Depending on its age, fibre density, whether it’s leaning a certain way, height, the way the branches fall and even the weather conditions on the day; making the right cut in the right place makes all the difference.
The easiest method is to fell trees in the direction they would naturally fall if blown over by the wind. Of course, if this is into a building or road, then it’s not always a viable option. Ultimately, the surrounding terrain and any obstacles in the way will determine which type of cut is best.
Why Put a Notch into a Tree?
Notches are used to help a tree fall in your chosen direction. By removing a small notch out of the trunk and creating a hinge, you prevent the tree from falling in any direction, and instead, force it to land where you want it to.
Think of it this way. If you have a tree that is perfectly straight, no leaning or heaviness and you cut right through in one fell swoop, where it lands will be luck of the draw. A directional notch and hinge will not only help it fall where you want it to, but also make it much safer too.
What Are the Different Types of Directional Notches?
Typically, the majority of directional notches are open-faced. Depending on the lay of the land, you’ll either use an open-faced notch, a conventional notch or a Humboldt notch. Of these, the open-faced directional notch is the easiest.
Open-Faced Directional Notch
Pros - The hinge stays intact until the tree is on the ground.
Cons - Leaves behind reasonably large stumps.
The preferred choice when working with trees on slopes when you want the hinge to remain intact for a longer period of time. Consists of a large opening angle (between 70 - 90 degrees) with the bottom cut angled away from the top and felling cut.
Conventional Directional Notch
Pros - Creates a low stump height, good for split-prone trees.
Cons - High position of felling cut can increase the likelihood of splits.
Often used for felling medium to tall trees on level ground when a more precise direction of fall is required. Commonly uses a 45-55 degree opening angle.
Humboldt Directional Notch
Pros - Low stump height on slopes and steep terrain.
Cons - Higher stump heights on flat or level ground
This method is best used on steep slopes and with very tall trees, along with tree species that are prone to splitting when being felled. Typically uses an opening angle of 45 degrees minimum.
How To Make a Notch & Hinge With a Chainsaw
The easiest way to create notches and hinges on all types of tree is with a chainsaw. The Husqvarna 550XP Mark II and the 455 Rancher are two fantastic examples of professional-grade chainsaws ideal for felling and cutting tasks on a daily basis.
Get Started with Better Notches, Hinges & Felling
Whether you prefer the Humboldt notch, the Open-Faced notch, or are all about the Conventional notch - having the best tools on hand goes a long way to achieving the desired outcome. For more than 60 years, Husqvarna has been innovating the world of chainsaws, bringing advanced design and technology to the forefront.
Keeping your chainsaw air filters in tip-top condition, knowing how to sharpen your chainsaw chain, making use of the best PPE available to you and knowing which cuts to use in every type of situation will have you felling like a pro in next to no time.
Not sure which saw is best for your needs? Visit your local Husqvarna dealer today. Want to learn more about different notches? Check out our Chainsaw Academy, it’s loaded with handy tips and tricks.