Felling trees – the right way to do it

There are many different reasons why it may be time to cut down a tree. For example, the tree in question may be taking nutrients away from other plants and vegetation, thus inhibiting their growth.

Of course, it is particularly important – for whatever reason the tree is to be felled – to proceed correctly and, of course, not to neglect the aspect of safety. At the same time, it is necessary to answer the basic question of whether a particular tree may be cut down at all.

In short: who wants to cut a tree, should plan his project in advance, so that really in the ideal case nothing goes wrong. If in the course of preparations it becomes clear that cutting down the tree would be far too dangerous for a layman, it is advisable to hire a professional to do the work.

Before this article goes into a step-by-step guide around proper logging, it is first important to look at the "framework conditions". After all, it requires some preparation and safety precautions before the saw blade touches the tree.


Which trees may be felled?

Especially with regard to the felling of larger trees, it is important to be able to conclusively explain the personal reasons for their removal. At the latest when an application has to be made to the local authority, it becomes clear whether the interest of the landowner will be granted or not.

The guidelines that those responsible in the individual federal states must follow can sometimes differ significantly from one another. In addition, depending on the location of the tree, it is also necessary to come to an agreement with the neighbor. If the tree is a so-called boundary tree, it belongs to both property owners. Depending on the municipality, cases like these are regulated more or less bureaucratically.

What should be considered when felling trees on private property?

Attention! Just with regard to the answer to this question, many rumors circulate. In many cases, trees – even on private property – may only be cut between October and January… and only if no animals will be affected by the felling.

(Exception: If the tree approach is determined, deviations from this temporal specification are possible.) In addition, with regard to the trunk diameter, some guideline values must also be observed.

Here applies mostly: Only deciduous trees with a trunk diameter of less than 80 cm, conifers with a trunk diameter of less than 100 cm and fruit trees with a trunk diameter of less than 150 cm may be felled. The limits can vary from region to region.

With the data it acts accordingly around average values. In the vast majority of cases, however, a "replacement tree" must be planted.

If you are unsure about the exact requirements, you should take a look at the Federal Nature Conservation Act. At the same time, it is important to take into account the requirements of the municipalities. The rules to be observed are by no means arbitrary. Rather, each region pays attention to their specific conditions. Contact persons for clarification of specific questions are, among others, the nature conservation authority and the city administration.

Important tips and rules for tree felling with a chainsaw

Anyone who wants to cut down a tree with a chainsaw must follow some rules. Safe handling of the tool is taught in a basic chainsaw course.

There are even areas in which proof of participation in such a course is mandatory. For both devices a basic training course must be attended. Further information can be read on the respective homepages of the forestry companies in the nearby area.

Furthermore, it is necessary to wear full protective equipment in order to be able to fell trees safely. To the complete outfit belong..:

  • Cut protection trousers
  • Safety shoes
  • Gloves
  • Helmet with visor
  • Hearing protection.
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Only this clothing provides the best possible protection against injuries associated with the engine or. Chain saw can arise. Here it is accordingly important not to make any compromises.

Step-by-step instructions on how to cut down trees correctly

After preparations have been completed, it is time to begin the actual tree cutting work. If the tree brings the ideal conditions and has no abnormalities, the process actually always follows the same pattern.

  • In the first step, it is of course important to find out whether the tree in question may be felled at all. If this is the case, with point no. 2 be continued.
  • First, the chainsaw is used to saw out the so-called felling notch. For this purpose, a cut is made as horizontally as possible (the so-called "sole cut"). This should not penetrate deeper than one third into the trunk.
  • Now follows a cut at an angle of 45 to 55 degrees to the sole cut. This leads from the bottom to the top until the two rear cut edges meet.
  • The bark of the tree still has to be removed at the ends of the felling notch.

(By the way: If you are not satisfied with the first notch, you do not have to despair. Cutting the same requires a good sense of proportion and appropriate practice. Over time, cutting the fall notch will certainly become easier.)

  • Now it is time to draw in a break line above the drop notch bottom. This is about 25 millimeters wide and provides space for the felling wedge. The saw is set on the other side of the log and guided in several moves to the outer edge of the breaking strip.
  • The felling wedge is now driven into the new cut with a hammer or an axe. Thus the cut remains open and the chainsaw is not disturbed by the dead weight of the tree. In addition, the wedge – at least ideally – ensures that the tree leans in the right direction of fall.
  • The 25 to 35 millimeter cut is then also made on the other side.
  • When the tree slowly begins to topple, the immediate surroundings must be warned with a loud "tree is falling". The tree feller now goes to the above mentioned place of retreat. This should be left only after some time after the fall of the tree. The probability that the tree will take branches of neighboring trees with it is very high.

  • The tree is now felled and must be prepared for removal. For this purpose, protruding branches, twigs and other growth are removed from the trunk. After that, the tree is cut into suitable parts and can now be transported away.

What does it cost to have a tree felled?

As mentioned above, in case of doubt, it is always better to have a tree felled by a professional. This applies especially to large trees and to those whose direction of fall is difficult to estimate by the layman.

But how expensive (or maybe cheap?) is to have a tree removed by a professional and book the appropriate logging services? If you want to build up a sound planning basis here, you have to take into account both the costs involved in obtaining permission and the costs of actually cutting down the tree.

All in all, for a medium-sized tree, you can calculate with about 700 to 800 euros (share of fall permit: about 150 euros).

Attention! It is definitely worth comparing prices here. Some suppliers also cut trees at certain times of the year cheaper. However, if there are special circumstances to consider, such as a more difficult initial situation, for example, on a slope, it may also be that the price increases.

Where to put the tree stump?

This is a classic question that confronts every garden owner who cuts down a tree on his property: How or. the tree stump is to be disposed of at all?

First and foremost, this is a matter of personal taste. For example, some property owners love to artistically incorporate the stump into the garden, while others find it a thorn in their side.

Those who decide to let the stump rot should have a little patience. Because: it usually takes several years for this process to be completed. A decade and more is not uncommon here.

Those who don’t want to wait that long will have to dig out the stump willy-nilly and/or. remove with the appropriate tools. As with regard to general logging, however, there are companies that can be contracted to remove the stump.

A "nice" side effect: if desired, the companies in question will take the stump with them, so that the garden owner does not have to worry about its disposal.


felling a tree often involves more work and effort than expected. There are many different factors that need to be considered to ensure a high level of safety. Among other things, it is important, for example, to "get to know" the tree better before felling it, in order to determine the direction of fall as accurately as possible.

Furthermore, it is necessary not to compromise on the knowledge of chainsaws and the clothing to be worn.

If you are not sure whether the tree can be cut down safely on your own, you should always consult a professional in case of doubt to be on the safe side.

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