How to trim a large conifer


How to trim a large conifer


Conifer trees are cone-bearing evergreen trees that are common around the world. The ease of removing a conifer tree varies with the size of the tree and the surrounding landscape. If you have a large conifer in an urban landscape where hazards such as power lines, cars or underground utility lines are prevalent, it is best to consult a professional tree-removal service. However, removing a conifer tree that is small and in an open area is easy.

Step One

Identify and potential hazards in the surrounding landscape and find the best area for the tree to fall. Power lines, fences and other plants in your landscape will influence the way that you remove the conifer tree.

Step Two

Inspect the tree carefully and observe the lean and health of the tree. Most trees will lean to one side because of factors such as wind and branch development. Cutting a conifer tree down in the direction of the lean makes the task much easier. Trees that are rotting or diseased may fall more easily than healthy trees.

Step Three

Remove as many of the branches as you can before you cut down large trees. Removing the branches helps reduce the mass of the tree and makes it easier to manage the falling tree.

Step Four

Remove debris from around the base of the tree to create a hazard-free escape route away from the tree.

Step Five

Cut a 45-degree angle into the base of the tree approximately one-fourth of the diameter of the trunk. This V-shaped notch is called the undercut and will determine the direction the tree falls.

Step Six

Start the back cut slowly on the opposite side of the trunk at least two inches above the undercut. The back cut releases the stress on the back side of the tree and will allow you to guide where the tree falls.

Step Seven

Move quickly away from the tree along the cleared escape route from step 4 once the tree starts to fall.

Step Eight

Remove the stump or incorporate it into your landscaping plans. There are various methods of stump removal available. Mechanical stump removers are the fastest options and allow you to remove the stump to ground level with ease. There are several chemical methods that can be used as well, but they may take several years to completely remove the stump from your property. Or you can use the stump as a planter or centerpiece for a new landscaping features.


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