Tree Removal Methods: What They Are And When To Use Them

There is more than one way to remove a tree. The method you choose will depend in part on the type of the tree, as well as on your plans for the tree afterwards.


Digging up a tree is only suitable for small, young trees that haven't yet developed an extensive or deep root system. Generally, the tree removal service will first slice into the root system with a flat spade, working a foot or two out from the trunk. If the tree is very young, they will dig it up immediately. Older but small trees may be left in place for a bit for the cut roots to seal over, then the tree will be dug up. You can plant the tree in a new area or have it hauled away if you no longer want it on your property.


Girdling is another method used to remove small trees, but the tree won't survive the process. A tree is typically removed in this manner when you want it to remain as standing deadwood, such as if you are making a wild bird habitat on your property. A strip of bark is removed around the circumference of the trunk. Within a season or two, the tree will die since the removed bark prevents the transport of water and nutrients between the crown and the roots. Often, the limbs are also removed from the tree so they won't pose a fall danger.


The simplest way to remove a tree of almost any size is felling, or chopping it down. This method is only suitable for open locations where there are no buildings, roads, or other areas that could be damaged by the falling tree. Your tree removal service will assess the site and determine the best direction for the tree to fall. Depending on the size of the tree, they may first remove most or all of the limbs. Then, a notch is cut into the trunk on the side in the direction of fall, and then the trunk is cut through on the other side.


For large trees or those that could damage houses or other things below, sectioning is the removal method of choice. First, the removal service removes the limbs on the trunk, lowering them carefully to the ground with a pulley system so nothing below is damaged. Then, the trunk is cut down in sections, which are also lowered via pulleys. Sectioning is most used for trees growing near the house or those in residential areas.

Contact a tree removal service for more help with your problem tree.