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Q: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected? ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Subject: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected?
Category: Family and Home > Gardening
Asked by: wibble69-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 26 Nov 2006 03:51 PST
Expires: 26 Dec 2006 03:51 PST
Question ID: 785639
I have a very large tree in my garden (a bit taller than my house). 
I'm not sure of the type but it is big and ugly - the stump is about 1
metre wide.  It blocks out the light, roots have damaged drains, and a
branch snapped off recently which damaged my neighbour's garden.  Some
large branches overhand a public footpath and I don't want to kill
anyone!  I've decided it needs to go but my wife is not so sure.  I
would like to find a way of killing the tree so it can then be chapped
down.  It would be best the method was undetectable and quick(ish).
Subject: Re: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected?
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 26 Nov 2006 09:03 PST
Hi wibble69, 

Thank you for your question.

Q. Can I Kill a tree just by paving around the trunk?

A. Paving the ground above a tree's roots can kill quickly. Yes, there
are tricks to help a tree out like installing a gravel diffusion layer
under the pavement and providing a water catch basin around the tree's
base. These improvements increase soil aeration and usable moisture
and are essential for tree survival.

But you are trying to kill the tree, right? Don't spent the time,
effort or money for any of this. Just pave right up to the tree's


Google Groups rec.gardens - How to Kill a Large Tree

"Cut the bark all around and cut off its blood flow."

"if you want too kill the tree before you cut it down,make sure there
are no other tree's in the area that you do not want to kill.purchase
an auger type bit used for bulb's,drill around tree 10-12 feet from
trunk 10-12 inches deep, pour half full with rock salt,fill with water
and that will do the trick.


In addition, perhaps something listed in a prior question I answered
will be helpful to you.  [Please note, I have removed 2 page links
that are not on the web now.]

Subject: Re: How to kill a tree 
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 13 Jun 2004 20:08 PDT 
Hi fturano1,

Thank you for an interesting question.  I've located several different
approaches on how to kill a tree without cutting it down alive.  These
are listen in no particular order.

Re: How do I kill a tree without cutting it down?

"I hope I'm not out of line here with my amateur advice...
One method I have used to kill trees in-place is to 'girdle' it.
Remove the bark, outer and inner, all the way around, and for a foot
or so from bottom cut to top cut. I'm not sure if it works on all
types of trees, but I have used it on oak, poplar, and pine - made it
much easier to handle when I got around to making firewood
out of them.
Another way would be to clip the roots with a sub-soiler, but there is
danger of it falling unpredictably.
With the girdling method there is another advantage. Once tree is dead
it can be felled by fire. Pack thick ring of mud/clay above girdle and
do a slow controlled burn of girdled area - you can direct the fall
almost as well as with axe or saw."


In Reply to: how to kill a tree

"Spray the leaves with high concentration of urea/nitrogen
(fertilizer) on a sunny day. Nitrogen will burn it( but not like
fire). Make sure that when you spray, it will be totally wet. Use
powerspray for big trees. If the leaves will not show a sign of
withering and burns after a week then add more urea/nitrogen to your
next spray (be patient or use 50 kilos of urea per tree if your not


Re: copper nail to kill a tree

"Yes, if the nail is big enough to harm the base of the tree. It can open an 
entry for infection and disease. You also need to consider how big is the 
nail and the tree. Driving a copper nail has physical, chemical, and 
biological actions playing together. If the tree dies, it will not be easy 
to know precisely what the main cause was acting. Copper as a metallic form 
is not harmfull to tree nutrition. It needs to oxidize, to solubilize and 
then be absorbed. Absorption of copper at the bark level may not occur, while 
high levels of copper ion in the soil rooting system may lead to toxicity. Many 
species of trees also will respond differently to this stress related to 
nails in their bases. In biology we do not play yes/no answer!" 


How to Kill a Tree by not Watering Enough

"Trees need water to survive and when they don't get enough water,
they die back slowly. The willow tree below has lost the bark on half
the trunk and 50 percent of the branches have died because it was
watered only once a week to fill the well around the tree to less than
an inch."

Q. Can I Kill a tree just by paving around the trunk?

"Paving the ground above a tree's roots can kill quickly. 


Just pave right up to the tree's bark."


Fill Can Kill A Tree


Will salt kill a tree?  [Please note, this information is not
accessible to non-members of Dave's Garden]

"Tough question, not enough detail, but it can. If you use a large
enough amount and don't flood it but water it in, it will cause the
roots to lose moisture and become unable to take up moisture and
nutrients. I once had a mean neighbor who, for reasons yet unknown to
me, poured salt around the base of my cherry laurel hedge. It was at
the back of the lot, and I didn't go all the way out to it often, so
the salt sat there and worked its way into the roots. The grass died
first, and when I went to examine the area to determine why, I noticed
that the leaves on the shrubs were becoming mottled and streaked, with
yellowing. In a matter of less than a month, they all died. I saw salt
around the bases of all of them, and later a neighbor kid told my son
who put it there. I am not certain it was table salt, but given the
mentality of that person, it probably was the most common and readily
available form. I tried watering excessively to flush it, as well as
pulling back the soil and mixing compost into it, to no avail."


"I have an old pine tree on the other side of my property that is
blocking My view and I would like to know how to kill it with out
having to chop it down. I dont think salt will do the trick? I've
heard that a copper nail would do it but that does'nt work either

I have tried that... and that DOES work! But then after I did that,
everything else I planted there, kept on dying! So, I have never did
that again!"


"The guys who trim my trees cut down a large tree for me, cut deep
holes in the stump and poured some salt into them to kill it
permanently. I was worried about the salt going into my soil. They
said to cover the stump with aluminum foil, secure the aluminum and
just leave it there. I was worried about the salt going into my soil
and they said it would be absorbed by the stump. The stump rotted
enough to be taken out and there were no ill effects from the salt. I
am not saying to do this because maybe I was just lucky the salt never
made it to my soil. Of course the stump was in an area that I could
leave it a long time without having to remove it.

To kill a tree without removing it you can just girdle it: remove the
bark in a band all the way around the trunk. It could possibly survive
if the cambium manages to stay alive, so you may want to scrub/scrape
the band after you remove the bark."


Re: How do I kill a tree without cutting it?

"Well, you could cut out a section of the bark totally around the
trunk of the tree. Do it about 6" wide. The tree will be exposed to
the elements and won't be able to recover. This will take at least 2
to 3 years to kill the tree. Best to just cut them down for safety
sake. I don't use poisons so I can't help you there."


Q. Can I kill my tree by eliminating the fertilizer?

"On the contrary! Double or triple the recommended fertilizer rate.
Fertilize your tree often and double the recommended rate, especially
during dry conditions.
Recommendations for fertilization of trees vary considerably. From
young trees to mature trees, the amounts vary. Foresters and
horticulturists generally agree that nitrogen is the only nutrient
needed in most cases. So go ahead, give your tree a quick shot of a
fast-acting, complete fertilizer on August 31st."




"cut the tree close to the ground. drill several holes in the stump,
paint stump with full strength roundup and fill the holes with
additional roundup. there should be no sprouts growing from the stump
or underground roots after this treatment"


keyword search:

kill mulberry tree
how to kill tree
kill tree without cutting down
how can I kill my tree
salt + copper nail kill tree


Best regards,
Subject: Re: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected?
From: probonopublico-ga on 26 Nov 2006 05:33 PST
Get a powerful rifle equipped with a telescopic sight and a silencer
then, when your wife isn't looking, fire some slugs into the trunk,
near its base.

Slugs are ravenous creatures and they will quickly eat their way
through the tree then .....

Please don't forget to give the mandatory cry of 'Timber!' before it
comes crashing to the ground.

Whatever you do .... 

Do not start laughing or that could give the game away.

That's how I would do it.

Lumbering Jack
Subject: Re: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected?
From: frde-ga on 26 Nov 2006 07:24 PST
A question after my own heart.

The old trick was copper nails, I've tried it but it did not work,
probably the wrong type of copper.

You could try this one though, it should do the trick, 

1) take one cordless drill and make longest and widest diameter hole
in tree trunk, preferably pointing down at 45 degrees.
2) Fill hole with salt 
3) Plug hole with bark, mud or anything else to hand.
4) Clean up mess so wife does not suspect

An alternative (or belt for the braces) is to purchase about 1lb of
Sodium Chlorate which is highly explosive when dry and mixed with
sugar.  Bury that near the tree and watch the sucker die.

A final technique is to get some Roundup (Glysophate is the technical
term) and give the tree a spray (preferably on the leaves) whenever
you are not observed.

Possibly the simplest and safest method is to do a deal with your wife.

If she is half way smart, she'll suspect that you had a hand in the
sudden decline and demise of the tree.
Subject: Re: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected?
From: knowitall22-ga on 26 Nov 2006 09:51 PST
Nontheless, after all the advice on how to kill a tree, it still needs
to be taken down,no? A dead tree standing on one's property is a first
class eyesore.
  So, take it down without killing it previously, either by do-it-
yourself method or hire a professional. Or am I missing something?
Subject: Re: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected?
From: markvmd-ga on 26 Nov 2006 09:59 PST
Just when I think Bryan has reached the limits of humour, he manages
to pull the other one.

Seriously, if you suspect the tree is a danger you have an obligation
to either fix it or remove it. If your insurance company can prove you
may have known the tree was "sick" and it causes damage, they may not
cover you!

Call up an arborist, explain the situation, have the tree seen, and
tell you wife the arborist says "the tree has to go, my dear, unless
we spend all our holiday money for the next four years saving it."

Here in the US many places have municipal arborists-- an expert
employee of a municipality-- whose services are free. See if your
municipality has one.
Subject: Re: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected?
From: thaumaturge-ga on 26 Nov 2006 10:46 PST
An urgent Entmoot is underway to debate your question. You should have
the answer in about 20 years.
Subject: Re: How to kill a large tree, preferably undetected?
From: steph53-ga on 26 Nov 2006 14:41 PST
You want to WHAT????  

Kill a tree??????????


Please reconsider...trees have feelings too :(

Sad Steph53

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