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How to Remove Poplar Trees

The poplar tree is a very common tree in North America and refers to any tree of the genus Populus. There are three main groups of poplar trees: aspens, balsam poplars and cottonwoods. They are quick growing but short-lived trees. The tree can be very invasive due to sprouting new trees from its root system. Thus, some people find it necessary to remove poplar trees from their landscape. With proper practices, it is fairly easy to remove them.

Check over your area. Look for obstacles and items that can be damaged from the falling tree. Decide on a direction you want the poplar tree to fall.

Take your chain saw and cut a V-shaped notch in the poplar trunk. Cut this notch on the same side as you want the tree to fall. The notch should be 1/4 to 1/3 of the way into the poplar tree trunk.

Take the chain saw and slice into the trunk on the opposite side from where the notch is. You'll want this cut to be 2 to 3 inches above your V-shaped notch. Slowly work the chain saw into the trunk and you'll eventually notice the tree start to lean toward the notch.

Remove the chain saw from the tree and turn it off. The poplar tree will fall to the ground in the direction of where the V-shaped notch was.

Turn the chain saw back on and cut the stump of the poplar tree level with the ground.

Apply a non-selective herbicide like Roundup to the stump of the poplar tree. A good way to apply this is to use a paint brush and paint the entire exposed surface of the tree stump. This herbicide will kill the roots of the poplar tree.


If you notice any shoots sprouting up from around the stump of the old poplar tree, you can apply more non-selective herbicide to them. It may take a few applications to completely kill the tree.


Wear protective equipment when removing the tree. Hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, and ear protection should be worn at all times to prevent serious injury.

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