For enthusiastic hobby gardeners, their own garden is their pride and joy. Here they are in charge, deciding on the design, which flowers, plants and growths belong in it and which do not. However, this right of determination in your own garden does not apply all-encompassing, because there is one exception. All trees are under special protection, which is regulated in the Federal Nature Conservation Act, which in turn flows into the local tree protection statute. Unauthorized tree felling can result in severe penalties in the form of high fines and, in the worst case, up to 3 years in prison. But even with a permit in your pocket, it’s not a good idea to just start sawing. If you take the advice in the following instructions to heart, you will fell the tree correctly,

Going to the authorities eliminates all uncertainties

The Federal Nature Conservation Act prohibits any tree felling between March 1st and September 30th to protect the birds from breeding. If it is a very old tree that has been declared a nature conservation monument, it may not be touched outside of this period, let alone felled. For the hobby gardener, the period between October 1st and February 28th is suitable for felling “normal” trees. This process is regulated by the tree protection statute, which can, but does not have to, be issued by the responsible city or municipality. In view of the growing environmental awareness of the citizens, fewer and fewer cities and municipalities are issuing such tree protection statutes.

It is therefore important to check with the local administration to see if a permit is required. In some parts of Germany, this is generally dispensed with. In other regions, it is only granted if a new tree is planted elsewhere at the same time. Interventions in the root area of ​​a tree are subject to strict approval in Hamburg from a trunk diameter of 25 cm or a growth height of 130 cm. In North Rhine-Westphalia, all the smaller municipalities and municipalities have now refrained from issuing tree protection statutes, whereas in the metropolitan areas a permit must be obtained. In view of these confusing conditions, it is advisable to contact the local authority in any case.

fell border tree

If a tree is located exactly on the boundary between two neighboring properties, it is called a boundary tree if the boundary line runs right through its trunk. It doesn’t matter where the roots are. If one neighbor now wants to fell this border tree, the consent of the other neighbor is required, because they have the same right of ownership. If a neighbor refuses consent, this can be enforced if necessary. As a rule, however, there must be valid reasons that could prevent a tree felling. If both neighbors agree on the other hand, they share the wood and the costs of felling, unless one renounces his right of ownership. Then the neighbor who felled the wood keeps all the wood, but also bears all the costs himself. So if the hobby gardener plans to fell a border tree,

Safety is top priority

Important safety precautions must be taken before the hobby gardener gets involved with the right felling technique for the tree. First of all, the danger area around the tree to be felled must be secured. This is a perimeter with a radius that is twice the length of the tree. This danger area must be marked in such a way that it is unmistakably clear that there may be a risk of death if the tree falls. The safety clothing, which consists of the following components, is then put on:

  • Protective helmet with visor
  • earmuffs
  • safety goggles
  • saw protection pants
  • safety shoes
  • working gloves

Not wearing this protective clothing, perhaps because it is uncomfortable to wear and limits mobility, can result in a nasty and painful surprise and serious injuries.

Necessary equipment and tools

In addition to protective clothing, the following tools and aids should be available:

  • Axt
  • ladder
  • wedges
  • chainsaw or handsaw

Cutting down trees with a chainsaw is much less strenuous than with an ax and a handsaw. Since it is hardly worth buying a chain saw for a single tree, you can hire one in many places. Compared to a hand saw, however, working with a chainsaw poses greater risks. Therefore, the following safety instructions must be observed:

  • use only when standing firmly;
  • not work when exhausted or tired;
  • Sawing at full throttle prevents getting stuck;
  • do not start a stuck chainsaw;
  • never tilt the chainsaw while it is running;
  • do not operate the saw overhead.

The acquisition of a chainsaw chain driving license is required in some federal states; however, only if the work is carried out in public forest areas. A hobby gardener who wants to fell a tree in his garden is not obliged to obtain this driver’s license.

With the tree approach to the right felling technique

The tree approach means the assessment of the tree, in which all important facts are taken into account before the work process. The following questions have to be answered:

  • Did the tree grow straight or at an angle?
  • In which direction does the crown main load tend?
  • Is it against the direction of felling, i.e. on a slope?
  • In which direction should he fall?
  • How are the roots distributed?
  • Do stronger branches grow on one side, causing obesity?
  • Are signs of trunk rot or bark beetle infestation visible?
  • If the tree falls, could it pull other trees with it?
  • What are the current wind conditions?

Once all of these questions have been answered, the planned direction of felling ideally corresponds to the main load of the crown. If this is not the case, an appropriate felling technique is selected that takes these specifications into account. It is therefore determined where the fall notch is placed, which determines the direction of fall. Finally, the tree should be carefully examined to see if there are any dead branches that could fall from the tremors. This completes the tree approach and the necessary technical aids are put together.

To be on the safe side, a stumbling-free retreat path should be created so that the hobby gardener and his team can quickly move away from the danger point in an emergency.

cut down the tree properly

Once all the preparations and safety measures have been taken, the actual felling of the tree begins. This is done in the following steps:

  1. A notch is cut in the tree in the direction in which it is to fall. This consists of two parts. First, a horizontal cut is made at the bottom of the tree trunk to a depth of about 1/3 of the trunk diameter. This cut is referred to as a drop sole.
  2. Now the so-called notch top is cut diagonally from above, down to the bottom of the notch at an angle of at least 45°. This cut was successful if you can then pull a large wooden wedge out of the trunk. This opening ensures that the tree trunk does not bottom out when it falls over, tearing open lengthwise and then breaking apart in a completely uncontrolled manner.
  3. Now it’s time to make the felling cut through the trunk from the back. However, not all the way to the notch. Rather, a narrow bridge should remain in the trunk at the end. While the felling cut is being made in the tree trunk, wedges have to be repeatedly driven into this cut. This prevents the tree trunk from immediately closing the cut again due to its weight from above.
  4. The narrow bar in the middle of the tree trunk works like a hinge. If the tree doesn’t fall by itself, a few hammer blows on the wedge in the felling cut are enough and the tree tips over. If this is not the case, the bar in the middle is not narrow enough and the felling cut has to be made even deeper into the trunk.

If you follow these instructions, you have the best chance of successfully felling a tree in your garden. In addition to all safety precautions and work techniques, it is of great importance to carry out this difficult and sometimes dangerous process calmly and without hectic and stress.

Felling large trees correctly with a lifting platform

In certain circumstances it is too dangerous to fell a large tree using the falling notch technique. Especially if the trunk is rotten, infested with bark beetles, has become unstable due to storm damage, or could fall onto surrounding buildings. In this case, the step-by-step removal of the tree from top to bottom is a good idea.

The most important prerequisite for this largely safe procedure of being able to fell a tree properly is access to the tree for the vehicle with the lifting platform. You can rent these from rental companies for a daily rate of 100 to 150 euros, including instruction on how to operate the device. As with all other methods of successfully felling a tree, teamwork is also required here. While a helper operates the lifting platform, the second man gradually cuts the tree down from the crown with the chainsaw. Heavy branches are first wrapped with a rope and then carefully lowered to the ground after being cut off.

remove root or not?

If the tree is successfully felled, the work is basically only half done because the root is still in the ground. If a new planting is planned, the following methods can be used to eliminate it:

  • dig up with the shovel;
  • dismantle and dig out with the tiller;
  • pulled out of the ground by an excavator;
  • dissolve by chemical means;
  • Have it removed by a specialist with the patented root rat.

However, the easiest way is to leave the root in the ground and include it in the decoration. Plant bowls or bird baths can be placed on it, or a chic raised bed can be built around it. Over time, the root will decompose and slowly disappear. A natural process that requires no effort.

It is one of the most extensive projects in the hobby garden to fell a tree. Even the preparations can be quite time-consuming. The competent authority must be contacted for a possible permit. Under certain circumstances, an agreement with the neighbors is necessary. The indispensable protective clothing must be procured, as well as the tools and all aids. With the help of the tree approach, the appropriate felling technique is determined and all safety precautions are taken. Since no one should fell a tree alone, a team of fellow gardeners is put together and the appointment is coordinated. Given all these important factors, it is advisable to use this guide to create a detailed checklist that you work through point by point. In this way, all points are set in such a way

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