How To Do Tree Removal – Germiston City News

When a tree develops problems, it is often difficult to decide whether or not to remove it. A number of factors can come into play, such as the cost of working the trees as well as the sentimental attachment to the tree.

Dying trees in natural areas, which do not pose a threat to persons and property, may be allowed to die in place without human intervention. After all, dead trees are ideal spaces for various species of birds and other wildlife to nest and find food.

However, hazardous trees with structural defects that could potentially cause injury to people or damage property need immediate attention.


Most tree pruning and removal tasks are not safe for DIYers, and it’s usually best to hire a professional to do the job. At the very least, problem trees should be assessed by a certified arborist (tree specialist).

Some trees are particularly susceptible to different types of bark beetles. The wood becomes brittle due to damage from borer feeding. Limb breakage is a major concern, and removing these trees can be tricky, even for experienced professionals.

Previous pruning jobs can also cause problems years later. For example, where the obsolete practice of “cutting down” trees has been followed, the result is often a breakdown of regrowth.

Changes in ground level above the root system are another contributing factor to a tree’s gradual decline. For example, if 10 cm or more of soil has been piled on the roots of the tree, the tree will probably die. However, you can save many trees if the situation is corrected before stress symptoms develop.


Characteristics that make some trees undesirable include:

  • Fragile wood subject to frequent breakage
  • Constant falling of large amounts of debris
  • Shallow tree roots that damage the surrounding garden and pavement
  • Is often a carrier of various diseases or infested with insects specific to the tree species
  • Invasive species that reseed heavily


Although a declining tree may continue to survive for many years, its growth and appearance will be limited or abnormal.

Often trees that have been damaged by herbicides have deformed leaves but can usually recover.

As a general rule, if 50% of the tree is damaged, it should probably be removed.

Trunk damage

Severe damage to the main trunk often warrants removal of the tree.

Stumps of dead branches, vertical cracks, seams and large older wounds suggest internal decay.

If the damaged area is less than 25% of the circumference of the trunk, the wound may heal gradually without permanent injury. However, keep an eye out for opportunistic invaders, such as ants or borers.

Because a tree’s life support tissue is found on the outer edges of the trunk, many trees can live for years with a hollow trunk. However, possible compromised trunk strength could make the tree a hazard to people and property. Therefore, as a general rule, if a third of the inside of the tree is hollow or rotten, it probably needs to be removed.

dead branches

Large trees with broken tops or damaged large branches are a hazard to people and property. However, if less than 25% of the branches are damaged, the tree will likely survive.

If the dead branches are all on one side, the tree will be unbalanced and potentially dangerous. This phenomenon may be a symptom of root or trunk damage on the affected side. Have these trees assessed by an arborist.

Crossing branches or branches that rub together should always be removed.

Narrow branch angles – especially of the main trunk – are more prone to splitting and should be corrected. Do this while the tree is young. When a narrow crotch is too large to pull off, the two co-dominant leaders can be wired in to relieve tension and prevent breakage. An arborist should perform this procedure.


Shoots at the base of the tree or small branches protruding from the trunk (epicormic shoots) are a response to severe stress, indicating that there is something wrong with the tree.

This is typical of trees that have suffered recent injuries during construction operations, overexposure to the sun after thinning neighboring trees, or soil compaction. Where 50% of the root system is damaged, the tree should probably be removed.

Not all species of fungi growing under trees are associated with root diseases, but prominent fungal growth or trunk rot near the base of the tree indicates internal rot.

You should have trees with one of these issues assessed by an arborist.

leaning trees

Leaning trees pose a greater hazard than those growing vertically.

Trees that bend over suddenly indicate broken or weakened roots, and they probably need to be removed immediately.

When a tree leans more than 15% from the vertical, it probably needs to be removed.

power lines

In wet weather, the electricity can reach up to 3m to wet tree foliage and can result in fire to the tree and adjacent foliage, power failure or property damage.

  • Trees under power lines must not exceed seven meters in height.
  • A tree growing in power lines will need to be thinned.

Removing tree branches near power lines is always a job for professionals. Accidentally touching power lines or an arc of deadly electrical current to a ladder, pruning tools or a person would be devastating.


In a forest, the trees grow very well against each other, so planting shade trees in thickets mimicking nature works well. On large sites, they will grow together as in the wild to become one large mass.

Closer to your house, however, large trees should be at least 6m away, while smaller trees can be planted 2m from the house. It is best not to have trees hanging over the roof.

In general

Other questions to ask yourself before cutting down a tree:

Are there trees nearby that will improve growth if the tree is removed?

Does the location of the tree prevent it from interfering with sightlines in traffic or traffic lights?

Does the tree have historical or sentimental value? If so, more expense is warranted to try to save it. However, if the tree is losing large branches, it’s probably time to replace it.

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