How To Kill A Maple Tree


Maple trees are beautiful when they aren’t in the way.

Removing a maple tree can sound like a call to a professional, but I have found it’s actually very straightforward.

Following these steps will save you time and money and will get rid of your unwanted Maple Tree for good.

To kill and remove a maple tree cut off the branches starting from the bottom working your way up the tree. Cut the trunk down to a stump and remove the stump.  Maple trees do not need to be treated with herbicides to prevent re-growth.

Killing and removing a maple tree can be a very daunting task if it is large or rather simple if it’s small. 

Its location to other things also is a big factor to consider.

In the rest of this article I will address many of the situations you may come up against so you can better understand issues you may encounter.

How To Kill And Remove A Small Maple Tree

Cutting the Tree

Small maple trees can be cut down rather easily.

Caution must always be exercised, but you already know yelling “Timber!” is unnecessary with a sapling.

Always use a saw actually meant for wood — no fine-tooth saws meant for metal pipes.

Saws with wider teeth will allow you to make your way through the wood without injury or wasting time.

If you’re trying to cut down a small maple tree, you’re going to want an appropriately sized saw.

Just as we have different sizes of knives in the kitchen, we need different sizes of other tools outside.

I certainly don’t have ten different sized saws either, but I won’t take on a project that I can’t accomplish safely with the right tool.

Often a hand saw will work great.

For medium sized maple trees my favorite tool to use is a battery powered reciprocating hand saw.

You can buy blades that are meant for cutting wood and these work great. 

For large maple trees you will need a chainsaw especially to cut off larger branches and the trunk.

When cutting down a maple tree make sure that there is nothing that will be in the way of your falling branches.

Take all necessary precautions and be careful. For larger branches cut them off in bite sized chunks.

It may take longer but you won’t regret dropping a huge branch on your house or fence. 

That is how the pros do it.

When objects that could be damaged by a falling branch are in the way they just cut the branch into multiple pieces so that they can safely lower the branches.

Once you have removed all the branches then start from the top and work your way down removing sections of the main trunk one manageable section at a time until you are left with a stump. 

Small or medium sized Maple trees can often be removed with little to no experience.

After reading this article you should have all the steps you need to do it right. 

For large Maple trees you should consider hiring a professional tree removal expert or arborist.

I have seen too many Youtube videos of tree cutting fails.

There is a reason that tree removal is one of the most dangerous professions…it is dangerous.

How do you hire the right tree removal expert?

This article will tell you exactly how to hire the right tree removal expert in your area that will be properly insured, licensed, and charge you a fair price.

Removing The Stump

Once you have cut your maple tree down to a stump.

Unlike weed trees you don’t need to treat a Maple tree to kill it.

By cutting it down to a stump you have sufficiently killed it so it won’t come back.

Now for removing a maple tree stump.

My sister just spent hours with her husband completely digging up a huge tree stump in their backyard exposing all the roots through painstaking efforts and cutting all the roots.

You definitely can do that and sometimes it is required if you are going to be laying concrete over it.

However, if you plan on just planting grass or flowers over where the stump was then don’t break your back.

All you need to do is cut the stump a couple inches below the level of the ground and place soil and grass on top.

Mother Nature will do the rest.

Your grass and flowers will grow just fine over the stump in fact they will likely grow better because the stump will act like a sponge in the ground and retain moisture for the plants.

Eventually, it will break down and help the fertility of your soil.

So here is my favorite way to remove a maple tree stump. Dig around the stump 5 to 6 inches deep.

You will need to do it wide enough to get a saw down there.

I like to use a reciprocating hand saw and not a chainsaw for this because if you run into the ground or rocks you can damage your chainsaw.

Reciprocating hand saw blades are cheap to replace if you damage one.

Cut the stump several inches below the level of the ground.

You may need to come around all sides depending on how big your stump is.

Next remove the wood and place the dirt and plant your grass.

That’s it. Essentially you are doing the same thing a stump grinder does.

For more creative ways on how to remove a tree stump see my article with over 19 ideas on how to remove a tree stump.

How To Kill And Remove A Large Maple

Cutting the Tree

Killing and removing large maple trees really will follow the same steps as killing a small maple tree.

It is just bigger and heavier and can be more dangerous.

If your large maple tree is out in a grassy field then you could probably do it but the chances are pretty good that your tree is next to your house, power lines, or a fence. 

All of which you will not want to damage from falling limbs.

If any obstacles are in your way you can still do it but you may need to rent some equipment if you want to do it yourself.

I would strongly recommend you at least get a couple bids so you know what it is going to cost if you do it or if you hire a professional.

Also, figure out what the cost could be if you damage something near to your maple tree from falling limbs if you decide to do it yourself.

If a professional damages something their insurance will cover it.

Ok so what equipment will you need if you do this yourself?

The most important thing is a boom.

I have cut many trees down with nothing but a chainsaw and a ladder.

I have even had my dad raise me up in the bucket of a tractor and believe it is terrifying.

You will want to cut the branches off in small chunks instead of cutting the entire branch off at once.

Doing this with a ladder is actually quite dangerous.

Tree Lol GIF by America's Funniest Home Videos - Find & Share on GIPHY

A boom will allow you to quickly and easily get the access you need to cut branches in smaller chunks.

To cut large maple trees down you will definitely need a chainsaw. A hand saw or reciprocating saw won’t cut it…very punny.

You should also consider basic safety gear like goggles, and gloves.

Removing the stump you will probably need a stump grinder as well.

After adding up the cost of renting or buying these pieces of equipment and with your bids in hand determine if this is a diy project you are still wanting to undertake.

Here are the steps for killing and removing a large maple tree.

Remove The Branches and Trunk

Start by cutting off the lowest branches first.

If there is something that may be damaged from any branch falling then start at the outer tip and work your way in cutting the branch into small manageable chunks that you can drop onto the ground.

Do this until all the branches are removed and you are left with only the trunk.

Removing and Disposing of the Stump

The most common way to remove a large maple tree stump is to grind it with a stump grinder.

Often it is cheaper to hire a professional to grind it for you than it is to rent a stump grinder yourself. 

You can always leave the stump and make it  into a fairy garden or build a birdhouse on it. 

Burning is an option if you live in the country and are not too close to other things that could get caught on fire like a shed or fence.

Uses For Maple

Congratulations, you’re flush with maple wood! There may or may not be a hole in your yard, but your project is complete. The next project needs to require volumes of maple, doesn’t it?

  1. Camp Stools 

Large stumps become camp chairs the second they are pulled from the ground. How nice you want your chair to be is up to you. 

A flat and level cut at the top and a good sanding will render the stump as comfortable a stool as any. Craftspeople have been known to saw backrests into taller stumps and maple segments. Kids love these!

  1. Cookout

Maple makes great firewood, and it makes a great camp-stove when converted into a Swedish Candle. The site of the stump probably looks a little rustic after the day’s events and having a campfire might be the perfect excuse to make a night of it. 

If you already have a chainsaw lying around, this is a quick project that yields results. Another kids’ favorite! Click here to learn how to make a Swedish Candle.

  1. Firewood Holder

While maple makes excellent firewood in its own right, many would point out that its beauty should be appreciated instead of burned. But if you have more maple than you know what to do with and you’re not a master carpenter, you will probably need to burn some of your supply out of necessity.

A firewood holder is a great project for those of us who are up for a doable and practical project. If your trees are around a few inches in diameter, this project won’t even require cutting the limbs in half. Five or maple limbs will form the base that your firewood will rest on. 

The base is then screwed down to limbs arranged perpendicular at each end. Two other maple limbs can then be screwed in at either side of the platform, providing walls for the firewood. It will look just as rustic as it’s supposed to.

That’s how to kill and remove a large or small maple tree. Make sure to stay safe and if you feel concerned in any way make sure to consult a professional.

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