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The Trouble with Trees

Trees are usually a beautiful asset to a home and yard and an important part of the environment. But what happens when trees become a nuisance or a danger to you or your property? vipHomeLink has compiled some advice on what to do before, during and after the removal of a tree on your property.  


  • If the tree trunk is on the property line or in a neighbor's garden, you will need to get your neighbor's permission to remove the tree. You have the right to trim any overhanging branches back to the property line, but do not go into your neighbor's yard to do this.
  • If the tree is in a dangerous condition and you are worried that it may come down in a storm and damage your property, you can file a nuisance claim with the local municipality if your neighbor will not take any action.
  • Even if the tree is fully contained in your yard, many townships require a permit to be issued to remove it. Check with the local municipality for the rules on tree removal to avoid a costly fine.
  • We recommend that you get a tree specialist to advise on the safe felling of the tree, particularly if the tree is close to buildings or fences. 
  • The felling of a tree is complex and can be dangerous to people and property. We strongly recommend that you get several quotes from reputable tree specialists and select one to remove the tree and remove all the wood and branches afterwards. 
  • We do not recommend that you try to take down the tree yourself, as you will need to know how to make the tree fall correctly. Plus, don't forget that you will need to dispose of the trunk and branches afterwards – most townships will not accept solid wood or branches over a certain thickness.
  •  Don't get stumped! Tree felling is fairly straightforward, but stump removal can be difficult and time consuming and most tree removal estimates do NOT include stump removal costs. 
  • If you do not want to leave the stump as a feature, you have a few choices and may want to consult a tree specialist to help with these:
    • Removal: if the tree was small, old or diseased you may be able to lift the stump from the ground. Dig around the tree and cut the roots with an ax until you can move the stump by hand and then work the stump backwards and forwards (cutting any further roots that are exposed) until the stump can be removed.
    • Grinding: this involves cutting off the trunk just above the ground and then grinding the stump until it is at least four inches below ground level. Whilst grinders can be rented from big box stores, they can be dangerous in inexperienced hands and the cost of rental is likely similar to the cost of having a professional come in and remove the stump.
    • Rotting or chemical removal: drill holes into the stump and introduce chemicals to help soften the wood or speed up the process of rotting. This will likely take several weeks and you will have to regularly return to the stump to remove the softened/rotted wood.
    • Burning: before considering this option, you should look around and above the stump and clear any dry vegetation or overhanging trees that the fire could spread to – do not attempt this in areas prone to brush fires. Be sure to check with your municipality to see if burning a stump is allowed.
  • Don't forget to plant a replacement tree – the environment will thank you! If you don't want another tree in your backyard, consider donating to an arbor charity. Otherwise, don't forget to leave plenty of space between the tree and any buildings, fences or utility line – The Arbor Day Foundation recommend at least 10-20' away from the side of your property depending upon the expected fully-grown height of the tree.

Whether it is tree removal or other home maintenance tasks, having an app like vipHomeLink can ease the burden of homeownership. vipHomeLink allows you to build a home profile, get maintenance reminders, store contact information and dates of services rendered. The App is packed with expert tips and advice to help you improve your home and make it safer!

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