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Sometimes it’s necessary to make the difficult decision to have a tree removed from your property. Maybe the tree is dead or dying and posing a risk to the safety of your family, maybe the tree is right where you want to put your new sparkling pool or perhaps the tree is too close to your house or other services.

Once you’ve made the decision to cut a tree down, it’s time to decide how you’re going to do it. Will you hire an expert to do the job or will you attempt to DIY it? Before you pick up the nearest chainsaw – stop! Tree work can be extremely dangerous, and can result in serious injury or even death if done incorrectly, so it’s crucial you take some precautions before you do anything.

Below are some things to consider before you start the process of cutting down a tree:

1. Are you allowed to remove the tree?

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Before doing anything be sure to check with your local council if your tree is protected. Cutting down a protected tree without permission can result in serious fines. Your local Arborist will be able to check this out for you if you’re unsure of what to do.

2. Are you experienced?

Only attempt to cut a tree down yourself if you have a considerable amount of experience with trees and using chainsaws. Even a tree that looks relatively small can do major damage if cut incorrectly.  Trees can be highly unpredictable and if something goes wrong it can result in serious injury or death. 

3. Do you have the right gear?

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Cutting down a tree requires the appropriate safety gear and equipment. You will, as a minimum require:

  • Safety goggles
  • Steel capped boots
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Hearing protection
  • Chainsaw chaps
  • Long sleeved shirt and pants
  • Another person to assist you and be your eyes and ears

Please do not attempt tree work of any kind without this gear. People have lost lives and limbs doing so.

4. Assess the tree

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Before you attempt to remove the tree yourself, you will need to assess the tree to make sure it’s safe.  

  • Is the tree obviously dead or dying?
  • Is the tree leaning heavily in one direction?
  • Does the tree have a significant amount of dead limbs?

If your tree falls into any of these categories, do not attempt to DIY the removal. A dead or dying tree can be extremely unpredictable and attempting to remove a tree with an unstable trunk should only be done by a seasoned professional as it is highly dangerous.

You will also need to take the size of the tree into account. Removing any size tree is dangerous, and the bigger the tree, the more dangerous it gets. As a very general rule of thumb, if the size of the tree will require you to be on a ladder holding a chainsaw – leave it to the professionals as it’s just too dangerous to attempt yourself.

You will also need to take the location of the tree into account. Is the tree near or next to your house? Your neighbour’s house? Power lines or other services? If there is anything you don’t want to damage in the vicinity – don’t do it. You could cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage if it goes wrong.

5. Steps to cut the tree down

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If you’ve done all of your due diligence and you’re confident about removing the tree yourself, here’s what to do:

  1. Forewarn neighbours that you’re going to be doing tree work.
  2. Work out an escape route before doing any work in the event of an emergency.
  3. Determine the fall zone of the tree. Roughly speaking, this zone is one and a half times the height of the tree. Always overestimate this zone as a general rule of thumb. Think about which way you want the tree to fall so you can make cuts accordingly.
  4. Completely clear the area extending out from the tree as far as possible to minimise damage.
  5. Ensure there are no people or pets anywhere near the area.
  6. Put on all safety gear and ensure your chainsaw is sharp.
  7. Remove as many limbs and branches as high up as possible. NEVER operate a chainsaw above chest height
  8. Using your chainsaw, cut a notch at a comfortable height for you on the side of the tree in the direction you would like the tree to fall. A notch is made by making two cuts to make an angled chunk. The cuts should be as clean as possible to help guide the tree in the desired direction.  
  9. Depending on the size of your tree, you may need to do a felling wedge.
  10. Now it’s time to make your felling cut. The tree will fall over with this cut so be alert. Be sure to cut slowly and carefully and always be aware of what the tree is doing and if it’s moving. Do not cut all the way through – when the tree starts to lean, get clear of the area and do not return to the site until the tree has completely fallen over. Never turn your back on a falling tree.
  11. Now the tree has fallen over you will need to deal with the remaining stump and all of the debris. You can hire a professional stump grinding service to take care of this for you and to chip the tree.

    As you can clearly see, cutting down a tree is risky and a great deal of work, and in most cases it’s best left to the professionals. Why take the risk? Your local Arborist will be fully insured, qualified and experienced, they will have the right safety gear and equipment without you having to lift a finger or spend a fortune at hardware stores, they will expertly and efficiently remove your tree without putting your property at risk, plus they will remove all of the (often considerable) debris once the job is done. Too easy!

Local Professional Arborists

Aussie Tree Solutions have been taking care of South-East Queensland trees for over 40 years. Over this time, we have built a strong reputation for safety, professionalism and reliability. Let us provide you with the solution to your tree problem!
Whether it’s tree removals, tree pruning or stump grinding, we’ve got you covered.  Call Aussie Tree Solutions anytime, 24/7 and ask for a free quote on our tree cutting services.

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