Jack’s Trees: Practical Tips to Tree Cutting and Tree Removal
Welcome to our “How To…” question and answer page. Here at Jack’s Tress we love to answer some of our customers most frequently asked questions. Tree, branch and root removal are some of the most talked about topics amongst our customers. Whether you’re a DIY arborist* or you prefer to call in professionals, here are some answer to help you with your tree care.
- How to Remove Tree Roots from the Ground
Did you know that tree roots spread as far underground as the branches spread above ground? This means that those roots can be taking up a significant amount of space underground. If you are wanting to dig up roots that are causing property damage without harming the tree, then you need to consider the type of root and its relationship to the tree. The same rule applies to exposed roots, you must first consider how they relate to the overall tree system. If you cut roots that are too close to the tree trunk you may be cutting off structural roots that are a vital source of nutrients to the tree. You may also cause instability making the tree vulnerable to wind.
The advice most arborists will give is to avoid cutting roots that are 3-5 times the diameter of the trunk away from the tree. Use your tape measure to determine the trunk’s diameter and then make sure you’re not cutting too close. Once you’ve determined the correct length, then it’s simply a matter of digging down to reveal the roots. Once you’ve revealed the root, dig under it to make space and then cut it with your gardening shears or saw (for larger roots). Avoid cutting too many roots – no more than 20% of the roots – as this will harm the tree. You will need to give your tree a chance to recover so don’t remove any more roots for a few years. The best season to remove roots is winter.
- How to Cut a Tree Down
If you’ve decided to cut down a tree with an axe, then you must start with a 45-degree angle chop on the side you want the tree to fall. This creates a notch. Then chop another 45-degree angle opposite the last. Keep going until you’re a third of the way through the trunk. Ensure you’ve considered the height of the tree and the size of the area it will fall. If there are power lines or buildings, then it is best to call tree cutting experts. Also, be aware that the tree is most likely to fall the way it is leaning or the way of the most heavily weighted branches. Ensure there are no people or pets in the path of the falling tree when you start to cut and be sure to wear safety gear such as goggles, gloves and a helmet.
- How to Cut Tree Branches
Pruning your trees may involve cutting large tree limbs. The first step is to find the branch collar (the area around tree where the branch is growing out – look for thicker bark). Remove the branch from outside the collar. If you damage the collar, the tree won’t form a suitable callous. You want your tree to form a callous over the cut to prevent any disease or rot. Make downward cuts and don’t cut the upward facing branches as you don’t want to risk water pooling and causing rot. Ideally you want to prune or cut your trees in winter – this is when the tree is dormant, and it reduces the risk of disease. It also promotes healthy new growth.
- How to Remove a Tree Stump
First, you need to dig around the tree base. Work your way around the stump with a mattock (similar to a pickaxe). Loosen the soil and expose the upper root system. You can now use a pruning saw to cut the roots (you may need something heftier, like an axe, for thicker roots) You should now be able to dig underneath the stump, jostle it around to expose the lower roots – you’ll need to cut these deeper roots away to loosen the stump. Once the lower roots have been cut your stump should come right out.
- How to Cut Down a Tree with Chainsaw
Carefully! Felling a tree with a chainsaw takes planning. You need to take a safety-first approach and check the surrounding area for buildings, fences, objects, other trees and power lines. Try to imagine all possible scenarios. Once you’ve assessed the area, you need to determine the best ‘fall zone’. If the tree is leaning in a particular direction – it may be best to let it fall that way as long as there are no obstacles. If there are buildings in the way, then it’s best to call in experts. Estimate the height of the tree and how much area you’ll need for the fall. Give yourself extra room as trees tend to be bigger than you think. Determining the direction of fall depends on the first cuts you make (directional notch). The depth of the notch should be 1/5 of the trunk’s diameter. Remember that the tree will tend to fall the way it’s leaning or in the direction of the heavily loaded branches. Don’t forget to consider how to clear the fallen tree away after the job is done – you want it to be in an accessible position. Wear safety gear – protect your eyes and ears and wear a helmet and protective chaps. Also ensure there are no obstacles blocking your escape path.
- How to Manage Tree Roots
If exposed tree roots are damaging your property, then you may want to get rid of them. If the roots are 3-5 times the diameter away from the tree, then you can cut them away safely. However, you should avoid pruning thick roots or roots that are fused to the trunk as these are the trees life support system. It is best to cut the roots in winter and we’d advise not removing too many exposed roots at once. You need to give the tree a chance to recover. If you notice the tree starts to decline after a few weeks, then call your arborist for advice.
- How to Cut Treated Pine Sleepers
If you’ve cut your treated pine, then it is recommended that you reseal any exposed timber. Even if you’ve drilled into it – it’s best to reseal.
*Please note that this is general advice and Jack’s Trees does not take responsibility for any action taken. Please also keep in mind that you should check your local council bylaws before cutting down trees. A professional tree service can help you cut trees safely.