How to Fell a Tree in the Direction You Want Make a tree fall the right way with a chainsaw

How to Fell a Tree in the Direction You Want | Make a tree fall the right way with a Chainsaw

How to make a tree fall the right way – Introduction

Do you know how to fell a tree in the direction you want? Felling a tree in your desired direction is a skill that you can learn. A tree can easily fall in the direction it leans but getting it to fall in an opposite direction is usually a very difficult.

Loggers refer to this process as ‘directional cutting’. This guideline is designed to help the non-professionals in the art of tree felling. It is aimed at reducing the risks associated with directional tree felling. Some of the hazards can include bodily injuries, damages to properties, and possibly death.

Furthermore, if you want to enhance safety during tree felling, ensure to carry a first aid kit to the project site and have an established plan about what to do if something goes wrong.

The right steps to felling a tree in the direction you want

Let us first go through some of the steps you need to follow in order to fell a tree in the right direction.  Some of these steps include evaluating the risks involved, safety precautions, painting the right cutting point, face cutting, back cutting, and escaping from falling tree.

Evaluating the risks involved

A tree is inclined to fall towards the direction where it leans. Various features could make a tree lean towards a particular direction such as having a larger branch on one side and a tree is growing at an angle. Other things to consider before felling a tree is whether a building is nearby, if power lines may be damaged, passersby and other assets that could be affected during the process. Assessing possible hazards that could be triggered during the exercise and doing all you can to avoid them is one of the ways to evaluate and mitigate the risks involved in executing your project. The size of the tree is also a concern that needs attention, especially for non-professionals. Consider whether your chainsaw is big enough for the diameter of the tree. Do not begin what you cannot finish and create problems for others.

The weather is another factor that requires consideration. Will the winds be moderate or heavy during the tree felling? Check the weather forecasts of the day, and if you it is going to be windy then stay clear of the project site until a better time.

Safety Precautions

The safety of other persons, yourself, animals, and other assets should be a priority for you. That is the reason why you should take time to ascertain a good direction, where the tree can fall. Some of the precautions to adopt include:

  • Wearing of protective clothing.
  • Do not begin the project without a first aid kit and plan.
  • Remove dangerous dead & unattached branches from the top of the tree.
  • Check for vines that are tangle with the tree and interfere with the direction of fall.
  • Any lean in the tree and the direction of the lean and branches.
  • Ensure there is a safe place where you can stand to fell the tree and a clear path going away from the tree.
  • Check around the tree for rubbish and clear it.
  • Do not hold the saw higher than your waist.
  • Use a professional chainsaw suitable for felling trees.

Felling trees techniques

Painting the right cutting point on the tree

Do you want to ensure that you fell the tree in the desired direction? If your answer is yes, then, make sure you mark the right cutting point with paint. This will guide you to the exact point where you can place your chainsaw and cut the tree. It is a horizontal line on the trunk and can serve as a reference when you cut the tree.

Cutting down a tree - notching and back cutting

How to notch a tree to fall

This type of cut usually makes a wedge shape on the side of the tree on your desired direction of fall. You can begin this job by making undercuts, which are two separate cuts at the point where you marked the paint on the trunk of the tree.  The best approach is to make a perpendicular cut, which will be about one third or one-quarter deep on the trunk of the tree. Afterwards, make a downward angled cut to join to the first cut on the trunk to get a wedge-shaped cut. This should be from a position over the first cut, which means, it should be twice as high as the first cut is deep. With these basic steps, you have positioned the tree to fall in the direction you want.

Back cutting

Make a back cut on the trunk of the tree at a height of one inch above the wedge shape created by the face cut. It should be at the opposite side to the face cut on the tree. This cut will finally bring down the tree towards your desired direction; however, it should be after the making the face cut correctly.  A hinge will be formed at the middle of the wood by uncut parts of the wood, which will control the falling of the tree.

It is important for you to monitor the posture and position of the tree, as the back cut progresses; in order to notice when the tree begins to fall and you should escape for safety. Furthermore, if it is a small tree, giving it a push on the trunk can help to bring it down successfully.

Dodging a falling tree

Remember that before you start making the first cut on a tree, you should have cleared the around the base of the tree and have a clear escape path. This will give you an ample opportunity to operate.  When you notice that the tree is falling down, it is advisable to dodge the tree by running away at an angle 45 degrees from that point.

Hazards to avoid

Felling trees is a risky business. Therefore, there are several hazards to avoid in safeguarding your life and that of other persons and properties around. Some of these dangers include:

  • Inability to detect a tree with a center of gravity towards the back cut direction can trap your saw by leaning on it and creating more dangers for you, as it stops the operation immediately.
  • Do not embark on tree felling during windy or stormy periods.
  • A rotten tree is dangerous to fell because the hinge that should control its direction of fall is weak; and it may fall unpredictably in the wrong direction. Beware of this situation and avoid it.


Cutting down a tree can be an exciting job if you master the skills.  Despite the effects of gravitational force on the center of the tree, the rottenness of the wood, windy or stormy weather conditions. If you are unsure if you can safely fell the tree then call a professional arborist.


If you are looking to buy a chainsaw I suggest that you read my review of the best home owner chainsaws for the money

Wood Chipper

After chopping down a tree in your garden you are going to have a lot of brush that you need to get rid of. One way is to use a wood chipper to turn it into wood chips and mulch and put it back on your garden. If you are buying a wood chipper I suggest you read my review about wood chippers

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