How to Kill a Birch Tree

Updated February 21, 2017

Many different species of birch tree exist, ranging from the largest European Birch tree to the smallest, Young's Weeping Birch. Some birch trees can reach upward of 50 feet in height, but most mature birch trees grow 15 to 39 feet high. Some birch trees are easier to kill than others simply based on size. However, regardless of the size, properly killing a tree requires cutting the tree down and then rotting the trunk.

Clear a space for a debris field in the direction the tree will fall. In general, the debris field is the direction the tree leans. The space you clear must equal the height of the tree.

Secure a ladder to the tree with a rope. If you are not comfortable with using a chainsaw while on a ladder, pay a professional to fell the tree. You could seriously hurt yourself if you are not skilled at using the tools, or are not following safety measures.

Cut up through the bottom of each limb approximately 50 per cent with the chainsaw. After that, cut through the top half of the limb until the limb falls to the ground. Do this with each limb you can reach. Reposition the ladder as needed to reach all the limbs.

Cut a wedge out of the trunk approximately 12 inches off the ground with the chainsaw. Cut the edge out of the tree on the side you want the tree to fall. Normally, this is on the side the tree leans toward. Cut the wedge approximately 30 per cent into the tree.

Cut a straight line through the backside of the tree until the chainsaw gets close to the tip of the wedge. You will hear the tree start to crack. Pull the chainsaw away from the tree and step away from the area until the tree falls.

Cut the tree into sections with the chainsaw. Use the same method you used when cutting off the limbs.

Drill ½-inch holes into the top of the stump with a hand drill and a drill bit. Drill as many holes as you can. The more holes, the quicker the stump will rot.

Dig around the stump with a shovel to expose the roots of the birch tree.

Pour boiling water into the holes in the stump and onto the roots every day until you see signs of decay and rot.


Always use caution and follow the manufacturer's safety instructions for using a saw and a ladder. Have another person with you to assist as needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Chainsaw
  • Ladder
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Boiling water
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