Maybe you have Clark Griswold aspirations of cutting down your own Christmas tree or maybe you just have a troublesome tree pushing roots into dangerous place. No matter what is inspiring you to cut down a tree by yourself, it's pertinent that you practice safety precautions.
1. Know How to Use Your Chainsaw - Seriously. Understand the ins and outs of your chainsaw. Take the time to review the owner's manual. You'd be surprised the different functions that are possible and the different safety specifications for each one.
2. Check Out Your Tree - Take the time to thoroughly examine the offending tree. Take several steps back and see if it appears to be leaning one way or heavier on one side. That will be the way the tree falls. You'll want to make sure to clear anything in the tree's path. To help direct smaller trees, attach a rope and apply tension in the direction that you wish the tree to fall.
3. Plan for All Possibilities - You never know when a gust of wind can come and change the direction the tree falls. It's best to take the time to clear all directions.
4. Cut a Wedge - Sometime it is necessary to cut a wedge in the tree to get it to fall the way you want it to. This is done by cutting a 20° upward angle on the side of the tree that faces the direction you want it to fall. This cut should be equal to one quarter of the tree’s diameter. For example, an 8 inch tree would require a 2 inch wedge to be cut. Next, make a second cut a few inches above the first one at a 70° downward angle until it meets your first cut, forming a wedge. A third cut should be made on the opposite side of the tree. This cut has no angle and will be parallel to the ground. Cut towards the wedge.
When cutting down a tree you have to keep aware of your situation at all times. If you don't have the time to commit to the project, it's best to bring in an expert. As always, you can swing by Santee Hardware and we can help guide you in the right direction.