How to Get Rid of Osage Orange Trees


The Osage orange tree is known by a number of names, including horse apple tree and hedge apple tree. The tree is native to southern Oklahoma and northern Texas, but because of its thorny disposition it was planted to form natural fencing throughout the Midwest. Because of this, you can find Osage orange trees throughout the country. But because of the thorny branches and the stink of rotting Osage orange fruit, some property owners prefer to get rid of the tree.

Step 1

Remove the outer parts of the lowest branch with branch loppers. To do this, grasp the tips of the branches firmly in one hand, and guide the branch ends into the open loppers. Then close the loppers around them, cutting the tips off.

Step 2

Finish removing the lowest branches using a hand saw. To to this, place the hand saw so that the blade is at a 90-degree angle from the top of the branch where it connects with the trunk and begin to work the saw back and forth to cut through the branch. Steady the branch with one hand and saw with the other. These branches are springy, and will jump back on you if you attempt to remove them with a chainsaw.

Step 3

Cut down any undergrowth surrounding the tree. Scrubby brush may be clipped in half by placing your branch loppers around the stems at ground level and lopping off the stems. More sturdy trunks may be cut by placing the saw at ground level and sawing through the trunks. Always cut the underbrush at ground level and do not leave any stubs that you could trip on. Haul all undergrowth out from beneath the tree, and pile it well out of the way of the area that you plan to fell the tree into.

Step 4

Lean the ladder against the tree trunk at a 45-degree angle. Climb up the ladder and remove branches growing from the tree trunk with a hand saw. Position yourself so that the branch is level with your chest. Never work over your head. Saw through the branch employing the same method that you you used in step 2. Large branches may be lowered from the tree using a rope.

Step 5

Plan your escape route in advance before felling the tree. This way you can be clear of the tree as it begins to fall. Clear any debris, such as thorny branches, from your path that might trip you.

Step 6

Make a V-shaped cut in the trunk of the tree with the chainsaw in the direction that you want the tree to fall. The cut should only go ¼ of the way through the tree.

Step 7

Cut through the trunk of the tree starting on the opposite side of the V. This cut should be slightly higher than the point of the V.

Step 8

Move away from the tree as it begins to fall. Always move in the opposite direction of the tree's falling path.

Step 9

Check guidelines set forth by your local municipality before disposing of your tree. Then dispose of the tree following the guidelines set out by these rules.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never try to cut a branch over your head using a chainsaw. This forces your arms into a weakened position, and may cause you to lose control of your chainsaw.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Protective goggles
  • Protective gloves
  • Hard hat
  • Chain saw
  • Hand saw
  • Branch loppers
  • Ladder


  • Great Plains Nature Center: Osage Orange
  • The Onrey Osage Orange -- Tree Profile;"American Forests";Jim W. Grace;Nov-Dec, 1990
  • University of Missouri: Felling, Bucking and Limbing Trees

Who Can Help

  • about Hedgeapples
  • University of Illinois:57 Ways to Protect your Home Environment
Keywords: cutting down a tree, osage orange, protective clothing

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."