When a tree needs to be felled, it leaves a root in the ground. There are innumerable instructions on how to remove and dispose of these tree roots, practical, but also unsuitable and dangerous. Here you can read more about this and also about why all the effort can be omitted entirely.

The proper felling

Just so that there are no misunderstandings: If the tree is still standing and you want to find out more about the removal of the roots, after reading this article you should definitely not step cheerfully into the garden and fell your tree, because you now know how to handle the tree roots . You are only allowed to fell a tree on your property under certain conditions. Here is a brief overview of what to consider when cutting a tree:

  • determine whether the tree in question is protected
  • The bigger and thicker the tree, the more likely it is that a permit will be obtained
  • Preconditions for felling are regulated in the tree protection ordinance relevant to your place of residence
  • Most trees are protected from a certain trunk circumference, then it depends on the variety
  • Felling authorization in certain cases, e.g. B. if the tree is sick or if people are at risk
  • can be granted subject to a replacement service, a monetary amount or a new planting
  • Specific form for tree felling application, with the required attachments.
  • Usually the site plan of the property, a photo of the tree and a reason

You can only take action once you have submitted an application for a maturity permit and this has been approved (in the event of danger, sometimes also beforehand, with an informal application or subsequent approval, which would then have to be checked separately).

Then you are allowed to fell the tree, provided that you do the felling in accordance with the regulations. You are obliged to fell the tree in such a way that you do not endanger people or property when it is felled. This includes, for example, that you use the right tool and have mastered it (chainsaw course), use the right safety devices and know the right direction of felling.

If this is ensured, you would still have to pay attention to the times when tree felling is permitted. The Nature Conservation Act forbids trees to be felled during the nesting and breeding season. The nesting and breeding season is between March 1st and September 30th, so you can only fell your tree between October 1st and the end of February. This will also be in your maturity permit, if you want to work outside of these times, you would first have to apply for a special permit.

Dispose of the tree roots as soon as they are felled

When all of this is in place, you can start clearing the trees. Sometimes the requirement for the felling to be carried out in accordance with the regulations will necessitate the commissioning of a company. This is e.g. This is the case, for example, when the tree is so unfavorably positioned that you cannot be sure that it will not cause any danger if you do it yourself. If a tall tree is very close to a house, it must e.g. B. are usually felled in individual pieces from above, so that it does not fall on the house and caused further hazards by flying debris.

You should really leave this “cutting down into slices” to a professional. When you end up in your bathroom with a treetop and chainsaw, the damage is no longer in proportion to what the specialist company charges for tree felling (usually lower three-digit euro amounts). If you bounce off there and end up in the neighbour’s Mercedes or, in the worst case, in his little daughter, you will never be happy again in your life.

If, with these pictures in mind, you would prefer to hire a specialist company to do the tree felling, it is a good idea if you also have the tree stump and root removed. The company is on site anyway. Dxtra travel costs save you already once, with the accruing material you also have one more problem.

The company will charge you around € 100 per hour for milling out the rhizome, working time including equipment. Sometimes the offers are also based on the trunk diameter. Here it starts with sums between 1 and 2 euros per centimeter, depending on the milling depth. In addition, there may be a sum for the departure of the tree remains. You can also use shredded milling material for mulching.

Dig up the tree roots and saw off

Or maybe you want to cut down a really small tree that you certainly don’t need a permit for. Or you want to remove an older tree root. Then, of course, you first have the option of removing the tree roots in exactly the same way that gardeners have been using for centuries. You pick up a spade, shovel and saw, gradually expose the tree roots and saw off the individual roots with a hand saw.

Simple, safe, inexpensive and without stink and emissions, but also a bit labor-intensive. Certainly an alternative for people who cultivate a garden precisely because they want to be more active in addition to their everyday office life. A comparison of the training effects with the miracle devices in the gym should not be attempted here.

Mill away the tree roots yourself

If that is too tedious for you and you really don’t have time for such activities, you could of course get yourself a power tiller yourself and remove the stump by milling. In this case, however, you should be very sure that you are really capable of handling a motorized tiller that is not necessarily easy to use before you ask about a tree tiller at one of the rental stations in the hardware store.

When the tree grinder is in place, you will need the help of a few strong men. You must first expose the part that you want to mill away. So it will take some time before you have milled away all the tree roots a few centimeters below the ground and can remove them

Therefore, it is also advisable to do a good calculation for such a company beforehand. Renting a stump grinder is usually not cheap. Depending on what the friends expect in return for a favor, you end up financially very quickly in areas where hiring a company is cheaper. When renting a large chainsaw, this is pretty safe, if you rent a so-called “stump grinder”, which is a little cheaper, you first have to do the math:

  • The cost of a stump grinder increases with its size and performance
  • the smallest (useful) stump grinders weigh around 100 kg and have a cutter blade around 25 cm in diameter
  • These milling machines are only suitable for milling tree roots from trees up to 13 cm in diameter from the earth. You usually still pay high double-digit amounts.
  • efficient sensible Tree stump cutters weigh around 140 kg, have a chisel wheel with a diameter of almost 40 cm and cut stumps from trees up to 20 cm
  • For “real” trees you need other stump grinders, weighing over 200 kg and powerful cutting chisel wheels
  • cost well over € 100 per day
  • Recommended only for operation by people who are used to working with powerful machines

Actually, only the following variants are likely to make sense with regard to milling out tree roots. You hire a company or you borrow a small milling machine and call as many strong friends as possible together for a “tree root event”, followed by a barbecue in the garden.

Critical: burn out tree roots

If you are not in such a hurry to remove the tree root, you may be able to gradually “burn it out”. That could e.g. B. be a variant for a fairly large garden in which you would like to light a campfire anyway. If the tree root is in such a suitable place (in the ground) that you can have your campfire right above it from now on, the tree root will certainly decimate considerably in the following years …

For the normal case, i.e. the removal of a tree root in a not exactly huge private garden, but certainly not a good idea. If you come across articles on the Internet that describe the burning out of a tree root as a recommendable and comfortable way, you should, on the contrary, read on in a very critical manner. It is recommended to douse the tree roots with fire accelerators or diesel. Then add a little gasoline on top. If there is a fire, a pile of firewood should be piled on top. Not entirely harmless: If you are being picked up by the ambulance at this time because your eyebrows are burning, please let me know quickly that the fire brigade is to come and save the surrounding houses. Bad joke aside, such an approach is extremely dangerous,

And by the way, it wouldn’t work either. Fire needs oxygen. The roots underground could only burn away if you had made sure that oxygen was everywhere. When you have made sure that oxygen is everywhere, there is no need to burn the root anymore, then you can just take it out. A fresh root would not burn even then, roots contain a lot of moisture. If the roots are old and dry, you may be more successful, but start a smoldering fire that continues to smolder underground. It is precisely because of all these dangers that such igniting is of course prohibited even under threat of punishment.

Other methods

Several other methods of removing a tree root are being promoted on the Internet. There are instructions on how to destroy it by chemical means, the application of which would likely have unprecedented effects on your garden. If any chemistry is so toxic that it destroys wood structures, it is also not good for the vegetables in the neighboring bed.

The idea of ​​blasting the tree roots out of the ground with dynamite is of course not allowed and your neighbors will definitely not be happy. Another exciting recommendation is to borrow an excavator and pull the tree roots out of the ground. Depending on the root, you will then have a lunar landscape as a garden or look into a deep hole.

Better to leave all of this and think through the following alternative before you do a lot of work with removing and disposing of a tree root:

Alternative: the tree root remains in the ground


A simple and realistic alternative is that you simply include the crumbling tree stump including the tree roots in a natural garden design and let it die slowly and with dignity. Because patience is actually one of the gardener’s main virtues. A real gardener therefore usually refrains from using methods of violence and lets a dying plant fall apart in its natural environment.

It doesn’t have to look ugly: you can transform the old tree stump into a real garden decoration by placing bird baths or flower bowls or decorative figures on it. You can also let the stump be covered with ivy or clematis or climbing roses. You can also have a wood artist transform it into garden art. He uses his chainsaw to carve an owl or a bird or an abstract sculpture out of your tree stump. Such an approach also offers great ecological advantages. Slowly decomposing tree stumps are extremely valued by many small animals, birds and insects.

You can remove a tree root from the garden with a lot of effort and / or expense and struggle with disposing of the leftovers. You don’t have to. An old tree root takes on a meaningful function in nature. With a little imagination, the tree stump can even become a decorative piece of jewelry in your garden.

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