Rubber tree (Ficus elastica) is most often grown as a houseplant or potted tree in northern regions or as a landscape feature in warm climates. Thick, glossy evergreen leaves top a dense, round canopy on this fast-growing tree that reaches a height and spread of 25 feet. Remove a rubber tree if it overcrowds its space, or if it suffers leaf scorch from strong late afternoon sun. Cut down rubber trees using a technique recommended by the University of Illinois for small tree felling.
Put on safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying wood chips. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sticky, milky sap of rubber trees.
Study the surroundings of the rubber tree and determine which direction it needs to fall to avoid hitting cars, buildings or other trees.
Start the chainsaw and make a steep cut on the side of the trunk that faces the direction you want it to fall. Cut down through the last few years of growth, creating a tab on that side of the tree.
Move to the other side of the rubber tree. Make a second, horizontal cut straight through the trunk, right to the bottom of the tab cut. The rubber tree will fall away from you in the correct direction.
Level off the stump of the rubber tree a few inches above the ground. Turn off the chainsaw and set it aside. Hack the stump apart with a hatchet. Dig out or cut side roots with a shovel. Cover the stump remains with soil and rake smooth.
Dismantle the canopy of the fallen rubber tree with long-handled pruning shears, cutting branches into manageable pieces for discarding in yard waste bags, or chipping for mulch. Use the chainsaw for trunk cutting and limbs larger than 3 inches in diameter.
Things You Will Need
- Safety glasses
- Long-handled pruning shears
- Yard waste bags
- Plant rubber trees on a southern or eastern exposure to keep them from getting sunscalded by hot, late afternoon sun.
- Read instructions for safe operation of a chainsaw. Do not allow yourself to become distracted while using one.
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