Whether you’d like to extract a dying tree, or hope to replant a tree somewhere else, removing it carefully is necessary. Trees can become a hazard when cut improperly if they fall on living objects, buildings or electrical lines. But if you take precautions while removing your tree, you can do it without the help of a professional. With a steady hand, someone who can help you out and the right tools, you’ll have your tree out of the ground in no time.
Determine which way the tree will fall. Choose the direction that would be most natural for the tree. If your tree leans slightly to the left, for example, chop it so it will fall to the left.
In case of emergency, schedule various escape routes. Unless the tree falls in the planned direction, make the first route your strategy, and the second if it falls in an unexpected path. When something bad happens, getting 2 routes means you ‘re safely fleeing.
Make an angled cut into the side of the tree. Stand so that your left shoulder is touching the tree. Using a saw or axe, make a 70-degree cut facing the direction you want the tree to fall. Continue cutting until the cut is about ¼ of the tree’s diameter.
Turn your saw or axe sideways and cut horizontally. Make a horizontal back cut through the opposite side of the tree. Cut at as flat of an angle as possible to keep the fall even and predictable. Stop cutting when you have a hinge left that’s about 1/10 the diameter of the tree,
- Leaving a small hinge ensures that you control how the tree falls.
Make your escape route as the tree falls. When you’ve left the hinge, pull your saw or axe out and take your first escape route away from the tree. Do not return to the tree until it has fallen completely. If the tree falls towards you, take your second escape route away from the tree.
Dig your stump out by hand for smaller trees. If your tree is small, use a shovel to dig the stump out and expose its roots. Cut away the roots with an axe or root saw, then pull out the roots with a grub hoe.
- If you want to recycle the roots, compost them.
- If the stump is too large to remove with a shovel, you may need to try another method.
Try a chemical stump remover for the simplest method. If your stump is too large to dig out, drill 4-8 holes into the stump and pour chemical stump remover into each one. Wait 4-6 weeks for the chemicals to rot the stump, then dig it and its roots out with a shovel.
Burn the stump out if it’s permitted in your area. Ask your local fire department if open burning is permitted.
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