Removing a Tree from Your Yard

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated November 5, 2021)

If you have a tree that is dead or dying, and if you own the property on which the tree grows, then you may consider removing the tree. Before you grab an axe or a chainsaw to do the job yourself, however, take a moment and read these tips for removing a tree from your yard:

  • Examine the entire space around the tree first. Look for overhead wires, other trees in close proximity, buildings, vehicles, and roadways where the tree may fall when you fell it. Make sure that the area is entirely clear before you attempt to remove a tree.
  • If the tree is situated on a hill, consider which way the tree will fall when you cut it. Determine the lay and make sure that the lay ground is smooth so that the tree won't bounce or roll when it falls.
  • Do you have the right to remove the tree? Check property lines and records before you make the first cut. Talk with your neighbors about how they may feel about you removing the tree, even if the tree is on your property.
  • You may need to check with the local utility companies before removing your tree, especially if you have to dig out the stump. It would be unfortunate, and costly, to hit a water line, but it might be fatal to hit a gas line.
  • Check the base of your tree to determine if any part of it is hollow. If it is a large base, it may take a long time to fell the tree. If it is a large hollow base, however, the wood will be brittle and won't take long to fell.
  • Use a chainsaw to fell a small tree with a small trunk. If you've a very large tree, use an axe to make several notched cuts at 45-degree angles, in the direction of the lay. Cut a bottom notch, and then a top notch on the same angle, to meet the depth of the first cut. Make another notch on the opposite side of the tree to make the falling cut, and then get out of the way—fast!

When felling a tree, even a small tree, it's best to plan an escape route to prevent injury, harm, or death. After making the first cuts, and before making the falling cut, scope out the area and make sure that you have removed all implements or anything else that might be in your running path. Make the final falling cut, throw down the chainsaw or axe, and then run away from the direction of the lay. Even if the tree does not fall immediately, it will fall eventually after making the final cut. If you need to revisit the tree to make a deeper falling cut, make sure that you don't walk into the path of the lay.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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