5 things to check before you take down a tree

We’ve all seen the tree felling gone wrong video on YouTube. The one where the man breaks his leg from a simple tree trimming or the men who thought it would be wise to pull the tree down by attaching it to their ute. While hilarious as it was to watch, actual tree felling is dangerous business if not done correctly. If you are not physically fit or if you don’t understand the proper techniques, it’s recommended that you don’t do it yourself. For those who are taking on the job, here’s what you need to do before you fire up the chainsaw.

5 things to check before you take down a treeMake sure the tree is not protected

Worried about a tree in your front yard? Or does your neighbours’ tree overhang into your property? Before you even consider pruning or slashing it down, make sure it doesn’t have a preservation order attached to it. A tree preservation order allows local authorities the power to protect the tree, meaning you cannot touch it without the councils consent. This usually doesn’t apply to trees’ that are already dead, but it’s a good idea to ensure you are following the guidelines of the protection order.

Safety gear

Not investing in the correct safety gear could mean the difference between a major and a minor accident. For example, a flick of bark catches in your eye while you axe away, causing you to be distracted and disorientated. However, if you are wearing safety glasses, the debris would rebound, leaving you to carry on with your axing. Reduce the risk by wearing leg coverings, a hard hat, steel cap boots, heavy duty gloves and safety glasses. In case something does go awry, keep a first aid kit handy until help arrives.


It’s obvious that you are going to need an axe and a good brand chainsaw like Stihl Chainsaws to complete the task. But what other tools should you have at your disposal? Pruning shears will get rid of any loose branches that could pose danger when the tree falls and a tall ladder will help you get up there safely. Your tools should be in good condition before you use them. You may need to do some maintenance on them first, so if you are unsure whether they are safe to use, don’t hesitate getting them checked out by a professional.

Assess the condition of the tree

You’ll have an easier time cutting the tree once you assess its condition. Four things you should ask yourself while determining its form is whether it leans in one direction or another? Are there dead or broken branches? Is there an area where the tree an safely fall without damaging the surrounding area? Are there any branches from a nearby tree entangled in the one you are planning to cut?

Plan an escape route

Once you’ve figured out where the tree is going to fall, plan an easy escape path so that you can run quickly to a safe area. Your path should be at least 10 metres away from the stump and at a 45 degree angle from the sides and back of the tree. If possible, find protection behind another tree.

Got any other tree felling tips? Tell us in the comments below.

Written by Mickey Mick