Willow trees must be removed when they have experience serious winter damage or contract a fungal infection that does not improve. A willows tree not properly planted, or in a location that cannot accommodate its size must be removed for safety reasons and the health of the tree. Topping -- trimming the crown off -- a willow tree is never a good idea, because it will cause the demise of the tree. When a willow tree is cut down, remove the stump as well, or it will resprout.
Walk to the side that you want your willow tree to fall. Make a 45 degree upward cut one-third of the diameter of the willow tree with a chainsaw. Cut 45 degrees downward to meet the first cut, creating a notch. You will end up with a V-shaped cut on the tree.
Make a cut on the opposite side that goes right above the notch cut in the front. Cut straight through the tree and stop one-third of the way to get out of the way. The third cut releases the pressure that the first two cuts creates and causes the tree to fall.
Cut up the willow into manageable pieces with your chainsaw or hatchet. Burn or throw away the willow wood.
Dig a trench a few feet away from the base of the willow tree that is at least 6 to 12 inches deep. Cut the exposed willow roots with a pruning saw. Place a landscaping bar underneath the stump and push down with your body weight until the stump releases from the soil.
Lay the stump on its side and remove any stubborn willow roots in the soil. Cut up the stump and dispose of the pieces.
Call a professional if your tree is near a utility line.
Avoid putting pieces of your willow tree in your compost if the tree succumbed to a fungal disease.