trunk behind where you want the hinge to be. Avoid kick back. Do not allow the upper part of the chainsaw bar nose to come into contact with the tree.
  6. Once you have inserted the tip of the chainsaw into the tree trunk, turn the chainsaw until it is parallel with the directional notch.
  7. Apply pressure to the chainsaw bar into the tree.
  8. Saw away from the hinge about the width of the chainsaw bar. This will keep you from sawing into the hinge when you turn the chainsaw around.
  9. Saw around the trunk carefully. When you have sawed through the middle of the tree trunk, insert the felling wedge to prevent the weight of the trunk from pinching the chainsaw and causing it to get stuck in the tree.
  10. If the chainsaw bar gets stuck in the tree trunk, don’t try to pull out the chainsaw. Stop the engine and use a breaking bar or wedge to work open the trunk until you can pull the chain saw out easily.
  11. Saw until the chainsaw bar is parallel with the directional notch on the other side of the tree.
  12. You may need to hammer the felling wedge into place to get the tree to fall. Use a breaker bar to work the tree until it begins to fall.
  13. As with felling a small tree, watch and retreat. Keep your eyes on the falling tree as you move away quickly but calmly out of the safety zone. You should try to move away from the felling direction at a 90 degree angle. This will help you avoid both the felling zone as well as the opposite side where the trunk separates from the stump.

I am not good enough to feel comfortable felling a large pine tree so I got my friend to help.  He also is not a professional logger.  His techniques he used are not exactly the same as the ones above.

Published inGeneral BuildingSurvival & Outdoors

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