How to cut down a tree with a chain saw

How to Cut Down a Tree with a Chainsaw

If you happen to have a dead tree in your backyard that’s, in some way or another, ruining the overall view, you might be better off putting it down.

Unfortunately, doing so is not as easy as cartoons make it to be; however, it’s doable, and If you don’t know how to cut down a tree, then there’s no better time to learn how to do so like now.

As a matter of fact, this must be your lucky day as you’ve stumbled across the best place where you can learn how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw.

The process of how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw is clear cut (no pun intended). With that said, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when you’re doing so. As you probably don’t know, chainsaws, even cheap ones, are power tools that can cause a lot of damage, and it’s not only limited to trees. Knowing this, it’s vital to prioritize safety measures; especially in this case where reckless handling of the chainsaw can even cost lives.

Don’t worry though, once you’re done reading this article; you’ll have no fear when working with chainsaws.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it all.


Cutting trees doesn’t require a whole lot of gear. You’ll only be using a chainsaw, some felling wedges, along with basic safety equipment.

Equipment Needed
Husqvarna 16 Inch 440e II Gas Chainsaw
  • 440E II chainsaw with the new x-cut chain and x-force chainsaw Bar is a lightweight and efficient all-round chainsaw, ideal for the homeowner who wants a reliable workhorse that's simple to use.
  • 40. 9cc 16 inch gas chainsaw with guide bar and chain; Idling speed: 2900 rpm
  • 2 cycle engine with inertia activated chain brake for safety while operating
  • Orange Husqvarna chainsaw Bar cover and 2. 6 ounce 2 cycle fuel Included, Bar and chain oil must be purchased Separately
  • Automatic chain oiler delivers a steady supply of bar and chain oil for safe and effective use
Timber Savage 5.5 Inch Felling Wedge Chain Saw Logging Supplies Set of 4
  • 5 1/2 Inch; Double Taper
  • Timber Savage Wedges are Made in the USA
  • 1 Inch Lift
  • Smooth on one side with barbs on the other side
  • These wedges drive in easy and stay put
TR Industrial Forestry Safety Helmet and Hearing Protection System (Orange)
  • 5 in 1 safety helmet comes with helmet, adjustable/removable earmuffs, plastic visor, and mesh visor, providing dynamic protection for any job
  • Provides the protection you need when using chainsaws, brush cutters, and trimmers, ideal for forestry type work.Noise Reduction:SNR 26dB
  • Secures firmly on head and convenient dial knob makes it easy to adjust the circumference 20 - 24.5 inches (52-62 centimeters)
  • Lightweight, interchangeable mesh and plastic visors provide shielding from debris
  • All parts are ANSI and CE approved - Helmet carries a Z89.1-2003 ANSI rating

How to Cut Down a Tree with a Chainsaw

First Step: Evaluate the Job

First off, you need to take into consideration the situation you’re in. This means seeing how much room you have and all. How much free space surrounding the tree will ultimately determine how tough or easy your job will be.

If the tree you want to cut is too close to your home, or if you want it to fall in a specific spot, or if you’re just too afraid that it would damage a fixture during the fall, then you can opt for a professional’s help.

If you feel confident with a chainsaw, then be sure to follow safety procedures to the letter before beginning the work.

Second Step: Plan the Job

Before you start cutting, you’ll want to take into account a couple of things so that the job goes as smoothly as possible.

First of all, make sure the space around your tree is clear, try and make it as big as possible as to avoid collateral damage. The last thing you’d want is for the tree to fall on something of value.

Secondly, ensure that there are no brushes in the tree’s immediate vicinity. Moreover, get rid of any loose branches that might be hanging overhead.

Last but not least, choose the direction in which you want the tree to fall and plan accordingly. Your exit path should be in the opposite direction in which the tree will be falling.

First 4 steps in how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw

Third Step: Make the First Cut

Before you begin the first cut, you need to be wearing adequate safety gear. This includes a hard hat, a face shield or safety goggle, and hearing protection.

Once you have all of that equipped, then you’re good to go. Make the first cut in the direction in which you want the tree to fall.

The first cut (1) needs to be made at a 70° degree angle. You need to have the tree on your left when you’re making the first cut. You’ll also need to cut about one quarter through it in the process. You can use the felling sight on the chainsaw as a guide.

After you do that, make another horizontal cut (2) that meets with the one you just made. The two cuts need to create a notch. Just make sure the two cuts meet. Once you’re done, turn off the chainsaw and remove the piece from the notch that you’ve just created.

Fourth Step: Make the Falling Cut

This is the cut that will ultimately bring down the tree. Move to the opposite side of the tree and start making the horizontal felling cut (3). You need to make sure that this cut is, at the very least, an inch or two above the height of the first cut.

Cut through a quarter of the tree. Once you reach that level, don’t remove the chainsaw from the tree. Just turn it off and take out a falling wedge. Proceed to hit the cut with it.

Once you have the wedge in, you can continue cutting. Don’t cut all the way through the tree. Instead, leave about an inch or two (4) and use it as a hinge for the tree when it falls. As you’re making the felling cut, keep your eyes and ears open as the tree’s fall should be imminent. Brace yourself to take the exit path just as the tree starts to fall.

Fifth Step: Get Rid of the Branches

After you have made the felling cut, you’ll need to get the tree limbed. Use the chainsaw to cut off the limbs of the tree. In order to keep the chain from binding, make sure to alternate between downward and upward cuts.

Sixth Step: Cut the Trunk

Once you’re done with all of the aforementioned steps, you can finally cut the trunk down into smaller pieces.

When it comes to the parts of the trunk where it’s under pressure, use the felling wedges and drive them in after you’ve made a partial cut in order to prevent the chain from binding. If a log happens to be on the ground, then cut most of the way through. After that, roll the log over and complete the rest of the cut from the top. This way, you won’t have your chainsaw run into the ground.


Learning how to cut down a tree with a gas or electric chainsaw is a fundamental lesson for homeowners. Just follow the steps mentioned in this article, and you should be able to chop down trees safely and seamlessly every time.

If you’re dealing with a more complicated situation, then you’re probably better off calling a professional. Just give your local tree service a call and leave the elbow grease to them.

Have you taken down a tree before? How was the experience?

BTW, here’s a video that sums it up:


  • Our own experience

Last update on 2021-10-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Chris Avore

Hello, I have been in the wood working industry for about 30 years custom building one of a kind pieces.