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How do i remove a plum tree?

This might be a strange question, but i honestly don't know where to start. 
There is an annoying plum tree in my garden (damson as they are definitely not nice without cooking). I hate it, mostly because it is far too big and i don't particularly like damsons.

There are no birds nesting in it, although they do like to perch in it. So i was thinking of replacing it with an apple tree, or another fruit tree

Also the dog tries to eat any fallen fruit, and my nephews keep asking for them to eat also.

How do i go about cutting it down? There isn't access for big machines, and there are some cables above the garden too.

Thought id ask before i do something stupid.

Pictures on the way


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,944
    edited August 2021
    How big is it ... a bow saw or chain saw would cut down most fruit trees I've ever seen.  if it's as tall as the cables you'll need a couple of ropes to guide it down and a couple of mates to hold the ropes while you saw ... or you can cut it down in sections ... top first, (obviously lol) .... or get a tree chap in to do it. 

    You can grind the stump out with a stump grinder ... you can hire ones about the same size as a lawn mower for a small amount per day from toolhire places.  

    The roots remaining underground may produce suckers for a while ... just cut or mow them off as soon as they appear.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • DwrgiDwrgi Posts: 35
    Here we go, not the best photo as its overcast today.

    I did have a sort of idea of turning it into a bug hotel by sawing off the branches and drilling the trunk.

    And yes the lawn needs a serious cut, but so far the weather is not cooperating. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,944
    How fit and able are you?  Are you used to doing physical stuff ... ?

    I don't mean to imply anything, but I grew up on a farm and married a builder and have done heavy duty sculpting .... I've always been used to using tools and stuff .and thought it was normal .. then I met folk who'd never done that sort of stuff and realised that they really found that sort of stuff very difficult ... no one's fault ... different experiences ... horses for courses etc. 


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • DwrgiDwrgi Posts: 35
    It's a fair question, i get people looking at me strange when i talk of wanting a new drill for Christmas (im 34 female, and apparently its not normal) 😂. 
    Im definitely not wonder woman, but im no stranger to physical labour or using tools. Dad was a plumber and electrician so grew up around power tools. I just pace myself and be honest with myself when it's a big job.
    Im currently digging up the front flower bed to move it and building the new one out of slate blocks. This would be my next job, after a small break. 
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,838
    Rather than working top down tree surgeons round here seem to work bottom up. I guess it makes some sense as you get  a clear drop for each branch you take out as you go higher. They are of course fully roped up and just leave branch stumps as they go up to help with footing. A plum tree will be a much easier task than other common trees like oak or beech as they have thinner branches which as easier to cut and handle.
    A good pruning saw will be easier to use in a tangle of branches like you have there.
    The biggest issue I can think of is how close you are to those power lines. No waving about extendable loppers and be careful with any ladders.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,944
    edited August 2021
    Absolutely ... I'm female but in the past have raised eyebrows by using power tools and lifting heavy stuff ... my daughter @wonkywomble is the same.   I remember being muffled up to the eyeballs one cold winter day, wearing overalls, woolly hat, jacket etc, and helping my builder husband (now ex) to unload some huge concrete lintels ... two American airmen stood by and watched (it was on an airbase) until they heard my voice, then rushed over, moved me out of the way, called me Ma'am and took over from me 🤣

    I think you and a couple of mates could do the job with care ... but for heaven's sake be careful using a chain saw up a ladder, if that's the route you take.  

    You could make a brilliant log pile with the logs etc.   :D

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,690
    Perhaps the photo's deceptive, but it looks a bit close to that pylon - be careful! It's doing a reasonable job of screening the pylon, or at least minimising it - which is why I would keep the tree if I was you.
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • DwrgiDwrgi Posts: 35
    Funnily enough the pylon doesn't bother me, and i am thinking to replace the tree with one i prefer. I do plan to plant a tree in the corner to hide it, a poplar or beech perhaps?
    Its not that close to the pylon, or rather the branches start low enough for me to get at them without having to be too close to the pylon on a ladder.

    Most are about the thicknesses of my arm, its just a very messy tree. As much as i love gin, i just don't need a damson tree and would prefer a more useful one. 

    I'll look into getting a tree surgeon as well, budget depending.

    I didn't think of the logs, i might look into a stumpery since i want the far corner to be more wildlife friendly (i have a visiting hedgehog). 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,944
    Aaargh!  Not a poplar or a beech!   They'll grow huge and you'll have an even worse problem in a very few years.

    Can I suggest an amelanchier?  We have a multi-stemmed one.  Spring blossom, fruit for you and the blackbirds in the summer and the most amazing autumn colour ... and it really shouldn't cause a problem with the electricity poles or wires.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,723
    You might want to talk to the electric company first. they do sometimes come and cut any tree under their lines or growing close to the poles, and it would be very annoying to have your new tree murdered.
    I did wonder how big your plum tree was, I have one that I think I will take down, it's absolutely tasteless, (small purple plums not sour just tasteless) it drops branches at every storm and has plum pollypore as well. But it's over a meter wide at the base so a rather large job.
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