Removing a rotten tree

Even if you love your old trees, sometimes they can get to a stage of rot or decay where they need to be removed for the safety of the surrounding structures and plants. Here are some tips to safely remove a rotting tree. 

Get professional advice

One of the first and most important steps is to get a tree doctor to examine the tree. They can look at the location of the rot and help to assess the type of organism which has led to the rot. If the rot is particularly contagious, they may need to isolate the tree and sterilise equipment so that the organisms are not passed on to surrounding trees or passed on to trees that the tree service later shapes but it trying to maintain. If they are not sure of the exact type of rot they may need to send a sample for analysis before they can start on the tree removal job as they may not be able to identify all tree rot on sight. 

Remove tree and stump

Once you have decided on the type of rot, the tree surgeon will work with you to come up with a plan that removes all of the tree safely. In many cases in a suburban location felling a mature tree in one action can be dangerous, particularly where the tree is rotten. While it may initially seem like the tree should fall in a certain location, internal rot can have damaged the structural stability of the tree and it can easily break or crumble and then head in an unexpected direction. This can be dangerous for the surrounding structures like the house and can also be dangerous to the tree surgeon and passersby, so they will make plans that minimise the risk to everybody. 

Once the tree is removed, they will then need to remove the stump. In the case of a rotten stump, this can be more complicated as the material is likely to be damp, porous and more challenging to remove. As a result the process usually involves at least two steps, with the stump initially being chemically treated to remove the fungal matter and harden the stump followed by a physical removal once the material is inert. 

Sensible removal of a rotten tree will help to protect your garden and to make sure that the rot does not spread any further.