How to Cut Branches With a Chainsaw (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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Dead branches in a home garden can be quite the eyesore. Beyond aesthetics, pruning them not only benefits the tree but also enhances the overall look of the garden. 

While using a chainsaw can make the job easier, it’s essential to approach the task with the right skills and caution. So in this article, I’ll guide you through the proper and safe way to cut branches with a chainsaw. Let’s dive in!

How To Cut Tree Branches Using a Chainsaw: 6 Steps

Cutting or limbing a tree’s branch takes time, effort, and patience. Make sure to be prepared mentally and physically before embarking on this process. So here are six steps to guide you when cutting branches with a chainsaw and the required essentials:

Necessary Tools

To successfully do this, you need to make sure to gather the necessary tools and safety equipment.

chainsaw and protective gear

Step #1: Plan Your Way of Cutting

Make sure to prepare and make a cutting plan before executing it. Locate the branches, low hanging first, then go your way up that you wish to cut. Include in this plan where these branches will fall to cause minimal to no damage to you and others. 

cutting small branches on a tree

Step #2: Start Cutting From the Bottom to the Top

Make sure to start cutting the branches from the bottom to the top. This strategy assures you that branches will not get caught or sheer others once it falls to the ground. This will also clear the area for ladder extensions.  

Step #3: Make the Cuts From Below

Once you are in a secure and sturdy position, you can use your chainsaw safely. Make the cuts from underneath. The cut must be a few inches heavenward from the trunk. 

Step #4: Make the Cuts From the Above

After completing the previous step, cut the branch’s top at the same depth. Once done, the branch will naturally fall down. Be sure not to position yourself directly under the branch to avoid it falling on you.

hands on tree branch

Step #5: Clean Up

When you arrive at this step, you are left with a split and jagged end due to the branch being cut. Now you have to clean up. Just cut from the top using your chainsaw, and make sure to cut close to the trunk. 

Step #6: Repeat the Process (If You Have More Branches to Cut)

Repeat the entire process if you have more branches to cut. And make sure to take the necessary safety precautions when handling your chainsaw. 

Extra Tips For Cutting

Building on the essential steps I’ve outlined above, here are some additional tips to keep in mind when using your chainsaw to cut branches:

limbing a tree

Run the Chainsaw at Full Throttle

Make sure to run the chainsaw at full throttle. The majority of chainsaws have a two-stroke engine [1] and make the best performance when at full throttle. 

Check if The Oiler is Functioning Properly

It’s crucial you ensure that the oiler is working correctly. A non-functional oiler can cause overheating and significantly reduce the lifespan of both the chain and the bar.

Sharpen the Chain

Make sure to sharpen the chain regularly. Not only will this ensure the accurate cutting performance of the chainsaw, but it can also prolong its life. 

sharpening chainsaw

Why Cut Branches With Your Chainsaw?

Using a chainsaw for trimming always gives an efficient and effective result. That’s why mastering the art of cutting branches with one is such a valuable skill.

A chainsaw delivers clean and straight cuts, seamlessly removing dead or unwanted branches. I’d personally recommend opting for the reliable limbing chainsaw for tasks like these.

Also, you might want to know the proper ways to cut hedges with a chainsaw, so read this guide next!


Trimming, cutting, or limbing branches from a tree using a chainsaw may seem daunting, but it is easy and systematic. Mastering this skill will be useful in clearing dead branches and promoting healthy tree growth– while maintaining the neatness of your home garden. 


Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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