How to Cut a Leaning Tree: Four Steps by the Pros

While felling trees, especially rotting, dead, and leaning trees, is best to leave it to professionals due to the inherent dangers. Our experts at Volunteer Tree Company can teach you how to cut a leaning tree and when to leave it to the experts.

Generally, you can use two methods to cut a leaning tree: cut against the lean and with it. For best results, schedule professional tree service by Volunteer Tree Company for all your felling needs. 

Four Steps to Cut with the Lean

Cutting with the lean encourages the tree to fall in the direction it’s facing. While this is the safest way to fell a tree, it’s not always ideal depending on nearby power lines, buildings, or other trees. If possible, however, most professionals prefer this method.

1: Make a Notch in the Tree

Create a notch with your chainsaw around 1/5 of the total tree diameter and at or lower than knee height. The notch will guide the tree to fall in a specific direction, so cut this notch on the ground-facing side. 

2: Create Bore Cuts 

Make your bore cuts on the side opposite the notch to weaken the tree and guide its fall. You must make this cut slightly above the angle of the notch. Carefully drive your chainsaw around the tree’s circumference and stop before you completely cut through. 

The hinge of the notch and a small section of uncut diameter should keep the tree standing. While this forces the tree to fall in your desired direction, breakage and kickback can be deadly. 

3: Make the Felling Cut

The felling cut is the final act that brings the tree down. Pound wedges into the tree opposite the notch; they act as a jack pushing the tree in the right direction. Cut the remaining tree section opposite the notch to sever the tree completely. 

Ensure all objects and people are safely out of the way before the felling cut. Once a tree begins to fall, you cannot stop it. 

4: Grind the Stump

Using stump grinders, remove the remaining tree stump. This step is not always necessary, but many prefer to grind the stump while felling a tree. Cut the tree into moveable sections with the chainsaw and clean the area. 

Felling a Tree Against the Lean

A professional arborist will know how to cut a leaning tree and have it fall in the opposite direction. This process is difficult, hazardous, and requires more tools. For your safety, you must leave it to a professional. 

The professional should remove a tree branch or more to lessen the tree’s weight. The arborist will use extension ladders to reach the heaviest branches and safely cut them before the felling.

Contact Volunteer Tree Company  

Sometimes, subsidence caused by trees forces an owner to remove trees close to buildings. Reach out to Volunteer Tree Company in Lewisburg, TN, at (931) 637-5487 for more information on how to cut a leaning tree.


We serve anyone in need of tree removal, trimming, stump grinding, or land clearing.

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1367 Verona Caney Rd
Lewisburg, TN 37091

Phone:(931) 637-5487


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