Cutting down trees: this must be observed at all costs!

In theory, a easily cut down the tree. Three cuts are made with the power saw and the tree is already on the ground. But stop! Even in one’s own garden one may not cut down trees so easily. Especially on the subject of trees, it is not uncommon for a tangible dispute to arise between neighbors, which often even ends up in court.

Reason are here the usually totally different opinions, which concerns trees. One person likes the nature in his garden and the other feels disturbed by the tree because it takes the light or loses its leaves in autumn. Even tree owners sometimes feel affected by the tree in the garden.

This is especially true if the tree is very tall. It is not uncommon for the rooms on the upper floors to be in the dark, despite the sunshine, and one would like to cut down the tree rather cut down today than tomorrow – would not be the Federal Nature Conservation Act and the numerous Tree protection regulations.

Why is the felling of a tree desired?

If you look at the issue from the neighbor’s side, there are a number of reasons why a Tree felling desired is. On the one hand, depending on the type of tree, leaves, branches, fruits and also seeds are distributed on the neighboring property. This not only ensures a unattractive sight, but is also with regular additional effort connected.

Furthermore straight older trees, all the same whether conifers (spruces), deciduous trees or fruit trees, possess an widely branching root system. The roots usually extend beyond the property line, interfering with the growth of other plants. In the worst case, paving stones are lifted or even the Damage to the foundation of the neighbor’s house. Are the trees with poisonous fruits or leaves, then they become the Danger to children’s lives in the surrounding area.

Already years ago the regional court Hamburg decided that the shade throw of a tree does not entitle to the tree felling. At best, overhanging branches must be removed as part of a crown pruning operation.

When may a tree actually be felled?

Whether and when felling of trees on one’s own property is allowed is unfortunately not federally regulated. On the one hand, city and municipal authorities can set up tree protection statutes according to their own interests, and on the other hand the Tree protection ordinances of the federal states. Before planning a tree felling, one should check on the Environmental office of the city inform and, if necessary, get a Permission for felling the tree. If the felling cut is carried out without such a permission, a fine of the public order office threatens under circumstances.

According to the Bundesverband fur Garten-, Landschafts- und Sportplatzbau e.V. (BGL) deciduous trees as well as coniferous trees (spruces) with a circumference of the tree trunk of 60 to 80 centimeters are protected. Fruit trees are an exception to this rule. Exceptional permits may be issued if the tree’s growth is diseased or if construction work is planned.

Even with such a permit may be allowed at certain times of the year no tree felling because of nesting birds will be carried out. If the respective trees are nevertheless felled, severe penalties and fines may be imposed.

Furthermore, it is possible that the tree is considered a natural monument and may not be felled. If such a tree is nevertheless felled, then after § 304 StGB high fines or even a imprisonment of up to 3 years. According to the Nature Conservation Act, not even a branch of such a tree may be sawed off if no permit has been obtained.

Cutting down border trees – trouble is inevitable

If the tree felling is a boundary tree, in any case, beforehand, the Agreement of the neighbors will be obtained. Basically, if a tree is on a property line, then it belongs to several owners.

The correct felling technique when felling trees

Tree felling should always be Professional has not only the right training, but also usually the right equipment to fell trees properly.

First of all, the felling area must be completely secured. It must be ensured that no persons, animals or objects in the danger zone are. Then the expert determines the angle and direction of fall of the tree. The direction of the fall is aimed at the clearest possible ground areas. Afterwards, similar to tree trimming, all accessible branches are trimmed or cut off. removed, before the specialist finally cuts down the tree in three steps. As a rule, trees are felled with a chainsaw and the corresponding knowledge of tree felling.

The professional will make a so-called notch on the side where the tree is to fall Fall notch of approx. 45 degrees sawing. Two cuts are necessary for sawing the notch. The felling notch has a size of approximately one quarter of the trunk circumference. The third cut is the actual felling cut. This cut is made with the chainsaw from the opposite side. If everything goes according to plan, then the tree will fall in the right direction after tree felling. Helpers during the tree felling work can use a rope, which is attached to the trunk as high up as possible before the tree is felled, to correct the direction of fall minimally.

For larger trees, wedges made of wood or other materials are inserted into the break line. Small trees can be brought down with a crowbar.

What must be observed when felling trees?

To avoid unnecessary injuries, it is important that everyone involved in tree felling, Appropriate protective clothing carry. This includes not only protective cut trousers, but also protective goggles, protective gloves and, above all, a hard hat. The protective goggles prevent flying splinters of wood from getting into the eye and causing permanent clouding of the eyes.

In addition to the hard hat, ear protection should also be worn, as well as sturdy footwear – preferably safety shoes. Furthermore, one should be familiar with the handling of power saws or chain saws. To Risk reduction also includes the realistic estimation of how the tree will fall after felling.

Catalog of fines for unauthorized or prohibited removal of or damage to trees as well as illegal tree felling of the individual federal states in nature reserves and protected forests

Federal stateone treeseveral trees
Baden-Wuerttemberg not specified no specification
Bavaria 50 – 5.000 € /
Berlin no specification no specification
Brandenburg 50 – 10.000 € /
Bremen 50 – 5.000 € 200 – 20.000 € 1
Hamburg 50 – 50.000 € 50 – 50.000 €
Hesse not specified not specified
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 50 – 5.000 € 75 – 100.000 €
Lower Saxony 100 – 12.500 € 1.250 – 50.000 €
North Rhine-Westphalia 40 – 7.500 € 750 – 12.500 €
Rhineland-Palatinate not specified no specification
Saarland 50 – 7.500 € 1.000 – 10.000 €
Saxony 50 – 5.000 € 250 – 15.000 €
Saxony-Anhalt not specified no specification
Schleswig-Holstein not specified not specified
Thuringia / 500 – 25.000 €

Removing the tree stump

Cutting down trees alone is not enough. After the wood of the tree trunk has been roughly cut into firewood with an axe and set aside, the Tree stump professionally removed become. To do this, the tree stump must first be killed off. If one would not do this, the tree would sprout again at the next opportunity. Afterwards you can remove the rest of the tree trunk including root system with a milling machine or with muscle power and an axe. This wood is very good for making firewood.

Tree felling should never be done in high winds. Gusts can possibly cause the tree to fall while it is still being cut and thus influence the direction in which it will later fall.

Hiring a professional to cut down trees

Just to save money, one should never cut down trees on one’s own initiative. Even a medium-sized tree can lead to problems if a layman deals with tree felling. The tree can land uncontrollably on the neighbor’s car or ruin the garden.

For safety reasons, trees may not be felled on one’s own initiative. A professional must always be hired to cut down trees. This person brings the necessary knowledge and also the appropriate equipment.


Trees are subject to strict Tree protection ordinances and nature conservation laws, why they may not simply be cut down. The felling of trees is unfortunately not federally regulated, so when felling trees you should always check with the relevant city environmental office and, if necessary, obtain a Permission must obtain. If there is a permit, then a professional must be commissioned to cut down trees, because he has the necessary expertise to avoid accidents.

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