Cutting Down or Felling a Tree: What's the Difference?

The simple fact is that if you cut down a tree, it is called “cutting down” a tree. Felling is the process of cutting down trees, an element of the logging task. The person who cuts down the trees is a feller. A feller buncher is a machine capable of cutting down a single large tree or grouping and cutting down several small ones simultaneously.

In manual felling, an ax, saw or chainsaw is used to cut down a tree, followed by brushcutter and cutting in traditional applications. In the modern commercial timber industry, logging is often followed by delimbing and trawling. The back cut or felling cut is made on the opposite side of the tree from the lower cut and is cut through the base of the tree by cutting the “hinge” that holds the tree upwards. Presented by Scandinavian logging specialists, this cut is easier to make, provides good guidance and has additional safety features.

The undercut or notch is the guide or aiming groove for the shaft and is a V-shaped notch placed on the side of the shaft in the intended falling direction. When harvesting wood from a felled tree, recommended methods should be followed to maximize wood recovery. Cut off any weeds around the trunk and clear two escape routes on the “unfallen” side of the tree. When the tree begins to fall, this modified undercut allows additional room for the tree to fall before the top and bottom of the undercut come together.

The tree actually rotates on this hinge, and the width and angle of the hinge can be used to guide the direction of the tree's fall. Instead of risking possible serious injury when attempting to cut down an inclined tree, consult a professional arborist. Due to the angled hinge, the tree will begin to fall into the narrow section of the hinge while the wood in the thicker section of the hinge remains intact. If you suspect that logging will affect a power line, call your local power company for assistance. In conclusion, cutting down a tree is called “cutting down” a tree while felling is a process that involves cutting down trees as part of logging task.

It's important to follow recommended methods when harvesting wood from a felled tree in order to maximize wood recovery and safety.