Felling trees - still in February
If you need firewood for the winter, you should cut the trees by the end of February. From March, this is only permitted in exceptional cases.
Felling ban for trees according to the Nature Conservation Act
§ 39 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act prohibits the felling of trees and put on the stick (pruning to rhizome) of hedges in the period from 1 March to September 30th. Trees on horticultural land, in plantations and forests are exempted from this prohibition.
The interpretation of whether a home garden is used as a horticultural area differs in the individual federal states. The nature protection law protects with the paragraph primarily animals that nest in the trees or hedges. Since many birds nest in private gardens, a ban on felling during the breeding season makes sense.
Whatever the season, nesting sites are under special protection. If a bird breeds in a tree, the felling is permitted only after the conclusion of the breeding business.
A tree is protected by many laws
In addition to the Nature Protection Act, municipal tree protection statutes and state laws protect the woody plants. These rules are not consistent. Most trees with a circumference of more than 80 centimeters are under the protection of these laws and regulations. In some communities, not only coniferous and deciduous trees are protected, but also fruit trees.
If you want to cut down a big old tree, you should ask the monuments office. As a natural monument, it can be subject to a ban on felling. The felling of a natural monument is considered damage to property. This will be punished according to § 304 StGB with imprisonment of up to three years or fines. For these trees, even cutting is problematic, as the appearance of the monument must not change.
When cases are allowed
Every tree can be protected by one of the laws or regulations. This is basically to clarify before it comes to the felling of trees. The municipalities grant exemptions, if there is good cause. The conservation authorities of the municipalities grant the permits if a danger or a nuisance emanates from a tree.
One reason is among other things, if a building measure is not possible without the cases. For trees that are listed, stricter standards apply. This is decided by the monument authority. As a rule, cases are only allowed if a danger emanates from the tree. Depending on the nature of the reason, the municipalities allow the falls either in every season or only in the winter months.
If there is a risk that the tree will harm people or property, the public order office is also a good contact. This can arrange the felling. In the case of an imminent danger, for example during a storm, civil protection is responsible. It drops the tree immediately.
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These and many other questions we answer on our tree-felling theme page.
The best time to hit firewood
At the end of February, the juice shoots into the trees in the trees. Wood that is beaten after the juice deposit takes longer to dry than wood that was felled in winter. In addition, at the beginning of March, the wood of the trees contains a lot of water, it takes a long time to dry.
The water content decreases sharply only from the end of October. The best time for the firewood harvest is the time between October and February. Therefore it makes sense to fell wood in winter, regardless of the legal situation.
Measures that are permissible in all seasons
The careful cutting of trees, the so-called shaping and care cut of the growth of trees, is always permitted , Similarly, cuts that serve to maintain the health of trees can be done in any season. This is expressly stated in the Federal nature conservation in § 39. There is nothing in the way of a normal cut of hedges and trees.
What has to be taken into account during the work
Tree felling is dangerous and requires professional implementation. For smaller trees, an ax or a hand saw, otherwise a chainsaw is necessary. To influence the direction in which the tree falls, ropes are important. Wedges prevent a cut seam from closing and pinching the tool. The use of chainsaws is on the own property without qualification certificate for private Selbstwerber of firewood, as the chainsaw license officially called allowed. Most forest owners and state forests insist on the presentation of the bill.
For your own safety, no one should do without protective clothing and never cut into copses that are under tension. The latter is usually the case when two trees have interlocked.
When felling, make sure that no one is in the range of at least two tree lengths. The work has to be planned exactly. The tree must not fall on buildings or other trees. The shape of the tree and the wind direction must be taken into account. In the case of trees with wide-spreading crowns, there is a risk that branches will catch in neighboring trees. The rest of the work is extremely dangerous as the wood is under tension.
Generally, February is the last month before spring and summer, when it makes sense. If you miss the appointment, you can only harvest wood in autumn. This is suitable as firewood next winter.