How to Kill a Tree

How to Kill a Tree Without Cutting it Down (How Do You Kill an Unwanted Tree?)

Trees are very beautiful things to have around our home because they provide shade for us outdoors, keep the environment cool, buffer noise pollution, cleanse the air we breathe, and generally add value to our property.

But trees are invasive, and a time might come when they want to take over the garden as they grow. At this time, you might want to remove the trees because they have overstayed their welcome

The first thought that comes to mind when we think of removing a tree is to cut it down, but we sometimes never sit down to reckon that cutting down trees is a difficult task, especially if you are dealing with large trees. Secondly, you have the stump to deal with when you cut a tree, which is a big issue.

Today we will attempt to look into ways of killing that pesky tree in your space without cutting them down. We will look at using chemicals, copper nails, and other techniques to get rid of trees you no longer want.

Find Out: Should You Burn Out a Tree Stump?

Why Would You Want To Kill Your Trees?

Many people don’t want to kill trees for its fun; they kill trees because there is a reason for it; sometimes, it is so cogent that it is more important to kill them than to let them live.

Here are a few reasons why some people will kill their trees:

1. The Tree Is Dead

When a tree dies, it can be seen because the fruit, flowers, and leaves are not being replenished, and the tree gets dried up. One may wonder: why do I need to kill a dead tree?

The issue is that dead trees can cause injuries; it is a lot easier for the branches of an old tree to snap and break and hurt someone. In very windy conditions, the whole tree can fall too, injuring people and destroying houses and properties.

2. The Tree Is Diseased

You do not have to kill a tree the moment you discover that it is diseased; however, you might take that drastic action if you see the disease spreading and constituting a problem, especially if it begins to infect other trees.

A diseased tree attracts pests and infestation by insects and rodents like ratssquirrels, and skunks. So you can save your backyard from being a mini zoo by cutting down a diseased tree.

3. The Tree is Growing Too Close To Something

It is not so common for the roots of a tree to grow into the foundation of a house and cause it to fall, but it can certainly cause a crack, leading to blockage of the drainage. 

Large trees can cause structural distortion in the paving slabs, garages, summer houses, and the likes as the tree’s roots grow underneath them.

4. The Tree Is No Longer Stable

A tree can grow so that it leans so that its weight is no longer evenly distributed; the implication is that it will cause the tree to lean and pose a danger, especially in bad weather conditions where it can fall, hurt people damage things.

5. The Tree Has A Decay In The Interior

You will not notice an interior decay except you are an expert, but if you notice that the tree is dry and has lots of holes from which pests are going on and coming out from, you should suspect that the tree is deteriorating from the inside. 

Decaying trees are as dangerous as dead trees and should be killed before they hurt someone or destroy something.

Why Kill A Tree Instead Of Cutting It?

Many people do not understand why someone would resort to killing a tree any other way than cutting it, but it is unfortunate that when you cut a tree, you have to grind the stump, which is a long and stressful process. This is no guarantee that sprouts will not grow from the stump.

Even if you decide to dig out the tree stump to stop it from regenerating, the process is daunting, especially if the tree stumps are very big.

So you can see, cutting down a tree is only half the job. You can save yourself the hassles by killing that unwanted tree in your backyard.

Different Ways Of Killing A Tree

How to Kill a Tree Without Cutting

Before you decide the best option to adopt for killing a tree, you must be informed about all the methods that are ideal for your situation.

If you are looking for the fastest means to get rid of your tree, or you are averse to using chemicals for killing the tree, or you are looking for an option that will not affect other plant life in your space, here are the options that are open to you:

1. Starving The Tree

You can kill a tree by starving it of water and nutrient. The bark of trees is the medium by which soil moisture and nutrients are transported to the stem, the branches, and the leaves, and so if you strip the bark of the tree, it is starved to death.

There is a process for starving trees known as girdling, and this involves removing all the bark around the circumference of a tree to starve and kill the tree.

With girdling, you cut a groove around the tree trunk you want dead so that the incision will stop the flow of nutrients and moisture from the tree’s roots to its shoots. The following steps are followed in girdling a tree to death.

1. You use a chainsaw, ax, or hatch to create a groove in the tree, choosing an area of the tree trunk that you can work on comfortably.

2. Make an incision about an inch and a half deep; for smaller trees, the incision should be an inch in depth.

3. Cut a notch around the circumference of the tree trunk. If you feel one notch is not enough, you can cut another one above the first one.

Advantages Of Starving The Tree To Kill It.

1. It is not as stressful as cutting down trees.

2. It involves the use of simple implements.

3. It does not involve the use of harmful chemicals which are not Eco-friendly.

Disadvantages Of Starving The Tree To Kill It

1. This process is very slow and will take some months for the tree to be due completely.

2. Some trees are so hearty that this method cannot effectively kill them.

Read Also: Is Burning a Tree Stump Safe?

2. Chemically Killing a Tree

There are five main types of herbicides common for killing trees, and these chemicals work in different ways to achieve this purpose. They include

  • Triclopyr amine
  • Triclopyr ester
  • Glyphosate
  • Imazapyr
  • Aminopyralid

Tips For Killing A Tree Chemically

Chemicals are hazardous not only to trees but us to us and our environment; hence if a house decides to kill a tree with chemicals, then keep these points in mind:

1. You must learn how to use any chemical you want to kill the tree you want dead; you must know and understand the manufacturer’s instructions because these chemicals can kill both unwanted trees and other wanted vegetation in your garden.

2. It is your responsibility to contact your local extension service concerning any information about the chemical treatment you want to use to ensure it is approved for use in your locality.

3. Bear in mind that the roots of different trees share vascular tissues by a process known as root grafting. So the herbicide you apply to kill a tree can affect another tree root grafted to the root of your targeted tree.

4. The moment you apply a chemical on a soil or tree, it can stay in the soil or environment for uptake by another plant even after some months. A tree treated with herbicide can release back the herbicide to the environment, which can harm and kill other vegetation and trees that you have.

5. You can stain the herbicide you are using to kill the tree to monitor the chemical you are using is having on the tree. 

This will determine if you need to reapply the chemical or even use another option. The use of stain can also help you know if you have exposed yourself to the chemical so that you can take necessary actions.

6. Before you apply any of these herbicides, you must wear protective clothing to keep them from getting to your skin and other parts of your body.

7. You need to dilute most of the chemicals you buy before they are safe for use since most of them are not prediluted. However, you have to follow the instructions on diluting the chemicals strictly.

8. You can enlist the help of a professional to handle using chemicals to kill that tree if you don’t feel comfortable handling dangerous chemicals

There are different techniques for applying these Herbicides, including:

1. The Cut Surface Treatments:

With this technique, you have to create a pathway through the bark of the tree through which you will introduce the herbicide into the vascular bundle of the tree.

The process starts with making some downward cuts with a hatchet or an ax around the tree’s circumference while leaving the frill, which is the section of the bark that you cut connected to the tree.

This method should not be done during spring because the sap from the cut will prevent good absorption of the herbicide into the tree.

2. The Injection Treatments:

You can use specialized equipment for injecting substances into trees for this method. Hence your best bet is to get experts who have the equipment needed.

The specific amount of herbicide applied to the tree is drawn with the specialized tree injection equipment. You cut the tree to inject the herbicide.

3. The Stump Treatments:

For this method of killing trees, you must have to first cut down the tree to prevent any chance of the tree regenerating. 

So as soon as the tree is cut down, you can apply any of these herbicides on the surface of the stump.

4. The Basal Bark Treatments:

For this technique, the only approved herbicides are the low-volatile ester formulations that are oil soluble. 

You apply the herbicide to the bark of the tree from early so ring to mid-fall, and it should be applied to the lower part of the trunk, about 16 inches from the ground, depending on the size and length of the tree. 

You mix any of the approved herbicides with oil and spread them on the tree’s bark until it becomes saturated.

5. The Foliage Treatments:

This method is least effective from early summer to late September when the weather is very hot, and the trees are under heavy stress. 

All you do is apply the herbicide to all tree parts by brushing. The tree will absorb the herbicides and then begin to die.

6. The Soil Treatments:

Some soil treatment can be applied to the surface of the soil that can move to the root zone of the tree and kill the trees from the root. This method is used after rainfall or irrigation of the garden.

A concentrated solution of a given herbicide is applied at the soul very close to the tree you want dead. The tree root will absorb these herbicides that will kill the tree.

Advantages Of Chemically Killing A Tree.

1. They are very easy to apply

2. They are fast in action, sometimes you see the effect in a matter of days.

3. These chemical gets easily adored onto the tree, which means you will not need to cut the tree.

The Disadvantages Of Chemically Killing A Tree

1. These chemicals are hazardous means of killing trees.

2. This method calls for a lot f caution and carefulness since you can be putting yourself at risk.

3. Use Copper Nails

This is a simple yet effective way of killing a tree. Your standard copper nails serve as poison to the interior of trees, and so they can be used to kill the trees. This method is almost too simple that many people do not take it seriously, but it is effective.

All you need to do is to get pure copper nails and not those made of copper compounds, then hammer the copper nail to the roots of the tree or the base of the tree trunk. The closer you hammer the nail to the root, the better.

Advantages Of Killing A Tree With Copper Nail

1. It is a very easy and passive means of killing a tree.

2. It does not require any physical exertion as you have with cutting down trees.

3. You do not get yourself and your environment exposed to harmful chemicals.

Disadvantages of Killing A Tree With Copper Nail

1. It is not the most effective of all tree-killing methods.

Conclusion: How to Kill a Tree Without Cutting it Down

Trees are an essential part of our existence as humans, we need them for domestic and industrial uses, and that is we have lots of them around, and we fell some of them for use.

However, there are times or situations in which they pose a risk to us and our loved ones and the environment that calls for them being eliminated. While cutting down trees is the most common means of getting rid of unwanted trees, it has its snags.

You can employ other means to get that tree out of your backyard, and they all have their good points and disadvantages. You need to clearly understand all these methods to pick one that suits you.

Helpful Links:

We trust this article helped you know How to Kill a Tree Without Cutting it Down. You may also want to check out the Ways To Remove A Tree Stump By Hand.

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