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menevets 05-13-2013 11:43 AM

Felling a small tree: DIY doable?
I'm debating whether I should cut down a pear tree myself.

The trunk is about a foot in diameter, maybe a tad less and there are phone lines running along the top.

Only one quote so far, $250. If I DIY, I'll have to rent/buy a chainsaw, but can borrow a pole pruner. Don't have much experience using a chainsaw, but use a circular saw all the time. I figure I'd prune as I can with the pole pruner and then cut as much as possible from the top down, then cut the trunk.

I've never cut down a tree before, so if I'm doing anything dangerous to myself and/or my property, please let me know!

Huck2013 05-13-2013 12:00 PM

For $250 I'd say it's not worth the risk to you. It's fairly close to the house and your neighbours, plus you mention a phone line? There may be too many 'what if's' with this project for a DIYer. What if you fall the tree the wrong way and it ends up on (1. your roof, 2. your neighbours roof, 3. the fence, 4. all of the above) or what if you hurt yourself or someone else.

Obviously your call, but I'd say this tree has too many potential risks for someone to 'learn' on.

mj12 05-13-2013 03:54 PM

That is a very nice tree. Wondering why you want to cut it down. 250 dollars it would have been down already. I have had trees do the strangest things when being cut down. Taking down a tree is not a diy project. When that chainsaw kicks it is going to go right to your face, if the chain breaks it will go for your face. If you pin the saw when cutting the tree you will need to have a pro come out anyway. But I would say go for it because then at least the tree stands a chance at survival.

SPS-1 05-13-2013 08:56 PM


Originally Posted by Huck2013 (Post 1178349)
For $250 I'd say it's not worth the risk to you.

I agree 100%. So long as the guy who is going to do it, is insured and agrees he is liable for any damage. Not just a handyman from Craiglist that happens to own a chainsaw.

Fix'n it 05-13-2013 09:28 PM

you guys are sissys. that tree is nothing.

Chokingdogs 05-14-2013 02:46 PM


Originally Posted by Fix'n it (Post 1178830)
you guys are sissys. that tree is nothing.


i agree, kinda....

you can take that down easy, for probably $20 and some elbow grease.

if you have room, back towards where you took the photo, all you need is some rope, a bow saw, a friend and arm muscles. lop off the branches going over the fence as high as you can/want. tie a rope as high as you can around the trunk and hand the other end to your buddy. he pulls while you saw the base....timber....

if you can borrow a chainsaw as opposed to buying/renting one, your cost just dropped to near zero.

ddawg16 05-14-2013 02:53 PM


Originally Posted by Fix'n it (Post 1178830)
you guys are sissys. that tree is nothing.

I agree too.....that would take maybe 30 minutes....

I would just use my cordless sawzall....start cutting like the pros do...tie a rope to the person pulls while you cut (top down)....

Cut/break up the smaller limbs and put in your trash....leave the bigger pieces on the will gone before the day is out...firewood for someone else.

Huck2013 05-14-2013 03:48 PM

Menevets - It's up to you obviously. Just consider the pro's and con's, risk and $$$$. Safety is sometimes worth a couple dollar you know what I mean!?!

Personally I wouldn't hesitate to cut it down. But I've owned/used a chainsaw for years; made my share of mistakes and got lucky a couple times.

menevets 05-15-2013 09:39 AM

Thanks to all for the advice. I think I'll try trimming the top and easy branches myself first, see what I'm up against. I'll borrow the pole pruner first. Can you rent a cordless sawzall?

And another question. I am guessing the $250 doesn't include the stump removal. That'll be extra, yes?

ddawg16 05-15-2013 09:45 AM

If the $250 did include the stump....that would be a bargain......

If you don't have a sawzall....time to go buy would be amazed at how many jobs you will find for it.....

Go looking for the combo kits. I personally think Ryobi is the best bang for the buck. You can typically get a combi kit that includes the drill, sawzall and circular saw along with a battery and charger. Lithium is the better way to go.

BTW, the cordless drill has a 1/2" chuck....unusual for cordless drills....and well worth it. My Ryobi's have built a garage and my 2-story addition.

menevets 05-17-2013 02:52 PM

I tried trimming the top and got four estimates. Two for $400 and two for $250. Decided to go with one of the $250 guys. I guess I could do it myself for around $50, but I just saved some money putting up the fence in the photo and I figure I can learn by watching some experienced guys doing it.

Hardway 05-17-2013 09:27 PM

You can cut that down with a hand saw limb by limb!
I have a saw that I bought at TSC that fits on a 3/4" conduit.
The saw was $6.99

NegativeTen 05-19-2013 09:52 AM

As mentioned above, does the $250 include stump removal/grinding? If so, pay up and have it done professionally (assuming, of course, it's a professional and not some jackwagon with tools). If the $250 does not include stump removal, have you thought about that yet? You should be able to easily remove the tree as you planned (and a chainsaw or sawzall is always a good investment anyway!), but removing the stump is something you'd certainly want to call in a pro for.. it's not so much dangerous as it is laborious.

If you do decide to tackle it yourself, use caution and buy a buddy a six pack (afterwards, of course!) to get his help. Last think you need is one of those limbs hitting a house, or worse.

Scottg 05-19-2013 11:00 PM

I'm in the "No, don't do it" category. Sorry.

Too many limbs, too tight a space, too little experience. During cutting, if not done perfectly, it can snap back and take out that fence. It might not fall perfectly. It's just not a great tree to start on. An arborist would probably limb a lot of it first before cutting the trunk. No way you're going up there to do that.

Is it do-able? Yeah, absolutely. Wise? Probably not. Worst case, if you really must, make sure you use good equipment and all the appropriate safety gear.

menevets 07-02-2013 12:27 PM

Finally got most of it done:

Did it myself. I rented a reciprocating saw with the intent of just trimming the top and then planned to rent a chainsaw to do the trunk but the r-saw was enough. Just needed a ladder and goggles. The hardest part was felling the branches while not destroying any telephone lines or my neighbor's property. My fence took a minor bump from one of trunks falling, but very minor, can't even see a bruise.

Took about 1.5 hours on my own including making small talk with the neighbor, which turned out to me like 20 minutes, rental fee for saw: $15.

I've got a yard full of branches and trunk, literally, to cleanup and throw out though.

I think I'm gonna splurge on my next round of golf. :-)

Thanks to all for the advice. In retrospect, those people charging $400, seems way overpriced.

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