How to Cut Down a Dangerous Tree

Posted by in Home Improvement Tips, on November 14, 2017

Watch the full episode: Ask This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook cuts down a tree that’s leaning dangerously towards a house. Click here to SUBSCRIBE to the official This Old House YouTube channel:
Time: 4 hours Cost: $1,000 and up Skill Level: Expert Tools List for Cutting Down a Dangerous Tree:
Bucket truck
Hard hat
Safety Glasses
Ear protection
Wood chipper Shopping List:
Rope Steps:
1. Removing a large tree with a dangerous lean is only recommended for a certified arborist with the correct tools and safety equipment.
2. Put on all safety gear and use a bucket truck to reach the highest point in the tree.
3. Use the chainsaw to cut off the smaller branches.
4. Put the smaller branches into a wood chipper.
5. Once the small branches are out of the way, wrap a rope around the tree, and then tie off sections of the large branches one at a time. Cut the large branches and use the rope to safely guide them towards the ground.
6. Once all the branches have been removed, cut the trunk in small sections and push them safely to the ground. Towards the top of the tree, the sections can be 3’-4’, but as you get closer to the ground, cut the sections about 16”-18”.
7. Once the tree has been cut down to a manageable size, tie the rope from the top of the tree to the base of something else in the direction the tree should fall. 8. Cut a wedge section out of about ⅓ of the base of the tree in the direction the tree should fall. 9. Cut straight back into the tree from the other side of the wedge and the tree should fall.
10. Buck the trunk into 16”-18” pieces that can be used for firewood. Only cut about ⅔” down, then rotate the trunk and cut from the other side to avoid damaging the chainsaw. Resources:
For a tree this large that’s leaning, hiring a certified arborist to remove it is recommended. Expert assistance for this segment was provided by Peter F. McBride Tree Service ( Follow This Old House and Ask This Old House: Facebook:

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