How to Fell a Tree With a Chainsaw

Chainsaw cutting trees down
David Kalosson / Shutterstock

Felling a tree is exhilarating, but it can also turn bad very fast. For safety’s sake, stick to dropping trees no wider than twice bar length of your saw, and only in wide-open areas with a clear path to escape. Not sure you can do it? Call a pro before you start cutting a tree because a partially cut tree can easily topple over in a storm. Here’s the best way to fell a tree.

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Felling a tree: using the chainsaw, make a V-shaped notch
Illustration by Todd Detweiler


Make a V-shaped notch so the upper 60-degree cut meets the lower 30-degree one about one-third of the way in.

Felling a tree: cut the back parallel to the ground
Illustration by Todd Detweiler


Start the back cut parallel to the ground, slightly higher than the notch. Leave a few inches of trunk between it and notch to act as a hinge.

Felling a tree: drive in a wedge and tip the tree
Illustration by Todd Detweiler


Tip the tree by driving a wedge into the back cut.

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