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Get Rid of a Troublesome Tree

By Brett Freeman
Get Rid of a Troublesome Tree

Before You Cut

Tree removal is more complicated than grabbing an ax and hacking away. Before you begin, you need to honestly assess whether you can safely do the job. It's better to leave trees with a trunk diameter greater than eight inches to a professional tree removal service. Trees are more cumbersome than they look, and cutting them down is more dangerous from a safety and liability standpoint than it may seem. Tree removal services have the experience and the equipment to do the job right.

Secure the Perimeter

The most avoidable tree removal mishaps result because someone's "guesstimate" of the tree's height was a few feet short. Don't let this happen to you. If you can't get an accurate measurement, err on the high side to ensure homes, cars, and overhead power lines are out of harm's way.

If the tree isn't too large, consider digging it out instead of cutting it down. Use a shovel and a reciprocating saw to cut the tree's roots a couple feet out from its base, then tie a rope as high up the trunk as you can manage. Have one person pulling the tree down while another digs under its base from the opposite side.

If digging the tree out isn't practical, begin by cutting a 90 degree notch one-third of the way through the trunk on the side towards which you want the tree to fall. Using ropes to control the tree's fall, finish by cutting on the opposite side through the back of the notch. Stop short of cutting all the way through to prevent the base from kicking up.

A stump grinder is the quickest way to deal with the stump, but the remaining wood will also decompose quickly if you put a compost heap over it.

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