Hackberry Tree Removal


Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), often known as common hackberry, American hackberry or northern hackberry, grows as large as 80 feet tall by 60 feet wide, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It commonly invades areas where it establishes itself and then grows quickly. Its extremely hard wood and large size may make it more difficult to remove than other trees. The Texas A&M Extension Service recommends a two-fold process for complete removal of hackberry trees.

Step 1

Cut the hackberry tree down with a sharp chainsaw as close to the ground as possible. Cut a V-shaped undercut, about one-fourth of the tree's diameter, at the base of the tree on the side in which the tree should fall. On the opposite side cut a straight back cut slightly above where the "V" meets as wide as the undercut, but with a small amount of wood still left in the middle, which creates a hinge.

Step 2

Turn off the saw when the tree starts to fall. Move away from the tree in an area completely away from where the tree could fall.

Step 3

Drill 1-inch deep holes, using the spade bit, into the stump's perimeter. Space holes 3 inches from the edge. Drill more holes 3 inches down on the stump's side, at 45-degree angles, for venting.

Step 4

Fill each hole with a broadleaf weedkiller.

Step 5

Apply broadleaf weedkiller to plant shoots as they re-emerge. Pour more broadleaf weedkiller into the holes. It will likely take several repeated applications to cause the stump to decompose.

Step 6

Break up the tree stump with an axe as it starts to decompose, which will be evident by its spongy texture.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear a pair of protective goggles when cutting down the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Chainsaw
  • Drill
  • 1-inch spade bit with a spade bit extension
  • Broadleaf weedkiller
  • Axe


  • This Old House: Removing Tree Stumps
  • Texas A&M Extension: Trees
  • University of Missouri Extension: Felling, Bucking and Limbing Trees
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Hackberry
Keywords: hackberry removal, tree removal, removing hackberry tree

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has worked in the publishing industry since 1997 for nationally known publications such as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living" and "American Baby." Sharon also owns a Web consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.