Felling a tree: this is how it is done correctly and safely!

"Attention, tree falls!"Whoever hears this saying can be sure that an old, sick or even rotten tree is being removed in the immediate vicinity. Mostly this task is done by a specialist. The risk is too great when the trunk, including branches, crashes in the wrong direction! We therefore explain here when you can dare to cut down the tree yourself and when this is legally permitted at all. In addition, you will learn how to proceed with a felling cut and what else you should absolutely consider.


"Attention, tree is falling!"Whoever hears this saying can be sure that an old, diseased or rotten tree is being removed in the vicinity. Mostly this task is done by a specialist. The risk is too great if the trunk and branches crash in the wrong direction! We therefore explain to you here when you can dare to cut down trees yourself and when this is legally permitted at all. You can also find out how to proceed with a felling cut and what else you should pay attention to.

When should you fell a tree – and when should you not??

Cut down a tree – this should always be only the last possible measure. At least the plants are an important part of our biosystem and also supply the planet with oxygen.

So for advice, feel free to consult a professional who can help you make the right decision. Some trees, for example, can already be help with a crown cut. However, if the tree has become rotten and threatens to fall during a storm, for example, felling will indeed be necessary.

  • Green healthy tree in the garden
  • Felling trees safely and effectively

Permission and legal situation: When is tree fallen permitted?

tree felling – when and under what exact circumstances it is allowed to do this also as a private person for garden maintenance? We clarify the most important questions here:

When is the right time for tree felling??

As a rule, trees are removed in winter, i.e between November and the end of January, felled. At this time the trees contain the least water and can therefore be removed more easily. Due to the frost, the wood also dries faster, so that you can obtain firewood in a very short time.

According to the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BnatSchG), you are allowed to cut down trees and hedges during the warm months, i.e between March and September, Do not cut down trees at all. Since at this time particularly many birds in the branches nest, these are to be protected thus.

Reading Tip: By the way, you can find out what else needs to be done in the garden and when in our printable garden calendar!

When is it forbidden to cut down trees on private property??

In what form the Federal Nature Conservation Act is also implemented for private property, is in Germany matter of federal states and municipalities. Accordingly, it is up to the regional administrations to protect the tree population on private property.

In all federal states Fruit trees be felled on private property throughout the year, regardless of the diameter of the trunk. Partly are also Coniferous trees exempt from the regulations. At Deciduous trees on the other hand, the situation depends strongly on the trunk circumference – if the trunk is more than 60 cm, the tree is quite safely protected.

Exemptions there is, however, for example, if there is a danger from a diseased tree goes out. In addition, trees may often be cut down even if they are stand in the way of a construction project. Before felling a tree, always find out exactly what is permitted in your federal state.

Caution: Walnut trees are legally considered deciduous trees and not fruit trees! Therefore they are specially protected.

Is it allowed to cut down trees on the property line?

If the tree is located directly on the property line, you should coordination with your neighbors. It is then a so-called border tree, which belongs not only to you, but also to your neighbor. Then simply decide together whether you want to cut down the tree.

What penalty do you have to expect for violations?

If you cut down a tree without permission and are reported to the police, you must comply with the with a fine calculate. The height depends on the federal state. In the eastern German states you pay on average 15.000 euros, in Bavaria and Brandenburg it can even up to 50.000 euros become.

  • Cut the trunk after felling the tree
  • Professional tree felling on private property

This equipment you need for a safe tree felling

You have found out whether you are allowed to cut down the tree in your garden? The time of year also coincides with the rules? Then it can start now! How exactly you to proceed with the tree felling you need to make the process as safe as possible, you can now find out here.

Attention: At this point we would like to point out once again that tree felling without sound knowledge can be life-threatening! Especially if it is a particularly large or rotten tree, you should definitely call in professional help.

tree felling: Only with the right protective clothing!

Chainsaws are powerful tools and should therefore be treated with the necessary respect. An appropriate Work clothes is therefore strongly recommended!

  • Be sure to protect your head with Helmet.
  • For the eyes, use a Safety goggles, better still with a large visor, which also protects the face from damage.
  • In order to protect the ears from the noise during felling, also a hearing protection Plicht.
  • For a firm stand are also robust Work shoes absolutely necessary.
  • If you regularly work with a chainsaw, your equipment should be equipped with a Cut protection trousers expand. If the chainsaw comes into contact with the trousers, it will get caught in the special fibers of the trousers and thus stop immediately.

The right tools for felling trees

Even without the suitable tool tree felling can become a danger:

  • Felling jack or Impact lifter: Used during thinning for weak logs.
  • Chainsaw: For felling large trees with wider trunks, a chainsaw is very suitable. However, familiarize yourself with the tool beforehand so that you do not injure yourself or others. An ideal preparation for the work with these devices is the attendance of a chainsaw course.
  • Felling wedges: Depending on the nature of the trunk, you will need so-called felling wedges, which you should also prepare in advance. This pushes the tree in the intended direction of fall and at the same time prevents the chainsaw from getting stuck.

Instructions: With this felling technique you can safely fell trees

You have obtained all permits and the necessary tools are ready to use? Then you can start with the felling technique. With these instructions you can cut down trees safely and quickly:


In order not to endanger anyone with your project, you must cordon off the entire danger zone around the tree. Also, inform your helpers, family members and possibly neighbors that no one is allowed to be in this area. Conspicuous signs provide additional warnings.

In addition, estimate the felling direction and cordon off this area especially. Then remove the branches from the trunk. To do this, remove all branches and twigs that may interfere with you cutting the felling cut.

Once you have made all the preparations, you can now start felling the tree. In this case, the so-called drop notch is particularly suitable as a felling technique. To do this, first saw the notch. This is a notch on the side of the trunk on which the tree will later fall.

Then saw or cut a horizontal sole cut 20-30% deep into the trunk and a so-called roof cut at a distance of about 45°.

Afterwards you put on the other side of the trunk the felling cut. This must be a few centimeters above the fall notch, so that the tree gets overweight and falls in the predetermined direction.

If your tree still does not topple by itself, you can drive felling wedges into the felling cut to bring it down in a controlled manner.

  • Felling a tree with a chainsaw

More questions and answers about how to cut down trees safely

Simply cutting down the tree is not the end of the job. First the Pre- and post-processing ensure that you work safely. The following questions come up especially often:

Should be removed or left to rot after felling the tree stump?

If possible, you should also remove the tree roots. In forests they are often left standing by foresters – deciduous trees in your garden however, do not necessarily die after felling. Utility lines, drainage pipes, and old masonry with mortar are thus further endangered by the roots.

The natural rotting from the stump and roots can also up to 10 years are. During this time, you cannot sow new grass or plant a vegetable or flower bed at the site. A new garden design is thus delayed for several years.

How to tell if a tree is dangerous?

Examine the tree trunk closely. Drilling and feeding holes, as well as sap and resin leakage indicate insects that destroy the wood. Other warning signs are Cracks, wounds, rotten spots or visible fungal growth and if the bark comes off on larger areas. If you suspect that the tree may cause problems during the felling process due to its condition, we strongly recommend that you contact a specialist.

What should you do if the tree is rotten??

If you feel unsafe checking your trees or if you discover visible damage, it is best to consult a professional. Together you can try to save the rotten tree or cut it to size. Because rotten trees are often a danger to people, animals and buildings, they are often felled.

How much does it cost to have a tree professionally cut down??

Often you want a professional felling in order not to expose yourself and the environment to any additional danger. Depending on the size of the tree, the region, the degree of difficulty and the duration of the work, the prices can vary greatly here. In a classic tree felling with root removal and disposal of the material you need to calculate with a sum between 600-1000€. Let us make you different offers and then decide for the one that best fulfills your wishes.

Reading Tips: You are looking for more ideas and tips for your garden design? Then discover our articles on dethatching the lawn, removing weeds and building raised beds!

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