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How to Remove Horse Chestnut Trees

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

The horse chestnut tree, also called Aesculus hippocastanum and Hippocastanum vulgare, is native to central and northern Asia. The tree is usually grown as an ornamental tree, for use in parks and gardens. It has a very erect trunk that grows fast, with smooth bark and a gray-green color. The tree has a wide spread, providing a dense shade. The spiky flowers are usually white with a reddish tinge. Given its growth rate, you might want to remove or transplant a horse chestnut tree. The younger the tree, the easier it is to transplant.

Water the horse chestnut tree thoroughly the day before you plan to remove it. The water will make the soil stay together more and provide the tree with nutrients to counteract the stress of removing it.

Figure out how much of the root mass and soil you need to dig up. The rule of thumb is at least 10 inches of roots per 1 inch of tree trunk diameter.

Dig with a shovel around the horse chestnut tree trunk, loosening up the soil and looking for roots as you go. Use larger equipment such as a backhoe if you're trying to remove a very large horse chestnut tree.

Cut stubborn roots with the sharp, pointy tip of a shovel or a hand pruner. Try to make the cuts clean to avoid further damage.

Use the shovel as leverage, along with help from other people if necessary, to lift the horse chestnut tree out of the hole. The horse chestnut is now ready to be replanted.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Backhoe
  • Pruning shears


  • Remember, roots spread more horizontal than vertical. A wider hole will avoid damage, but you don't need to dig too deep.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.