Getting to the root of your tree removal problem

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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First things first, let's get one thing straight; we love trees and are in no way advocating the unnecessary felling of them but there are occasions when you have little or no choice but to remove some leafy friends and when that is the case, you need to know how to safely remove them.

Knowing how to effectively and properly get rid of a tree that is causing damage to your home or is situated somewhere you want to build on is vital so take a look at our top tips for safe tree removal to see if you can cut out unnecessary hard work and danger.

Preparation Part 1: Check for obstacles nearby

Before you even think about having a bash a tree removal, step back and observe your site objectively. You need to have a good grasp on everything that could be impacted by a falling tree so think of everything as a potential obstacle, especially your house!

While this house, from Marcus McLean, has been built around an existing tree, if you are not in a position to do the same, you need to be sure you have minimised the risk of your trunk falling and damaging anything. Don't forget to move cars, too.

Preparation Part 2: Look at how the tree is leaning

Tree removal is something that requires an equal amount of skill and common sense so before you grab the chainsaw and start cutting, look at how your tree is naturally leaning. This will help you to decide where to make your cuts so as to avoid any problems when the tree actually falls.

It would be extremely difficult, or even impossible, to counter a very definite directional growth pattern so even if you had hoped to fell your tree to one particular side, if it looks unlikely, make a new plan and clear a space somewhere more appropriate.

Felling Part 1: The under cut

Here is where some of the skill kicks in. An under cut is a V shaped notch that is removed from a trunk on the underside, which weakens the strength of the tree significantly. The idea here is to create a vulnerable spot that you can cut into from another angle in order to totally fell the tree.

A proper under cut will see a wedge of trunk removed and from here you should be able to gauge if you have made the notch in the right spot to ensure the tree will fall where you want it to. There will be no more chances to adapt so measure twice and cut once. Tree removal isn't an exact science but you can try to control it.

Felling Part 2: The back cut

The back cut comes in from the direct opposite angle of the undercut, allowing the apex of the undercut to be met by your cutting equipment in order to ensure a clean chop through the centre of the trunk. This is both the most exciting and the most dangerous part of the process.

When the tree starts to fall you will need to quickly move out of the way in order to prevent injury and it is customary to shout a warning so that anyone else in the vicinity knows to steer clear. Ideally, you need to clear your garden of people altogether before attempting a back cut as even when properly planned, they can yield unpredictable results.

Stump removal

Ahhh… you're almost done! With the tree felled, chopped and either stacked neatly for firewood or disposed of, your last task is removing the stump so we hope you are feeling strong and determined.

When it comes to tree removal, digging the stump out really is the worst part and can take a long time so try to have all the tools you will need on hand, including a pick axe in order to break up the roots. Take your time and think of this as your cardio for the week. Or month!

If you'd rather try to keep your trees, take a look at his Ideabook: 5 Fun Designs: Kids Treehouses. They aren't only for kids, you know!

Do you have some tree felling to take care of? Are you feeling more confident now? Let us know what your concerns are...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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