Removing a large pine tree from your property is an expectedly massive undertaking. The larger the tree, the more difficult the task is. You can’t simply take a chainsaw to the trunk and hope everything goes well. You have to be able to guide the tree during its fall so that it doesn’t damage anything on the way down. You also need to have a plan for removing it after it has been felled (unless you plan to leave a massive tree trunk just lying there on your property).
To remove a tree of that size, you’ll either need to have a trusted contractor or a detailed plan in place if you want to perform the work yourself. Below, we’ll explain how to cut down a large pine tree and who to approach if you’d prefer to contract the work out.
If you intend to cut down a tree yourself, your first and most important consideration should always be safety. It goes without saying that large trees are incredibly heavy and can do a great deal of damage if their fall is not totally under control. Even the branches of the tree can do a great deal of harm if they’re not removed properly.
Of course, you’ll also be working with power tools when you remove the tree, so you’ll need to play it safe with those as well. Closed-toed work boots, heavy-duty gloves, long pants, long sleeves, and eye protection are an absolute must. A helmet and thick chaps, which are worn over your pants to protect you from the chainsaw, are also necessary.
If you think you will need to climb into the tree to remove any of the branches, you’ll need secure climbing gear as well. This includes heavy-duty ropes, double-locking carabiners, and a climbing harness.
One critical factor in remaining safe is having backup. It’s always a good idea to have one or two people assisting you with the job. Preferably, your helpers will be people who know how to cut down a large pine tree, but even if they have no experience, they should be physically capable and possess a basic understanding of using power tools.
The Right Tools for the Job
Most of the cutting will be performed with a chainsaw, so you’ll definitely need one of those, but you will also need a few other tools to perform the task of cutting a tree down. A handheld saw will be necessary for medium-sized branches, while pruning shears can do the job effectively for smaller ones. Some pruning shears are designed with a long reach so that you won’t have to climb all the way to the top of the branches. There are also pole chainsaws, which are chainsaws designed to have an extended reach, as well. While it isn’t 100 percent necessary to go out and purchase tools that are quite this specialized, they can be quite handy if you’re able to get access to them.
Other tools that are important for cutting down large trees include spiked felling wedges—to prevent the tree from pinching your chainsaw as you cut—and ropes to guide the tree as it comes down.
Once you’ve made sure you have all the proper tools to perform the job, the next step is the planning phase. First, you’ll have to clear away anything that might be in the way of your work. This includes tables, vehicles, and anything else that can be moved out of the path of the tree. You’ll then have to communicate with everyone who might be in the area about what you will be doing and when. If you’re cutting down a tree near a house, for example, you’ll need to make sure no one who lives in the house is nearby as you work. You’ll also want to inform your neighbors of your plan.
The next step will be to make a plan with regard to how the tree will fall. Needless to say, you can’t simply allow it to fall without controlling it because it might hit something on the way down. Figure out which direction is safest for the tree to fall in, and then prepare to guide it in that direction.
Starting the Job
Before you begin, take another look around to make sure the site is safe. You’ll want to be absolutely sure that nothing is in the way. This includes power lines, other trees, and any sort of property. The next step will be to check the limbs and branches near the top of the tree. If it appears that the limbs are dead or otherwise at risk of falling, you’ll need to remove them first by climbing into the tree. Once again, make sure that you do this safely. Don’t climb into the tree if it seems like it’s fragile, and don’t put any weight on limbs that don’t look like they can support that weight.
Your next step will be to cut a notch with a depth of about one-fifth the diameter of the tree’s trunk. This notch will serve as a hinge to guide the tree in the direction you want. Make sure you cut it on the side you wish the tree to fall toward. On the opposite side, you’ll carve through the trunk with your chainsaw, utilizing your felling wedges to ensure the trunk of the tree does not damage your equipment.
Disposing of the Tree
Once the tree has been felled, you will likely have to call in a professional to remove the stump and take away the wood. While it’s possible to do this work yourself, it will involve even more expensive equipment rental. If you’re looking for a professional arborist to perform this work for you, make sure you read reviews and contact references before you make your ultimate choice. Look for a certified company with years of experience, such as Mr. Tree, and discuss the job with them ahead of time. A reputable company will also know how to cut down a large pine tree for you should you wish to avoid undertaking such a large task on your own.