1. Check the surrounding area for obstacles that may be in the way, such as another tree, a fence, overhead wires, cars, etc.
2. Stand back and observe the way the tree leans naturally. The best fall would be its natural angle of growth.
3. Check the tree itself for safety hazards, such as dead or hanging branches.
4. Check the trunk of the tree for open wounds. Wounds could indicate that the center of the tree is hollow or rotten.
NOTE: Feeling a hollow or rotten tree at the stump height should be left to the professionals. You may not be able to control the direction of the fall or the tree may fall prematurely, putting both you and others around you in danger.
5. Establish two escape routes that can be used while the tree is falling. One on each side of the tree leading away from the expected fall line would be best.
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