Controlling cedar trees is an important part of land management for many farmers and land owners. Cedar trees can grow rapidly and quickly overtake a pasture or crop land. Fortunately, removing cedar trees is a straightforward process. Like many other jobs, it is much easier to remove the trees while they are small, but it is possible to kill cedar trees without herbicide in most situations.
Cut the top of the cedar tree. If you remove the greenery from the top of the cedar tree, it will not regrow. This will deprive the tree of nutrients, and it will eventually die. If the cedar trees are very young, drive over the area with a brush hog attachment on a tractor to chop the tops of the cedar trees off. For larger trees, use a chainsaw and cut below the lowest green branches on the tree.
Remove the branches and limbs from the area around the trees. Clear the cedar greenery away from the remains of the cedar tree. If you compost, add the greenery to your compost pile, otherwise dispose of it as you would any other organic matter.
Dig up the remainder of the cedar tree, using a shovel. There is no need to do this right away unless you are anxious to seed or plant in the area. Once the greenery is removed, the tree will die. If you used a brush hog to mow down the cedar trees, there is no need to dig up the remaining stump and roots. Larger trees will dry out as they age. Leaving them alone for a few weeks or months makes the removal process less labor intensive.
Girdle the tree if it is very large. Cedar trees can grow to 50 feet, according to Iowa State University. To remove the greenery of the tree this tall would be dangerous, if not impossible, for the average homeowner. To kill a cedar tree that is too tall to safely remove the canopy, use a process known as girdling. When you girdle a tree, you use a sharp knife to remove the bark in a circle around the trunk. Removing this bark prevents food and water from traveling through the tree, which, according to Texas A & M University Horticulture Department, will lead to its death. Once the tree is dead, you may be able to cut it down yourself, but in the case of larger trees, it makes sense to have a professional remove the tree, to reduce the risk of injury or property damage.