Removing Black Walnut Trees


Many gardeners and homeowners grow black walnut trees for their nuts. In addition to their culinary uses, black walnut trees supply woodcrafters with a strong, durable wood for furniture and other crafts. These trees also provide shade and add value to landscapes and yards. Although some large trees require professional removal from the landscape, you can safely remove small black walnut trees from your own yard.

Step 1

Examine your tree to determine if you can safely cut it. Look for dead sections or hollow portions in the trunk. Never attempt to cut a dead tree or a hollow tree. Follow the safety instructions included with your chain saw when operating it.

Step 2

Walk around the base of your black walnut tree to examine its growth habits. Determine which way your tree leans. Most trees lean slightly one way or the other. Make sure there are no nearby branches from other trees in the direction of the tree's lean. Trim away any neighboring branches that may tangle with your falling tree.

Step 3

Clear away any debris or brush from the immediate vicinity around your tree. Make sure you have a clear escape route that allows you to move quickly away from the tree.

Step 4

Cut a 90-degree opening into the lower portion of the trunk on the side where it leans. Put on your safety goggles before cutting into the tree. Make a cut parallel to the surface of the ground about one-third of the way through the trunk. Place a second cut above the first, angling downward to form your 90-degree opening. Remove the cut wedge from the tree if it remains in place after cutting.

Step 5

Place a third cut on the opposite side of the tree trunk. Make a horizontal cut slightly above the point of the opposite notch. Do not allow this cut to intercept the notch or go below the point of the notch. The tree should begin to fall when your blade nears the center of the trunk. Get away from the tree as soon as it begins to fall. Trees often split and bounce when falling, creating a risk for accidents in the vicinity.

Step 6

Paint the stump of your walnut tree with a stump remover preparation. Purchase this liquid product from a hardware store or a tree nursery. This inhibits the growth of new sprouts from the cut trunk. Remove any old walnuts from the area to eliminate the appearance of new seedlings.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not attempt to remove your black walnut trees, or any other large tree, if they grow near power lines or permanent structures, such as a garage or a neighbor's house. Do not cut down your trees on windy or rainy days. Trees in these unsafe situations require the skill and knowledge of professional tree trimmers. Dead and hollow trees often burst apart, causing injuries. Make sure your tree does not border a structure, such as your garage or a neighbor's house. Do not cut the black walnut tree if it grows near a power line.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Chain saw
  • Stump remover paint
  • Paintbrush


  • University of Minnesota: Growing Black Walnut
  • North Dakota State University: Chain Saw Safety
  • University of Missouri: Felling, Bucking and Limbing Trees
Keywords: remove walnut trees, walnut tree removal, tree cutting

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.