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How do I fell a tree?
Snow Joe Logo Joe's Assistant
14 months ago


  • The chain saw operator should keep on the uphill side of the terrain as the tree is likely to roll or slide downhill after it is felled.
  • An escape path should be planned and cleared as necessary before cuts are started. The escape path should extend back and diagonally to the rear of the expected line of fall.
  • Before felling is started, consider the natural lean of the tree, the location of larger branches and the wind direction to help you judge which way the tree will fall.
  • Remove dirt, stones, loose bark, nails, staples and wire from the tree.
  • Make the notch 1/3 the diameter of the tree, perpendicular to the direction of falls.


  1. Make the notch 1/3 the diameter of the tree, perpendicular to the direction of falls.
    • Make the lower horizontal notching cut first.
  2. Make the felling back cut at least 2 in. (50 mm) higher than the horizontal notching cut. Keep the felling back cut parallel to the horizontal notching cut. Strategically position the felling back cut so that enough wood is left to act as a hinge. The hinge wood keeps the tree from twisting and falling in the wrong direction. Do not cut through the hinge.
  3. As the felling gets close to the hinge, the tree should begin to fall. If there is any chance that the tree may not fall in the desired direction or it may rock back and bind the saw chain, stop cutting before the felling back cut is complete and use wedges of wood, plastic or aluminium to open the cut and drop the tree along the desired line of fall.
  4. When the tree begins to fall, remove the chain saw from the cut, stop the motor, put the chain saw down, then use the retreat path planned. Be alert for overhead limbs falling and watch your footing.
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