how to cut a big tree

How Do You Cut Down a Big Tree?

When facing the towering giants of nature, the question arises: How do you cut down a big tree? It’s a task that demands skill, precision, and respect for the environment. 

Whether you’re a seasoned arborist or a determined DIY enthusiast, the process of felling a massive tree is a mesmerizing blend of science and artistry. 

From selecting the right tools to understanding the tree’s growth patterns, from safety measures that can save lives to the intricate dance of branches, this endeavor is a symphony of knowledge and technique. 

In this exploration, we’ll delve into the secrets of tree removal, demystifying the complexities that come with it. 

11 Simple Steps of Cutting Down a Big Tree

Here is an 11 step process to cut down a big tree:

1: Assessment and Permission

Assessment involves evaluating the tree’s health and surroundings to plan for a safe removal. In addition, you’ll need permission from the local authorities guaranteeing them the compliance with the set standards. Both steps are crucial for a successful and responsible tree-cutting process.

2: Safety Gear

Safety gear is essential when cutting down a big tree. It includes a hard hat, eye and ear protection, gloves, and steel-toed boots. This equipment safeguards against potential hazards like falling debris and chainsaw accidents, ensuring the safety of the individuals involved in the tree removal process.

3: Select the Right Tools

Essential tools include a chainsaw, ax, and pruning saw. These tools must be well-maintained and sharp to cut through the tree efficiently. Choosing the appropriate tools ensures a smoother and safer tree removal process.

4: Clear the Area

Remove obstacles such as branches, rocks, or debris from the tree’s surroundings. A clean workspace minimizes the risk of tripping hazards and provides ample space for safe maneuvering during the tree-felling process, ensuring the safety of those involved.

5: Identify the Felling Zone

It involves determining the side where you want the tree to fall. This decision considers factors like the tree’s height, lean, and any potential obstacles. Establishing the felling zone guides the direction of the tree’s fall, ensuring it falls safely and as intended.

6: Make a Notch

It involves creating a horizontal cut on the side of the tree facing the desired fall direction. This notch acts as a guide, ensuring controlled tree movement by defining the path it should follow when being cut down, enhancing safety and precision.

7: Make a Back Cut

Making a backcut is the next step in cutting down a big tree. This cut is made on the opposite side of the tree from the notch. It should be horizontal and slightly above the bottom of the notch, meeting the notch to create an uncut “hinge.” The backcut helps release the tree to fall in the intended direction safely.

8: Insert Wedges

After making the back cut, wedges, often made of plastic or wood, are inserted into the cut to prevent the chainsaw from binding when the tree begins to fall. This ensures a smoother and more controlled tree descent, minimizing the risk of accidents.

9: Complete the Back Cut

Completing the backcut is the final step before a big tree falls. After making the initial backcut, continue cutting through the remaining uncut wood in the tree’s trunk. This action releases the tree’s tension, causing it to lean and fall in the intended direction, as guided by the notch, ensuring a controlled descent.

10: Retreat Safely

When a tree is falling, it’s crucial for the person cutting it to move to a safe spot at a 45-degree angle from the tree’s path. This helps prevent any accidents or injuries by reducing the risk of getting hit as the tree comes down.

11: Clean Up

Clean-up means tidying up after a big tree is cut down. This involves taking away branches and cutting the trunk into smaller pieces for disposal or use as firewood. It’s important for getting rid of tree leftovers safely and efficiently, while also lessening the impact on the environment from removing the tree.

How Do You Know Cutting Down a Big Tree Is the Right Decision?

Deciding to cut down a big tree should not be taken lightly, as it has significant environmental and safety implications. Here are some considerations to help determine if it’s the right decision:

Tree Health: If the tree is diseased, dead, or structurally compromised, it may pose a safety risk. A professional arborist can assess its health.

Safety Concerns: If the tree’s location or condition poses a danger to people or property, removal may be necessary for safety.

Obstruction: Trees obstructing structures, utilities, or impeding construction projects may need removal.

Environmental Impact: Consider the ecological value of the tree. If it’s a non-native invasive species, removal might be acceptable. Otherwise, explore alternatives, like pruning or transplanting.

Local Regulations: Ensure compliance with local regulations and obtain the necessary permits.

Consult a Professional: It’s advisable to consult an arborist or tree removal expert to assess the situation and provide guidance on the best course of action.

Alternative Solutions: Explore options such as pruning, cabling, or bracing to address tree issues without complete removal.


In conclusion, cutting down a big tree is a complex and often daunting task that demands careful planning, the right tools, and a commitment to safety and environmental responsibility. 

Whether you’re a professional arborist or a homeowner facing the need for tree removal, understanding the essential steps and considerations is paramount.

Remember that safety should always be your top priority. While this guide provides valuable insights into the process, it’s crucial to recognize when it’s safer and more practical to enlist the expertise of a professional tree removal service. 

Also keep in mind that a well-executed tree removal not only ensures safety but also respects the environment, allowing you to make the most of the valuable resources a big tree provides. If you need any help from a professional, contact us today!

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Contact Professional Tree Trimmers Today

When you choose Professional Tree Trimmers for your tree trimming needs, you can rest assured that your trees are in capable hands. We combine our expertise, professionalism, and commitment to safety to deliver outstanding results that exceed your expectations. Contact us today for a free consultation and let our team of experts enhance the health, beauty, and safety of your trees through our comprehensive tree-trimming services.

Call Us: 561-502-8733