I will pull by hand anything up to around 18" tall as these come easily bringing the roots with them. Larger trees get the chainsaw or bow saw treatment.... trouble is these ones will regrow as the roots remain in the ground.
In the middle are small trees up to 2" grirth and 6 foot tall that are too big to pull by hand but tempting to try... this usually ends with an aching back.
A device was needed to remove small trees with little effort. A look on line came up with a number of different ideas that ranged in cost from around £100 to £250. Being a cheapscate I decided to build my own!
Step 1: Tree puller from scrap.....
Second hand stilsons are easy to find and very cheap to buy, especially when, like the one I used, the stilson is incomplete.
As it did not have its adjustment nut it was a freebie :) Once modified this will grip the tree.
Step 2: The basics
The design has a gripping device to grab the tree, a heel to pivot on and a long handle to pull back so lifting the roots out of the ground.
The closing of the jaws on the tree will have a 25 to 1 ratio, the levering of the roots out of the ground has a 6 to 1 ratio allowing an easy pull of between 1/4 to 1/2 ton!
There are some large forces involved in this construction but as long as my welding holds up it should work OK.