If you have a large tree in your garden, there are a number of reasons you might need to remove it.
Large trees can add a sense of beauty and huge scale to a garden, but they can also cause issues such as excessive shade (casting your garden into darkness), untidy lawns and patios (especially as they begin to shed leaves), and even property damage. The latter occurs when a large tree’s roots begin to place pressure on tiles and walls, causing cracks and even structural instability.
Once you’ve determined how to get rid of a large tree though, what is the next step? How do you go about doing this safely? What tools do you need? Read on, and we’ll explore the process in detail.
Before You Begin: Ask These Questions
Before you get started, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- How large is the tree in question? This will impact on the best strategy for removing it safely.
- Is the tree near anything that can cause damage? If your tree is near a fence, a power-line, or anything else, this will also affect the way you proceed.
- Does the tree need to be removed entirely or could it just be trimmed? If the tree is too large but otherwise inoffensive, then you could consider just cutting it back to reduce the amount of space it takes up.
While this article should be able to help you go through the process of removing your tree, it is important to recognize that there is no “one size fits all” approach here. Rather, you will need to adapt the strategy to your specific requirements and situation.
Can You Remove the Tree?
Before you ask how to remove the tree, you should first ask whether you are able to move the tree!
For example, if the tree is over 6” then you may be better to simply call a professional. Above this height, the tree becomes difficult to handle and can cause serious accidents and property damage. That said, the thickness of the tree should also be taken into account.
You also need to think about who owns the tree. Is it entirely on your land? If the tree is on commercial property, then you may need a permit.
Also ask if you need to remove the tree. If the tree can simply be cut back and that will be enough to prevent the issues you’re having, then this might be a more affordable and quicker way to proceed. There is no need to be a hero – do what you need to do to get the results that you are looking for.
Not sure if your tree needs to be trimmed or removed? We can help you decide!
Next, you need to consider the environment surrounding your tree. If the tree is near a power line for example, then this might be a job for the power companies.
Likewise, if the tree is near a fence or your property, then you need to be absolutely sure it isn’t going to fall and cause damage.
One way to avoid this, is to wrap the tree with rope or cord. This will then allow you to hold it up while you are working on it, as well as to guide the way it topples once you finally do manage to cut through it. Have someone assist you while you cut by pulling on the rope to ensure the best trajectory as it falls.
When tying the knot, it’s important to ensure that it isn’t going to become untied or loose. To avoid this, use a knot such as a figure 8 which will only get tighter the more pressure is placed on it.
Another tip is to avoid chopping down the entire tree in one go. Instead, aim to cut a portion of the tree off near the top. Then move down a few feet and do the same. This will reduce the likelihood of damage and it also has the added benefit of being MUCH easier to dispose of.
Another tip to help direct the tree as it falls is to angle the cut. For example, if you want the tree to fall into your garden and away from the neighbor’s garden, then you can cut from your side in an upward diagonal manner. This will ensure that the top piece of the tree is leaning in the direction you want it to fall.
Don’t cut all the way through the tree while you’re up there! Of course, if you cut all the way through the tree trunk, then it is going to fall in your direction while you are still relying on it to stay aloft! This can result in both you and the tree coming crashing down together.
Instead then, you should aim to cut about two-thirds of the way through the tree and then use the rope tied around it in order to pull it the rest of the way down.
It can also be useful to cut away some branches and twigs and to generally trim the tree as much as possible in order to ensure that you can access the trunk and easily cut where you need to. This will once again also help with disposal.
You should also take precautions to ensure that you look after your own safety.
For example, it’s always important to wear safety goggles when chopping down trees. This is an important measure that will prevent wood chippings and other debris from getting in your eye and potentially damaging your retina.
Another important tip is to wear thick leather gloves. While this may not be enough protection to avoid a serious accident should something go wrong, it’s certainly better than nothing!
Depending on how high the tree is, it may also be useful to use a climbing harness and attach yourself to the tree. This will prevent you from falling and potentially injuring yourself upon landing.
Finally, one of the simplest safety precautions you can take if you are new to cutting down trees is to simply ensure there is someone else in the garden while you are doing this. This way, if you should fall or if you should cut yourself, there will be someone available to help you avoid an accident.
The simplest way to stay safe when removing a tree is to hire professionals. No matter the job size, we can help remove your tree.
Being a Good Neighbor
If the tree you are cutting down is anywhere close to a neighbour’s garden, then it is a only polite to let them know that you intend on cutting the tree down. This way, they will know to avoid their garden if there is a risk of the tree falling. At the same time, this will alert them to any loud noises you may be making with power tools (and this is very important if they have a young child sleeping nearby, for example).
Finally, when you remove the tree it is going to affect the amount of light getting into the neighbour’s garden as well as their view. While this is your prerogative and entirely within your rights, it is only polite to let them know about the upcoming change and it doesn’t hurt you!
The Right Tools
Choosing the best tools for the job will not only ensure you complete the work more quickly, it will also help you to avoid accidents. Many people make the incorrect assumption that a more blunt blade is less dangerous… in truth the opposite is true. A blunt instrument requires more force to use, which in turn results in the loss of truly fine motor movement. As such, you become more likely to slip and take your hand off!
This is why you should use a new tool that is sharpened and working well. This should also come with all of the latest safety features. For power tools (which will make the job significantly quicker and easier) a safety latch is a must and you should also get a device that has an automatic shut-off. This way, if you drop the saw, it will stop cutting.
A chain saw or alligator saw are great options for power tools, as is a fixed blade saw.
Alternatively, you can use a bowsaw or similar manual cutting tool.
As you can see then, the process of removing a tree is not necessarily a straightforward one. You can’t simply cut down a huge tree and shout “timber!” Instead, you need to carefully remove sections of the tree starting from the top, while using ropes and smart sawing to direct them as they fall. And if the tree is over 6” or if it is near a power line, then you are probably advised to simply let someone else handle the work.
The key is to listen to your own gut. If you feel comfortable removing the tree, then go ahead and cut it down. But if you feel anxious about the process – go with that instinct!
Take it slow, remember “less haste, more speed” and keep in mind what you are trying to achieve and the best way to do that.