Felling trees is a very dangerous activity and only experienced professionals should do it. If you decide to fell a tree on your property, keep the following tips in mind if you want the event to be drama-free.
Have a Predetermined Escape Route
Many things can go wrong (such as the tree falling in a different direction from what you expected) as you fell a tree. It is therefore advisable that you map out an escape route so that you run away at the first sign of trouble. This escape route should be clear of undergrowth, large trees or any obstructions that can impede your flight. You can also earmark a big tree behind which you should hide as the one you are felling comes to ground.
Study Wind Direction
A notch cut (a cut that creates a "V" in the direction where you want the tree to fall) may influence in which direction the tree falls. However, when there is a strong wind blowing in a different direction from the direction of the notch cut then the wind may make the tree to fall in a different direction from what you planned. You should therefore plan in which direction to fell the tree basing on the wind direction.
Work With the Lean of the Tree
Study the lean of the tree before you fell it. You can do this by standing right under it (close to the trunk) and then see in which direction it is leaning. You should then make the notch cut in the same direction as the lean of the tree. For instance, if the tree is leaning to the south, make the notch cut on the southern side of the tree. This will reduce how much you have to cut the tree before gravity brings it down.
Sound the Tree
Use your felling axe or any heavy tool near you to hit different parts of the tree as you listen to the sound produced. For instance, if the lower trunk sounds hollow then that part of the tree is dead. Sharp cracks indicate that the wood is still alive. Live wood is easier to cut through than dead wood so plan your cut where there is live wood so that you use less energy to fell the tree.
There is a science behind felling trees and you should know it before you take an axe or chainsaw to cut down a tree. Use the tips above as a starting point in your crash course in tree felling and you will be safer as you cut that tree. For more assistance, contact local resources such as Alstonville Tree Felling.