How Not To Cut Down A Tree – Please Don’t Do This

Are you looking to cut down a tree and trying to figure out what never to do when cutting down a tree?

Well in this post, I’ll be revealing how not to cut down a tree.

Let’s get straight into it…

Don’t cut alone

You should not cut/fell a tree alone because it can be difficult to know where the tree is falling and when it’s falling.

When there’s someone with you, they can tap you on the shoulder with a stick to signal you to move away from the tree.

This can save your life. Having a trusted assistant with you can help with giving you a fresh perspective on how to cut down the tree.

Sometimes it can’t be helped. There’s no one willing to come with you to help fell a tree.

If that’s the case, you should at least tell someone you’ll be felling and give them your location.

This way, if you’re taking a while to do a task, they may come to check on you to see if you’re OK.

Don’t cut without a plan

You should never cut down a tree without a plan because you won’t know which direction the tree will fall which could be fatal. So make sure to figure out where the tree is going to fall.

This way you can quickly get out of the way when it does start to fall.

Generally, if the tree is leaning in a certain direction, you know it’s going to fall in that direction. This is a quick and easy thing to assess so don’t skip it.

Don’t just start up your chainsaw, walk up to the tree, and start cutting. This is a big NO-NO. 


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Don’t fell without the proper safety gear

You might think cutting without safety gear makes you look cool and look like a total bad-ass. But to some chainsawing pros, it might just make you look like an ass and an amateur.

Let’s say you hit the tip of the blade on the tree and the chain brake isn’t working. What do you do?

Well there’s not much you can do. Hitting the tip of the blade will create kick back and force the chain the head straight towards you.

And there you go, you’re now scared for life, however…

…if you had a helmet on with face protection, that could have easily helped prevent the chain from directly touching you.

Do make sure you have head and face protection. If you’re using a gas saw, it’s going to be loud, so make sure you have some ear protection.

As well as some chaps and hard boots to protect your legs and feet

Don’t cut with a dull chain

The last thing you want is for your felling to take ages. So make sure your chain blades are sharp.

If they’re dull, you’ll know because the saw will be producing dust instead of chips of wood.

With a dull chain, you’ll find yourself leaning towards the bar to help it cut better. However, this can damage the bar and the overall chainsaw.

So make sure to do a quick test to see if it’s producing chalks of dust or chips of wood. It’ll only take a moment.

So make sure you’re cutting with a sharp blade.

Don’t forget to top up the gas and oil

The last thing you want is for the saw to stop working because it ran out of gas.

Now you have to wait for a bit for the chainsaw could cool down. Because pouring gas into a hot chainsaw is dangerous.

So right before you’re about to fell a tree, simply make sure to top it off with gas. Also, make sure it’s been topped with bar oil. 

This is important because there’s a lot of friction created when operating your chainsaw. And this will create lots of heat which could cause damage.

To prevent any damage, oiling your saw will help reduce friction and help things run smoothly.

Don’t try to cut down a rotten tree

When felling a larger tree that is not leaning to one side, you will create something known as a stump.

A stump will allow you to choose which direction the tree will fall.

However, with a rotten tree, there’s already a stump that’s created. So when you start cutting, you don’t know which direction the tree is going to fall.

So when it comes to a rotten tree, make sure to call in a professional to take care of it. You’ll be safe and out of harm’s way and the tree will be cut down. 

Don’t forget to tension the saw

If your chain is too loose from the bar, it could cause the chain to fall off and hit you. Which of course is extremely dangerous.

If the chain is too tight with the bar, it could cause the chain to snap and even damage the entire chainsaw.

You’ll know if the chain is too loose if there’s too much of a gap between the bar. Just try holding the bar and if the chain is sagging, it needs to be tightened.

When you pull on the chain and there’s absolutely no gap, the chain is too tight. You should consider loosening it.

I would recommend checking the user manual that came with your saw. If you don’t have one, figure out which model and brand saw you have and search for the PDF online.

Don’t cut with the nose

Chainsaw parts labelled explained

You should never cut with the nose of the bar. If you do, this will cause kickback.

Kickback is where the nose of the bar touches something hard and it’s then sprung in the direction of the user. And this can be lethal.

So never cut with the nose and be careful when re-entering a cut.

Don’t cut into the ground

The quickest way for you to dull your blade is to cut into the ground. When you do this, your blade can be completely dulled instantly.

When you cut into the dirt, it has a very grainy texture, almost like sandpaper. Which is what causes your chain to become so dull. 

An easy way to properly cut a felled tree is to cut into it and then turn it around to cut into it from the other side.

Don’t cut without stable footing

This is a part of planning, you need to know where your feet are going to go when you start cutting.

If you’re cutting in the woods, make sure to clear the bushes and large rocks that may be in your way.

Also, if there are any vines, make sure to get rid of them as well. Sure, you may not be able to get rid of absolutely everything and see every inch. But do as much as you can. 

Sure, it may take more time to complete your overall cut but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t push the tree down

When you fell a tree, the roots of it could come out the other side. That’s why it’s important to get away from it as quickly as possible after you’ve made a deep enough cut.

When you stand there and try to push it down, the root could come up and hit you.


You should not cut down a tree without a plan on how to do it and understand which direction the tree will fall.

Always cut with the correct safety equipment and sharpen the chain. Make sure the chain is tensioned correctly and the nose of the bar should never hit anything as this will cause kickback.

So those were some simple tips on how not to cut down a tree.

I hope you will follow the advice in this guide as it will keep you safe and keep your chainsaw functioning properly.

Happy sawing!

–  Adam