How To Cut Down Dead Rotten Trees

In this article, I’ll be giving you tips on how to cut down dead rotten trees.

A newly grown tree is always a beautiful sight to behold. They look great in your yard, and they help freshen the air. But if it is poorly maintained, it will become rotten or dead.

Such a tree has to go, and if you’re not interested in hiring professionals to get the job done, then you have to cut it down yourself.

Why You Should Cut Down Dead And Rotten Trees

There are many reasons why a dead or rotten tree should be cut down. I’ll give you some good reasons below.

They are a sore sight: Imagine that beautiful garden having a dead or rotten tree standing in the middle. The sight is very unpleasant, not just to you, but to your visitors.

If you want your garden to keep having its flawless looks, then you need to cut it down.

They invite pests: A dead or rotten tree is the perfect hiding place for pests of all kinds. These include insects, rodents, and snakes.

These pests can cause a lot of damage to the other healthy trees in your yard. They can also creep into your home and damage your property. If it’s a snake, then that would even be more dangerous, as there are many poisonous species.

To ensure your garden is pest free, then do yourself a favor by cutting down the dead and rotten trees.

They are hazardous: If a tree is dead or rotten, so are its branches. A rotten or dead branch is usually weak. This means it can break off and fall at any moment. It would be unfortunate if it were to hit a person on its way down and cause an injury.

That’s just the branch, a dead tree can also fall at any time, hitting your home and causing so much damage to your property and the people inside.

This is a serious situation and the dead tree must be cut down as fast as possible.

How To Take Down A Dead Or Rotten Tree

To successfully cut down a dead rotten tree, you must follow some vital steps. I will list these steps below.

Assess The Tree And The Felling Area

First things first, you need to take a good look at the tree and its immediate surroundings before you start to make your cuts.

Check to see if the branches are hanging over dangerous spots like power lines, rooftops, or a fence. If it’s between a power line, then don’t attempt to cut the tree yourself. You would need to get the professionals to come and handle it.

You also need to choose the direction where you want the tree to fall. The area where the tree should fall must be cleared of all property such as cars or bicycles.

You also need to map out your escape routes. A dead tree can go in under pressure, so you must be prepared to move out of the way at any moment.

Here is a list of things to avoid during tree felling.

Get Your Safety Gear

After the tree and the felling area have been duly assessed, the next thing to do would be to get all the safety gear you need for the job.

Tree felling is a dangerous business, and you have to be responsible for your safety every step of the way.

You must get a hard helmet to protect your head from falling branches. Remember, this is a dead rotten tree you’re dealing with, so the weak branches can fall off at any time, especially under some vibration from the chainsaw.

A pair of goggles will also be needed to protect your eyes from flying wood chips. A dead tree will have a softer trunk, so the wood will chip faster. If your eyes are unprotected, chances are you will get hit in the eyes by tiny pieces of wood.

A pair of gloves and rugged work boots will also come in handy to protect your hands from blisters when using the chainsaw and your feet from sharp pieces of wood laying on the floor.

Get The Tools You Will Need

Now that you are sure of your safety, it’s time you prepare for the cuts. To do this, you will need tree-cutting tools.

I’d like to list them out below.

Chainsaw for cutting the tree trunk and the branches

Ropes to bind the tree and guide it to the direction where you want it to fall

Anchor pins to fasten the ropes to the ground

Shovel to dig up the stump and the roots

Wheelbarrow to gather up and move pieces of wood after the tree is felled

The ropes and anchor pins are essential for this job. As I have said, a dead rotten tree is weak and may fall in any direction. With ropes and some anchor pins, you can ensure that the tree will fall only in the direction you wish.

You will need a ladder to climb and tie the ropes around the tree.

Fasten The Ropes and The Anchor Pins

Gently climb up the ladder and make very tight knots around the top end of the tree, just below the canopy. Make as many tight knots as you can to ensure a stronger pull.

On the other end, fasten the ropes to the anchor pins you have installed in the ground.

When you’re sure it’s all firm and tight, you can begin to cut.

Make The First Cut

Start by cutting the trunk, facing the direction where you want the tree to fall. The cut should be a flat, straight cut made near the bottom of the trunk and shouldn’t go up to halfway into the tree trunk.

Make The Second Cut

The second cup should be made above the first flat cut. This cut has to be made downwards to an angle of 45°, and it should stop at the point where the first bottom cut ends.

After the second cut is made, a v-shaped notch will be formed. Carefully remove the notch, then prepare for the last cuts.

Please note! Because this is a dead tree, making a V-shaped notch in the front might be enough to cause it to start falling under its weight, so be prepared to move out of the way if it does.

Make The Last Cuts Behind The First Two Cuts

Head to the back of the tree and make the last two cuts.

The first behind cut should be a few inches above the level of the bottom front cut, and it should stop several inches away from where the first two front cuts stop.

When that is done, make the second behind cut a few inches above the first behind the cut, also stopping several inches away from the point where the two front cuts stop.

These back cuts will create a wedge that should keep the tree from falling in your direction. Still, you should be prepared to move out of the way if it snaps.

At this point, the dead rotten tree will start to fall towards the direction where the ropes and anchor pins are faced. The trunk of a dead tree is already weak, so it shouldn’t have any problems going down.

The job is done! the dead rotten tree has been cut!

Clearing Up The Mess

After the dead tree has gone down, you can grab your chainsaw and begin to cut it up into small pieces that can fit into the wheelbarrow. Dispose of them responsibly.

Calling on a recycling company to help you remove the felled tree is another option. You may have to pay them for this, but if they need the trunk, they can remove it free of charge.

You can dig up the rotten stump with a shovel and pull it out with a lever. This should be easy since the dead roots would have already been weakened. You can also ask the recycling company to do that for you.

Consider Hiring A Professional

Cutting down a dead rotten tree stump is dangerous work. The danger of this task lies in the weakened tree trunk, which can give in unexpectedly.

Hiring professionals to assess the situation first is a good idea. Depending on how long the tree has been dead and rotten, they can determine how safe it is for you to cut it down.

Pulling it off with a crane or a backhoe is a safer option since the bulk of the work will be done by heavy-duty machines.

One more thing, you need to notify the authorities about the dead rotten tree in your yard before you cut it. Depending on the state you live in, the authorities may be obliged to pay for its removal since it is a hazardous tree.


I trust this article on cutting down dead rotten trees has been helpful.

Stay safe!

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