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How to Get Rid of Cypress Trees

Updated February 21, 2017

Leyland cypress and bald cypress are among the many types of cypress found in the United States. They are typically planted as ornamental trees, but some gardeners who plant cypress may discover that the tree's upward protruding roots, called cypress knees, can create problems in the garden or lawn. Watering a cypress tree less often will help reduce the number of cypress knees that grow in the landscape. But if this is not possible, you may wish to remove the tree from your property.

Hold up your axe handle to gauge the straightness of the trunk. A trunk that tilts will fall in the direction that it leans. Plan to cut your tree so that it falls in this direction. Walk around the tree and remove any debris such as rocks or roots that can trip you as you work, as well as anything you do not wish to be broken or crushed when the tree falls. Prepare a path you can use to walk away from the tree when it falls.

Make a wedge-shaped cut near the base of the tree.This cut is known as an undercut. It serves to aim the tree in the direction that you want it to fall. The cut should open at a 45-degree angle in the direction that you want the tree to fall. The wedge should only extend 1/3 of the way through the tree.

Make a second cut in the other side of the tree's trunk. This cut should be slightly higher on the tree's trunk than the point of the wedge-shaped cut. It should extend 2/3 of the way through the tree. The cypress tree will begin to tilt and fall once you make the second cut. It will fall in the direction of the wedge-shaped opening.

Remove the branches from the trunk of the tree using an axe to cut the limbs flush with the tree trunk. Stand opposite each branch you remove to avoid cutting yourself if your axe slips. If your tree is not on level ground, never stand downhill from the tree; it can roll on top of you if you do. Cut the tree's trunk into sections that you can easily carry away. If the tree is not on level ground, cut the underside of the trunk 1/3 of the way upward. Then cut downward on the trunk 2/3 of the way to meet your first cut. Carry away limbs and the sections of the trunk as you cut the trunk into pieces.

Dig the cypress stump out of the ground. Since cypress is a rot-resistant wood, this is the fastest means to remove the stump. Dig a trench around the base of the tree with a grub hoe and shovel. The trench should be at least 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Cut the roots of the tree with an axe, grub hoe or branch loppers as you encounter them. Pull away the roots from the soil. Shove the tree trunk on its side and cut the roots from beneath the trunk to free it from the ground. Lift the trunk away and fill in the hole left behind with loose dirt.

Things You'll Need

  • Axe
  • Shovel
  • Branch loppers
  • Grubbing hoe
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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.