Whether you are looking to get into the foresting business, or simply trying to cut down a tree to do some landscaping, there are important factors that you have to consider when cutting down large trees. It may look simple from television and seeing it done on media, but there are specific steps you must follow to do it correctly.

Safety First

Before you even consider cutting down or felling a tree, it is important that you take the initial safety steps to ensure that no one is in any danger or risk. There are a number of things that you need to do in preparation for operating a chainsaw, the ideal tool for the job. A few key points for chainsaw safety is being familiar with all the controls and safety features of your saw, ensure that you are equipped with the proper safety gear like a hardhat, ear and eye protection, gloves, and steel toe boots. Follow the steps to begin operating your chainsaw safely. Once you’ve taken all the necessary steps, you will then assess the job.

Assess the Area

Before you start cutting, make a quick assessment and inspection of the area. You want to identify any hazards that would be health and safety risks to you or anyone that is working with your team. Some of these hazards include electrical wires and poles, loose branches lodged in trees, and hidden vines. Clear the area of tripping hazards and ensure that you tidy up the underbrush as much as possible. These risks are not just problems for you directly, but can indirectly affect you as they can change the course of how the tree falls once you cut through them, putting you in potential danger and harm. 

Examine the Tree

Once you establish that the area is clear of risks for you and your crew, then you examine the tree itself. You want to consider the measurements and height of the tree, determining the landing area and if it will fall cleanly, causing no harm or damage to possible housing, or affect other trees and growth in the area. Additionally, you want to determine if the tree is leaning, forward, backward, or sideways. This will tell you where and how to cut the base properly. You should also be considering the upper portions of a tree when assessing it and not just the truck, as the branches will identify where the tree will fall towards.

Use the Right Tool

Once you have assessed and identified the tree, you need to ensure that you are using the right tools for the job. There are different factors that will allow you to determine the best chainsaws for the tree, but also factor in the environment and the people handling it. Some chainsaws provide more benefits to be used in larger projects, while others are better suited for home maintenance jobs. If you are unsure or unclear which one you should use, do some research to find the pros and cons of each specific type, as well as check details that factor into their handling and power. The better the saw the easier your cut will be.

Cutting It Down

When cutting down a tree with a chainsaw, you will do so in a couple of steps. The first cut will be a guiding one, called a face cut. Make a notch in the front of the tree to allow it to come over before breaking the hinge. This helps us will be a cut about a third of the way in. this will allow you to make adjustments to your cut if you see fit. After the face cut, you make a bore cut to create the wedges to help guide the tree as it falls. Once you make these cuts and insert the wedges, you are ready for your final cut. If done correctly, the tree will fall naturally on the path you directed. 

Escape Route

Before you make the final cut, it is always wise to have a plan in place to allow you to get clear of the tree falling. Even if you have factored in all the assessment information and done your initial cuts as intended, mother nature can always take your plans and turn them sideways. Having a contingent plan to get you to safety is important to keep you and your crew safe.


When cutting down a tree, you can’t just take any chainsaw and cut through. There is a process to determine and assess the tree and the job at hand, as well as steps you have to follow to keep everyone safe. There is a lot more involved in the process of this job that is more complicated than you think.