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How to Remove Small Pine Trees

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Pine tree seedlings can be controlled with a lawn mower.
pine tree leaves image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com

Ninety percent of a pine tree’s roots are in the top 3 feet of soil. Despite this, removing small pine trees from your landscape can be a difficult prospect. Pine trees develop a tap root that can extend quite deep into the soil. Attempts to dig a pine tree out of the ground can lead to suckers, which are pine seedlings that spring from the roots of distressed pine trees. The best method to kill a small pine tree depends on its size.

Measure the girth of a pine tree’s trunk with calipers to determine the best method to remove the tree.

Mow down pine seedlings with trunks that are less than ½ inch wide. Frequent mowing will eventually kill pine tree seedlings.

Cut down pine saplings with trunks smaller than 2 inches in diameter with branch loppers. Spray the cut tree trunks with a systemic herbicide containing glyphosate to kill the tree’s roots and prevent the re-emergence of sucker trees.

Saw through tree trunks that are less than 5 inches in diameter with a saw. Spray the cut tree trunk with a systemic herbicide.

Cut a V-shaped notch with an axe one-quarter of the way through the trunk of a pine tree with a 5-inch or larger diameter trunk. This notch should point in the direction that the pine tree will fall.

Make a second cut horizontally straight through the trunk of the tree starting on the side opposite of the V notch and slightly higher than the point of the notch. Pull the axe free as the tree begins to fall. Spray the remaining tree stump with a systemic herbicide.


Things You Will Need

  • Calipers
  • Lawn mower
  • Branch loppers
  • Systemic herbicide containing glyphosate
  • Saw
  • Axe

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.