Removing a tree from a garden is necessary to allow more sunshine to reach the plants. However, if you do not follow the right safety procedures, the tree’s removal can damage the garden as well as surrounding trees. Additionally, trees are usually too large to simply cut down as they will fall into adjacent structures. The best process involves cutting the tree from its outer branches until you reach the trunk. Once these branches are trimmed and all you are left with is a bare trunk, you can then start lopping off sections near the top of the tree and work your way down to the trunk’s base.
- Safety gear and equipment
Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to felling trees and using chainsaws. In fact, there are several, absolutely essential, safety-gear items you should wear. Additionally, when you use a chainsaw, there are certain types of equipment you should use to reduce the risk of injury.
– hard hat
– heavy-duty goggles
– Kevlar leg coverings
– steel-toe boots
– heavy-duty gloves
– first-aid kit
– felling wedges
Before you begin cutting, you should make sure that the chain is sharp. Additionally, you should ensure the gas tank is full. Finally, upon starting the chainsaw, you should ensure everything turns smoothly and that the trigger and safety stop switch are both working as intended.
- Determine felling zone
It can be rather difficult to simply eye how tall a tree is. Similarly, it is extremely difficult to gauge how far it will reach once it is on the ground. However, you can use the “ax handle trick” to estimate where the tree will fall.
- Hold the ax handle out at arm’s length.
- Close one eye and move toward or away from the tree until you see the base of the ax is even with the bottom of the tree and the top of the ax is even with the top of the tree.
Using this method, you can estimate that after the tree lands, the treetop should end up approximately where your feet are. Of course, this is just an estimate. You should allow for extra room–up to twenty feet–to ensure the tree does not hit anything.
You should also take into consideration the natural lean of the tree, if any. If possible, you should choose a drop zone that falls where the tree naturally leans. Additionally, you should try to pick a level area as a landing zone. Doing so decreases the likelihood that the tree will roll once it hits the ground.
Important: do not proceed with felling if you see any of the following. These items represent serious safety issues. You should call a professional if any of the following are present.
– broken dead branches attached to the tree
– broken branches supported by other branches
– branches on one side, creating a loaded side
– leaning heavily to one side
– power lines, fences, buildings near the fell zone
- Clear the area
Once you have determined a safe fell zone, you should remove any brush around the trunk. You should also identify two, clear, escape routes on the “non-falling” side of the tree. It is important that the escape routes are approximately 45 degrees away from each other, going in opposite directions of the fell zone. This will ensure you have safe options if you need to run.
- Removing the limbs in small sections
Where possible, large limbs should be removed first. Doing so will create less of a hazard when felling the trunk.
Ideally, for large or even medium-size trees, this should not be done alone. A professional arborist should be hired. They are experienced in downing trees and are insured if something should go wrong. Finding an experienced arborist is as easy as Googling “arborist.” If you want a better selection of arborists in your area, Google several keywords at a time, such as “gold coast tree lopping aussie tree“.
Additionally, the reason professionals are preferred is that they have equipment like utility trucks. Utility trucks have bucket lifts than can reach the tops of trees. At the tops of the trees, the worker can cut the tree’s branches in small chunks until he or she reaches the trunk.
Cutting the large branches should be accomplished by first cutting the tips. In approximately twelve-inch sections, cut the limbs, little by little, until you reach the trunk. Cutting small sections at a time creates safe-size logs that will not endanger other structures as they fall. Additionally, cutting small sections helps ensure the branches do not strike you as they fall. Finally, cutting horizontal branches from the outer edges inward ensures fewer chainsaw pinches.
- Wedge cut
To fell the remaining tree trunk, you will need to make a wedge cut on the fall side of the tree and a felling cut directly opposite to the wedge cut. When determining where to cut, you should pick a spot on the tree that is of comfortable height for you yet is no higher than your hip.
However, to make the wedge cut, you must prepare it with an initial notch. The initial notch should not extend more than one-third of the way around the tree. Additionally, the depth of the initial notch should be one-fifth of the tree trunk’s diameter.
With the initial notch complete, you make the wedge cut by first either cutting above or below the initial notch cut. The goal is to cut out a piece of the trunk that looks like a slice of orange, i.e., a wedge. You should try to have approximately 60 percent of the wedge cut above the initial notch and about 40 percent of the wedge cut below the initial notch.
Doing so ensures the upper part of the wedge is longer than the bottom. When the trunk falls, it can then snap. If the angles of the wedge are the same, the trunk could simply bend, catch, and hold.
For any vertical branches that aim toward a house or structure, it is best to have assistance pulling the branch in the desired fell direction. For instance, a worker using a heavy rope or yellow winch strap can wrap the tip of the branch with the strap. The strap should be at least thirty feet to fifty feet in length to ensure the puller remains at a safe distance away from the cutting and landing area.
As the cutter cuts the branch, the puller pulls. Because you always want to be cutting no more than 12-inch sections, there is no real danger that the cut sections will hit anything, and the pulling force will help keep the section falling in the right direction. Again, this is an advanced-cutting technique, so experienced arborists are best equipped to remove large trees.
As you cut the branches away, eventually you will be left with a tall, branchless tree trunk. Starting from the top of the tree, using the horizontal-cut method, you should continue cutting approximately 12-inch sections from the tree. Once you reach a point where the remaining trunk is only about 10 feet tall, you can again use the horizontal-cut method to fell the remaining portion of the tree trunk.
- Stump removal
Stumps can either be cut level with the soil, or they can be ground away until whatever remains is far below the level of the topsoil. In the first case, cutting a tree trunk even with the ground is dangerous and should be left to professionals. A long, eighteen-inch to twenty-inch chainsaw blade is required, and as you will be cutting horizontally along the ground, pinching is a possibility.
Grinding the stump requires a grinder. Grinders are specialized pieces of equipment similar to a soil tiller. However, they are fixed with gear-like teeth. These teeth spin and chew away at the stump. Once the stump is ground away, the hole can be filled with soil and fertilizer.