Tree Felling

Felling of trees is one of the most common tasks performed during logging and arboricultural operations. It is a difficult and potentially dangerous operation that requires the sawyer (chainsaw operator) to have knowledge of trees, be physically fit, and be trained in tree felling operations.

The most common technique used in felling a tree is a multi-step process that first involves the creation of an open-faced notch in the trunk. In properly executed cuts, the creation of the notch positions the static load of the tree such that the sawyer, through the use of the back cut and the remaining hinge, can reliably control the direction the tree will fall. However, mistakes made during felling can result in property damage or serious injury/death to the feller or bystanders.

Safe felling operations begin with proper inspection of the tree and of the conditions in an area 2.0 times the height of the tree to ensure it is free of people & property. The next step used in felling a tree is making three precise and strategic cuts. The graphic below depicts a “conventional” notch, but other notch styles are utilized depending on the circumstances of the cut. Sawyers must make informed decisions regarding the style of notch, as well as the depth of each cut to safely and reliably fell trees.

These cuts should be done by a sawyer who has been trained and wears the appropriate personal protective equipment like gloves, eye protection, hearing protection, head protection with face shield, chainsaw chaps, and steel-toed boots. The chainsaw selected for felling trees must be the appropriate size (bar length) for cutting the subject tree and must be sharp and in good repair. Having the appropriate equipment like tree felling wedges, taglines, and other tree felling gear may assist in the efficient and safe felling of trees.

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