How To Cut A Leaning Tree In The Opposite Direction

This could be a huge problem since leaning trees usually fall in the direction which they face. Don’t fret, in this article, I’ll be giving you tips on how to cut a leaning tree in the opposite direction.

A tree leaning towards your building is a big threat, not just to your property, but to you and the inhabitants of your home as well. There is no other solution besides cutting it down.

Keep reading!

Should You Cut A Leaning Tree?

A lumberjack’s job is tough as it is since felling trees is no easy task. It just has to be done right. A tree felled in the wrong direction can cause damage to property and even cause death, so it should be taken seriously.

The job gets tougher when the tree leans towards a direction you don’t want it to fall.

Before I proceed to give tips on how to cut a tree leaning in the opposite direction, I’d like us to first understand what causes such a scenario.

What Causes A Tree To Lean In The Opposite Direction?

It is very important to understand why trees may lean in the opposite direction. A proper understanding of this would help you execute your task more effectively, and possibly prevent a reoccurrence.

Below are some of the common causes.

  • Uneven branches

When a tree has heavy branches shooting out from one end, and lighter branches shooting out from the other, it can cause the tree to lean.

This doesn’t happen overnight, as branches take time to grow. But in due time, the weight of the heavier branches will begin to manifest and cause the tree to lean.

This boils down to poor tree maintenance. If you do not prune the branches evenly, some will outgrow others and the weight of the heavier branches will drag the tree in a certain direction.

You can prevent this by making sure all the branches are trimmed evenly when you prune.

  • Rot or decay

This can also cause a tree to lean in a particular direction.

When your tree is infested by pests and diseases, it will start to rot. A rotting tree usually has a weak trunk, and this causes it to lean.

Once again, it boils down to poor tree maintenance, as pests and diseases can be controlled if you follow the right maintenance steps.

  • A storm

Storms are powerful forces of nature, strong enough to rip off the roof of a building, and of course, cause your tree to lean.

There is nothing you can do about a storm, as you don’t have the power to control nature’s elements.

This is quite unfortunate, as it can cause you great inconveniences which you never bargained for.

  • Car accidents

This may seem like a funny reason for a tree to lean, but it happens. It is not strange that a car driven into a tree at a significant speed will cause a tree to lean.

A failed brake and drunk driving may cause a driver to run into a tree.

You may wonder how this can happen in your yard, but don’t be surprised, funny incidents do happen.

The Tools You Will Need

The tools you will need to cut a tree leaning in the opposite direction are pretty much the same tools you will need to cut an upright tree.

Strong ropes and anchor pins may be the only difference. You may not need them to cut an upright tree, but if your tree is leaning in an unfavorable direction, then you will need them to guide the fall towards the direction of your choice.

Listed below are the tools you will need to cut a tree leaning in the opposite direction.

  • Strong rigging ropes
  • A chainsaw
  • An ax
  • A measuring tape
  • A ladder
  • Ground anchor pins

You will also need to protect yourself, therefore getting some protective gear would be in order.

One more thing, you will need some assistance where the ground anchor pins are installed. The extra hands there will help hold the ropes steady and guide the fall of the tree.

They should also be alert at all times, so they can get out of the way when the tree starts to fall.

Protective gear includes –

  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Workboots
  • Hand gloves
  • Headphones

You also need to be updated with your city’s tree felling regulations, just to be sure you are not breaking any laws.

Special Consideration

If the tree leans towards a dangerous obstacle such as a power cable, then DO NOT attempt to cut it yourself. In such a situation, you MUST hire the services of professionals to handle the job!

Also, remember to get out of the way when the tree starts to fall!

Steps To Cut A Leaning Tree In The Opposite Direction

Down to business! Follow these steps to cut a tree leaning in the opposite direction.

  • Assess the situation

It would be a massive mistake to put saw to the trunk without assessing the situation first.

Make sure you study the angle of the lean, as well as any obstacles in the way. If the tree leans towards your building, then be sure to have every resident out of the house before you begin.

Also, move your cars and every other moveable property away before you start.

After you have cleared out the spaces, you can determine the center of gravity on the lean, and mark out the spot where you would make your first cut.

  • Determine the back lean

Some calculations will be involved in this phase, just to ensure the tree falls in the direction of your choice.

Once you have determined the direction where the tree is going to fall, as well as the offset center of gravity, you can proceed to determine the amount of back-lean the tree will produce when it’s cut.

These measurements are very important, especially when you are dealing with a heavy tree.

Use your measuring tape to take the diameter of the stump. This measurement will give you the distance between the front hinge and the rear edge of the tree.

  • Use the ropes and ground anchor pins

Since the tree is leaning in the opposite direction, you will need the ropes to guide it in the direction you want it to fall.

You will also need to hammer the pins into the floor. Make sure they are firm and sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the tree.

The next thing to do is to carefully place the ladder on the tree and climb up with the ropes.

Carefully wrap the rope around the area close to the top of the tree and make a strong, firm knot. Then take the other end of the rope and make another knot around the ground anchor pin.

You can make as many knots on the tree as required, and you can use an even amount of ground anchor pins.

Doing this will ensure that when the tree is cut, it will not fall in the direction it leans towards.

  • Make the first and second cut

Here’s where your chainsaw will be put to work. Make the first undercut at the lower side of the tree that faces the direction where you want it to fall.

Since the tree is leaning, the undercut should be made at a reverse 45° angle (that is facing upwards), and it should stop at the center of the tree trunk.

Using your chainsaw once again, make the second cut above the first undercut. This cut should be straight, and it must meet the endpoint of the first undercut.

These two cuts will form a notch, which must be removed for the tree to fall smoothly.

  • Make the back cut

This can be a bit tricky since the tree is leaning. Be sure to make the back cut about an inch above the first undercut, as this will create a wedge.

The back cut should not meet the tip of the first two cuts. Give them at least an inch apart. If you make the back cut to a point where it meets the tip of the first two cuts, then you may no longer be able to control the fall of the tree. This is a situation you wouldn’t want.

Also be prepared to move out of the way, as this is the point when the tree is about to fall.

  • Pull

When all the cuts have been made, the tree would lose its hold and will start to fall. This is the point where the extra hands you have will give it a little pull, to drag it to the direction where you want the tree to fall.

A hard, sharp yank is all you need, then get out of the way to a safe distance.

  • Clear out the area

After your leaning tree has fallen, you can begin clearing out the area.

There will be broken branches and chips of wood on the floor. Use an ax or chainsaw to cut the tree up and take the pieces away with a wheelbarrow.

You could also contact lumberjacks to see if they are interested in buying the felled tree.


I hope this piece on how to cut a leaning tree in the opposite direction has been helpful.

Take all precautionary measures for the good of those around you and yourself.

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