How To Remove A Tree

Kenneth Wilson

Trees are one of the best gifts nature offers. They are part of the landscape that add color and beauty to the environment. They release the oxygen we breathe in and are a good source of shelter and food for humans and animals. However, they can be sources of unrest and disturbance to us at times.

Trees, either dead or living ones are removed for different reasons. The former is removed for safety, healthy living,  aesthetic purposes and so on. The removal of the latter can be because it interferes with buildings, driveways, utility wires, other trees and many more. 

Removal of a tree or trees is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It requires great and wise thinking. Some of the reasons are: 

  • Soil erosion may occur. Trees that are mature and deeply rooted prevents erosion. 
  • There may be slope failure in the nearest future.
  • Flood
  • Reduction of crops. Some trees serve as a source of shelter to other species, but when the trees are removed, the species lost their lives thereby resulting in the reduction of crops. 
  • Houses may be damaged. This is caused especially by large trees. Their roots may have gone down to the foundation of the houses. 

Before removing a tree, the likely affected parties must be informed. They should have foreknowledge of it so that unnecessary disputes or legal action won't come to play. 

Tools Necessary For Tree Removal

Tree removal is not as hard or tedious as it sounds especially when you have the right tools with you. The necessary equipment includes:

1. Chainsaw

This tool is very good when you are to cut down just one or two branches of the tree. It is a mechanical tool. Its teeth are on a set of chains, and its movement is around the blade edge alone. 

2. Tree Shear

It is a tool, attached to a mechanical machine, a heavy-duty one. It is used for removing trees that are not wanted. Tree shear is very good for the removal of trees that have a lot of branches that nose to the ground. E.g small evergreen trees. 

3. Brush Mower

It is used to mow small trees. It has a dull blade that is used to whack through relatively small trees. A brush mower is a heavy built machine that prevents the hassle or stress of dragging trees away. 

4. Brush Grubber

This tool is easy to use. It has a clamp that has metal jaws in it with spikes, heavy-duty ones. This tool is used when small trees are to be uprooted. 

5. Other equipments

Other tools that you may need include: pruners, hand pruners, hatchets, chainsaws, tree loppers, pole saws, hand saws, wedges, wood chippers, axes, hedge trimmers, scrap wood, spade, hose, burlap, protective chaps, helmet, respirator, shovel, spade and so on. 

How To Cut/ Remove a Small Tree

Always have it in mind that before you cut a tree, safety should come first. Make sure people and traffic are not in the direction of the tree. The following are steps to cut down a tree. 

Step 1

Put on safety pieces of equipment like safety goggles, hearing protection, helmet, respirator, shirts and pants that are long-sleeved, protective chaps, steel-toed leather boots with ankle support 

Step 2

The determination of the direction the tree will fall should come first, and the determining factor here is the height of a tree. There must be no hindrance on the way. 

Step 3

You should also know this - as you find the direction of the falling of the tree, you should also find one or more escape routes for yourself to run to when the tree starts coming down. 

Step 4

Stand on a ladder and cut all the branches you can; that are not too large.  

Step 5

Plan and cut the notch. It is a V-shaped one. Make a 70 degree cut with an axe or saw into the tree. The should face the side the tree will fall. It should be about one-quarter of the diameter of the tree. 

Step 6

Use a saw to make an angle by cutting the exact opposite of the former cut horizontally. You don't have to cut everything. Stop at the point where the current cut is remaining one-tenth of the tree.

With this, the tree won't fall immediately. You'll have enough time to push the tree to the main direction you planned for it and run to your escape route. 

Tree Stump Removal

Step 1

Use a shovel to dig out the stump if it is a small tree. You can then use an axe or saw to cut away the root. 

Step 2

Use a chemical stump removal. Pour it into four to eight already dug holes in the stump. Check it after one to one and half months, it then would have become rotten. You can then dig it out with a shovel.

Step 3

Use a chemical stump removal. Pour it into four to eight already dug holes in the stump. Check it after one to one and half months, it then would have become rotten. You can then dig it out with a shovel.

Step 4

Put a scrap wood on the stump and set it on fire. Use a shovel to dig out the ash and root after the stump has become entirely burnt. It's very good you have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency. You can burn it over and over again if it isn't burnt entirely. 

Step 5

You can also use a stump grinder. It is the quickest method. You are to move the machine around the stump circumference until it is completely grounded. Do this by lowering the equipment about three inches above the stump and turning it on.

Use a shovel to remove the grindings remaining in the hole of the stump. Then, fill it with the right solid things like dirt and remnants of the stump until it is completely covered. Put topsoil or grass over it. 

If you are using this method, you'll be using other types of equipment like the shovel, mattock, chainsaw. 

Note, before using a stump grinder or any of the above methods, you must use the necessary safety equipment like gloves, goggles, and ear protection or earplug. 

Root Removal

Step 1

Make sure the soil is easy to dig by watering it the day before

Step 2

Dig very deep around the root of the tree. Make sure it reaches the root system entirely. 

Step 1

Wriggle the root out using leverage. 

Step 1

Always remember to use safety measures and equipment. 

Large Tree Removal

Removing large trees like palm trees are not as easy as the removal of small ones. It can not be done by a person. If to remove the limbs of the tree, you have to get on a ladder, then the tree is too big for you to remove alone and safely. Climbing a big tree by using a ladder and then taking along a chainsaw can lead to disaster. You may fall off the ladder or damage your home or any surrounding structures. The result is unpredictable.

Some people believe in pulling out trees or their stumps with a truck. It is also dangerous and not advisable because the direction the falling tree will take can also not be predicted. 

The safest way to remove large trees is to call on a company, a certified one to do it for you. Doing it alone is dangerous. But if you are experienced in the removal of trees and you decide to do it yourself, you are advised to call on a neighbour or a friend who can help. 

If you want to call on an arborist or a company, get estimates like references, insurance proof, a written estimate and certifications of the profession. The price does not determine who to call. 

To do it yourself, take the following steps. They will help you to do the work efficiently and also keep your family and properties safe. 

Step 1

Make the area clear and safe: Children and pets should not be allowed to stay outside the house to prevent an accident. Cars and other big things should be kept far away from the places the branches or trunks can land. The grasses near the area too should be cleared. 

Step 2

Remove the branches on top: You are to use a reciprocating saw to do this after you have set up your tripod ladder. You don't have to take the saw in your hand as you go up. All you need to do is to tie a rope to the saw and take it up. When you get to the top, you can now put the saw up to yourself. 

Step 3

Use the saw to chop off the upper branches. Use ropes to lower the large ones. The person or people you've called to help you should help with the lowering of the branches. Do not tie the rope around your hand or fingers to avoid serious injuries. 

Step 4

Use a chainsaw to cut off the lower branches: These branches are always big so no other tool can do the work better. Saw each of the branches upward first and then cut them downwards. This will cause them to fall rightly without you going through much stress. You can also use a rope, like you've done to the upper branches if necessary. 

Step 5

Take down the trunk: Since the branches have been taken off, you are left with the trunk. Cut a notch in the trunk facing where you want it to fall after ensuring that there are no obstacles on its way. Cut the quarter of the diameter of the tree. Using the chainsaw, cut through the trunk from the opposite side horizontally towards the notch. 

Step 6

Move far away from all available places the trunk can fall and be alert. Note that if the tree is too large to fall in a piece, you can make it fall in two or more pieces. How? Make use of your ladder and the chainsaw to cut the trunk at manageable points.

You can tie a rope to the trunk of the tree. Your co-worker or workers can help you with directing the path of the falling trunk. The people must not be slide to the trunk. The distance between them and the tree trunk should be twice the height of the trunk. 

Step 7

Use the chainsaw again to cut the stump at the level of the ground. To remove the stump, you can follow the steps to remove the stump that's previously mentioned in this. 

Step 8

Cute the tree into sections: You can cut them at forearms length. You can dispose of them or use them for firewood. One of the easy ways to dispose of them is to tell those they may need it to come to get it by advertising free firewood on an app.

With this, you'll get your yard clear of unneeded wood. Also, you'll have more friends because most people will be happy to get free sections of the tree. 

Fallen Tree Removal

There are several reasons trees fall. Some grow so old that they just fall naturally. Some contracted one disease or the other. Some are caused by natural disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and so on. There are also thousands of damages caused by fallen trees. They may fall on houses, cars, power lines and other structures. Failure to remove them may result in more damage.

Animals may make the root their homes. If a tree fell on your house, animals may make the place their home. Pests and insects can also find their way into the wood giving them the chance to destroy any other wooden structures nearby or migrate into your home. To efficiently and safely get rid of a fallen tree, follow the steps below: 

What always comes first is the acknowledgement of safety measures. Your eyes, ears and nose should be protected. Also, you are advised to use the types of equipment you are used to. Don't dabble into using new equipment, you put yourself at risk if you do so. 

Step 7

Take permission from the right people. Some places have rules and regulations regarding the removal of any tree, even if it is fallen or not. So it's good you take permits if necessary.  

Step 7

Make sure the area is safe before you begin any work. Several things might have gotten damaged. Power lines might have been tampered with. The safer the area you are working in, the better and successful your work. 

Step 7

Strip the trunk of almost all the branches. Start chopping them off from the top of the tree. This will make it is easy for you to cut the trunk into smaller pieces by using a chain saw. 

Step 7

Then, dispose of the wood. You can dispose of it in many ways. They can be ground into sawdust. You can use it for firewood if they are dry, and it can also be sold. The sections of the trunks that are large can be used for outdoorsy benches or stools. They can be used to make furniture. 

The types of equipment that may be needed to remove fallen trees are pruners, hand pruners, pole saws, wood chippers, tree loppers, wedges, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, tree shears, axes, crosscut saws, hatchets, hand saws and so on.


Trees are good and are of many benefits. But when they become the source of disturbance and threat to lives and properties, there is the need to remove them to prevent more dangers and woes. Not only the bad ones are to be removed, the good but the unneeded and fallen ones too. 

With the above steps and guidelines, removing any kind of tree won't be difficult. Ensure you follow them strictly because there are so many dangers attached to making mistakes. There may be death or injury which may be caused by the falling tree or trunk, or the equipment that is used for cutting and trimming. Electrocution can occur when the area you are working in is near live electrical utility lines. Serious burns can also occur due to the fuel used to power equipment. 

Before you begin the work of tree removal, the right thing to do is to weigh the cost, time and stress/effort involved. It's very much possible you have to buy or rent the equipment you don't have. You should get yourself an estimate. This will help you to make the right decision; either doing it yourself with the help of neighbours or friends or calling on professionals to do it for you. 

Kenneth Wilson
August 25, 2021
Contractor Tips, Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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