How to Remove Arborvitae: A Step-by-Step Guide

Arborvitae, also known as Thuja, is a popular evergreen shrub that is commonly found in gardens and landscapes. While these trees provide privacy, shade, and aesthetic appeal, there may come a time when you need to remove them. Whether you want to make way for new landscaping ideas or the tree is diseased or damaged, the process of removing arborvitae requires careful planning and execution. In this article, we will guide you through the necessary steps to safely and effectively remove arborvitae from your property.

Evaluating your Arborvitae

Before you jump into removing your arborvitae, it’s important to assess the condition of the tree and the scope of the removal project. Start by examining the tree for signs of disease, pest infestation, or any structural damage. If the tree is facing significant health issues, it might be best to remove it to prevent the spread of disease or further damage to surrounding plants. Additionally, consider the size and age of the tree, as larger and older arborvitae trees can be more challenging to remove.

Planning the Removal Process

Once you have determined that removing your arborvitae is necessary, it is crucial to plan the removal process carefully. Start by assessing the location of the tree and identifying any potential obstacles or hazards that may hinder the removal process. Consider the proximity of nearby structures, power lines, or underground utilities. It’s important to ensure that there is enough space for safe tree removal without damaging surrounding structures or endangering yourself or others.

In some cases, it might be best to hire a professional tree removal service to handle the task, especially if the tree is large or located in a tricky position. Professional arborists have the necessary expertise, equipment, and knowledge to safely remove arborvitae from your property while minimizing risks and damages.

Gathering the Required Tools and Equipment

Before you begin the actual process of removing arborvitae, you’ll need to gather the necessary tools and equipment. The specific tools required may vary depending on the size and location of the tree, but some common items you may need include:

  • Pruning shears or loppers for cutting smaller branches and foliage
  • Chainsaw for cutting larger branches and the main trunk
  • Shovel for digging around the root system
  • Axe or saw for removing the stump
  • Gloves, goggles, and protective clothing to ensure your safety during the removal process

Having the right tools and equipment will make the arborvitae removal process smoother, safer, and more efficient.

Step-by-Step Arborvitae Removal

Now that you have assessed your arborvitae, planned the removal, and gathered the necessary tools, it’s time to dive into the actual tree removal process. Follow these step-by-step instructions to remove your arborvitae:

Step 1: Clear the Area

Start by removing any obstacles or items near the tree that might hinder the removal process. Clear the area of garden furniture, toys, or other objects so that you have enough working space.

Step 2: Prune the Tree

Using pruning shears or loppers, trim and remove smaller branches and foliage from the arborvitae. Pruning the tree beforehand will make it easier to handle and reduce the risk of injury during the removal process.

Step 3: Create a Falling Zone

For larger arborvitae, it is important to create a falling zone. This is an area where the tree can safely fall without causing damage. Determine the direction in which you want the tree to fall and clear the area accordingly.

Step 4: Make the Final Cut

Using a chainsaw, make a horizontal cut at a comfortable height on the side of the tree facing the desired falling direction. This cut, known as the final cut, should be slightly higher than the point you want the tree to fall. Make sure the cut is straight and clean.

Step 5: Back Cut

Move to the opposite side of the tree and make a horizontal back cut slightly above the level of the final cut. This cut should meet the final cut, creating a hinge that guides the tree’s fall in the desired direction. Be cautious during this step to prevent the tree from falling prematurely.

Step 6: Remove the Stump

After the tree has fallen, you will be left with the stump. Use an axe or saw to remove the stump, digging around the root system and cutting through any remaining roots. This step may require physical effort, so take breaks when needed.

Step 7: Dispose of Debris

Once the arborvitae and stump are removed, gather and dispose of the debris appropriately. You can consider recycling the wood chips or branches, or contact your local waste management facility for disposal instructions if necessary.


Removing arborvitae from your property requires careful planning, the right tools, and consideration of safety measures. It’s essential to evaluate the condition of the tree, plan the removal process, and gather the necessary equipment. However, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the removal process, it’s always wise to seek professional help. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can safely and effectively remove arborvitae from your landscape, making way for new possibilities and ensuring the health and aesthetics of your property.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *