When you think a tree on your property needs to go, it's important to establish the potential danger it poses before anything else. Apart from assessing possible risks, it also helps to know how much of the tree you want to be removed and to explore the option of relocating it if that ends up being a viable option.
1. Urgency and Potential Harm
Before anything else, the most important step is to find out how urgent your tree needs to be removed. If it has taken on a gradual lean over the years, or if it is slowly dying from age or disease, then you might be able to wait at least a short while before it needs to be removed. This can give you time to prepare financially for its removal; the cost is largely affected by the size of the tree and how difficult it is to safely remove.
If the tree has taken on a sudden lean after a storm, if roots are torn up, or if the trunk is hollow or noticeably cracked, and a fall would mean damage to your house or potentially cause serious physical injury, the tree will need to be removed as soon as possible. Sudden changes often indicate danger more than slow changes, but when in doubt, call a professional for an inspection.
2. How Much of the Tree Is Removed
When your tree is removed, you have the option of having it cut down and hauled away while leaving the stump behind, but you can also have the stump ground down and effectively removed as well. This additional work costs more, but it may be worthwhile.
Leaving the trunk behind is often harmless, but there is the possibility that new trees may grow from it or that it will attract wood-boring pests. If your tree was killed in large part by infestation, leaving the trunk could encourage pests to remain nearby and potentially attack other trees. Stumps also present a tripping hazard, which is an important consideration if the tree is anywhere near any constant foot traffic in your yard.
3. Removal vs Relocation
Sometimes a tree will need to be removed because it has simply gotten too big for where it's currently growing, but if it is healthy and there is space elsewhere on your property, it may be worth investing in relocation as well. Even large trees can be safely moved.
Relocating a tree can put the tree under heavy amounts of stress, so special care may be needed to encourage continued growth, but tree care specialists can help.
If you decide removal is better, then contact a tree removal service near you.