If you have plans to build onto your house, you may have a tree standing in the way. If the tree is not too tall or doesn't have a trunk larger than a foot thick, you may be able to remove it yourself. However, you need to keep the following tips in mind to make sure you stay free from injuries and keep your home free from damages.
Always Have One Or More Persons Helping You
While cutting down the tree, always make sure you have one or more persons helping you. Never try cutting down a tree alone because, if a large branch or the tree itself were to fall on you, you may not be able to receive the immediate help you need.
Having one or more pairs of extra hands during the tree removal process is also necessary. While you are cutting on the tree, your helpers can stabilize you on a ladder if you are cutting branches or stabilize the tree itself while you are cutting on the trunk.
Brace The Upper Part Of The Tree With Ropes
Before you start cutting on the trunk, brace the upper part of the tree with ropes. This is where your extra pairs of hands will come in handy. Stabilizing the tree keeps it from falling over before you are ready for it. Also, once the trunk is cut, the ropes aid in directing the tree's direction as it falls, keeping it from falling on a person or onto your house.
About midway up the tree, securely tie two ropes to the trunk. The ropes should be long enough to reach out towards your assistants on each side at an angle. Preferably, the ropes should extend so your helpers are far enough away from the tree that they can jump out of the way without having the tree's top hit them if it were to accidentally fall.
Once you have the ropes tied to the tree, toss one down to each person. Have them walk in different directions, with one walking at an angle away from your house. Have them pull tightly on the ropes so there is enough tension to hold the tree in place.
Cut The Trunk At Different Angles
Once you have secured the tree with ropes, you can begin cutting the trunk. You can use an axe, saw or chainsaw for this part of the job. However, no matter which tool you use, the same process should be followed to ensure the tree does not fall too quickly and does not fall in the direction opposite of where you want to go.
The first cut should be made on the face of the trunk that is facing away from your house and towards your first helper. This first cut is the top cut, which is made at an angle towards the center of the trunk. When making the cut, make sure you stop before you reach the center.
The next cut is called the undercut, or bottom cut. It is made in a straight line towards the bottom end of the top cut. When completed, this creates the notch that will determine the direction the tree will fall. The remaining part of the trunk, along with your stabilizer ropes, keeps the tree from falling prematurely.
When you are ready for the tree to fall, the last cut, or back cut, is made from the side opposite the notch and is in line with the undercut. While making the cut, it is important that both ropes are held very tightly. Once the cut is made, have the person standing on the side of the notch pull gently, while the opposite helper keeps tension on the rope so it does not fall too quickly.
Using the above tips can prevent personal injury or property damage to your home. However, if you do not feel confident removing the tree, or if the tree is too large for you to handle safely, you may want to contact a tree services contractor with whom you can discuss your options for getting rid of the obstacle for you. For more information, contact a local tree service company like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc.