How To Cut Down A Tall Tree By Yourself

In this article, I will be giving you tips on how to cut down a tall tree by yourself.

As much as you may love your tree, there are instances where it just has to be taken down. It is not an easy task, and it’s more difficult with tall trees.

Cutting Down A Tall Tree By Yourself

Tree felling can cost quite a sum of money, and it may be an expense you are not prepared to incur. That being said, you may decide to take it down yourself.

If you don’t have the slightest clue where to begin, then I suggest you keep reading.


Most people will call a professional arborist to cut down their tall tree, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, if you must cut down the tall tree yourself, then make sure you take the right precautionary steps before you begin.

If the tree trunk has a diameter of more than 16 inches, or it is surrounded by dangerous obstacles such as a power cable, then you should call a professional to handle the task.

Also, make sure you abide by your state’s tree felling regulations, as many states regulate the felling of tall native trees.

Reasons For Cutting A Tall Tree

Several reasons can prompt you to cut your tree down. The experience you get from knowing what these reasons are will help you do better with your next tree.

So what are these reasons? I will point them out below.

It has been damaged by a storm – Storms are not a strange occurrence most adults would have experienced at least one storm in their lifetime.

Storms don’t just affect small trees, they can damage tall trees too. The wind from a storm can tilt your tree to a dangerous position. It can also break the branches and leave them dangling over your roof.

The tree is infected – If your tree is infected (or infested) by several pests and diseases, then you have to take it down.

Leaving an infested tree in your yard isn’t just bad for you, it’s also bad for the other trees as well. Think about it, if the pests can make the tree their home, what will stop them from exploring into other trees, and even your building?

The damages caused by pests to your tree, if unattended to, will cause extra damage to your property, especially wooden furniture.

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In such a situation, you need to cut it down.

Keep this in mind, the taller your tree, the bigger the home it creates for pests.

The tree is obstructing the view – Your tall tree may have grown to the point where it blocks off your view from your window. That’s pretty annoying if you ask me.

As a homeowner, you would love to be able to have a good view of your yard from the upper floors. If your tall tree obstructs your view, then taking it down might be a favorable option.

You just don’t want the tree anymore – You may have loved the tree when it was young, but as it reached a mature height, you fall out of love with it and decide to go for a smaller tree.

In a case like this, it doesn’t matter if the tree is infested or poses a threat. It might be healthy, but if you no longer want it, then you no longer want it right?

Tools You Will Need To Cut Down A Tall Tree By Yourself

After considering all the factors involved and you’re sure you’re good to go, then you can proceed with cutting down your tall tree.

Below are the tools you will need to accomplish your mission.

  • A chainsaw
  • Strong ropes
  • Ax
  • Wheelbarrow

Personal Protective Gear

Do not attempt to cut down a tall tree yourself if you do not put on the right protective gear.

These include –

Hard helmet – To protect your head from falling branches.

Gloves – To protect your hands from blisters caused by handling the chainsaw. Also to help you get a better grip on the saw.

Goggles – To protect your eyes from sawdust and flying wood chippings

Work boots – To protect your feet from pieces of sharp branches or wood chippings laying on the floor

Padded headphones – The noise from a chainsaw could get loud. Padded headphones will protect your ears from the noise.

Extra Tips

If your tall tree is dead, rotten, or is showing signs of deterioration, then be extra careful when you cut. Dead or weakened wood increases the risk of an accident.

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Make sure your ropes are very strong and well knotted around the tree, as you may need them to guide the direction of your fall.

Lastly, make sure you mark out at least two escape routes, in case the tree falls in a direction you didn’t plan. Be sure to have everyone move away from the surrounding areas of the tree for their safety.

Steps To Cut A Tall Tree Yourself

Follow these steps –

  1. Examine the area and the tree

This is the first thing you need to do.

Take a good look at the tree and try to identify signs that point to the most likely direction the tree will fall.

A major sign regarding the tree’s falling direction is an obvious lean. The direction it leans towards is the direction it is likely to fall.

When you have determined the direction the tree will fall, be sure to clear out all obstacles around. These include vehicles and other garden furniture.

If the obstacles around the tree’s leaning direction cannot be removed, then you have to guide the tree’s fall away from that direction using the ropes.

  1. Make the first cut

Start by making an undercut, this will be done with your chainsaw. The cut should be a V-shaped notch, made on the side of the tree that faces the direction where you want it to fall.

This cut will be made at the low end of the tree trunk. The bottom of the V-shaped cut should be straight, while the top cut should be made downwards at an angle of 45°.

The ends of both the angled and straight cut should meet at a tip and should go halfway into the tree trunk. This would create a wedge that you will take off.

  1. Make the second cut

The second cut should be made on the opposite side of the tree and should go about 8 inches deep.

This cut will eliminate the stress behind the tree and will trigger the tree’s fall in your chosen direction.

The back cut should be made a bit higher than the point of the initial undercut. The reason you should make the back cut higher than the undercut is this – You will need a little piece of wood to act as a wedge, which will cause the tree to fall cleanly by the force of its weight.

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A small tree would require a push, but since it’s a tall tree, its weight will do the job for you and fall on its own.

Be sure to move to one of your selected escape routes as the tree starts to fall.

Extra Work

If you’re up for it, you can take your ax or chainsaw and cut up the felled tree into bits and pieces of wood.

You can load up the pieces into a wheelbarrow and move them away from the felling site.

After your tall tree has been cut, you will still have a tree stump to deal with.

There are several ways to get rid of the stump. You can use chemicals to rot the stump, or you can have it burnt using kerosene or diesel.

You can also call on a stump grinding or removal service to get the job done for you, although this will cost you some money. Renting a stump grinder and doing the work yourself may be the cheaper option.

If you are patient, then you can burn or rot the stump, as those options carry a very little cost. Although these methods will take a lot more time than grinding.

The choice of how you want to remove the tree stump is yours.

What To Do With The Felled Tree?

The felled tree is still valuable, as you still have much to gain from it.

You can use your chainsaw and cut up the foliage into tiny bits which you can use as mulch for your garden. Some of the mulch can also be used to hasten the rot of the tree stump (that is if you plan to rot the stump).

Also, the wood from the tree itself can be used for firewood at home.

Selling the felled tree to lumberjacks is also a good option for two reasons.

First, you will make some decent money from the sale of a tall tree, as size matters a lot. Secondly, the lumberjacks will be responsible for removing the tree from your yard.


I trust this article on how to cut down a tall tree by yourself has been helpful.

Remember to follow your state’s tree felling regulations, most importantly, stay safe!

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