Safely Remove a Tree: Tips to Care for Your Backyard Wildlife


Our backyard is home to various flora and fauna that harmoniously coexist with us. Trees, in particular, are an essential part of this ecosystem, providing shelter, food, and nesting sites for animals. However, sometimes it becomes necessary to remove a tree for various reasons such as disease, damage, or construction. Before you proceed with tree removal, it is crucial to consider the impact it could have on wildlife in your backyard. In this article, we share insights and tips on how to safely remove a tree while minimizing disturbance to the animals that call it home.

I. Identify the Inhabitants of the Tree

The first step towards safely removing a tree is understanding which animals inhabit it. Common backyard animals include birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, bats, insects, and more. Observe the tree during different times of the day and note any signs of animal activity. You may see nests, holes, or even animals on the tree or the surrounding area. If you find it difficult to identify the species or unsure whether an animal is present or not, consult a local wildlife expert.

II. Choose the Right Time for Tree Removal

Timing is crucial when it comes to removing a tree with minimal disturbance to wildlife. The best time to remove a tree is during late fall or winter when most animals are dormant or have migrated. These months are also outside the breeding season for most birds, which means the chance of disturbing nesting animals is significantly reduced.

III. Employ a Professional Arborist

Hiring a professional arborist with experience in wildlife-friendly tree removal practices is essential. They will ensure the safe removal of the tree and take any necessary precautions to protect the wildlife. The arborist may also help with identifying any protected animal species that inhabit the tree and, if necessary, advise you on the steps you should follow to acquire the proper permits for removal.

IV. Check for Nests and Relocate if Possible

Before removal, inspect the tree for any nests, especially during the breeding season. If you discover a nest, consult a wildlife professional to determine the best course of action. In some situations, it may be possible to relocate the nest with minimal disturbance to the inhabitants, while in other cases, it may be best to postpone the removal until the animals leave the nest.

V. Minimize Habitat Impact During Tree Removal

To ensure the least disturbance to wildlife, it is vital to minimize habitat impact during tree removal. Ask the arborist to prune the tree in stages, starting at the top and gradually moving to the base. This gradual approach provides time for animals to move to a new location if they were unaware of the initial disturbance. Additionally, avoid using heavy machinery and chemicals that could harm wildlife during the removal process.

VI. Replant or Preserve Habitat After Tree Removal

After safely removing the tree, consider planting a replacement tree or shrub to provide a new habitat for the animals previously housed in the removed tree. If you cannot plant a new tree, preserve parts of the cut tree or use logs and branches to form a brush pile that can serve as an alternative habitat for displaced wildlife.

VII. Encourage Wildlife Into Your Yard

Take steps to create a welcoming environment for wildlife to encourage animals to find a new home in your backyard. You can do this by providing birdhouses or bat boxes, installing bird baths, planting native fruit-bearing plants or trees, and leaving leaf litter or deadwood as habitat alternatives.


Tree removal might be necessary at times, but it is crucial to consider the impact on backyard wildlife before proceeding. Follow the guidelines outlined above and be mindful of the inhabitants to ensure minimal disturbance to the animals. Remember, a well-balanced backyard ecosystem benefits everyone – humans and animals alike.

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