How to Remove a Large Tree – Diy Vs. Hiring a Professional

Large trees work to add a lot of beauty or aesthetics to your property. They also can help act as a windbreak to slow down the loss of heat during the winter season and keep the home cooler during the warm months. A tree takes quite some time to grow up after getting planted and finally starts providing the benefits. But sometimes, you might have to take down a large tree for many different reasons, such as extensive storm damage, weakening from pests and diseases, or old age.

It’s a difficult and risky job to remove a large tree. It’s always best to hire an arborist to do the job, but if you feel the need to do it yourself, you can do it in certain situations. But first, you will have to assess if it’s possible for you to remove it at all or if it’s better if you go for an arborist. In this article, we will discuss how to remove a large tree from your lawn or yard. Before getting into that, let’s have a look at how you can know that it’s time to finally remove a tree.

how to remove a large tree

How to Determine That It’s Time to Remove a Tree

It’s easy to spot a dying or dead tree during the times of the year when it would normally have leaves on it. If there are a lot of limbs of a tree in a leafless state during the summer season, it means the tree is unhealthy to the point that it can’t be saved. And dead trees won’t have any leaves left at all. During winter, you can snap off a twig or scratch a branch lightly to see if you can find any green tissue. If you fail to find any, you’ll have to wait till spring to find out if the tree’s really dead or not by looking at the growth of new sprouts. 

Also, if the tree has brown leaves, it indicates that the tree is getting killed by insects, disease, or water stress. If there is oozing sap or wet streaks on the bark, it can indicate that the tree has a fatal injury or disease. You can buy some time before facing the need to remove the whole tree by pruning off diseased or dead branches. However, it’s better to tackle only the limbs you can reach from the ground. For more advanced pruning, you must hire an arborist. 

Also, you might have to remove a completely healthy tree too when they shade out or crowd other more desirable plants. Or if they get too close to utility, power lines, or a sidewalk. If you plant a tree too close to your home, the roots of the tree can expand towards the foundation of the house or to the underground pipes and cause damage. In that case, you might have to remove the tree. You might also have to remove a tree that is at risk of declining after suffering extensive damage in a storm.

How to Cut Down Potentially a Dangerous Tree

You have to cut a dangerous tree immediately as it can cause a problem for anyone. Let’s see what steps you should follow to cut down a tree. 

1. Take Safety Measures

It is essential to wear gloves, masks, helmets, etc., before you start cutting a tree because you have to deal with different equipment. Moreover, you must be prepared for any mishap, which is why you need protection. 

2. Measure the Tree’s Length 

You will measure the total tree length because that’s how you can assume where the tree will fall up to. After measuring the length, you can point out the area where the tree will fall. 

3. Measure the Trunk and Plan the Notch 

You will measure the trunk and plan the notch so that you can plan the cut. You must take the 1/5th area of the trunk and maintain the angles to cut a little. Next, you will cut the tree from the opposite side.

4. Cut the Branches

If the tree is dangerous and the branches along with the branches can damage a lot, you should eliminate the branches before. Please be careful while cutting even the smallest attachment to the trunk.

5. Monitor the Felling Cut 

While cutting the notch and the falling portion, you have to ensure it will fall the way you have planned or assumed.

Big Dead Tree Removal

Big dead tree removal may seem to be easy, but it’s tough because a big dead tree has loose limbs that can cause an accident while falling. However, the steps for cutting a dead tree are the same as others, but you can be extra careful and follow some tips. For example, 

  • Proceed your work through a work plan because that is what can lead your tree to land safely on the ground.
  • You must prepare a spare plan if the previous work plan fails due to any reason. 
  • Next, you have to go for an undercut, also known as a notch cut, so that the tree can balance.
  • You can then turn to the back cut or horizontal one as the final step, but keep an eye on the dead tree every moment.

A dead tree can be as dangerous as stones because the dead parts become dryer and harder.

Don’t Forget the Stump and How to Remove Tree Stumps

After removing a tree without its roots, you will find the stumps you need to remove. Let’s see the step-by-step guidelines to remove the tree stumps.

Step 1: Cut the Upper Portion 

You have to cut the upper portion as far as possible with the chainsaw while cutting the trunk. It would be easier to remove the stumps if you cut a huge portion before.

Step 2: Drill Holes

After you have cut it apart, you have to take a drill machine and create holes above the stump. Those holes can be later used to pour chemicals or stump removal powders. 

Step 3: Pour the Chemical or Powder 

Some chemicals are specially made to loosen the stump from the ground, which helps in effortless stump removal. However, you can also choose a stump removal powder as an alternate.

Step 4: Remove the Stump 

The final step is that when your stump and root have been loose enough to remove, you should slowly remove them and ensure nothing is left there.

There are other ways to remove a stump, but that may hurt the tree stump or the soil. It can even be risky for the existing things in the surrounding.

Check the Legalities

It is illegal to cut trees more and more as that will be considered deforestation, whereas plantation is more needed now. However, you must check the laws when you are allowed to cut down a tree before deciding.

Suppose a tree near your house or area is hampering you or becoming dangerous for you. You may cut the tree in that case, but you have to prove the danger and get legal notice.

On the other hand, you can cut off a dead tree that has become dry and lost its productivity long before. It is wise to cut a useless tree and replant it in that area after tree removal.  

You may be allowed to remove a tree from your owned lands, but you can’t do the same when it’s public property. Only the people working for the Government are allowed to remove with the legal notice.

Tree Removal Safety Precautions

It’s a must that you take proper safety precautions before you start the removal of a large tree. Falling trees and branches can cause serious dangers both for people and properties. That’s why you’ll need to-

  • Make sure to check all the tools before using them and determine their condition.
  • Using new chains and cutting blades.
  • Wearing a hard hat, footwear, and protective gloves.
  • Getting a partner to assist you in trunk sections and directing falling branches.
  • Communicate your plans for tree-removing and the drop zones clearly to anyone who’s working with you.

Getting Proper Tools for Tree Removal

To remove a large tree successfully from your property, you’ll have to arrange some specific tools. These tools are-

  • A large chainsaw for cutting through the trunk’s thicker parts.
  • A small chainsaw for making more smaller cuts in the smaller branches.
  • A cherry picker for reaching out to the tallest branches.
  • A wood chipper for creating mulch.
  • A pole pruner for reaching the branches that are far away.
  • A log splitter for easily transporting or carrying larger wood bits.

Steps to Remove A Large Tree

how to remove a large tree carefully

Following these steps will help you successfully and safely remove a tree-

Clearing the Area

Make sure to move everyone and everything out of the area before start cutting. It will help make sure to prevent any kind of accident, injury, or damage from falling trunk sections or branches. Cars, lawn decors, equipment, etc. everything should be removed from the area beforehand. Pets and children must be kept at a safe distance.

Cutting Off Lower Branches

As lower branches are heavier and larger than the higher ones, use a chainsaw to cut them. Start the removal by cutting off these lower branches, and try controlling the fall of these branches with a rope. You can properly cut these branches by making an ‘undercut at first by sawing upwards from the branch’s underside and then about 1/4th through the branch.

Then saw downwards from the branch’s top, which should be 6-12 inches further than the initial undercut. Making these two cuts will make the branches fall cleanly on the ground, without any dangerous breaking or splintering.

Removing Upper Branches

Use a reciprocating saw to cut off the higher branches similarly to the lower ones. Before doing that, make sure to secure your extension ladder to the tree with a rope or set up a tripod ladder. Carry the saw with a rope instead of climbing the tree with it in your hand.

Taking Down The Trunk

After cutting down all the branches, the next part is to use a chainsaw to cut down the trunk. Cut a right-angle notch with it in the trunk, which has to be in the direction that you want it to fall. Cut toward the notch from the side of the tree, and the notch should be about ⅓ or ¼ of the tree’s diameter. Cut the trunk into sections if it’s too big to fall safely in one piece. In that case, climb the ladder to notch, select a point that’s 10 feet above the ground, and cut the trunk there. 

Attach a rope to the trunk’s top and make your assistant haul on the rope to direct the falling path of the tree if you have an assistant. Make sure they are safely out of the falling zone and at a distance that’s twice the tree’s height.

Cutting the Stump

After getting done with the tree, cut the stump at the ground level or near it with a chainsaw. It can be difficult to remove the stump and the root system. If the stump isn’t causing many problems, simply use a stump killer on it, and allow it to get decay in its place. Stump killer will also prevent it from resprouting.

When is It Safe to Cut Down a Tree Myself?

It is not always safe to cut down a tree yourself, and only a few situations allow you to cut a tree. For example, you can cut a tree if it is not so long and doesn’t require a ladder to climb. Moreover, you can also cut a tree that is easygoing and breaks easily without hurting you.

Otherwise, you have to consult an arborist if the tree is lengthy or the trunk is thick. You cannot cut a big and old tree yourself because it’s risky. The tree can fall upon you and hurt you, and it may damage the house or window around you.

In addition, you won’t get compensated for any damage if you cut the tree on your own. On the contrary, you can have insurance and get compensation for every loss while cutting the tree. However, it would be better if you didn’t cut a tree alone and hired an arborist.

Replanting in the Place Where a Tree Has Been Removed

Replanting a tree in the area where a tree has been removed already is possible, but you have to make the soil prepared for the replanting process first. That’s how you can replant an area after tree removal.

1. Clean Up the Area

After a tree and stump removal from the soil, it is necessary to clean the debris from the soil; otherwise, the soil won’t be ready. However, cleanliness is the first step of replanting after cutting a tree.

2. Mend it with Topsoil 

Topsoil always fills the gap which creates after removing a tree stump. It helps the land to heal after tree removal. However, there are other alternatives to topsoil, but topsoil will be the best option.

3. Give it Time to Heal

Everything needs time to recover, and soil is not different from that. It may take from six months to a year to recover the area, and you have to wait until for that area. 

4. Replant on the Area

After the soil has recovered and is ready for plantation, you have to ensure that it’s the season or not for your desired plant. You can plant the tree on that spot or nearby if all is okay.

Diy Tree Removal Vs. Hiring a Professional

If you ask that DIY tree removal is better or hiring a professional one, the answer will be the latter is better. There are, of course, reasons for choosing professionals over DIY tree removal hacks.

  1. The first and only advantage of applying DIY tree removal is cost cutting. You have to spend more money than DIY if you hire a professional for tree removal.
  2. DIY workers are not experienced as professionals, and as a result, the outcome is not good. DIY tree removal is not flawless like a professional touch. 
  3. DIY workers may damage the surrounding things while working and can’t compensate for anything. On the other hand, a professional worker provides better service with assurance.

When to Call an Arborist

You will understand when you must call an arborist, especially when it’s an emergency and you need professional help. For instance,

  1. You have a big dead tree on your lawn, and you want to remove it. You should call an arborist to get professional help.
  2. It is necessary to call an arborist if a tree has become a threat to you and you have to remove it immediately.
  3. You can even call an arborist not to hire him but for a consultation to help yourself with queries and to solve small problems on your own.
  4. Sometimes, you need to prune or put the broken parts together of a damaged tree, especially after a storm. That’s when you can call an arborist to get help from him.

Hire a Certified Professional Arborist in Atlas Tree for Your Big Tree Removal Services

To successfully remove a large tree, you must have extensive knowledge of tools and equipment and safe cutting techniques. Removing large trees without the necessary knowledge or training increases the risk of property damage or injury caused by falling tree limbs, improper equipment use, or the tree itself. 

Atlas Tree Care prioritizes safety above all else. We can reduce the risk of property damage and personal injury by providing professional tree removal services. Our certified arborists have years of experience and will be able to handle any size large tree removal job safely and efficiently. You can be sure you’re making the best decision for your property. We also provide stump grinding and tree trimming.

Contact Atlas Tree today or call at (800) 478-7966 for your large tree removal needs.

Final Words

It can be difficult and highly dangerous to remove a tree if you don’t have the proper tools or expertise for it. Make sure to get these first in order to attempt to remove a tree from your property. Also, make sure to follow the aforementioned steps properly to successfully and safely remove a tree and prevent any potential damage or accident. If you don’t have the proper tools and expertise, it’s better and safer if you go for a professional arborist to remove the tree.

Frequently Ask Questions

How Long Does it Take to Cut a Tree?

The time depends on the size of the tree you will be cutting, but it takes several hours to cut a tree. If the tree is large, it will take at least eight hours to cut it down. 

Do You Need Permission to Cut a Tree?

Legal notice or permission from the local authority is necessary if you’re planning to cut a tree. Even if you want to clear the land and cut a dead tree, it is necessary.

How Much of a Tree Can You Cut Without Killing it?

A tree can bear a total loss of 5 to 20% of it, which means you can cut 5-20% of the total tree without killing it. But the tree will die if you cut more than the allowed amount.

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