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jjmartin1340 08-05-2011 01:56 PM

how to remove trees that grew into fence?
My yard has a chain-link fence with a metal top rail. In a couple of places a tree grew through/over/around the fence. Both branches are 8-10 inches diameter. In one case I killed the tree and cut the trunk off just above the fence. In the other case it was a tree branch; the branch was cut off above the fence, but is still attached to the main trunk..
I want to remove the wood that is in the fence. Is there any way to make the wood rot so it could be removed without damaging the fence?
I don't want to harm the living tree. The part that is in the fence could be cut free from the trunk with a chainsaw.
Is there anything that would cause the wood to become soft enough to chip off easily, say with a hand axe?
I read about the various stump remover chemicals, but no user reports. Instructions seem to recommend keeping the stump moist. Since the wood is above ground, it can't be kept moist.
Any ideas? The wood is not too hard (Manitoba Maple, or Box Elder) but I don't relish the idea of sitting there with a hammer and chisel for weeks/months.

RocLok 08-05-2011 09:02 PM

I have used several of the stump killers before and they worked in killing the stump, I never did anything else to the stump after... On other trees that I dropped and did not use the stump killer on, the tree grew back quickly so the killer definitely helps to kill the tree stump.

In your situation, you may be lucky enough to just cut off the parts going through the fence, let them die off over a year or so and once it is dried out it will break more easily. I would not use a chainsaw that close to a chain link fence, if it hits the fence it could buck back and cause a lot of damage to you. Use a sawzall or other reciprocating type saws or hand saw, I know the chainsaw is so much faster but that does not always actually mean less time dealing with the project and repercussions.

If you want to accelerate the death of the wood in the fence, try the stump killers. If you are in a wet area and it is safe you may even try to drill a few large holes and put some hot charcoal into them to burn out the wood.

Good luck,


inspectorD 08-06-2011 05:44 AM

Fire...we burn em off and out around here.

jjmartin1340 08-06-2011 09:38 AM

Guess I'm getting old, I never thought of a Sawzall (perhaps because I've never owned one). I think it will be the best way to cut through the wood but not the metal fence, and remove a small piece at a time (still a long job, but I'm retired, time is plentiful). Thanks for the idea. Now I just have to wait till they go on sale...

RocLok 08-06-2011 11:31 PM

No problem, you will be suprised it will cut through the fence almost as fast as the wood, but it will not buck back and hurt you the way a chainsaw would.

InspectorD, yeah, I love using fire to take care of weeds or things but I live in Oregon it rains 265 days a year here so the potential for burning more than I wanted is low here.

JJmartin, good luck, cut drill dry then smash should be the key for you. Unless fire works, then you can cut off, seperate from tree you want, then burn and done.

Good luck!


jjmartin1340 08-07-2011 12:11 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I tackled the small job yesterday. Canadian Tire had a reciprocating saw on sale for $35, so I bought it. Found it a little slow, ended up getting out the circular saw and cutting 2" deep grooves (the fence rail was 2-1/4" down) in a 1" cross-hatch patten and breaking the pieces out with a prybar. Used the rec. saw for some final cuts. Was able to pop the fence rail free. Now the stump (10" dia, 4' high) can be cut off with a chainsaw and removed.
The other one will be a major job. Apparently a branch grew out over the fence about 20 years ago. Now it is a foot in diameter, growing around the fence, and has pushed the fence rail down about a foot. A couple of years ago I had the branch cut off just past the fence as it was ruining the fence and blocking the neighbour's yard. Now I've decided to tackle what's left. I may try to find someone with a short chainsaw to carefully remove wood until it is close enough to the fence to use the rec. saw.
Fire is not really an option when you're in town.
Attached are a couple of pics.

East_Texas 08-07-2011 12:56 PM

I do not understand why not just cut off the tree as close to the fence as possible with whatever you have and then just take a wide wood chisel and big hammer and start splitting it off. Maybe hand saws and wood chisels are just not high tech enough.

jjmartin1340 08-07-2011 02:28 PM

I turn 70 next week, and have never been one for heavy physical labour; fixing computers was my occupation.
The only chisel I have is 1" wide, used to install hinges on doors. Use it to chisel away 4 cubic feet of wood? Hmmm. A quick online check doesn't find any wood chisels wider than 1.5".
I may try cutting lines 1" apart with the circular saw, then chiseling out the pieces.

jjmartin1340 08-18-2011 05:23 PM

I finished it. Used a circular saw, reciprocating saw, hand saw, chain saw, hammer, chisel, pliers, etc, etc. Now to relax until next summer...

oldognewtrick 08-18-2011 06:06 PM


Originally Posted by jjmartin1340 (Post 60129)
I finished it. Used a circular saw, reciprocating saw, hand saw, chain saw, hammer, chisel, pliers, etc, etc. Now to relax until next summer...

Sounds like a plan to me. Congrats on getting the wood out:eek:

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