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    How to cut a tall tree down safely

    Published on 15 June 2014, Sunday, 10:09 AM

    Do you have a tree blocking the sunlight into your home or one that has grown a little too close to your roof or powerlines for comfort?

    It may be best to remove the tree as it could potentially be dangerous - so just how do you go about this job? Here are some tips and tricks of the trade.

    Equipment required

    In order to fell a tree it is necessary to have a chainsaw, safety clothing and a cherry picker if the tree is particularly large.

    It is advised you wear a loggers helmet, earmuffs and a face screen to protect your eyes, nose and throat from dust.

    Steel capped shoes, protective trousers or chaps and non-slip gloves are other items that could help to keep you protected from any falling debris.

    Plan the cut

    Before slicing into the tree, you will need to calculate where it will fall. You should always aim to have a clear fall path and landing so that nothing gets broken unnecessarily. 

    Avoid fall paths that are close to your home, fence, other stumps, rocks or even uneven ground. This will prevent the tree cracking and making a bigger mess for you to clean up.

    Remember, it is easiest and safest to fell a tree in the direction it is already leaning, as gravity can do some of the work.

    The best cutting method: The notch cut

    Rather than cut straight into the tree, which can cause it to split vertically and snap above the ground, it is better to cut a notch into the trunk.

    Also known as a hinge, you should aim for the notch to be around 80 per cent of the tree's diameter.

    For example, if the tree has a diameter of 200 cm, the hinge should equal 200 cm x 80 per cent, or 160 cm.

    The thickness of the hinge should be around 10 per cent of the tree's diameter, too, for best results.

    This will prevent the tree from falling in an unwanted place, or splitting where you least expect it.

    While this is not fail​ proof, it will be more successful if you go with the tree's natural lean. 

    Once the tree has begun to fall, it is best to keep well clear. Aim for a route of escape that will have you a 45 degree angle away from the tree itself, and six metres from the stump. Even notch-cut trees can snap or roll when they hit the ground, so to be safe, it is best to keep your distance.

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    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.