Determine the desired felling direction. The scarf—the portion of the tree removed by chopping—should have its widest point in the desired felling direction. The height of the scarf should be about the same as the diameter of the tree (i.e., 12-inch-tall scarf for a 12-inch-diameter tree). Remove the side that will close when the tree is falling first.
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Illustrations by Mark Nerys
Begin by chopping upward at 45 degrees to the wood. The scarf will be removed easiest if up-blows and down-blows are aligned so that the wood fibers sever at the bottom and then the top of the scarf. Make sure both bottom and top cuts are severing fibers completely.
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Illustrations By Mark Nerys
Once the first scarf is removed, the tree will fall toward the deepest portion of the scarf, so make sure you’re satisfied with the scarf in relation to the desired felling direction. Remove the second scarf on the opposite side of the tree in a slightly higher location than the first. The fall of the tree is controlled by unsevered wood fibers between the first and second scarf. If the wood fibers are too thick, the tree will not fall; too thin a section and the tree’s weight will break the fibers, and control of the fall will be lost. For most trees, a thickness of one to two inches of uncut wood fibers between the first and second scarf will suffice.