Cutting down a palm tree with a chainsaw does not take great skill. However, it does take planning to ensure you do not damage anything around the tree. Although void of branches, palm trees grow tall, so you need a large area for the tree to fall. Also, you're using a chainsaw, so you have to keep chainsaw safety in mind.
You might be tempted to cut the tree in half by climbing a ladder. Do not do this. Climbing a ladder with a chainsaw is never a good idea. If this is the only way to cut the tree down, leave it to a professional who has the right equipment to get the job done. If you can cut the tree down while standing on the ground, you are in business and can eliminate the palm from your yard.
Procedure for Removing a Palm Tree
Step 1: Plan the Fall Direction
Examine the palm tree and note the direction in which it leans. Palm trees grow upward but have a slight lean toward the sun at its hottest point in the sky. The best direction for the tree to fall is the direction in which it leans, but this may not always be in the direction that works best in your given area.
It is possible to change the direction of the fall, and if you need to do this, pick a side to the left or right of the lean. If the direction the palm tree falls is absolutely vital, attach two ropes midway up the tree. Make sure the ropes are long enough to protect the rope holders. The rope holes pull the ropes after the second cut to ensure the tree falls in the correct direction.
Step 2: Clear a Path
Clear a debris path by removing anything the tree could damage in the direction you want it to fall. Make sure you take power lines into consideration. The debris field must be as long as the palm tree is tall. Determine your plan of escape in the event the tree fails to fall in the direction you need it to. Make sure you have a clear path away from the tree in at least three different directions. Make sure all other people are restricted from the debris field during the cutting process.
Step 3: Cut a Notch on Fall Side
Cut a 70-degree open-face notch on the tree with your chainsaw on the side of the tree facing the direction you want it to fall. The apex of the notch should go approximately one-third into the tree. Place the cut 2 feet off the ground, or approximately chest high. You should never hold a chainsaw higher than your chest, and you don't want to cut too close to the ground either, because if the saw touches the ground while it's running, the chain will dull instantly.
Step 4: Cut Through Trunk From the Back
Cut through the backside of the palm tree with the chainsaw until you hear a large amount of internal cracking. You will not cut entirely through the tree. When you hear cracking, back away from the tree, use your escape route and let the weight of the tree trunk do the rest of the work. Since the tree already leans in the direction of the first cut, when the trunk cracks, the tree will fall toward that first cut.
Lisa Wampler began writing professionally in 2005 and has published on various websites. She specializes in content writing and search engine optimization, drawing from previous positions as an account manager and a social media manager for an SEO company.