How to remove a small tree from yard

The Best Advice on DIY Tree Removal and Cutting

When it comes to DIY home and landscape improvements, there are some projects you can handle like a pro and others you should leave to a pro.

Painting a room? Go for it! Retiling a bathroom? Tricky, but you can master it, right? Planting a tree? Sure! But what about removing a tree?

Read on to find out if it’s ever safe and recommended to remove a tree on your own.

Is it safe to DIY tree felling and cutting? Are there risks and dangers with DIY tree removal?

Rule of thumb: If you would have to use a ladder to reach and remove tree limbs, that tree is too big for you to remove safely.

If you were to get up on a ladder with a chainsaw, so many things could go wrong. You are putting yourself and your home at great risk. You could fall off the ladder, lose control or worse. And the tree limbs you’re cutting could fall on your home, go through a window, hit you, or even hit the ladder, knocking you off while holding a moving chainsaw. Falling tree limbs are large and completely unpredictable, which makes a dangerous combo.

While there are many landscape projects you can safely and easily DIY, tree removal is one that is not worth the money you save. If you hurt yourself, you’ll be slammed with medical bills, and if you damage your home, you’ll have to pay for those repairs, too. Plus, Davey arborists give tree removal estimates for free. They have the equipment, experience and insurance needed to do the job safely.

What if I pull up a tree or tree stump with my truck?

We’d recommend against it–especially if the tree you’re removing is close to your home or any nearby structures. It’s difficult to anticipate what direction the tree will fall, which could do serious damage. Whatever you save on tree removal will not outweigh the cost of repairing your truck or home.

Plus, trees can be incredibly heavy, much heavier than you’d think. An 80’ maple tree that’s two feet wide likely weighs more than 20,000 pounds or 10 tons. Most standard pickup trucks are designed with a towing capacity between 5,000 and 13,000 pounds. The stump alone could potentially exceed that limit.

If you attempt to uproot a large tree or stump that exceeds your truck’s abilities, the ropes or chains you’re using could break. Or you may even propel your truck off the ground. All of this has the potential to damage your truck.

The damage you could do to your truck or home just isn’t worth the “savings” of DIY tree removal. Click here to get a visual of all the elements that could go wrong. 

Can I safely cut down a small tree? 

If the tree is small enough that you could remove it without climbing a ladder, it’s likely OK if you remove it yourself. If you have any doubts about whether it’s safe to remove the tree on your own, contact an arborist, and they’ll provide guidance.

If you're ready, here’s how to do that safely:

  1. Water the day before you plan to remove so that the soil is easier to dig.

  2. Measure how many inches your tree trunk is. For every inch, plan to dig 6” deep to reach the entire root system. Using that depth, dig around the tree’s roots, which likely extend out to the outer edge of the tree’s canopy.

  3. Using leverage, wiggle the root ball out. If the roots are intact, you can transplant the tree. Or if you want to dispose of it, cut it up with a chainsaw. If you go that route, wear protective eyeglasses, earplugs and gloves.

Need a professional to remove your tree? Click here for a free estimate.


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5 Tips for DIY Small Tree Removal

Does a tree in your yard have you stumped? You’d like to remove it, perhaps, but you’re not certain of the best way to go about it. Not to worry … Mr. Tree has you covered. While we would typically recommend that you let one of our certified arborists handle your tree service needs, we understand you may be interested in DIY small tree removal to trim some of your landscaping costs. That’s why we’ll share what you need to know to remove that small tree from your yard. Here are our top tips for DIY small tree removal.

Do Your Research

First, it’s important to know that tree service work can be extremely dangerous. If at any time you feel uncertain about what you’re doing, it’s important to call in the experts. But if you have a smaller tree that you feel comfortable removing yourself, then we’ll talk you through the process.

Before you get to work, it’s important to research local ordinances to determine whether you are able to complete the tree removal work. For instance, don’t try to remove any tree that’s not on your property. If necessary, be sure to acquire all the proper permits as well. Once you’re confident that everything is in order, then you can begin your DIY small tree removal.

Plan Ahead

One day before you remove the tree, thoroughly saturate the soil around the tree. This will soften the soil, making the tree’s removal much easier to complete.

Before you begin, you’ll also want to be sure you have all the proper safety gear. That includes gloves, goggles, a helmet, and protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and steel-toed leather shoes. Once you’re ready to get to work, be sure to clear the area surrounding the tree. Keep people and pets a distance of at least double the tree’s height away.

The next step is to determine which way the tree will fall. For instance, if your tree is left-leaning, then it is likely to fall to the left. Examine your tree carefully to determine its directional orientation. This will help you decide the best way to chop it down.

At the same time, you’ll also want to determine what to do if the tree falls in an unexpected direction. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider your escape route if the tree falls in a direction you were not expecting, as well as if the tree falls the way you had originally planned. Carefully go over all worst-case scenarios before you begin your tree removal work.

Use Caution

When you’re confident the area has been properly secured and you’ve carefully considered your emergency plan should something unexpected happen, you’re ready to begin your DIY small tree removal.

The first thing you’ll want to do is make an angled cut into the side of the tree. The cut should be done at a 70-degree angle and made in the direction that you want the tree to fall. Continue cutting with a saw or axe until the cut is about a quarter of the tree’s diameter. Once you are complete, the portion of the tree that has been removed should resemble a slanted L.

The next thing you’ll want to do is cut through the tree horizontally from the opposite side. The cut should align with the lower portion of the slanted L–shaped cut that you made earlier. You’ll want to be sure you cut as straight as possible, but don’t cut the entire way through. Be careful to leave about a tenth of the tree’s diameter intact so that you can better control which direction the tree will fall.

Once the tree begins to fall, be sure to take one of your escape routes as planned. Wait until the tree has completely fallen over before you approach it again. If the tree doesn’t fall on its own, slowly approach it and give it a slight push in the direction you want it to fall.

Be Thorough

Once your tree has fallen over, it’s time to remove the unsightly stump it will leave behind. To do this, first dig the dirt out from around the stump and roots with either your hands or a shovel. You can also use a stump grinder, which can typically be rented from a home improvement store, to get the job done.

It’s especially important if you are removing a damaged tree that you also remove the tree’s root ball. This prevents the tree from sprouting back up. The tree’s diameter will help you determine how much you need to dig to remove the root ball of the tree.

Generally, for every inch of the tree’s diameter, you’ll want to dig 9 to 12 inches in diameter and 6 inches in depth. You can use a spade to break the soil apart. Then securely plant the spade into the ground, slide it under the tree’s root ball, and lift the root ball up and out of the ground. Use a spade or saw to remove any remaining roots.

Once the tree, stump, and roots have been removed, be sure to transport them to an appropriate site for disposal. This might be your compost or firewood pile, but if the reason for removing the tree is disease, you’ll want to dispose of it off your property to prevent the disease from spreading to your other trees and plants.

Call for Help, If Needed

Again, these steps should only be attempted with small tree removal. Larger tree removal should be left to the professionals because of the dangerous hazard large trees pose. Even when you’re dealing with a small tree, it’s important to take all the proper precautions. If the tree’s removal is giving you problems or you have concerns about tackling it yourself, don’t hesitate to give Mr. Tree a call. We can help you troubleshoot any problems. After all, tree removal is a specialty of ours.

How to remove a tree from the site: correctly and by yourself

Before taking up an ax or a saw, many summer residents or owners of mansions ask, is it possible to legally remove a disturbing tree or dead wood from the yard? It's not such an innocent question. After all, before embarking on this difficult work, you need to understand what the owner of the site risks.

The law is harsh but fair

In order not to delve into the legal jungle, let's say that in accordance with Art. 75 of the Forest Code of the Russian Federation and Federal Law No. 66, Art. 19“On horticultural, horticultural and dacha non-profit associations of citizens” it is allowed to cut down trees growing on the site.

True, provided that they are not of historical value (what if Leo Tolstoy himself was sitting under it). This time. And secondly, your tree-cutting actions should in no case cause damage to your neighbors and the environment.

If everything is more or less clear with the first condition (go and find a relic tree), then the second one forces the owners of unnecessary trees to contact our company. After all, only professional arborists know how to properly remove the large size from the site or trim the crown so that the neighbors do not lose out.

How to remove a tree from the site with your own hands

Suppose a tree grows in such a place that, if it falls, it will not harm other plantings and property (including yours). Plus, the diameter of its trunk is less than 20 cm. In this case, you can safely cut it yourself. To do this, you will need:

  • shovel;
  • axe;
  • hacksaw;
  • rope;
  • comfortable shoes, gloves;
  • hand winch (optional but recommended).

Once you've got everything ready, cut off the big branches first. Then cut off the trunk (leave a meter and a half from the ground). Next, dig around the remaining trunk in a circle at a distance of 0.5 to 1 m. Chop off the occurring roots with an ax. If it’s more convenient, cut them with a hacksaw or cut them with a sharpened heavy shovel. With these tools, it is easy to work with roots as thick as a hand.

If you have to fell trees of a larger diameter, you are unlikely to be able to cope with the work yourself - the roots will also be quite large. Therefore, initially decide, or maybe it’s better to invite arborists to remove a large tree from the site?

But if you decide to deal with a large-sized tree on your own, but after cutting off large root branches, it is still indestructible, do the following. Dig deeper, cutting off smaller roots along the way.

The closer to the table the tree is dug in and the roots are cut accordingly, the easier it is to fell the plant.

Now invite a hefty assistant who will tilt the tree, holding the trunk higher. At this time, you cut off the remaining small roots, gradually approaching the central one, growing vertically (if any). So you need to act until the tree falls.

If it is difficult to tilt the big truck, tie a rope around the trunk. With the help of a winch (having moved 5 meters away from the tree), try to force it to move from a vertical position. When demolishing trees, first consider where it is best to put the trunk so as not to damage nearby trees and property.

What to do if the tree is large

Let us emphasize once again that this is how small trees are removed from the site. To eliminate large-sized trees with thick trunks, there are various saw cut methods:

  • towards the natural slope of the trunk;
  • with guy;
  • parts with reset;
  • in parts with subsequent descent, etc.

Therefore, if a problematic tree grows on your site, do not risk it. It is better to invite professionals who work in the Industrial Mountaineering company. Our services are quite affordable. We work quickly and efficiently. We guarantee that felling trees will not harm anyone or anything. Contact us, we provide services both in Moscow and outside the city and will always be happy to help!

all possible ways to get rid of tree plantations, as well as remove their growth, without resorting to felling

There are situations in which it is necessary to stop the growth of a tree or completely remove it, but sawing and felling are not applicable.

If you decide to destroy a tree, you must understand the possible consequences, including a high likelihood of a fine or even criminal prosecution .

However, these methods can be used legally, for example, to control the growth of a felled or uprooted tree that has been removed with permission.

In addition, cessation of growth or removal may be required when:

  • a young shoot from a wild root makes its way near the foundation;
  • among the trees of one species, a wild plant of another species appears and suppresses other plants;
  • after clearing the field and uprooting the stumps, wild growth appears.

Let's figure out how to destroy a tree without cutting it down.


  • What is the difference between cessation of growth and removal?
  • How to stop growth?
    • Leaf treatment
    • Stem treatment
    • Root treatment
  • How to get rid of a tree?
  • Conclusion

What is the difference between cessation of growth and removal?

The cessation of growth leads to the death of the plant, but the trunk and branches can retain their shape for decades. Such a plant turns into deadwood and dries quickly , because the sap flow in it completely stops.

Removal means the destruction of the trunk or roots in any way, after which the restoration of the tree is no longer possible.

However, after removal of the trunk, it is possible that roots remain active and new shoots appear. It is also possible to simultaneously remove the trunk and roots, but it is impossible to remove or destroy the roots before removing the trunk.

How to stop growth?

All ways to stop growth can be divided by effect into:

  • leaves;
  • barrel;
  • soil and roots.

Foliar treatment

Foliage is treated with various herbicides, the most popular of which is Roundup .

Although marketed as a weed killer, this product is well suited for killing most deciduous trees.

The main component is glyphosate, which blocks the synthesis of certain critical substances, which leads to the death of all parts of the plant.

Roundup is applied to the leaves with the Sprayer using protective clothing, respirator and goggles, as glyphosate is highly toxic. In addition, any glyphosate-based preparations should not be used where animals of any kind frequently appear.

Foliar spraying with Roundup or other herbicides can be done at any time, but will be most effective when spraying early foliage.

When applying the preparation to the plant, it is necessary to proceed very carefully, if possible avoiding material falling on the ground . Once in the soil, glyphosate will poison it and groundwater passing through it, then with them it will get to other plants, as well as into a well or well. Due to the high toxicity of the drug, it should be used only in exceptional cases, when no other methods of dealing with the young growth of the tree give a result.

Impact on the trunk

To stop the growth of the plant through the trunk, use the same methods that we talked about in the article about removing stumps without uprooting.

Due to the fact that the wood of the trunk is almost indistinguishable from the wood of the roots, these reagents act on the trunk in exactly the same way.

It is most convenient to drill holes for laying reagents at a height of 1.5 m from the ground, this will allow you to perform all work with a minimum level of discomfort. If necessary, the height can be changed in any direction, because reagents spread along the tree along with the movement of juices .

When choosing a reagent, it must be taken into account that urea and saltpeter loosen the wood and deprive it of strength, due to which the tree may fall under the influence of wind.

Treatment of roots

The effect on the roots differs from the effect on the trunk only in that the preparations are not injected into the wood, but poured around .

This method is only applicable where no other plants are planned to be planted after the removal of the tree.

Therefore, you do not have to worry about the negative effects of reagents.

This method has several significant disadvantages :

  • increased consumption of reagents, because it is necessary to create a high concentration in the area of ​​the root system;
  • total barrenness of the soil;
  • pollution of high-lying groundwater.

How to get rid of a tree?

In cases where you need to destroy a tree without cutting it down, you can:

  1. Knock it down in various ways.
  2. Remove the root from the ground (if required).
  3. Dispose of leftovers.

Only young trees of small height and diameter can be felled. If the height exceeds 4–5 m, and the diameter of the trunk exceeds 10 cm, it is better to cut it down, because larger plants can only be dumped using heavy equipment , that is, an excavator or bulldozer.

At home, you can knock down the trunk using a car or truck. The heavier the machine, the easier it will be to break the trunk or twist the roots out of the ground.

Felling requires rope or cable that is twice the height of the tree. A cable or rope is tied to the trunk at a height of 2/3 of the trunk length, then tied to a towbar or transport hook.

It is desirable to load the trunk as much as possible in order to increase the weight of the car and the grip of its wheels with the ground. Then they start the car and, turning on the first gear, slowly pull the cable or rope and continue moving forward.

This job should not be done without many years of driving experience, as pressing the accelerator pedal too hard will result in wheel slippage and reduced traction .

In addition, it is undesirable to use machines with an automatic transmission (automatic transmission) or a variator for this operation.

It is also very important to use the clutch pedal correctly, because mistakes will lead to rapid wear of the clutch disc or engine stalling.

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