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How Does An Arborist Cut Down Trees?

In a way, a tree removal is an art form, requiring skill and patience to complete properly while maintaining safety at all times. So unless you are a trained arborist, tree cutting is not a DIY job. Professional arborists and tree cutters must know the ins and outs of every tree they work on so they can make cuts safely without putting their safety and the safety of others at risk.

So if you’ve ever wondered how the pros work their magic, here’s a look at arborists and their expertise needed to cut down trees safely. An arborist studies the bio-mechanics of trees and is trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining trees.

Arborists are knowledgeable and trained with the proper techniques to care for a variety of tree species.

This knowledge and training covers:

  • Growth
  • Cultivation
  • Reactions to pruning
  • Diseases
  • De-compartmentalization of decay
  • All the practical aspects of tree surgery

An arborist maintains trees and woody plants to keep them safe, healthy, and attractive. Most arborists specialize in a particular area of tree care, such as planting, pruning, cutting, or disease control.

Depending on their particular domain or area of expertise, arborists will:

How to Know When It’s Time to Cut Down a Tree

A dead or dying tree is most easy to spot during a year when it normally would have leaves. A lot of leafless limbs in summer is an obvious sign your tree is unhealthy to the point where it can’t be saved; dead trees will have no leaves at all. If it’s winter, you can lightly scratch a branch or snap a twig off to see if there’s any green tissue. If there’s no green, wait until spring to see if any new growth sprouts to figure out if the whole tree is, in fact, dead.

Other warning signs are wilted or brown leaves that indicate water stress, disease, or insects are killing the tree. Wet streaks or oozing sap on the bark can indicate a fatal disease or injury. Pruning off dead or diseased branches will buy you time before the whole tree has to be removed, but play it safe and tackle only the limbs you can reach from the ground. For more advanced work, hire a certified arborist to help with the diagnosis to confirm if the tree can be saved or must be removed.

Unfortunately, sometimes even healthy trees need to be removed if they are crowding or shading out other more desirable plants, or if they’re too close to power and utility lines, or a sidewalk. A tree planted too near your home may send roots toward your foundation or into underground pipes, potentially causing damage. A tree that has suffered extensive damage in a wind or rain storm may also decline quickly.

How to Hire an Arborist

Experts recommend hiring a certified arborist to remove a tree 8 inches or more in diameter around the trunk. If there are no arborists in your area, look for a forester or reputable tree service to safely remove the tree. Your local garden centre, tree nursery, or university extension service can offer guidance and recommendations. According to the International Society of Arboriculture, you should be wary of individuals going door-to-door and offering bargains for performing tree work. Most reputable companies are too busy to solicit work that way. 

It’s a good idea to get three estimates. Ask for references, proof of insurance, professional certifications, and a written estimate. And as tempting as it may be, the lowest bid may not always be the best option. You should examine the credentials and the written specifications of the firms that submitted bids and determine the best combination of price for the work to be done, skill, and professionalism.

The Better Business Bureau advises that anyone you hire should obtain all permits needed for the work to be done. And don’t let the work begin without a signed contract that includes start and completion dates, exact costs, and work to be done (including cleaning up and removing debris). The Better Business Bureau also recommends you don’t pay a large amount upfront. Stagger your payments according to work stages and don’t make the final payment until the job is satisfactorily completed. Paying by credit card provides some recourse should the job not be completed to your liking.

14 Different Types of Tree Cutting Tools

Cutting down a tree or felling a tree can be an enormous job to handle depending on the size and condition of the tree, so it’s important to err on the side of caution and use only the right tree cutting tools for the task.

Cutting down a tree is something that’s generally better left to the professionals to handle. This is mostly the case for large trees, trees that are near a structure, rotten trees, or if you simply feel uncomfortable tackling the job. If, however, you’re dealing with a small tree and you feel confident enough for the task, then this may be something you can do yourself.

Safety should be your utmost concern, so you must use only the right tree cutting tools and follow safety recommendations. It will also be helpful to learn about the different tree-cutting techniques to make the job easier. And if it’s your first time using a chainsaw, be sure to enlist the help of an experienced chainsaw user.

Which type of chainsaw is going to appeal to you the most will depend on your needs. If you have many trees to cut down, then the increased power of a gas-powered chainsaw will be very beneficial. For most purposes, an electric-powered chainsaw is going to work just as well. You also won’t need to purchase fuel for the electric-powered chainsaws, which adds to the overall convenience.


A chainsaw is typically the first tool that most people think of when tree cutting is brought up. Using a chainsaw is the simplest and quickest way of cutting down a tree. Chainsaws are quite powerful and can cut through wood with relative ease. The power of these tools also means that you need to take care when operating them to not have an accident.

If you need to see through logs or have a small tree to fell, owning a chainsaw will allow you to make short work of the task. A good chainsaw will be able to cut through wood without any problems, and you won’t have to worry about exerting yourself too much. As long as you are careful with this tool, it will be one of the simplest ways to take care of your tree cutting needs. People use chainsaws for all types of tree cutting purposes, including cutting down large branches.

Pole Chainsaw

Pole chainsaws are excellent tools that will make cutting down tree branches a lot simpler. If you have tall trees that you want to trim, you will want to consider getting a pole chainsaw. No one wants to use a chainsaw while climbing a ladder if it isn’t necessary. When you need to cut down tree branches that are high up in the air, the reach of a pole chainsaw is going to make the job a lot easier than it would otherwise be.

Much like the chainsaw listed above, these types of tools come in different styles. You will be able to purchase gas-powered models and electric-powered models. As you would expect, the gas-powered models will be more powerful, and the electric-powered ones are cleaner. Either option should work great for your purposes, so it’s best to simply choose whatever option appeals to you the most.

You can trim branches that are pretty thick with this powerful tool. Even branches that are 8-inches in diameter will not be a problem when you own this pole chainsaw. If you want to make trimming and cutting down tree branches simpler, then purchasing this tool will be very appealing. You’ll have an easy time using it, and you won’t have to worry about trying to balance on a ladder.

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Pruning Shears

Pruning shears are among the most common tree cutting tools that people use every single day. A good set of pruning shears will make trimming tree branches simple. You can use these tools to trim your trees and keep them looking as nice as possible. You may not be able to trim branches that are too thick with these shears, but it is generally meant for pruning smaller limbs.

People who care about maintaining their property to the best of their abilities will want to own pruning shears. They’re a convenient tool to use when trying to shape a tree to make it look aesthetically appealing. You’ll be able to use the pruning shears very easily, and it isn’t difficult to use them while up on a ladder, either. They will prove to be useful to you if you have many trees on your property.

Tree Loppers

Tree loppers are kind of like the next step up from pruning shears. These tree loppers are capable of cutting branches that the pruning shears simply can’t handle. You can fit the branch that you are trying to cut in-between the powerful blades of these tree loppers. You then use your power to cut it down and then move on to the next one.

This is a comfortable tool to use, too. The grips on this set of tree loppers help you stay relaxed, even when you have been working for long hours. It won’t be uncomfortable to hold these tree loppers, so you’ll always have the best experience possible. Combine this with the overall durable build of the tool, and it is easy to see why this is a recommended option.

Long Reach Tree Pruner

A long reach tree pruner is going to be a good option to consider when you’re afraid of ladders. If you have trees with high up branches up in the air, you will need a reliable tool to trim them. If you aren’t willing to climb a ladder, you need an option that will work for you. The long reach tree pruner is the optimal solution for trimming tall branches without having to put yourself at risk.

The overall reach of this tool is quite impressive. You can reach 7 ft into the air with this handy tool, making tall branches a lot less bothersome than they were before. Short people enjoy having tools of this kind because it extends their reach and successfully cuts and trim branches from the ground. It is truly a convenient tool to own, so you will want to consider it.

Pruning Saw

This pruning saw will be one of the most useful tools for you when you want to avoid using power tools. You can cut down even thick branches when you have a high-quality pruning saw of this kind. Most people do use these saws for general pruning purposes, but they can be used to cut down large branches. The teeth on the blade will make the job pretty easy overall, so you’ll be able to count on this tool to get the job done.

This particular pruning saw features a comfortable “D” grip. There is even a soft spot in the grip that makes it feel better on your hands, ensuring that you’ll have a smooth experience the entire time. You will have an easy time holding the saw and getting it into the right position to cut your branch. It’s easy to use and very effective overall.

Bow Saw

The bow saw is another common manual tree cutting tool. You can place the bow saw on the branch that you are trying to cut down, and then you should effectively rock it back and forth. This will cut through the tree branch, and you’ll have your job completed before you know it. These saws are very popular for their ease of use, and you don’t have to be incredibly strong just to get them to work properly.

The ergonomic handle really helps this tool to feel natural while you’re using it, too. You’ll be able to cut down large branches without it feeling too difficult. These saws are cost-effective, making them a great option for cleaning up your yard. You’ll be able to find saws like this at most hardware stores, too.

Chopping Ax

Another traditional tool that you think of for cutting down large trees is the axe. A chopping axe is going to help you to cut down even a large tree effectively. It can be quite a bit more work to do this than it would be using a chainsaw, but it can be preferable in some situations. When you want to cut down a tree manually, having a reliable chopping axe around will make a huge difference.

This axe is incredibly sharp, allowing it to cut through wood very smoothly. It will make very short work of smaller trees due to how sharp it is. Thicker trees will be able to be cut down effectively, as well. People use axes like this to cut down branches, too.


A hatchet is essentially a more portable version of the chopping axe that is highlighted above. You can use a hatchet to effectively cut tree limbs, and you can cut down small trees. It won’t be as good at cutting through larger trees as the chopping axe, but it is still a very handy tool to own. People take these hatchets with them on camping trips in order to chop wood.

One of the most convenient uses for a hatchet like this is splitting wood. If you like to make logs to use in a fire, then owning a hatchet like this is a very sensible choice. It can be good to have a hatchet like this around when you want something small to handle a smaller job. For larger tasks, you will want to turn to the aforementioned chopping axe.

Crosscut Saw

Crosscut saws are great because they will be able to help you cut down trees without having to exert yourself too hard. You can place this saw on a tree and simply rock the saw back and forth. This rocking motion is more about finesse than it is raw power. Cutting down trees with this tool is very convenient and is one of the best manual tree cutting options that you can consider.

Professionals use these saws fairly often when they are cutting down trees. It can be a very handy manual tool to own, so you’ll want to consider making use of one. If you purchase one of these crosscut saws, then you’ll be able to quickly fell any trees on your property without much of a problem. They may be a little pricey, but the convenience makes purchasing these saws a good choice.

Two-man Crosscut Saw

Two-man crosscut saws are also available for you to consider. You have probably seen movies or cartoons where two lumberjacks are working in tandem to saw down a tree. The saw that they were using would have been a two-man crosscut saw. This saw is used by two people to cut down a tree in a very quick fashion.

Two people rock the saw back and forth until the tree is completely cut down. You might be surprised by just how fast a tree can be felled when using a saw like this. Two people who know what they are doing with one of these saws will be able to use it quite effectively. It really isn’t that difficult to get used to the proper motion that you need to use for this saw, either.

Cut-resistant Gloves

When you’re working with blades, it is always good to take your safety seriously. You don’t want to have an accident and wind up hurting yourself. In order to keep yourself as safe as possible, it is highly recommended that you purchase a good pair of cut-resistant gloves. These gloves will keep you from accidentally cutting your hands while you’re working with various saws and power tools.

The gloves are actually really easy to work in, as well. You won’t feel like they are limiting the dexterity in your hands because they have been designed specifically for ease of use. You can stay safe while still being able to work effectively. This is a convenient way to avoid careless accidents and keep your job going smoothly.

The grip that you will have with these gloves is also excellent. You will never feel like your grip has been compromised due to wearing gloves. You can even still use touchscreen devices such as your phone while wearing these gloves. They’re a great option to consider if you need a good pair of protective gloves.

Chainsaw Helmet

Owning a chainsaw helmet is also highly recommended if you are going to be cutting down trees regularly. Cutting down trees and heavy branches will always come with certain risks. Being able to protect your head from potential falling tree limbs is important. A good helmet like this one is capable of withstanding an impact so that you can stay safe.

The helmet also comes with protective earmuffs that can keep your eyes safe from the loud noises of your chainsaw. Keeping your hearing safe is really important, and you don’t want to have to deal with hearing a loud chainsaw all day. These helmets come with ear protection for that reason, and you’ll love not having an obnoxious ringing in your ears when the workday is done. They feel comfortable to wear and won’t cause you any problems.

Helmets also come with protective visors. The visors are important because they help to keep debris out of your face. Chainsaws kick up a lot of sawdust and other debris when you are using them. You don’t want to get sawdust in your eyes and then have an accident, so purchasing this helmet is truly going to prove useful to you in the long run.

Chainsaw Chaps

Chainsaw chaps should be purchased for the same reason as the cut-resistant gloves. You want to ensure your overall safety while using dangerous tools such as a chainsaw. This may not be necessary if you are using manual tree cutting tools or just trimming your trees. If you are felling trees with a chainsaw, then having the right protection is going to be important.

Chainsaw chaps are made out of protective materials that can prevent you from cutting yourself if your chainsaw slips. These chaps will protect your legs in order to keep you from harm in the event of an unfortunate accident. You don’t want a chainsaw to make contact with your thigh even briefly, as it could nick an artery. This could be potentially tragic, so you can see why chainsaw chaps are so important.

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