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Is there a tree in your yard you want to cut down? Here's how to use a chainsaw to fell trees — those with a diameter less than the length of your saw's cutting bar.
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Before you start, be sure you're familiar with the operation of your saw and follow all safety recommendations. For some tips, check out How to Use and Maintain a Chainsaw and Chainsaw Safety. For larger trees, trees that are near a structure, trees that you want to fell opposite of their lean, rotting trees or any tree you feel uncomfortable tackling — call a professional.
Start by taking a good look at the area. Be sure there are no structures, power lines or pets close to a radius equal to the height of the tree. Keep people at a distance at least double the height of the tree.
Pick a direction you want the tree to fall — this should be the direction the tree naturally leans — and plan a clear escape path opposite the direction of the fall and at a 45-degree angle. Clear the area around the tree and make sure there are no loose branches overhead.
With the tree on your left and your left shoulder against the tree, make a 70-degree cut on the side facing the direction you want the tree to fall. If your saw has a felling sight on the housing, use it as a guide. Pointing the sight where you want the tree to fall helps you cut at the proper location on the tree. Cut to a depth of about a quarter of the tree's diameter.
For the next cut, turn the saw sideways and cut horizontally to meet your first cut, creating a notch. Be sure the cuts meet.
For the felling cut, move to the opposite side and make a horizontal cut slightly above the previous cut. Saw until you have enough room to insert a wedge into the cut to keep the saw from binding. Drive the wedge in and finish the cut, being sure not to touch the wedge with the blade. Don't cut through — leave about 10 percent of the width as a hinge. When the tree begins to fall, move away down your escape path.
If the tree becomes lodged in another tree as it falls, call a professional for help.
Once the tree is down, remove the branches — called limbing.
When you've removed the limbs, it's time to cut the trunk — called bucking.