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How to Remove a Rubber Tree

By Cat McCabe

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Study the surroundings of the rubber tree and determine which direction it needs to fall to avoid hitting cars, buildings or other trees.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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
  • Gloves
  • Chainsaw
  • Long-handled pruning shears
  • Yard waste bags

Tip

  • Plant rubber trees on a southern or eastern exposure to keep them from getting sunscalded by hot, late afternoon sun.

Warning

  • Read instructions for safe operation of a chainsaw. Do not allow yourself to become distracted while using one.