What Should I Know About Tree Removal?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Tree removal can be a complicated task, and it should not be undertaken by people who are not experienced. At best, a botched tree removal could simply result in a regrowth of the offending tree from an improperly-handled stump, but mistakes could also lead to damage to homes, cars, power lines, and people, which is very undesirable. Many communities have firms which specialize in taking out or trimming trees, and it is sometimes possible to get assistance with paying for tree removal, or to have a tree taken out for free.

Trees can be cut and turned into firewood.
Trees can be cut and turned into firewood.

There are a number of reasons for people to remove trees from an area. A tree could simply be in the way of a planned activity, such as building a home, installing a garden, or creating a sports field. Trees may also grow to be a problem if they overshadow homes and other structures, or if they start to die, potentially posing a safety risk. Utility companies also remove trees to protect the integrity of their lines, and trees may become a nuisance when their roots start to churn up pavement or create cracks in pools.

Trees may need to be removed for a variety of reasons, but it's best to leave it to the professionals to ensure no damage is done to surrounding buildings.
Trees may need to be removed for a variety of reasons, but it's best to leave it to the professionals to ensure no damage is done to surrounding buildings.

A typical tree removal starts with an assessment of the tree and its location. The tree remover needs to plan ahead to ensure that the tree is taken out safely, with a minimum of damage to surrounding objects. In the case of a tree which is close to a home or power lines, the path of the fall must be precisely calculated. Using a tree removal service or tree removal contractor can eliminate the guesswork from this stage of the removal.

Local municipalities or gardening organizations will usually remove a dead tree for free, especially if they are diseased.
Local municipalities or gardening organizations will usually remove a dead tree for free, especially if they are diseased.

Once the situation has been mapped out, it is necessary to climb the tree and trim away major branches. Trimming away branches allows for greater control over the fall, and reduces the risk of peripheral damage caused by flailing limbs and breaking branches. Once the tree's branches have been reduced, it can be precisely felled, sawed up, and removed. In some cases, it may be necessary to “top” the tree, taking off the top before felling it to reduce the risk of property damage.

Most people also like to remove the stump after tree removal, both because stumps are not very attractive to look at, and because some trees can start new growth around the stump, creating a recurrence of the problem. Depending on the size of the tree, the stump may be dug out with the assistance of mechanical equipment, or it may need to be broken up with explosives and hauled away. Explosives should only be handled by a contractor who is licensed to deal with explosive materials.

Tree limbs can be chipped for wood chips, which can be used for mulching and composting, or hauled away. The wood can be broken into firewood or used for timber, and the tree company can also remove it, typically charging a handling fee. Sometimes, locals will take away the limbs and trunk for free because they want firewood, lumber, or wood chips.

There are some cases in which tree removal can be accomplished for free or at low cost. If a tree threatens utilities like power lines, phone lines, water mains, or sewage lines, the utility will often pay to have the tree removed. Dead trees, especially if they are diseased, may be removed for free by a municipality, or by a gardening organization. If a tree threatens property, it may be possible to obtain a grant to pay for removal. Otherwise, the cost of removal is the responsibility of the property owner.

Some trees need their tops removed before the whole tree can be felled.
Some trees need their tops removed before the whole tree can be felled.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon139873

Great Article, very wise. I can tell you've had to hire Tree Experts once or twice in the past. Thanks for sharing.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: