When felling a tree, you will need to evaluate the dynamics of the tree but there are also several other important details that must be considered before you choose your trees to fell.
First, look in a 360-degree radius for hazards or property that could be struck by tree that you're falling. If any of these are in reach of the tree, regardless of the direction in which you think the tree will fall, it is highly advised to call in a professional with the proper training and equipment to fell the tree.
Check the weather conditions. If it is a windy day, the top of the tree acts just like a sail and can adversely affect the way the tree will fall in relation to the way you want it to fall. If this is the case, it is advisable that you fell the tree when conditions are more favorable or call in a professional to finish the job.
Look for other trees and shrubbery in the immediate area and how they will be affected when your tree falls.
Also look for snags or loose hanging branches in the tree and surrounding trees. The vibrations and harmonics in the tree created by the cutting action of the chainsaw or the forces caused by windy conditions can be just enough to dislodge the branches where they can fall straight down onto the saw operator. A dangerous hazard that can result in serious injury or even death.
Now that you've chosen the tree you will fell and the surrounding area is suitable for the job, let's look at the fundamentals of felling the tree.
You must first determine the direction the tree will fall. To do so, take into account these basics.
The lean of the tree, which may indicate the direction, the tree will most easily fall.
Also look at the branches of tree and determine if there are a great proportion of limbs or heavier limbs on one side of the tree than the other. This displacement of weight by the limbs can also have a factor on the direction the tree would most naturally fall even if a slight lean of the tree is in the opposite direction. This is a critical choice you have to make and if you are uncertain at all, it is highly advised that you either move to another tree to fell or that you call in a professional to complete the work.
You will also want to take into account other trees or shrubbery in the area. They could affect the tree fall or that it could be damaged by the tree's fall.
Once you have determined the direction which you fall the tree, clean the area around the base of tree so you have an unobstructed zone to work in.
You'll also need to determine paths of retreat for yourself as the tree begins to fall or in case of an emergency. The paths of retreat should be at a 45-degree angle at both sides of the tree opposite of the felling direction. Make certain the entire paths of retreat are clear and unobstructed.
Again, anyone working with you in the area should remain at a distance no close than 2 and half times the length of the tree to be felling and remember never let bystanders or pets in or around the area you are working in. Your partner can be a great help in this regard to make sure no one enters the work zone.
To fell a tree properly, you should also have a set of plastic felling wedges and an ax similar to these. The wedges should be made of a plastic component as not to harm the cutters of the moving chainsaw when used to wedge the tree. Steel or metal wedges will quickly dull a chain and cause a very dangerous condition in the felling process.
Your axe will be used to dislodge any loose bark in the area of your cut as well as the tool you will use to force the wedges into the felling cut.