Cutting down trees the right way – tips and instructions

Chan ann leis a’chiad bhuille thuiteas a’chraobh. – It is not the first blow to cut down a tree. This Gaelic proverb sums it up: cutting down a tree is anything but easy. If you want to cut down a tree on your own, you need to make some preparations in advance. Because only by certain precautions, the security of the persons involved is ensured. What steps are necessary to cut a tree properly?? What safety measures to take? When do you need a permit to cut down trees?? These and other questions are answered by the garden blog of HausXXL.

When is it allowed to cut down trees?

In the very first place, the intended period plays an important role. According to the Federal Nature Conservation Act, trees may only be planted from 30. September to 01. March of the following year to be felled. Exceptions are only granted for building purposes and on the basis of official measures. In addition, so-called eyrie trees (bird brood) may not be felled, unless there is a risk of breakage. This applies to the whole of Germany. In the individual federal states, however, there may be mitigated or amended regulations. It is advisable to ask the local municipality beforehand.

With a chainsaw and proper protective clothing, you can cut down the tree.

If you use the felled tree as firewood, it is recommended that you cut it immediately after the 30. September to cut down. Because this way the wood gets enough time to dry.

Obtain permission to fell the tree

The tree protection ordinance stipulates that a permit must be obtained from the local authority’s regulatory office. This applies to all types of trees, except fruit trees (federal allotment law), which are in your own garden.

A permit must be obtained if the tree to be cut has certain dimensions. From 80 centimeters trunk circumference in a height of one meter up to 1.30 meters a permit is necessary. However, these values differ from community to community.

If such a permit is not obtained, fines in the four- to five-figure range may be incurred.

Precautions when felling a tree

Before the tree is felled correctly, it must be assessed. All criteria can be checked by yourself. For example, the tree species can be determined by leaf characteristics or bark. The characteristics of the tree do not have to be 100 percent correctly determined in the process.

This process is called tree identification and is carried out according to the following criteria:

  • What type of tree is being felled?
  • Standing or hanging tree?
  • Where the main load of the tree crown is located?
  • In which direction should the tree fall?
  • Trunk rot or bark beetle infestation?
  • Wind conditions suitable?
  • Surrounding hazards (buildings, power lines, traffic, living creatures)?
  • Are technical aids necessary?

Felling a tree independently – a guide

The tree approach considers the tree as a whole. This is how you first determine the tree species, because different tree species exhibit different falling behavior.

It is also important to choose the felling technique. This again depends on the direction of hanging. The direction of hanging results from the felling direction and the direction of the crown load. This is called a pre-hanger if the direction of hanging is the same as the direction of felling. A side hanger describes the hanging direction perpendicular to the felling direction. The back hanging corresponds to an opposite hanging direction to the felling direction.

Overview of different felling techniques:

Felling technique Special features
Felling cut without piercing Cut first half of trunk with pulling chain, second half with pushing chain; wedges must be placed in time
Felling cut with piercing Cut with chain saw behind the breaking bar and cut with pulling chain; guide bar must be radial; the tip is in the center
Heart stitch Used when the diameter of the trunk exceeds twice the length of the blade; before the felling cut is made, the heart cut is made from the fall notch through the break line at the height of the felling cut

As soon as the tree shows injuries or open bark places, rot is to be expected in the inside. As a result, the tree is unstable, there is increased risk when felling trees. Too strong wind also increases the risk. As soon as the strong branches of the tree move, it is advisable to stop work.

Felling trees correctly with protective measures

Accidents happen faster than expected. Therefore it is important to protect yourself sufficiently. Professional protective clothing includes wearing a hard hat, safety goggles and protective gloves, sturdy clothing and shoes.

Furthermore, the danger zone around the tree must be secured. Only persons directly involved are allowed to be in the immediate vicinity of the tree felling work.

Safe handling of all tools is also a prerequisite. How to master working with a chainsaw. Felling wedges, ropes and similar utensils should also be ready in case of problems when felling trees.

How to cut the tree correctly – A guide

If all preparations are made, the tree felling begins. In this example, the sawing technique called drop-notching is used. This is a proven method, which is primarily used for diameters of 20 centimeters or more.

With this guide the tree cutting will be a success.

Step by step to success – a tree felling guide:

  1. First you saw the felling notch. The tree will fall on this side later. The notch is sawn about 20 to 30 percent deep into the trunk. To do this, saw the bottom cut horizontally and the top cut at an angle of about 45 degrees.
  2. On the opposite side of the trunk the felling cut is made. The felling cut is made slightly above the notch. This way the tree gets an overweight and falls later in the desired direction. This difference in height between the felling notch and the felling cut is called the breaking step.
  3. Starting from the notch, do not cut the trunk completely, but leave a few centimeters as a break step. So the tree falls guaranteed in the right direction.
  4. If after the last cut the tree still does not tilt by itself, felling wedges are used. This one strikes into the felling cut and brings the tree in such a way controlled to fall.
  5. "Tree falls!"

With the help of these few steps, you can manage to successfully cut down a tree.

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