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Project Overview

Safely cutting down a isn’t as difficult as some might think. If it’s in some open space and can fall without damaging other property, the toughest part of the job is out of the way already!

You need to focus on is making the tree fall in the right direction, and then sawing it up into smaller parts that can be split for firewood or chipped.

Using power tools such as chainsaws and a stump grinder to lop a small tree requires preparation and the right tools. Watch Milsy take you through an overview of how to lop a small tree to help make your job easier.

If you have a bigger tree, check out our Large Tree Removal guide here.


The size of the tree you want to cut down will determine what equipment you need, but there are generally six power tools you'll use for tree lopping:

  • small chainsaw for the lighter materials and branches.
  • large chainsaw for heavier materials and the trunk of the tree.
  • log splitter to make the larger pieces of wood easier to deal with.
  • stump grinder for getting rid of the stump after the tree has been cut down.
  • chipper for turning the timber waste into mulch or making it easier to dispose of.
  • cherry picker to provide a stable platform for you to stand on when lopping the higher branches.

Kennards Hire has the experience and know-how to help you with your next DIY project. For more information get in touch with your local branch today.

Step By Step

Step 1: Safety First!
Step 2: Create a fall hinge with a chainsaw
Step 3: Cut the larger branches into smaller pieces
Step 4: Remove base of tree
Step 5: Use a Stump Grinder to remove the base of the tree
Step 6: Turn Tree Trimmings into Mulch
Step 1: Safety First!
Before you start, ensure that family members or pets cannot accidentally walk into your work space. They won't be wearing the same protective equipment as you and could be seriously injured if they walk into the path of a falling trunk, branch, or spray of wood chips. Cordon off an area with cones or a piece of rope and make sure everyone knows not to approach if you're operating the machinery. Kennards Hire recommends a safety kit if you do not have the appropriate safety gear.
Step 2: Create a fall hinge with a chainsaw
For the smallest trees you may only require a small chainsaw. A small tree with room to fall on your property without causing damage needs only a small wedge taken out of the base, and a hinge cut taken out of the back. The wedge that you cut from the base should face the direction that you want the tree to fall - that small piece you cut out will weaken the trunk and force it to fall in a safe direction. The hinge cut should be made right behind the wedge on the opposite side of the trunk. You won't need to saw all the way through the tree for it to fall.
Step 3: Cut the larger branches into smaller pieces
Once you've lopped your small tree, you need to cut it in such a way that the majority of the branches can be fed through the wood chipper (see step 5) so it can be more conveniently disposed of.
Step 4: Remove base of tree
Remove the base of the tree with a chainsaw. With a large chainsaw, cut the remaining part of the trunk off at the base, just above ground level. You don't want the chain to go into the dirt at all, but you do want a flat cut.
Step 5: Use a Stump Grinder to remove the base of the tree
Using a shovel, clear away some of the dirt and debris from the base of the trunk, and remove any rocks from the area. The stump grinder has an adjustable handle, an ignition/kill switch, and one lockable wheel so the machine can rotate over the stump. Every sweep over the stump should drop a further 10-20 millimetres.
Step 6: Turn Tree Trimmings into Mulch
The wood chipper should have a diagram that shows the maximum diameter of branch it can chip. Once all of the branches are a suitable size, adjust the sprayer so that wood chips that come out the side of the machine are directed toward an appropriate place (that might be a small pile, spread over your whole garden, or into a wheelbarrow).
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