So guys, I made my first tree farm... but without a roof. Clearly, it was a bad idea because now I have a bunch of gigantic trees. I can cut the bottom portions off and get plenty of wood, but what remains looks ugly and is a PAIN in the ass to clean up. Any tips on how to get rid of this mess quickly?

Here's an example of what i'm talking about: Example of tree remnant

  • 41
    Burrrnnn ittt...
    – Kevin Yap
    Apr 29, 2011 at 2:29
  • 2
    What Minecraft patch is going to implement gravity?
    – bwarner
    Apr 29, 2011 at 17:04
  • 3
    Relevant: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/10270/…
    – JavadocMD
    Apr 29, 2011 at 17:24
  • 3
    @bwarner Gravity is implemented. It only affects gravel and sand though.
    – badp
    Apr 29, 2011 at 19:12
  • To rephrase @bwarner, does anyone know if there are any plans for gravity to be extended to affect other blocks?
    – chandsie
    Apr 30, 2011 at 1:24

13 Answers 13


You can burn them, but it's really dangerous. It can get out of control pretty fast.

UPDATE: Shears should now be used to get rid of leaves. They're 6 times faster than using your bare hands (and 4 times faster than using a sword).

Alternatively, you can use a sword if you don't really care about damaging it:

Leaves can be destroyed faster by using a sword, though swords lose double normal durability when used on leaves. As no other tool yields any increase in removal speed, leaves are best removed with bare hands, or a block or object unaffected by durability, so as not to damage your tools unnecessarily.

Finally, as Jonathan mentionned, the leaves will decay after a certain time if it's not attached to solid blocks (but I don't consider this a 'quick' way to get rid of them):

In Beta, leaves decay according to a simple formula: leaf blocks decay unless they are within 4 blocks of a log block, and connected to the log by other leaf blocks. Thus, harvesting the wood from a tree will cause the leaf blocks to vanish randomly one by one.

  • sooo, what are the alternatives in that case? And is there anyway where i can still get all that wood that's up there?
    – chandsie
    Apr 29, 2011 at 2:31
  • Well, remove the wood first! I often place block underneath me while jumping to access wood cubes that are too high to reach.
    – Hilydrow
    Apr 29, 2011 at 2:33
  • 1
    Ahh, I did not know about the sword method! Fantastic! Now my cobblestone generator has a purpose! lol :]
    – chandsie
    Apr 29, 2011 at 2:52
  • 2
    Hey wait, you forgot about shears Dec 12, 2011 at 1:56
  • 1
    @fireDude67 actually, this question is from a release well before shears were introduced!
    – chandsie
    Dec 12, 2011 at 4:54

This is the OCD's best friend:

Flint & Steel

This is a Flint & Steel - you use it to light fires. In this context, you can light the leftover leaves on fire and they will quickly burn away. Be careful, though - fire "jumps" 1-3 spaces, so if you have closely-packed trees (or a wood house) they will also catch fire.

  • 1
    Just remember to check the environment first. Ended up burning down an entire forest rather than just a treetop a couple of times, and a few times I've been dangerously close to burning down my village :p
    – Svish
    Apr 29, 2011 at 9:09
  • Care to explain what it does?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Apr 29, 2011 at 13:44
  • 8
    @IvoFlipse > No.
    – GnomeSlice
    Apr 29, 2011 at 17:49
  • 1
    -1 - your loss.
    – badp
    Apr 29, 2011 at 19:13
  • 2
    This is a flint - you use it to light fires. In this context, you can light the leftover leaves on fire and they will quickly burn away. Be careful, though - fire "jumps" 1-2 spaces, so if you have closely-packed trees (or a wood house) they will also catch fire.
    – Luke
    Apr 29, 2011 at 20:04

You have to get rid of all the wood, then the leaves will decay and disappear on their own. Stand where the original trunk of your tree was. Equip a piece of dirt (or some other solid block) in your hand. Then look straight down, jump, and right click to place the dirt. You will land on the new block of dirt. Repeat this, building a column of dirt, until you reach the remains of the tree above you. From there you can usually reach all the rest of the wood.

Also, start cultivating birch trees as soon as you can (they have the white bark with dark spots). According to this post on reddit, they never grow taller than six blocks of trunk, which you can harvest from the ground.

  • The birch tip is awesome! I didn't like them for their appearance, but heck, if they aren't going to make this mess then I'm all for it!
    – chandsie
    Apr 30, 2011 at 1:22
  • 1
    I can confirm the birch thing. I have a tree farm with over 500 trees on a SMP server, I have switched it all over to birch, they are so much nicer. Always straight and short.
    – Zoredache
    Apr 30, 2011 at 2:25

Presumably you have a tree farm to harvest as much wood as you can get. The canopy in your screenshot is hanging around because there's still good wood in there! Go and harvest it, and the leaves will decay on their own.

Branching trees are most efficiently harvest top-down, unlike simple trees. Get up on top of that tree, then mine downwards toward the visible blocks of wood. Just remember the cardinal rule: never mine the block you're standing on without knowing it's safe! Don't worry about catching the log resources that fall—get those once you're safely back on the ground.

Once you've taken care of the branches, harvest the trunk from top to bottom. That will get you back to the ground with the least danger. In the case of this sad, trunkless specimen, give it a prosthetic "trunk" made out of dirt or gravel before you get up into the leaves, so that you will have a safe stack of blocks through which to mine your way down to safety.

A nice side-effect of harvesting trees this way is that, by the time you're back on the ground, it will have dropped plenty of saplings. No more running to your storage chest or waiting around empty-handed waiting for a sapling to drop just to replant one tree!

Even tree farms with roofs will generate branching trees occasionally. You might as well keep your nice outdoors tree farm, but upgrade it with a perimeter catwalk and stairs/ladders to give you quick access to the upper surface of tree canopies when your farm pops out a branching tree. (Also, running around on top of trees is inexplicably fun.)

  • 1
    I couldn't agree more about running around tops of trees. It's even more fun when they're on a ocean cliff and you can dive into the water off of them!
    – chandsie
    May 2, 2011 at 17:55
  • @chands That I have not tried. I know where I'm planting my next forest… May 2, 2011 at 18:59

Two ways:

  • Leaves will drop when no longer attached to any wood. Climb up using a temporary dirt stairway and hit all the wood.
  • Set it alight with flint and steel. Craft one with an iron bar (made by furnacing iron ore) and flint (from digging gravel).

The danger with fire is that it will spread to nearby trees, and can jump short gaps to do so. Be sure not to ignite the rest of your orchard this way. If you're afraid of catching fire yourself, carry a bucket of water to douse yourself.


The best way is to use flint and steel if you don't care about the wood.

Otherwise, you will want to create a roof limiting the blocks the trees have to grow because you won't be able to remove all the wood and the leaves will remain.

Of course, you could use the traditional method of creating a 1x1 tower of a common material to reach the wood and then destroy it afterwards.

But hey, isn't mindless destruction of blocky virtual trees fun?

  • 7
    In the immortal words of the internet: "Kill it with fire!" Apr 29, 2011 at 2:51

An Alternative is to use TNT to blow them up - It is quite expensive, resource wise, but its more controlled than fire! Please remember to just use 1 at a time, so you don't have a chain reaction! Also, it is so much quicker, and blowing it up is certainly more interesting than burning them!

  • 1
    Huh, 2+ years and despite several "burn it" answers, yours is the first "blow it up". Bravo. (highly inefficient, material wise, but it would certainly work.) Dec 31, 2013 at 20:41
  • Also, as you can see in the picture, it is also safer (The leaves left over are miles away from everything) in this case. Also, you could always make it free by using the too many items mod!!
    – George
    Dec 31, 2013 at 21:28

Your large tree tops are staying because the leaves have wood blocks nearby to hold it together.

Solutions: Burn them! This could lead to a fire getting out of control so take caution.

Remove the wood blocks hidden in the leaves. When all the wood is gone from around leaves they will disappear. They disappear rather fast and sometimes drop saplings just like if they were broken by hand.


Shears would be an alternative, due to the fact that if you hold the mouse button down with shears, you can remove them easily, but have lots of leaf blocks. My way to get rid of the leaf blocks are to throw them in lava, or throw them on the ground then leave and they should despawn.


Another alternative method to have cleaner tree farms is to use pine trees.

They always have a straight trunk, making them easier to harvest. You'll eventually have to climb a temporary dirt ladder to gather the top wood blocks, but there will never be 'lost' blocks hidden in the leaves.

You can plant them every 4 blocks, which will make an optimum tree farm.


Once you have harvested what you can reasonably reach the remaining treetops are normally quite isolated and safe to burn out. You can also go up a stack of dirt or sand and harvest normally, although the branching structure of a large tree can be annoying to find all the bits of.


I prefer to start at the top of the trees in my tree farm. Clear out the highest leaves, then head down the trunk. If you see branches out from your trunk, clear them out first, then continue downwards.

If all of your trees are together, you can take your original path back up to the top of your trees, find another tall tree, and repeat. Keep doing this until all of the wood is gone. The leaves will decay naturally.

The reason those leaves are staying is because there is some solid wood in there, probably branches. Since it's too late in this case to use the top-down method for the whole farm, I would climb straight into the center of that (by dropping a dirt tower under my feet) and taking out whatever wood is left. Another option, as others have mentioned, is using flint and steel to set the whole thing on fire. This would work for the pictured scenario, but be careful doing this near other trees or flammable structures!


I know what you mean. There is always a bit wood stuck somewhere in the tree and the time you use to search for it, you might rip the tree apart before wasting time for search.

I use scissors for trees. Make like 2 scissors and wush wush the tree's gone.

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