How To Remove a Tree (Removal Guide for All Species)

Safely Removing Trees

If you have a tree that is dying or impacting your home’s curb appeal, it may be time to remove it altogether. In this tree removal guide, we’ll break down the general steps for removing a tree correctly. 

However, removing a tree isn’t a job for beginners. Only tackle this project if you have the proper equipment, training, and safety gear. If you don’t, rely on the tree experts at White River Tree Service to safely remove your tree and haul away the brush. 

Prepare the Area

Before you make any cuts, you’ll want to take ample time to prepare the surrounding area and make sure you know what you’re doing. 

Begin by surveying the area around the tree and noting any obstacles in the way. Fences, sheds, shrubbery, or even your house could hinder your access to the tree or risk damage in the removal process. If you can remove any obstacles, do so at this stage. 

Stand 10 to 20 feet from the tree and check its naturally leaning direction. If you have enough clearance, you’ll want to cut the tree to fall toward this angle.  

Next, measure the tree’s height to understand how much ground space the tree will cover when it falls. Generally, if you cannot reach the top of the tree while standing on a ladder, it’s too tall for you to remove yourself.

Make sure you plan at least two escape routes should the tree begin to fall in a direction you hadn’t anticipated. Then put on gloves, a helmet, a mask, and protective boots to keep yourself safe during the tree removal and trimming steps. 

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Fell the Tree

After you complete all your prep work, you’ll be ready to begin felling the tree. The primary piece of tree removal equipment you’ll need is either a handsaw or a chainsaw.

A chainsaw will make the job much faster, but a handsaw will suffice if your tree is only a few inches in diameter. Remember that sap could limit the saw’s motion for spruce or pine tree removal — you’ll want a heavy-duty piece of equipment for these tree species. 

Felling a tree involves making carefully planned horizontal notches that allow the tree to fall in a controlled direction. These cuts include the:

  • Undercut: A 45-degree or 90-degree angled notch that spans about one-fourth of the tree diameter. While many tree removal services use 45-degree cuts, a 90-degree cut (that resembles a small rectangle within the tree) will give you better leverage to allow the tree to fall.
  • Backcut: A small cut that is about two inches higher and on the opposite side of the tree from the undercut. This cut reduces stress on the back side of the tree.

After making these cuts, the tree should begin to fall in your desired direction. Turn off your chainsaw, and use one of your planned escape routes to get to safety.

Cut the Limbs and Branches

Now that your tree is safely on the ground, you can begin the next stage: tree trimming. Use your chainsaw to begin cutting the limbs and branches off the tree.

Just because you aren’t standing on a ladder for this step doesn’t mean you must forgo safety measures. You could experience a serious injury while limbing the tree without the proper attention. 

Follow these tips as you remove limbs and branches:

  • If the tree is resting on a slope, avoid standing downhill from the tree in case it begins to roll. 
  • Start at the base of the tree and work your way upward. 
  • Reach across the tree trunk to remove limbs and branches on the opposite side — you’ll have the safety of the tree trunk between you and the cuts. 

Once you’ve removed all the branches, you can cut the trunk into sections and eventually break it down into logs for firewood.

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Remove the Stump

Knowing how to remove a tree stump is an important last step in achieving a clean, professional brush and tree removal. You’ll want to use a powerful drill machine to drill holes in the stump, then pour specialized stump removal chemicals into the holes to loosen the stump and roots from the ground. Then, you can use a shovel or excavation equipment to pry out the stump and roots. 

Don’t Risk Your Safety — Hire a Professional Tree Service

Now that you know how to remove a tree, you understand how involved and risky the process is for DIYers. Ensure your family and property’s safety by hiring an experienced tree service to remove your tree instead. 

At White River Tree Service, we make tree removal hassle-free. Call us today at (253)249-6960 to request a quote. 

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