Cutting Trees can be a Breeze

How to safely, effectively take care of wayward branches.

Logan Campbell, Reporter

Due to the recent freeze, many people may have realized the need for thinning or pruning their trees.

The steps taken in order to be safe when cutting a tree down is long but necessary. To start, eye and ear protection are needed. Safety glasses rated to Z87 should be worn. Ear protection is not necessary but is recommended as the decibel level of a chainsaw is quite high.

When cutting down a tree many tools can be used for multiple purposes, but the basics will be a chainsaw, a wedge, and a hatchet. The chainsaw will be used for all the cutting and slicing, the wedge will be used to make sure that the tree won’t rock back and pinch the bar on the chainsaw, and the hatchet is used for two things. The first purpose is to tell which way the tree is leaning, the second purpose is to hammer the wedge into the tree.

Now that the tools and purposes are known the steps needed to cut the tree can come into play. First use the hatchet in a vertical position to tell which direction the tree is leaning but be sure to check in two directions. After finding the lean of the tree it’s time to cut the pie cut, the pie cut starts to be cut by making a horizontal cut about halfway through the tree and then following it with a diagonal cut to intersect the horizontal cut. When done with the pie cut walk around the tree and when facing the opposite side of the tree measure two inches above the horizontal part of the pie cut. Start to cut in towards the pie cut and watch the tree to look for movement. When the tree starts to fall, walk away from the direction of the falling log. 

Once the tree is on the ground and settled, start to cut the larger branches off close to the trunk of the tree. As the branches are cut off remove them and place them in a pile. When all of the larger branches are cut off of the tree start to cut the now log into smaller sections. Two foot logs are recommended for firewood. When all logs are cut and moved away from the used to be tree it’s time to start splitting. There are many ways to split a log such as a hydraulic log splitter and then there’s the good ole hands on way. The splitter method will require ear and eye protection due to noise and popping through stress. The hands method will require a sledgehammer (16 lbs recommended) and a wedge (4-way splitting wedge recommended).

In order to use a hydraulic splitter, place the log all the way against the back of the splitting platform and move the arm down. Once done with that, turn one half of the log and repeat until the desired size is reached. 

For the hands on style splitting, place the wedge in the middle of the log and set it by tapping on it until it’s about an inch in the log. When the wedge is set, stand back and strike the wedge with the sledgehammer in order to split the log. When the log is split into smaller pieces use an ax to split the pieces of wood into the desired size. Be sure to stack the pieces of wood away from any homes or structures as there is always the possibility to attract termites. 

If all steps are followed closely then the only true cleanup and after math will be lawn work and a trunk to burn.