When a tree dies, it can quickly become a hazard to those around it. As the wood becomes more brittle, branches can easily fall and break off, injuring someone in the process. Similarly, trees or leftover stumps can attract unwanted pests like termites, which might also find their way into your home soon after. Fortunately, removing a dead tree is a relatively simple procedure. Here’s what you need to know.
Step One: Assessing the Situation
The first thing you need to do is clear the surrounding area of as many obstacles as possible. This includes any gardening equipment, fencing, or overhead wires. You also want to make sure that there are no overhanging branches that could fall during the removal, and that the tree doesn’t have any open wounds that could indicate it’s become rotten. If this is the case, consult a professional for advice. If not, try and determine which direction the tree naturally leans. You’ll want to tree to fall in this direction.
Step Two: Cutting into the Tree
Before you go any further, make sure you have the right equipment. You’ll need a quality chainsaw to get through the base of the tree. Your first incision should be an undercut, a 90-degree, V-shaped notch that’s approximately one-quarter the depth of the tree in the side of the direction you want it to fall. Now, on the opposite side, make a backcut around two-inches higher than the hinge of the undercut. The tree will now begin to fall, but if you’ve made the incisions in the right spots you don’t have to worry. Simply turn off your chainsaw and move out of the way safely.
Step Three: Removing the Stump
With the tree now on the ground, start to remove the limbs. Move from the bottom to the top, cutting the branches on the opposite side of the tree so that the chainsaw is facing away from your body. You’ll know have to remove the stump. You can do this by either digging around the base of the tree, giving yourself enough room to avoid most of the roots, or drilling several holes into it and filling it with chemicals so it decomposes more quickly. Alternatively, you can let it decay naturally. This process can take up to ten years to complete, though, consider using it as part of your landscape design in the meantime.