How to Remove a Birch Tree


A birch is a tree that grows in clumps rather than as one single tree. The roots of these trees spread rather than establishing a tap root. They prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil. A birch stand can quickly outgrow the area it was planted in. A mature birch stand may reach up to 40 feet tall, but the clump will also spread as it grows. When this occurs, you may be forced to remove it from your property.

Step 1

Find out if you need a permit from your city to remove a tree. If you live in a zoned urban area, your city may have strict codes concerning tree removal. Failure to comply with these codes may lead to fines or other penalties.

Step 2

Assess the area around your tree for obstructions. Trees with no obstacles around them may be felled (sawed in two at the base of the trunk). If your tree is near power lines or a property fence, you will need to cut it down in sections.

Step 3

Put on protective clothing, including gloves, goggles and a hard hat before attempting to cut down your tree.

Step 4

Study the birch tree's shape. Determine which direction it leans. This will be the determining factor in how it will fall.

Step 5

Examine the area that you want the tree to land in. Make sure that it is clear of debris or other obstructions.

Step 6

Clear away any obstructions from the base of the tree that may trip you while you work. Plan an escape route so that you can retreat to safety when the tree begins to fall.

Step 7

Remove large tree limbs, or remove the tree in sections by climbing onto a ladder and cutting the limb or tree section at the base with a hand saw. Cut 1/3 of the way upward through the limb from the bottom with a saw. Cut completely through the limb at a downward angle at a point just beyond your upward cut.

Step 8

Plan to make a v-shaped notch in the trunk of the tree with a chain saw on the side of the tree in the direction you want the tree to fall. If the tree is already leaning, this cut should be in the direction that it leans. This will guide your tree to fall where you want it to.

Step 9

Make your V-shaped cut by slicing into the tree parallel to the ground 1/4 of the way through the trunk. Then make a second slice at a 45-degree angle. The second slice should meet the first slice at the stopping point 1/4 of the way through the tree.

Step 10

Slice through the tree on the other side of the trunk from the v-shaped notch. The second slice should be slightly above the point end of the v-shaped slice. As the slice nears the v-cut, the tree will start to fall in the direction of the v-cut.

Step 11

Shut off your chain saw when the tree starts to fall and move away from the falling tree in the direction of your escape route.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not attempt to cut down a tree during strong winds. The wind may push the foliage or branches and cause the tree to fall in a direction you did not intend. Never attempt to remove a limb above your shoulders. The position that you are forced to work in can cause you to lose control of your saw.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand saw
  • Ladder
  • Rope
  • Chain saw
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • Hard hat


  • University of Missouri Extension: Felling, Bucking and Limbing Trees
  • Grounds Maintenance Magazine: How to Remove a Large Limb
  • Fort Valley State University: Birch Problems

Who Can Help

  • Garden Line: Guide to Birch Trees
Keywords: cutting down a tree, river birch, landscaping design

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.