How to Cut Down a Tall Tree Yourself: Step-by-Step Guide

Cut Down a Tall Tree by Yourself

A tree provides multiple benefits, but leveraging them takes time and consistent efforts. Not only does a tree beautifies your home, but also it keeps your home cool during scorching summer days. The process of a tiny plant growing into a giant tall tree is quite long, and caring for its growth is necessary to reap its multiple advantages.

We do not favor cutting down trees, but in some cases, it becomes extremely important to cut it down due to certain reasons, including pest attacks, damage due to storm harshness, and aging. No matter how much you love your beloved tree, if it encounters any of the issues mentioned above, there is no other way but to cut it down.

In this blog, we have enlisted the reason which advocates the cutting down of a tree and, most importantly, how to cut down a tree by yourself when no help is available. One common concern that arises in such situations is, ‘Can I throw neighbor’s tree branches back in their yard?‘ While it may be tempting to dispose of the branches in your neighbor’s yard, it’s important to approach the situation with tact and respect. Discussing the matter with your neighbor and seeking their permission or cooperation is generally considered courteous before taking any action. Open communication and mutual understanding can help resolve such issues amicably.

Reasons to Cut Down a TreeReasons to Cut Down a Tree

We understand that a tree grows after putting in multiple efforts over a long course of time, and this is why the love and affection an individual feels towards a tree is unparalleled. But if your tree is experiencing long-lasting damage affecting its growth due to certain diseases and damage, there is no other way to cut it down before the trouble starts affecting nearby areas.

Here we have mentioned the reasons behind cutting a tree, such as:

  • A tall tree is a potential spot to house lots of pests which, in its terrible form, affect not only the tree itself but also the nearby trees as well. Not just the pests are harmful to the trees, but once they spread, they can invade your property, damaging the wooden furniture and accessories.
  • While we believe that the beauty of a tree plays a pivotal role in increasing a property’s value, if it is blocking your backyard or the front of your house, it can rather decrease the value of your property. A tall tree probably takes up much of the space, so cutting it down is the only solution for your convenience.
  • Storm is another significant factor to consider regarding the tree’s health. Storm creates irreparable damage to a tree and may bend it down to the house members. In this case, a tree can be seriously damaging as you never know when it will fall, threatening your life and property. To prevent injuries and inconvenience caused due to hanging branches, it is essential to cut it down.

How to Cut a Tree Down?

If you are fond of planting and have gardened the trees, you should also learn when and how to cut them down. Although professional help is suggested to cut down trees, there could be a time when no professional help is available nearby. Knowing the tree cut down is important so you may get over the inconvenience on your own without wasting any time. But first, you need to assess if you can do it on your own because, in the case of tall trees, it becomes seriously complicated for a novice to manage its cut down. If your tree is dead and has no leaves on it for a long time, it’s better to cut it away, and for that, you need to learn the entire process of cutting down.

A diseased and damaged tree is havoc for the nearby surroundings, so you need to immediately cut it down by following the below-mentioned step-by-step guide.

Wear your Protection Guardmen wearing protection for cutting tree

You need to keep yourself safe through the entire process of cutting down by ensuring that you have the right gear. You need to be aware of the safest routes so you remain safe if the tree falls in the unpredicted direction. Your helmet, mask, gloves, glasses, chainsaw, and felling wedges should be ready, as it is better to stay safe than to be sorry later. Also, during the cutting process, a chainsaw makes lots of noise which can damage the ear drums. To prevent damage, you may wear headphones to minimize the sound effect.

Walk around the tree to see if there are any obstacles in its falling way and analyze if its fall will affect the surroundings and buildings. If electricity wires nearby the tree can be damaged by the tree’s fall, do not cut it down as it may damage the electricity lines.

Measure the Length of The Tree and Its FallLength of The Tree and Its Fall

Before starting with the process, it is important to determine the tree’s length and its heaviest side. Know that a tree will always fall on its heavier side no matter how much effort you put into making it fall on the other side. If you are unsure about the direction of the tree fall and want to make an accurate estimate, you may take help from the ax handle trick. Hold an ax handle at the length of your arm while closing one of your eyes. Now move back and forth until the top and bottom of the ax are aligned with the top and bottom edges of the tree.

Decide the Notch Cut

This is the most important cut that determines the fall of your tree. A notch cut is made at the tree’s heaviest side, with denser branches. Once the notch is planned, mark it with chalk or score the bark using a chainsaw. You need to determine the comfortable working height by taking 1/5th diameter of the tree’s trunk and marking the cutting angles accordingly. Once the notch is made and you have reached enough cut, insert wedges depending on the tree’s diameter.

Make the Fall CutMake the Fall Cut

Now it is the time to make a fall cut with the help of a chainsaw by putting the cut in the opposite direction. You need to make top and bottom cuts by adjusting your hands accordingly, and while making the bottom cut, try to control the throttle of the chainsaw with your thumb. If the top-notch is made with perfection, the wedge will come out of the notch. Extend the top and bottom cuts to ensure a free drop of the wedge. The point where you are doing the felling cut should meet the notch point.

Soon after your tree starts leaning, pull out the chainsaw and set the chain brake. Now it’s time to look for the planned escape route, so if the tree starts falling in the predicted direction, you may easily escape.

Create Sections

If the tree has fallen on the ground successfully, you may cut its sections. The sections should be almost around the size of the forearm as these are easy to dispose of and use for fire lighting. If there are many tree sections, you may ask your neighbors or friends to take the wood for free for the firewood.

Additional TipsAdditional Tips for cutting tree

  • Always make multiple escape routes, so you may take the other route if the tree falls in the unpredicted direction.
  • Using a rope helps direct the tree to fall in the right direction in case you are worried about its fall in the other direction.
  • Remember to wear your protective helmet, glasses, and gloves.
  • If you have never seen the cutting down of a tree, it is better to take help from arborists.
  • Ensure that there is no living thing in the safe radius around the falling tree.

When Should I Call an Arborist?

An arborist has specialization in tree removal and understands every tiny bit of the process. You will determine if you need professional help under certain conditions:

  • If the tree is too large to be cut on your own.
  • If the tree is dead or diseased and causing damage to the nearby land.
  • If you are afraid of proceeding with the tree removal process on your own and have never removed any tree earlier.
  • The storm has caused severe damage, and the hanging branches are threatening.


Removing a tree may be challenging and dangerous without the right equipment or knowledge. Before attempting to cut down a tree on your property, be sure to get them. To safely remove a tree and avoid any potential damage or accidents, precisely follow the above instructions. It’s always recommended to hire a professional arborist to cut down the tree if you don’t have the necessary equipment and knowledge. Also, for your convenience, do not forget to check with the local laws, as cutting down trees illegally may land you in long-lasting trouble.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it safe to cut a tree down by yourself?

If you plan to cut a tree on your own, you need to follow the safety measures and ensure you have all the protective gear. Tree removal carries several risks, and in case of any miscalculation or wrong prediction of the fall, the damage at a higher level may result. You should learn the right technique and approach before planning on cutting down a tree.

How do you shorten a tall tree?

Pruning is the right way of shortening a tall tree in which the cut is made above the lateral branches of the tree. These are almost at 1/3rd of the diameter of the branch that is to be removed. While sloping away from the tree’s center, cut a 45-degree angle. Pruning of the large branches between the tree nodes is performed to reduce the height of a tall tree.

What causes a tree to fall?

There are certain reasons behind the fall of a tree, such as pest attacks, storm flooding, poor planting conditions, and old age.

How do you cut down a large tree in sections?

After making a notch cut that is almost 1/3rd of the diameter of the tree’s trunk, you may cut the trunk into small sections so they can be handled easily.

What is the best tool to cut high tree branches?

A chainsaw ensures a safe and precise cut of high tree branches. A chainsaw can serve the purpose if the limbs are thicker than 3 inches. If you don’t know how to make a precise cut using a chainsaw, you may take the help of an arborist.

Who is an arborist?

An arborist is a professional tree surgeon who has studied all types of trees and is aware of managing and cultivating trees, vines, and shrubs.

What is the color of the leaves of a dead tree?

A dead tree usually has brown-colored leaves that do not shed from the tree and indicate that the tree is dead or diseased.

 Do I need permission to cut down a tree?

Before cutting out the tree, you need to check with the local legal laws around tree cutting. It is important to look into the legalities if you want to avoid ending up surrounded by the violation of laws.

How much does it cost to cut down a tree?

Cutting down a tree that is 30 feet higher, you may expect to spend around $250, and for trees that have a height between 30 and 60 feet, the estimated cost is around $350 to $750.

Do the expenses of tree removal offered by the insurance companies?

Insurance companies usually do not cover the expenses of cutting down a tree. However, if, due to a storm, the tree falls on the property and causes damage, the insurance companies cover those expenses to the extent of up to $1000 per storm.

How to recover the area where the tree has been removed?

Once the tree is removed from the area, you should immediately clean the debris from the area. A gap is left at the point from which the tree stump is removed, and so to fill the gap put the topsoil. Replanting a new tree takes time, and you need to give the area almost six to no months to recover. Once the soil is recovered, you may replant it with the desired type of plant.

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