How to Cut a Leaning Tree in the Opposite Direction?

Felling trees is a job that every Tree surgeon out there has to face. And there is no way that he can compromise with the quality of this job. Because a tree felled in the wrong way can be even thrown at the garbage.

So, I’ve seen many people asking this question: how to fell a leaning tree in opposite direction in forums, communities, and even social media groups. And I’ve, therefore, thought to write a complete guide on this subject.

To compensate for the tree’s leaning, you must aim in the opposite direction by the same distance. For instance, if the tree leans 1 meter to the right, you should aim at least 1 meter to the left. Additionally, it is important to insert the felling wedge at an oblique angle from the side of the lean.

This positioning allows the felling force to provide support to the tree as it falls.

What Causes A Tree To Be Leaning?

The most common causes of a tree leaning in the opposite direction are:

  • Wind or storm damage: Strong gusts of wind can push a tree off balance, causing it to lean in the opposite direction of the prevailing wind.
  • Uneven weight distribution: Damage to the tree’s roots or soil erosion can lead to an uneven distribution of weight, causing the tree to lean away from the weakened side.
  • Seeking sunlight: Trees naturally grow towards sources of light. If there is a gap in the canopy or an obstruction blocking sunlight, the tree may lean in the opposite direction to reach for optimal light exposure.
  • Previous damage or injury: A tree that has experienced past damage or injury, such as from improper pruning or a previous storm, may develop a leaning posture over time.
  • Structural instability: Trees with weak or compromised structural integrity, such as decay or disease in the trunk or branches, can lean in the opposite direction due to a loss of stability.

Required Tools To Felling A Leaning Tree Against The Lean

To cut down a leaning tree, you will need the following tools:

Chainsaw: A powerful chainsaw is essential for cutting through the tree trunk and branches. Choose a chainsaw with an appropriate bar length for the size of the tree.

No products found.

Felling wedges: Felling wedges are used to control the direction of the tree’s fall. They are inserted into the felling cut to guide the tree’s movement and prevent it from binding the chainsaw.

Personal protective equipment (PPE): Safety should be a top priority. Wear a hard hat, safety glasses, ear protection, and protective clothing, including chainsaw chaps or pants, gloves, and sturdy boots.

Axes or hatchets: Axes or hatchets can be used for climbing branches or removing smaller parts of the tree. They are also useful for creating notches in the felling cut.

Ladders or climbing equipment: Depending on the height of the tree, you may need a ladder or climbing equipment to access higher branches or to make the felling cut at the appropriate height.

Rope or cables: If the tree’s lean is significant or there are obstacles nearby, you may need ropes or cables to guide the tree’s fall in the desired direction, ensuring safety and preventing damage to surrounding structures.

No products found.

First aid kit: It’s always wise to have a first aid kit on hand in case of any minor injuries or accidents that may occur during the tree-cutting process.

Remember to use these tools safely and follow proper cutting techniques. If you’re uncertain or dealing with a large or dangerous tree, it’s advisable to consult a professional tree cutter or arborist for assistance.

How To Cut A Leaning Tree In The Opposite Direction: 5 Steps

This is the core section of the article, which we all have been waiting for. Go through the steps one by one after you are done with managing all the aforementioned tools in hand:

Step 1: Assess The Situation

Before putting on the axe and getting into the action, it’s important to assess the type and amount of work that is needed to be done in this situation.

Start with figuring out the center of gravity. In case it has leaning branches over your house or so, this assessment will be quite complex.

Once you have figured out the offset center of gravity, be sure that if you cut it from the root, it will fall towards that particular direction. 

Now, mark the offset center of the gravity of the tree, and also clear up the area underneath. Once done, move towards the next step of felling a back-leaning tree.

Step 2: Determine The Back Lean

Once we have determined the direction of fall and the offset center of gravity, now it turns to calculate the amount of back lean that the tree is going to come up with. Especially, in the case of felling a heavily leaning tree, these measurements are more important.

Now, what is the back lean? Well, it’s the distance from the point that we have marked on the ground in order to apex the undercut. Let’s say that the apex point is the frontal side of a hinge and also the pivot point of the tree. 

Once done, make sure to do these three tasks before felling a tree with side lean:

  • Stay away from the tree and its direction of falling. 
  • Use a rope or an axe as a plumb. In this manner, we will be able to sight up the top of the tree at an angle of 90 degrees
  • Make an assumption of the location of the ground. 

Now, take a measuring tape and measure the diameter of the stump. This is a measurement that will indicate the distance between the frontal hinge and the back edge of the tree. This will also give you a hand in measuring the number of tree segments once cut. 

Step 3: Make The Undercut

Now, take the axe that suits with the tree we’re dealing with, and make the undercut. This will be at the side of the direction of the fall. That means it will be towards the opposite direction of the lean. 

At this step, you should make two cuts. The first cut will be at an angle of 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the tree trunk. And the second cut will be above the first cut. 

While making this cut, make sure that you are not cutting more than a 1/3rd portion of the tree thickness. Also, make sure that the second cut is connecting to the inner portion of the first cut. 

The purpose of making both these cuts is to create a wedge-shaped piece towards the direction of the lean of the tree. This will make the job of how to drop a leaning tree easier.

Step 4: Make The Back Cut

Now, we’ll step up to make the back cut on the tree. This is one of the important leaning tree-felling techniques in case you are going for a no-wedge approach. 

The back cut should be at least an inch above the face cut notch. And once the back cut is made, make sure you have a sharp eye on the tree as well. Because this is the moment when the tree will start falling. 

Step 5: Make Sure That You Are Safe

By the end of step 4, the tree should start falling. As soon as that starts, you should make sure that you are in a safe position.

Because these kinds of trees are quite heavy and large in size. So, an accidental fall of it on any human will lead to severe accidents. 

Tree Leaning Towards House: How To Cut Down A Leaning Tree

If you have a tree on your property that is leaning towards your house, it can pose a potential risk and should be addressed promptly. Here are some steps you can take to handle the situation:

tree leaning towards house

However, if you are skilled and equipped for the job, here are some general steps to follow:

  • Assess the tree: Determine the direction in which the tree is leaning and identify any potential obstacles or hazards in its path. Plan a clear escape route in case the tree falls unpredictably.
  • Safety gear: Wear appropriate safety gear, including a hard hat, eye protection, ear protection, gloves, and chainsaw chaps.
  • Prepare the area: Clear the area around the tree of any obstacles, including furniture, vehicles, and other structures. Make sure there is a safe distance between the tree and your house.
  • Make a notch cut: The notch cut is an essential initial cut that helps control the tree’s fall direction. It should be made on the side of the tree facing the direction you want it to fall. Use a chainsaw to make a horizontal cut, followed by an angled cut, creating a notch.
  • Make the felling cut: Position yourself on the opposite side of the notch and make a horizontal cut at the same height as the notch cut but from the other side of the tree. This cut should meet the notch cut, allowing the tree to fall.
  • Create an escape route: As the tree begins to fall, quickly move away from the direction of the fall along the preplanned escape route.
  • Limbing and bucking: After the tree has fallen, remove the branches (limbing) and cut the tree trunk into manageable sections (bucking) for removal or further processing.
  • Clean up: Clear the area of any debris and dispose of the tree parts properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cut a leaning tree without professional help?

Yes, you can cut a leaning tree yourself as long as you take the necessary precautions and follow proper techniques. However, if you feel unsure or the tree is particularly large or hazardous, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance.

Is it necessary to remove branches before cutting down the tree?

It is generally recommended to remove branches from the tree before cutting it down. This reduces the risk of branches interfering with the fall and causing damage or injury.

How do I determine the direction in which the tree will fall?

Assess the lean of the tree, and based on that, determine the natural direction it wants to fall. This can be influenced by the tree’s weight distribution and surrounding obstacles.

Bottom Line

So, that’s the list of steps that we need to go through in order to learn how to cut a leaning tree in the opposite direction. While going through the steps, make sure that you’re completely aware of the weather condition.

Also, if you have multiple trees to deal with the same manner, go with the smaller trees in the first place. Also, be 100% aware of the mass of the tree, as it’s going to give you an idea about the lean force. 

Kevin Smith

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *