DIY Small Tree Removal

In 7 Easy Steps


While small tree removal is easier to do yourself than large tree removal, you still have to take care to do it correctly, especially if you want to replant the tree and don’t want it coming back in the same spot.

7 Steps for Small Tree Removal

Follow these easy steps to remove a young or small tree from your yard.

  1. Before you do any digging, measure how far out around the tree you need to dig to get the entire root ball out. Leaving any of the root behind could cause the tree to grow back. The best way to measure is taking the diameter of the trunk and multiplying by ten. That’s about how many inches out you should dig. Multiple the trunk diameter by six to calculate how far down you need to go. For example, a trunk two inches around requires a hole 20 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep.
  2. If you plan on transplanting the tree, dig the hole in the new location first. With its new home move-in ready, it helps ensure exposed roots of the tree won’t dry out while waiting to be replanted. When looking for a new location, keep the full size of the tree in mind. Don’t plant it in a spot that may cause future damage. If it grows to be too close to your house or other structure, you may need to remove the tree again. The larger the tree is, the harder it will be to remove.
  3. Water the soil the day before a tree is removed. This softens the area and makes it easier to dig the tree out. It also helps prepare the roots for transplanting. This step is especially helpful in harder soils, like clay.
  4. Tie up lower branches to help keep them out of your way and protect them from breaking off during replanting.
  5. When you’re ready to dig the tree out, use a sharp spade. This makes a cleaner cut on roots to help prevent disease or damage.
  6. Once you’ve dug out your measured hole, remove excess dirt around the root ball, shove the spade underneath, and apply leverage on the spade handle to carefully push the ball up and out of the ground. Use the spade to cut through any additional roots that are holding the tree down.
  7. Once the tree is out of the hole, place it on a piece of burlap or plastic tarp. Wrap the cover around the root to help keep them from drying out before transplanting. If the tree is to be discarded, you can wrap the whole thing in the tarp.

Tree Removal Tips

No matter the tree size, if it’s located in a precarious position, like close to utility lines and pipes, have a professional remove it. If you’re unsure about the location of these utilities, call the township to check before you do anything. If you’re still unsure about removing the tree yourself, call Elite Tree Care for a consultation.

Tree Removal Guide

Download Your FREE Tree Removal Guide

Even dedicated DIYers should think twice before taking on the task of tree removal. Our guide will help you decide whether to hire a tree service and how to get the most value for your money.