How To Cut Down A Pine Tree?

The choice to cut down a mature pine tree is not easy to make. However, there are several situations when this might be the best course of action. In this article, we’ll talk about whether you should remove your pine tree and the best way to do it. 

Why Cut a Pine Tree Down? 

Why Cut a Pine Tree Down

There are many issues with pine trees that can be solved by careful pruning. However, in some cases, you may decide that the best solution is to remove the tree. Here are some of the common reasons to remove a pine tree:

  • Storm damage: Wind, snow, or lightning can sometimes cause irreparable damage to a pine tree, compromising its structural integrity. If it’s not obvious, a professional can tell you whether the damage has deemed your tree to be unsafe. 
  • Disease: Although not all diseased pine trees will die, some illnesses require prompt removal. You will need to have a tree professional diagnose the problem to determine whether the tree needs to be cut down.
  • Safety hazards: If your pine tree is growing too close to a power line or a building, it might be necessary to remove it.

How Do You Cut Down a Large Pine Tree?

how do you cut down a large pine tree

Generally, cutting a mature tree down is risky and should only be done by professionals. But if you have the necessary tools and skills to do the job, it can be done. Here’s how:

Step 1: Formulate a Plan

The first step is to figure out the best direction for your pine tree to fall. Obviously, you’ll need to ensure that it falls in the area where it will do the least amount of damage. Make sure you consider the length of all of its branches. 

Step 2: Suit Up

A hard hat, gloves, and goggles are pretty much non-negotiable when taking down a large pine tree. 

Step 3: Wet Your Blade

Cutting a pine down can be a messy, sticky process. Run your chain saw blade under running water before and during the job to minimize the amount of sap that sticks to the blade. 

Step 4: Wear a Harness

A climbing harness is an invaluable tool to keep you safe while cutting down tall pine trees. 

Step 5: Cut the Hazardous Branches First

Assess which branches could cause the most damage when they fall, and remove those first. Make sure you’re positioned above the branch when you cut it. 

Since the branches get shorter and less threatening towards the top, you should only need to remove the bottom few branches of the tree. 

Step 6: Notch the Tree

Use your chain saw to cut straight into the tree, halfway through, at about waist height. This should be on the side where you want the tree to fall. 

Step 7: Cut Downward into the Notch

Saw at a 45-degree angle towards your cut until the blade hits the notch. 

Step 8:  Open the Notch

Use a hammer to pound and open the notch you created with your two cuts. Double-check that the open area faces where you want the tree to fall. 

Step 9: Make the Final Cut

When you’re ready for the pine tree to fall, make a straight cut on the opposite side of the notch above the middle of the open area. The tree should start falling slowly, right before the cut meets the notch. Quickly move as far away from the tree as possible. 

Step 10: Break Down the Tree

Cut the tree’s stump so that it’s level with the ground. Then, use your chain saw to cut the pine tree into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. 

For a good visual demonstration of how to properly notch and cut down a tree, watch this video:

How Do You Cut Down a Pine Tree in Segments?

In some cases, it’s easier and safer to cut a tall pine tree down in smaller segments. The process is relatively simple. 

First, climb to the bottom of the first section you want to cut. Once you decide which direction you want the segment to fall in, make a downward cut at a 70-degree angle about ⅓ of the way into the trunk. 

Next, make a second cut, this time upwards at a 20-degree angle until it meets the end of your initial cut. Lower the section carefully to the ground, move down to the bottom of the next segment, and repeat. 

It’s normal to feel sentimental about removing a massive fixture on your property like a pine tree. Large conifers can be highly beneficial to your landscape and should be protected if possible. But remember – if you have to remove one, you can always plant another. 

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