How To Cut Down A Small Tree By Hand

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“Hey everyone, John here! I’ve been an avid outdoorsman for many years. Recently, I embarked on a project to cut down a small tree in my backyard. It was a task that required careful planning and execution, but with the right knowledge and tools, it was definitely doable. I thought I’d share my experience and the steps involved in safely felling a small tree by hand in this blog post.”

All About Cutting Down Small Trees

Safety First!

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about safety. Wear proper protective gear like safety glasses, gloves, and sturdy boots. Make sure you have a clear work area, and never attempt to cut down a tree that’s too large or poses any potential risks. If you’re unsure about your abilities, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance.

Evaluating the Tree

Before swinging your ax, take the time to assess the tree you’re planning to remove. Consider its height, diameter, and any visible signs of decay or disease. Determine the direction in which the tree is likely to fall and ensure that there are no obstacles or hazards in that path. It’s also crucial to check for any overhead power lines or underground utilities that could interfere with your work.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting Down a Small Tree

Now, let’s get into the actual process of felling the tree.

  1. Make the Undercut: Use your ax to make an angled cut into the trunk on the side where you want the tree to fall. This cut should be about 1/3 of the way through the trunk and angled slightly upward.

  2. Make the Back cut: From the opposite side of the tree, make a parallel cut that meets the undercut. This cut should be horizontal and slightly higher than the undercut.

  3. Drive Wedges: As the back cut nears the undercut, insert wedges into the cut to prevent the tree from pinching your ax and to control the direction of the fall.

  4. Fell the Tree: Once the wedges are in place, strike the tree with your ax or saw on the side opposite the undercut. This will cause the tree to fall in the direction of the undercut.

  5. Trim and Remove: Once the tree is down, use your ax or saw to remove any branches and trim the trunk to the desired length.

Expert Tips and Advice

Here are some tips from my own experience and advice from seasoned professionals:

  • Use a sharp ax or saw: A dull blade will make the job much harder and more dangerous.

  • Take your time and be patient: Rushing the process can lead to mistakes and accidents.

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Keep an eye out for any potential hazards, such as power lines, obstacles, or uneven terrain.

  • Don’t try to cut down a tree that’s too large or dangerous: If you’re not sure about your abilities, call a professional arborist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What size tree can I safely cut down by hand?
A: As a rule of thumb, only attempt to cut down trees with a diameter of 6 inches or less. Larger trees should be handled by a professional.

Q: Can I cut down a tree that’s leaning?
A: It’s not recommended to cut down a tree that’s leaning unless you’re experienced and have the necessary equipment. Leaning trees can be unpredictable and may fall in an unexpected direction.

Q: How long will it take to cut down a small tree?
A: The time it takes will vary depending on the size of the tree, the tools you’re using, and your experience level. Allow for several hours of work, especially if it’s your first time.


Cutting down a small tree can be a challenging but rewarding task. By following the steps outlined in this article, and adhering to the safety guidelines, you can safely and effectively remove trees from your property. If you’re interested in learning more about tree removal or have any questions, feel free to reach out and I’ll be happy to help.

Thank you for reading!

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