Answers to Tree Removal Questions

Trees surrounded by square cut bushes.

If you are hoping to remove a tree, look no further. We have the answers to your most pressing tree removal questions.

Q. I have two Juniper trees 25 feet tall, that I would like to cut down. What would be a rough estimate of the cost? Also, I would like to put sod down over that area once the stump is ground out. Will my sod hold up in that area?

A. The prices will be dependent on your area. Call some local landscapers and they will usually come out and give free quotes. Do not bury the mulch from the stump. Remove it and spread it out thinly over the lawn. For a natural mosquito repellant, fine-mulched cedar is sold as a repellant. If you bury it, you run the risk of fairy-ring fungus developing.

Q. This tree is taking over and we cannot kill it. It is either called Formosa or Mimosa. I have set it on fire, poured bleach on it, hacked up roots and still cannot get rid of it. Is there any way to get rid of it?

A. Mimosa is a notorious trash tree in the south. It has pretty pink blooms in the spring with annoying large seedpods. It will sprout from nearly any part of the tree vegetative as well as from the plentiful seeds. Cut it down, dig out the roots, spray roundup on what sprouts, and pull the seedlings. Otherwise, mulch the area heavily to keep sprouting down to a minimum. This will make the sprouts easier to pull.

Q. I have a 20-year-old crab apple tree in the backyard that has a small section that appears dead. My wife won't let me remove the tree unless it's all dead. I hate this ugly tree and the crab apple mess it leaves. How can I finish the job and kill the tree without leaving any trail of evidence behind?

A. The area between the bark and the trunk is called the cambium layer. This is how the tree carries water and nutrients to the leaves. If you girdle the base of the tree exposing the cambium layer, the tree will die. You could just chop it down and tell her you always wanted to be like George Washington. You can also drill several holes in the trunk, near the root ball, and inject stump killer into the holes with a baster. Then cover up the holes with mud to cover up the evidence.

Q. I have a grove of "running" bamboo trees. I estimate about 200+ total trees. Some trees are as thick as 2+ inches. How do I go about removing these?

A. The most effective method of removal of bamboo is to dig out the entire root and rhizome mass, including fragments. Water deeply a few days before digging to make digging easier. Roots usually aren't deeper than 6 to 18 inches. You can chop in chunks and pull out pieces. Over the next few years, you might see an occasional shoot, which you can snap off with your fingers.

If you choose not to dig, but just to cut, you should cut within 4 to 6 inches off the ground. Within 15 seconds have a helper paint the culms with Roundup or a similar product. The timing is important because the Roundup must enter the sap. When bamboo is cut, the sap draws downward into the underground stem.

Bamboo is not a tree. It is a grass. It naturally regenerates quickly into harvestable crops for manufacturing of such things as flooring.

Q. I know absolutely nothing about trees. There is an evergreen in my backyard that seems like it is dying or diseased. It's dropping thousands of dead needles on my grass, and the grass is dying around it as a result. The tree is in an easement that has power and phone lines passing through, so it has been trimmed quite a bit over the years. I'm not sure if this tree can be saved, or if I should just have it cut down?

A. In your case: 1) the tree is obviously too tall for its location, so it will be cut back from time to time by the power company. 2) It is apparently sick enough to be dropping needles in spring. 3) It appears that there are several sites of sap run on the trunk, which may indicate some great problem.

Call a tree service that employs an arborist and have him look at the tree to advise you on its health. Usually, this service is free. If the tree service employee is not upbeat about the future of the tree, then cut it down. Trying to treat large trees can be both expensive and unrewarding.

Q. I recently had to have a blue spruce removed from my yard. The stump is left. The stump is about 8 to 9 inches in diameter from where the last chain saw cut. I'd like to do something in that area of the yard. The spruce had killed off most of the grass and the yard looks bad. I was thinking about pulling the stump out with my truck, but I'm not too sure how big that root system is. How expansive or deep might the root system be?

A. Blue Spruce has an extensive root system that makes it one tree that is less prone to getting blown over. The stump can be ground out and the area prepared for seeding. If the stump is not too tall, it can be covered with soil and a raised bed could be planted in the area.