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  • Writer's pictureZach

Clearing out the old dead trees and shrubs

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

After getting a close review of the landscaping during our walkthrough, I knew I would quickly want to chop down all the dead trees and do a lot of tree and shrub clean-up work. I bought a chainsaw before we even moved and was pumped to put it to work! Of course, my wife had bigger priorities right after we moved in and we don’t have as much free time as before with two kids running around, so I was going to have to demo as I could and plant later.

The previous owners had trees that surrounded the entire deck. In several spots only the stump was left, and the existing trees were either totally dead or had disease.

echo chainsaw
Our Echo Chainsaw

After tackling those, the next tree I took down was a BIG pear tree that had been choked out by other giant pine trees. I wanted to make sure it fell in my yard and not the neighbors so I tied a long rope to the tree and put my seven-year-old son on the other end. His job was to pull and run towards the house. That’s real parenting.

Lucky for me, our neighbor let us know our city was having a special yard waste collection the next week. This was my chance to get more time outside because I could tell my wife that it would save us lots of money with the free tree pick up. The biggest lesson I learned was how important a sharp chainsaw blade was. I attempted to sharpen it myself and that worked good for a few cuts, but quickly learned that it’s better for me to let a professional sharpen the blade. You can get a chainsaw blade sharpened by a professional for about 15 bucks! In about a week’s time I had taken down most of the dead trees in the backyard. Now everyone knows why the axe man spent most of his day sharpening his blade.

After taking out all the dead trees and overgrown branches in the backyard, I still had one day left before the free yard waste pick up would come. Kiersten did not like the overgrown boxwood trees in the front yard (they’re not “organic looking enough” for her) and this was my chance to remove them. I looked online trying to figure out the easiest way to remove 20-year-old boxwoods. Finally, I watched one guy hook up a chain to the back of his truck and simply pulled them out.

Of course, I didn’t have a chain so I used some heavy rope. I tied the rope to my SUV hitch and wrapped it all around the boxwood. The heavy rope eventually just came undone, not even budging the tree. I thought if I tied more rope to my SUV that might do the trick. Let’s just say I couldn’t move it an inch. I’m pretty sure I would have ripped the hitch off my SUV if I had kept trying.

Unfortunately, this video is pretty disappointing to watch. Best part might be watching the anticipation on the dog's face.

Being the last day before pickup I simply decided to get my chainsaw out and just leave the root in the ground and hopefully easily dig that out at another time. They were easy to cut down and I drug them to the giant row of piled up tree branches out front..

Luckily we were able to save a lot of money in haul-away by doing it this way, but finishing the job would have to come later.

Need a Fix Up? Here's what we used:

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support our DIY projects. Thank you for your support!

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we're kiersten and zach

Follow along with us each week as we work to make the very 2000s home we bought during the middle of a pandemic more “us.” We’ll share everything from quick fixes to more permanent changes, along with projects you can do in your own home. Zach will also share all his lawn and garden advice as he starts over on the yard.


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