Trees can become uprooted when exposed to rain and wind. In some cases, these trees need to be removed and in other cases, they can be saved.

Generally smaller trees can be replanted and stabilized with posts until they are able to support their own weight again. Larger trees would never be able to grow the roots needed to hold their weight again so they need to be removed.

Let’s take a look at how trees become uprooted in the first place and how to render the problem.

uprooted tree over road

How are trees uprooted in a storm?

During storms, prolonged rainwater will soften the ground around a tree, where its roots would normally stabilize it. The tree canopy acts as a sail when the winds pick up which can then cause the entire tree to topple over be become uprooted.

Soils that are wet are less likely to securely hold together with the tree’s roots.

Can a partially uprooted tree be saved?

Trees that have been partially uprooted can sometimes be saved. This can only happen if the tree’s roots are still intact and not broken.

Most tree roots do not go very deep in the soil. They are mostly located between 12 and 18 inches from the ground surface. The main purpose of the roots is to provide nutrients and anchorage. However sometimes heavy storms can overpower the roots.

Most trees can be saved by pulling them back to their original position and staking it, but you will not be able to do this with a 40 ft oak tree.

If you have a smaller tree, you can do this and place 2 – 3 stakes in the ground around to tree and attach to lose fitting straps to help it stay upright for the next few years while it takes root again.

After it is back to its original position add plenty of soil and water to the roots. The purpose of this is to get rid of air pockets in the soil, as they dry out and kill the roots later.

uprooted tree staked and saved

Can an uprooted tree be replanted?

When a tree is fully uprooted, can lead to a number of them breaking making the recovery process longer.

Most trees can survive, however, evergreen trees that are higher than 10 feet might not survive. This may be due to extensively destroyed roots.

The same case for large heavy trees; Since they need their extensive roots to obtain water and mineral salts from the soil and for anchorage too.

If the tree breaks the trunk or limbs when it falls, then there’s also very little you can do. This is because it may lose most of its moisture not to mention cause infections. Just the weight of the tree might be the main problem when getting it back up.

uprooted large tree

Other trees, especially small trees, have a higher chance of surviving. This is because they do not have massive root structures hence most of them remain intact.

The tree’s smaller size is also an advantage as it is not very susceptible to damaging its trunk as a big tree would. This is because of the smaller mass and weight.

These reasons make smaller trees have a larger chance of survival. However, it may take a while before it is back to normal. The tree will need to replace damaged roots and produce enough food to give it the energy to keep going.

It is important to note that the chances of survival are not great. This is because plants can undergo transplant shock. So a lot of care is needed in replanting them to avoid further damage to the branches, trunk, and roots.

To replant it, lift up the tree to its original position while avoiding any twists and turns. Cover the roots with plenty of soil as you move the tree to ensure that soil is all over the root to give it support. Add plenty of water to the soil to get rid of air pockets.

To prevent the tree from falling over again, install some stakes just outside the root area. After you have finished planting it prune off any broken branches. Do not remove all of them, make sure there are some left. Provide the tree with water consistently.

Some people add fertilizer to the tree, do not do this while it is still in the healing process. Let it establish its roots and starts new growth after a year or so.

Uprooted tree removal cost

The average cost of removing a tree is $871. Most prices range from $225 to $3,900.The price depends on the diameter of the tree’s trunk and the need for heavy equipment. You can also get a separate quote for tree root removal.

A lot of things are considered when calculating the cost. The people removing it has to see the tree itself, the obstacle they may encounter when removing it, and the time it will take. You should not always consider getting the lowest price; safety should also be considered.

If you feel the pricing is high, you can try to save money by testing different places and considering your options. This includes considering keeping it for firewood or free tree removal in exchange for firewood. You could also make work easy for the removal by taking a panel from your fence.

cutting up fallen tree in yard
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How to remove an uprooted tree stump?

You should always remove uprooted trees to avoid fungal root rots. To do this, you might need a few types of equipment or some weed killer.

One of the best ways to remove a stump is physical. This is because the stump is removed entirely. If the tree is small, you could pull out the stump with a winch. You can hire one if you know how to use it carefully. It is important to leave approximately 4 feet high stump for leverage.

Using mechanical mini-excavators removes most of the root. You should consider hiring landscape contractors as they do a good job. If that is out of your price range, you could hire the operators and mini-excavators separately.

Stump grinders can also be used. They grind the root plate leaving behind fine sawdust. However, this machine can be hazardous and should be used by professionals only. This method also leaves behind some roots which should rot away eventually.

uprooted tree stump

You could dig around the stump if you are looking for a much cheaper method to remove a tree stump. This would expose the roots if you dig deep enough.

Sometimes the roots might be too deep or large and uncovering them might be cumbersome. If that is is the case, you might want to try another method.

Cutting up the roots is another way to remove a tree stump. You could use a root saw and cut them into pieces that you are able to remove from the ground. Keep clearing away pieces of the roots as you go.

You could use an ax but we would not recommend it as you may shatter if it hits a rock. An ax could also get stuck between the roots.

Burn the stump

If these methods seem like so much work, you could burn the stump. However, before you burn it, you should check if there are restrictions about open fires in your area. You could burn it by building a fire on top of the stump.

Lay some wood on the tree stump and more around it such that when it burns the stump will be in the middle.

Keep the fire burning. It might take a couple of hours to completely burn the stump. Add more fuel to the fire as it keeps burning to keep the fire large. Wait until the stump burns to the ground.

After it has burned, remove the ashes from the hole and discard it. You could use a shovel for that. Finally, fill the hole with sawdust and check if it is sinking. If it sinks keep adding more sawdust.

Chemical removal method

A chemical stump remover can also be used to get rid of a stump. You first have to drill a few holes into the stump. This is where the stump will absorb the chemicals from so ensure you space them out evenly.

Next, you apply the stump remover. Most of the stump removers are powdered potassium nitrate. They cause the wood to rot much faster. If there are kids around, keep them from going near the stump as the powder is harmful to humans. Keep off your pets too.

Keep checking the stump, it will soften up and rot in a few weeks. Once it is soft enough, use an ax to chop it up. Remove the broken pieces as you chop them.

Once you have leveled the stump, make a fire over the remaining wood and allow it to burn to the bottom. This removes the remaining stump and roots.

Finally, dig out what’s left of the stump after the fire is out and fill up the hole with sawdust.

How long can an uprooted tree live?

When uprooted, the tree’s roots are exposed and they cannot absorb water and mineral salts from the soil. During the fall, some parts of the tree such as the trunk could have broken the tree’s fall and damaged it.

This may lead to it losing moisture and being open to infection or insects. If the tree remains on the ground it will not survive as will not be able to acquire water and mineral salts or make its own food. Depending on the type of tree, it will be alive for some time before dying.

If it is a tree uprooted during hot dry summer, the tree will die within 10 hours. A deciduous tree that has shed all its leaves on the other hand can survive for up to a month.

However, if the uprooted tree is replanted correctly early enough and water is provided to it, the tree may survive. This may take time since it needs to re-establish its roots. After a year or so, the tree will have regained its shape. You could add fertilizer and prune it then to help it recover.

Who pays for removal of an uprooted tree

If you had home insurance and a tree fell during a storm and damaged your house, the insurance company would pay for the removal of the tree and also the repairs to fix the damages.

However, if the tree fell, for example in a backyard and did not damage anything, you would have to pay for its removal. Home insurance does not cover removing the uprooted tree unless it has actually damaged the property.

If the neighbor’s tree falls on your driveway and you cannot access it, the insurance company will pay to have it removed. A disabled person whose wheelchair ramp has been blocked will also be compensated to have the tree removed.

It is always important to check the details of your insurance policies. Most home insurance policies will offer up to $1000 per storm for tree removal.

In some towns when a tree falls on the street, the municipality is the one responsible for removing the tree. Other municipalities will tell you to do it. You could call your city government to see what they say about it.

If during a storm a tree from your backyard falls on your neighbor’s property, you could be held liable, especially if you were warned of the dangers.

Do not always expect compensation. There are home insurances that do not cover trees because of the difficulty in valuing landscaping. Others, on the other hand, will cover landscape damage.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.