How to Safely Cut Down a Tree

How to carefully fell trees, including chain saw safety and direction control.



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If you live in the country, sooner or later you will need to cut down a tree. Learn the safest way to proceed.
PHOTOS: NORMAN E. JOHNSON
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The basic items need to fell trees safely here, atop a freshly cut elm: helmet, goggles, gloves, chain saw, maul, and wedges.
NORMAN E. JOHNSON
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Woodcutters select a dying red oak that was struck by lightning a year before cutting.
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Undercut completed and safely chain in place.
NORMAN E. JOHNSON
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The location of the undercut will determine direction of tree fall
NORMAN E. JOHNSON
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The completed undercut, which must now be carefully squared.
NORMAN E. JOHNSON
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Sawyer steps clear of a falling tree. A pre-planned avenue of escape is an absolute necessity, particularly in heavily wooded areas.
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Sometimes the application of a saw wedge is necessary to prevent pinching of the saw blade, which can occur when the back cut is made.
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Making the back cut squarely towards and just slightly above undercut
NORMAN E. JOHNSON
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The hinge wood now does its job as the tree falls.
NORMAN E. JOHNSON
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This property felled Dutch elm, in the process of dying of Dutch elm disease, shows the correct amount of supporting hinge wood between cuts.
NORMAN E. JOHNSON

















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