Home Gardens How to Cut Down a Tree in Segments

How to Cut Down a Tree in Segments

by Andrea Stein

Things You\’ll Need

  • Tripod ladder

  • Rope

  • Fall arrest harness

  • Chainsaw

... Cutting down a tree in sections may be necessary if it stands in a crowded area.

Trees are often felled by cutting through the trunk near the base, allowing the entire tree to fall. This may not be an option if the tree is in a residential area or otherwise surrounded by buildings, other trees or objects that can be damaged during the felling process. Under such circumstances, cutting the tree down in segments may be more safe and practical. This task will require you to climb the tree to cut the trunk into manageable pieces.

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Step 1

Position a tripod ladder, which is more secure than a standard leaning ladder, next to the tree. Secure the ladder to the tree with a length of rope.

Step 2

Start the chain saw. Set the chain break on, then set the saw on the ground and secure a rope to the saw by tying the rope around the saw\’s handle.

Step 3

Fasten a fall-arrest harness around your body. Wrap the securing line of the harness around the tree trunk. Attach the ends of the securing line to your harness. Check the fall-arrest harness\’s manual for specific instructions on how to properly attach and secure the securing line.

Step 4

Pick up the rope that you previously tied to your chain saw and ascend the tripod ladder. Lift the secure line up over the tree as you ascend. Determine the size of the sections of tree trunk you wish to cut down. Mark the bottom of each segment you wish to cut down with a length of rope.

Step 5

Pull the chainsaw rope until you can grasp the handle of the chainsaw. Cut just above the highest length of rope you have attached to the tree. Begin the cut at a 90-degree angle and cut through one-third of the trunk. Then lower the chainsaw and cut at 90-degree angle in the opposite direction to make a triangular cut in the trunk. Descend the ladder.

Step 6

Secure the ladder on the opposite side of the tree. Ascend the ladder until you can comfortably reach the cut you made on the opposite side. Begin cutting through the tree in a straight line, until the saw blade hits the angled cut on the other side of the tree. The section of tree will begin to fall away from you. Take hold of the cut section as it begins to fall and lower it carefully to the ground. Descend the ladder and cut through the next segment of the tree, following the process outlined in step 5, until all the segments have been removed.


Enlist the help of a friend to help you safely lower the severed segments of the tree to the ground.


Always wear safety gloves and safety goggles when working with power tools to avoid injury.

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