How to Fell a Tree Safely with a Chainsaw: Step-by-Step Guide

Ever wondered how to safely fell a tree using a chainsaw? Picture this: you’re in your backyard, eyeing that tree that needs to come down, but you’re not quite sure how to do it without causing a mess. That’s where we come in to guide you through the process step by step.

In this article, you’ll discover the essential tips and techniques to help you successfully fell a tree with a chainsaw. From choosing the right equipment to understanding the proper cutting angles, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this read, you’ll feel confident and equipped to tackle this task like a pro.

Selecting the Right Chainsaw

When selecting a chainsaw for tree felling, consider the following tips:

  • Bar Length: Opt for a bar length suitable for the tree’s diameter to ensure efficient cutting.
  • Engine Power: Choose a chainsaw with sufficient engine power for the size and type of trees you’ll be cutting.
  • Weight: Select a chainsaw that you can comfortably handle to reduce fatigue during extended use.
  • Safety Features: Look for chainsaws with built-in safety features like kickback protection and chain brakes.

Remember, the right chainsaw can make all the difference in safely and effectively felling a tree.

Assessing the Tree and Surroundings

When preparing to fell a tree with a chainsaw, it’s crucial to assess the tree and the environment around it. Here are some key steps to ensure a safe and successful tree felling operation:

  • Examine the Tree: Look for any lean in the tree that can indicate its falling direction. Check for dead branches, cracks, or hollow areas that may affect the tree’s stability.
  • Survey the Surroundings: Identify any obstacles like buildings, power lines, or other trees that may interfere with the tree falling. Make sure you have a clear escape route in case the tree doesn’t fall as planned.
  • Plan the Felling Zone: Determine a safe felling zone based on the tree’s height and lean. It should be twice the tree’s height in all directions to ensure safety.
  • Evaluate the Ground: Assess the terrain for any unevenness or obstacles that could impact the tree’s fall. Avoid felling trees on slopes or unstable ground.
  • Consider the Wind: Be mindful of the wind direction as it can influence the tree’s fall. Ensure that the wind is at your back when making the cut to avoid accidents.
  • Use Safety Gear: Prioritize your safety by wearing protective gear such as a hard hat, eye protection, gloves, and steel-toed boots. Safety should always be the top priority when operating a chainsaw.
How to Properly Use the Oregon Chainsaw File Guide: Common Mistakes to Avoid

By carefully assessing the tree and its surroundings, you’ll be better prepared to fell a tree safely and efficiently with your chainsaw.

Establishing the Felling Direction

To fell a tree safely with a chainsaw, Establishing the Felling Direction is crucial. Here are key steps to guide you through this process:

  • Observe the Natural Lean: Examine the tree for any natural lean that can indicate its preferred falling direction.
  • Choose the Best Felling Direction: Select a direction that ensures the tree falls away from any obstacles or hazards, such as buildings, power lines, or other trees.
  • Consider Wind Conditions: Factor in the wind direction to ensure it helps push the tree in the intended felling direction.
  • Plan an Escape Route: Always plan and clear an escape path opposite to the felling direction to ensure a safe retreat once the tree starts to fall.

Remember, Establishing the Felling Direction sets the foundation for a successful tree felling operation with your chainsaw.

Making the Proper Cuts

When felling a tree with a chainsaw, making the right cuts is crucial for a safe and efficient process. Here’s how to do it:

  • Initial Notch:

  • Start by making a horizontal cut (known as a notch) on the side of the tree where you want it to fall.
  • Then, create a downward-angled cut to form the top of the notch, followed by a horizontal cut to meet the first one, creating a 90-degree notch.
  • Felling Cut:

  • On the opposite side of the tree, make a horizontal felling cut.
  • Ensure it’s slightly above the level of the bottom of the notch to create a hinge that guides the tree’s fall.
  • Once the tree starts to fall, retreat to a safe distance, and then perform bucking cuts to section the tree for easier disposal or further processing.
How to Remove a Chainsaw Clutch: Tips & Tools for Easy Removal


  • Maintain a safe distance and have an escape route planned.
  • Wear protective gear like a helmet, gloves, eye protection, and sturdy boots.
  • Keep your chainsaw well-maintained to ensure clean and efficient cuts.

By following these steps and practicing caution, you can successfully fell a tree with a chainsaw.

Safety Precautions to Follow

  • Maintain a safe distance: Stay at least 2 tree lengths away from the tree being felled to ensure your safety.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Always use protective equipment like a hard hat, goggles, ear protection, gloves, and steel-toed boots when operating a chainsaw.
  • Keep your chainsaw well-maintained: Regularly inspect your chainsaw for any defects and ensure it is properly lubricated and sharp before use.
  • Avoid working alone: Have someone nearby who can assist in case of an emergency.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings: Check for obstacles and ensure there are no people or pets in the felling zone.
  • Plan an escape route: Identify a clear path to retreat when the tree begins to fall.
  • Stay alert and focused: Concentrate on the task at hand and avoid distractions while operating the chainsaw.
Safety Precautions Details
Maintain Safe Distance At least 2 tree lengths away from the falling tree.
Wear Protective Gear Hard hat, goggles, ear protection, gloves, and steel-toed boots.
Chainsaw Maintenance Regular checks, proper lubrication, and sharpness.
Avoid Working Alone Have someone nearby for assistance.
Mindful of Surroundings Check for obstacles and clear the felling zone.
Plan Escape Route Identify a clear path to retreat.
Stay Alert and Focused Concentrate on the task and avoid distractions.


You’ve learned the key steps for safely felling a tree with a chainsaw. Remember to choose the right chainsaw, assess the tree and surroundings, make precise cuts, and maintain a safe distance. Prioritize safety by wearing protective gear, keeping your equipment in top condition, and never working alone. Stay aware of your surroundings, plan an escape route, and stay focused throughout the process. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a successful and secure tree felling operation. Happy tree felling!

Choosing the Best Gas Chainsaw: Tips, Comparison, and Top Models

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it important to choose the right chainsaw for tree felling?

A: Choosing the right chainsaw ensures efficiency, accuracy, and safety during tree felling. Different chainsaws are designed for various tree sizes and cutting conditions, making the selection crucial for a successful operation.

Q: What are the crucial steps to assess before felling a tree?

A: Assessing the tree’s height, lean, branches, and surrounding obstacles is essential to determine the felling direction, necessary cuts, and safety precautions to be taken.

Q: Why is making proper cuts important during tree felling?

A: Making precise and accurate cuts helps control the tree’s falling direction, preventing accidents, property damage, and personal injuries during the felling process.

Q: How important is maintaining a safe retreat distance while felling a tree?

A: Maintaining a safe retreat distance ensures the operator’s safety by providing enough time to move away from the falling tree and avoid potential hazards.

Q: Why are bucking cuts important after a tree has fallen?

A: Performing bucking cuts on the felled tree helps in cutting it into manageable sections for easier handling, transportation, and subsequent processing.

Q: What safety precautions should be followed during tree felling?

A: Maintaining a safe distance from the falling tree, wearing appropriate protective gear, keeping the chainsaw well-maintained, avoiding working alone, being aware of the surroundings, planning an escape route, and staying focused are crucial safety precautions for tree felling.

+ posts

Jackson Hill is a passionate arborist with years of experience in the field of trees. He developed his fascination with trees at a young age, spending countless hours exploring the forests and climbing trees. Jackson went on to study arboriculture and horticulture at Michigan State University and later earned a degree in forestry from the University of Michigan.

Safely Remove Tree Stump with a Chainsaw: Essential Tips and Techniques

With his extensive knowledge and expertise, Jackson has become a trusted authority on trees and their impact on the environment. His work has helped shape the field of arboriculture and he continues to be a leading voice in the industry.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend