Is your tree spoiling your garden or threatening to damage the foundation of your home? You don’t have to give up on your garden or move your home, just remove the tree.
As trees grow, so do their roots. As roots grow, they expand and thicken, taking up space, water, and nutrients your garden plants need to survive or creating insurmountable pressure beneath foundations, walkways, or driveways. If you want to maintain a gorgeous garden or preserve your hardscape, your only option may be to remove the tree.
Discover how to demolish and remove unwanted trees before they cause structural damage to your home or your garden.
How to Remove a Tree
Before removing a tree from your property, verify any permit requirements with your municipality, county, and state. Tree removal permits are often required and the unpermitted removal of a tree may carry steep fines, especially if the tree is that of a protected species or classification.
Whenever using cutting equipment or chemical compounds like herbicides, wear protective clothing and equipment to avoid injury.
There are several ways to blow away a tree. The following methods are both effective and permanent.
Girdle the Tree – Girdling is a term used to describe a method in which the flow of nutrients is cut off from the crown and roots. The following steps will guide you through this process:
- 3 to 4 feet above the ground, cut into the bark and make a ring around the circumference of the tree.
- 3 inches above or below the first ring, cut into the bark and make a second ring around the trunk.
- Remove the bark from between the rings.
- Make sure the film directly beneath the bark is completely removed. This is the phloem responsible for transporting water and nutrients between the crown and roots.
- Immediately apply an herbicide to hasten the death of the tree. Within a matter of minutes, the exposed sections will dry out and harden rendering the herbicide ineffective.
- Repeat this process 10 to 12 inches above or below the first girdling. This will ensure that the tree cannot recover.
If you choose not to use an herbicide, it may take several months for the tree to die, whereas, with the herbicide, it will take 6 to 8 weeks.
While the foliage is drying out, the branches and twigs in the crown will be doing the same. It is imperative that once you have successfully girdled a tree and it begins showing signs of death that the removal process begins.
Hack and Spray Method – This method involves the use of a hatchet and an herbicide mixture in a spray bottle. The following steps will guide you through this process:
- Use a hatchet to make a deep downward cut into the bark of the tree at waist height. The cut should be deep enough that the soft “fleshy” part underneath the bark is penetrated.
- With the hatchet still inside the cut, turn the hatchet outward to expose the cavity made by the cut.
- Spray the herbicide into the cavity. The amount you will need to apply can be found on the label of the herbicide and will depend on the DBH (Diameter at Breast Height) of the tree.
- Repeat the above process around the circumference of the tree, making cuts meet end to end until reaching the original cut.
While this is essentially girdling the tree, it also ensures effective delivery of the herbicide.
Cut it Down – For an immediate solution, you can cut the tree down. Before doing so, evaluate the size of the tree and the environment around it. Safety should be your primary concern at all times.
For living or dead trees over 12 feet in height, or with a DBH of 15 inches or greater, it is highly recommended that a professional tree service is contracted to remove the tree.
The following steps will help you safely fell your tree:
- Move all obstacles from beneath the tree canopy and several feet beyond. If something goes wrong, you will need an escape route.
- Use pruning shears to cut back as many of the twigs and as much of the foliage as possible.
- Use a saw (or chainsaw) to cut larger branches into 12 or 15-inch sections from the extremity until reaching the trunk.
- Carefully cut off the top of the tree, as follows:
- Do this by making an upward angled cut halfway into the trunk on the side which you want the tree to fall (you should never reach over your head to make this cut).
- Then, make a horizontal cut straight into the trunk until it meets the top of the first cut.
- Repeat this process cutting slightly deeper, until the portion to be removed becomes loose or begins to droop in the right direction.
- Once the portion is leaning in the correct direction, complete the horizontal cut (from the opposite side of the trunk). Gravity should take over at this point, watch the direction of the fall and stay out of the way.
- Remove the rest of the trunk by cutting it into manageable sections as close to the ground as possible.
- Immediately apply herbicide to the exposed outer rings of the stump to demolish the roots.
For more ways to remove unwanted trees, visit gardeningleave.org/best-ways-to-remove-unwanted-garden-trees
Removing an Unwanted Tree
Don’t let your tree destruct your garden or cause structural damage to your home or hardscape. Just get rid of it.
In this article, you uncovered 3 effective methods for girdling, blowing out and removing an unwanted or nuisance tree.
The longer you procrastinate, the larger and more of a problem your tree will become. If saving your garden or property is your priority, and you don’t have the time or courage to remove the tree yourself, call a professional tree removal service to get the job done for you.