To kill a tree

If you are looking for how to kill a tree without anyone knowing then you are in the right place. After extensive research in tree killing, I have come up with the best ways to kill a tree undetected.

First off I don’t recommend and am not endorsing that you should kill a tree your neighbor’s tree. That is their property and you could get in trouble with the law.

If you have a problem with a neighbor’s tree I would suggest talking to your neighbor and working out an arrangement to have the tree removed. Offer to pay for half or all of the tree removal.

However, let’s say you needed to kill your own tree without your kids or your tree hugging neighbor knowing then here are the best ways to kill a tree undetected.


The Best Way To Kill A Tree Undetected FAST

Drill several holes in roots under the soil and pore Tordon in it. Tordon is the best tree killer on the market. It’s what most arborists recommend for killing the hardiest trees.

Normally, you would cut the tree down and treat the outer layer or cambium layer of the tree with Tordon to kill it but I think that drilling several holes into the roots through the dirt would work as well.

If you drill holes into the roots below the dirt then no one will be able to detect the hole in the wood. If you drilled a hole above ground it may bit more tricky to hide the hole.

You could use a piece of bark and some glue but I think it would be way easier to find a root that is just an inch or so under the soil and drill into it and fill with Tordon.

I would do this to several roots around the tree. After just a few days the tree should be dead.

For more information check out my article on how to kill a tree.

How To Secretly Kill A Tree

Now this way is super sneaky. I stumbled upon this as I was researching tree killers. There is a tree killer called Gordon’s Stump Killer and as I was reading reviews I found this.

“Put this on a cottonwood tree stump and it killed all the other live cottonwood trees within a 50 feet radius and they were over 50 years old. I am sick about it and cried.”

Somehow Gordon’s Stump Killer can kill other trees around it. So here’s the strategy. Kill an adjacent tree or bush with Gordon’s Stump Killer and all trees close by should die as well. There are no guarantees this will work but if what this guy said is true then Gordon’s Stump Killer could be the solution.

Slowly Poison A Tree Undetected

Salt can be toxic to plants in high dosages. One idea that I found a comment on my YouTube video was to dig a hole next to the tree and fill with Epsom salts and cover back up.

You would have to use a lot of Epsom salts to make this work but luckily Epsom salts are fairly inexpensive. Digging a hole undetected may be a little tricky and covering it up especially in grass.

A major issue I see with this idea is that digging a hole next to a tree is not easy because of all the tree roots in the way.

This idea is definitely not the best but I think it would work and the tree would die slowly.

Another way to slowly poison a tree without anyone knowing is to use copper nails. I have read mixed reviews with this idea and when it does work it takes a long time like over a year to kill a tree but basically you can hammer copper nails into a tree and the copper will slowly poison the tree to death.

To do this undetected you would need to hammer the nails into the roots, remove a piece of bark and hammer nails and glue the bark back to the tree or build a tree fort or attach a sign to the tree using copper nails instead of steel.

This could work but I still think drilling holes into the roots and poring Tordon in them is the best way to kill a tree undetected.

Best Ideas for Secretly Poisoning A Tree From Youtube Comments

I have collected all the best ideas from all the youtube comments of the video I made for How To Kill A Tree Without Anyone Knowing. You might get a kick out of these because I sure did.

My personal favorite: Just firmly attach a Trump for President sign to the tree…

(Nothing against Trump there are just some real haters out there who would probably kill a tree if there was a Trump sign attached to the tree.)

Cut the half that is in your yard.

Save the husks off black walnuts, put in a 55gal drum and fill with water after a week water your tree with the nasty water for a couple weeks, the tree should die soon

Drill a half inch hole getting as close as possible to the center…may drill more than one around the girth of the tree near the base…insert ⅜ copper tubing and plug the holes with soft mud.

I have pounded solid copper pennies late 50’s to 60’s into the tree it will soon die for about 10 cents.

Next time you manage to find ten pennies that are 60 years old make sure to save them until you need to kill a tree without anyone knowing.

Vinegar kills plants- I know because I found out from a youtube video claiming to “liven up” the tree leaves of drooping or low in color…heck no I killed them…it was apple cider vinegar

Do it when they are on vacation.

Use the 4th of July to cover up blowing your neighbor’s tree up with fireworks.

Best way to kill a tree. Every night for about a week, pour a quart of Muriatic Acid around the base of the tree. Be cautious that you don’t stand downwind as it will smoke and will burn your eyes or breathing it will harm your lungs. Within that week all the leaves should start falling from the tree. If you don’t see leaves falling, continue feeding it for another week. Once all the leaves fall, the tree will not recover. Muriatic Acid is inexpensive and can be bought in 1-gallon jugs at Home Depot or Lowes. You will find it with the pool supplies. Two years ago the price was $3.65 per gallon. Today it’s about $8 at Lowes or buy the 2-gallon size for around $11. You’re looking for the 31-1/2 % concentration product.

Copper nails hammered into the tree. Do this late at night so no one is awake to see you. Do what you can to muffle the noise, make sure the nails are all the way in so they won’t be noticed. My dad swore by this method.

Melt salt in boiling water pouring this in holes around the Root system, or use a spade to peel grass
Back from roots pour water into the ground below root level of the grass.
Or packing around roots with ROCK-Salt.

Pile mounds of rich soil around the trunk to about 2′ deep and plant a garden in that soil that gets watered regularly. The wet soil against the trunk will bring bugs that destroy and eat into the bark and kill the tree. Takes a few years, so enjoy the garden. Remember, when the tree is THERE, it’s a shade garden, but once the tree has fallen, it may be a sun garden. Plan accordingly.

I’m actually surprised no one has suggested this. The best way to discreetly kill a tree that also has all the hallmarks of natural tree death isn’t to drive copper nails into it, as that is too obvious. Rather use chemistry as an aide. If you can make Copper sulfate that is still in aqueous form, I.E. In Sulphuric acid. All you would need to do is come up with a means of delivering it to the roots. Whether it is a tree in your yard or close to it, all that needs to be done is to dig up a piece of sod in your lawn and fold it over. Then proceed to dig a least a foot down forming a trench and then dumping the contents into the trench. Dump a lot to ensure an adequate amount disperses and the tree will soak it in, it could take a year or two, but the chemical composition exists in nature, to begin with. If you need faster results, just dump round up and or any other herbicide well beneath the surface of the lawn. Upon completion of dumping, fill the hole or trench with clean fill and sod over the area. You may need to use a sprinkler to ensure your grass survives. However, grass’ roots don’t go much deeper than a few inches, to begin with hence why you need to dig deep. Happy hunting.

So you want to kill a tree under cover. Loads of copper spikes, and electricity. Use an acidic fertilizer for pine trees. Overwatering it daily on top of all this. At night under the cover of darkness hit it with a hatchet to girdle it. Or bore a hole halfway through the tree and plant an M-80 in it. Place a sign like die commie dork in crayons and light the fuse and run inside your house. They will think neighborhood kids assaulted your tree.

Or you can just call Harvey Updyke he will get the job done for you.

I always heard borax would kill a tree, but honestly, I have yet to try…

All you need to do is water the tree with water that has a very low PH balance. The high acidity will kill it.

Simple Way: Have kids dig hole next to the tree while playing. After dark, fill the hole with Epsom salts and cover with dirt. Sooner or later it’ll succumb.

Black powder in a borehole works but people will definitely know, the younger tree’s the trimmer works but older ones the bark is too thick, just use a hand saw to score the bark all the way around into the inner part of the tree it will die.

I hope you found some of these ideas as amusing as I did. This information you should know exactly how to kill a tree without anyone knowing.

If you have other ideas you would like to add to this post leave them in the comments below.

How To: Kill Tree Roots


Trees add great beauty to your landscape and their shade can help keep cooling costs low. But when a tree outgrows its location or is seriously damaged in a storm, it becomes a hazard that should be removed—and chopping it down is only half the battle.

A tree’s underground root system can extend up to 20 feet deep in ideal soil conditions, and spread over an even greater area. These tree roots can continue to grow even after the trunk is history and, if close to your sewer line or foundation, cause serious damage. Eliminate underground issues with either the chemical or natural treatment described here—just remember to use caution and keep both herbicide and rock salt out of reach of pets and kids. Now read on to get to the root of the problem.

OPTION 1: Chemical Herbicide

The fastest, most effective way to kill roots is with chemical herbicide, as soon as the tree has been cut down. If you can treat the tree immediately, proceed to Step 2; if not, follow Step 1.


TOOLS AND MATERIALS Available on Amazon
– Saw
– Watering can (or garden hose)
– Glyphosate herbicide (with 41 percent or higher active ingredient concentration)
– Small bucket
– Garden sprayer (or paintbrush)

1. If the tree was cut down days (or more) ago, make a fresh cut with a saw across what remains of the trunk.

This slice should create a flat surface and expose new flesh. With trees three inches or less in diameter, cut across the entire surface of the trunk. For larger trees, expose new flesh of the outer two to three inches.

2. Saturate the tree’s cambium layer—the outer ring located just under the bark—with 2 to 3 inches of water.

As this outer layer is still alive and growing, the liquid will help carry the herbicide from the live tissue to the tree roots.

3. Mix a 50/50 solution of glyphosate herbicide to water and apply it to the exposed cambium layer.

You can use a garden sprayer, hand-held sprayer, or paintbrush to do so. Be careful in your application to avoid splashing and inadvertently harming plants or grass surrounding the trunk. Tree roots should die off completely in a couple of weeks.

OPTION 2: Rock Salt

Although it takes longer than chemical herbicide, rock salt can effectively kill tree roots by robbing them of water.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS Available on Amazon
– Rock salt
– Water
– Drill (with 1-inch or larger drill bit)

1. Drill several holes 3 to 4 inches deep into the cut surface of the tree trunk.

Before you stow your power tool, bore several additional holes into any larger roots that are exposed near the ground.

2. Fill the holes completely with rock salt, and pour water into them to fill to the top.

Avoid overfilling, as the rock salt solution is harmful to surrounding vegetation and toxic to pets—you won’t want any spillover. Repeat this process several times for a few months, and eventually rock salt will kill the tree roots. (You’ll know the roots are dead when there is no longer any regrowth from the trunk.)

Fear that the roots have invaded a sewer line or your foundation? Maybe you wish to keep the decomposing material from feeding unattractive fungus. In either case, you could also attempt digging the larger tree roots out of the ground. It’s an arduous process, but once you remove them you can reclaim your lawn.

(Image source: Childzy, Wikimedia Commons)

Sometimes we need to cut down trees to remove them, but chopping trees down to the ground does not stop them putting out new growth from the stump or from the roots and eventually turning back into full sized trees again.

In fact, the technique of cutting trees down to a stump and letting them regrow is called coppicing, it’s a traditional woodland management technique and many trees can be coppiced for timber harvesting or other reasons and successfully regrow.

To get rid of a tree stump, you don’t need to chop or dig it out of the ground, use expensive machine or poisonous chemicals. Why avoid chemicals marketed as “Blackberry & Brush Killer” or “Tree & Blackberry Weed Killer”? You seriously do not want to contaminate your garden with these persistent poisons!

Avoiding the poisonous chemicals

Tree & Blackberry Weed Killer, Blackberry & Brush Killer and other such herbicides used for killing tress, woody shrubs and vines all contain triclopyr BEE (butoxyethyl ester), a selective systemic herbicide used for control of woody and broadleaf plants.

It’s a schedule 6 (S6) Poison, which is the highest toxicity level of poison that the general public is legally allowed to buy, and it’s going in your living space… Once it’s there, it will be around for a while too. Being a systemic herbicide, it soaks right through the plant or tree, making all parts of it toxic. The herbicide actually remains active once it’s in vegetation, even if it’s decaying. The safety sheets for triclopyr BEE sold to the agricultural market (sold under the trade name Garlon or Release) clearly state “DO NOT burn off, cut or clear for 6 months after treatment.” The contaminated waste contains active herbicide will still kill other plants and trees and burning it creates toxic fumes. This is not mentioned at all in the same products sold to the general public, which is highly irresponsible.

Why do agricultural products have extensive and highly detailed safety precautions that may be many pages long while the same products sold to the public have only a sentence or two? Well, chemical manufacturers couldn’t really care less about the health of the general public, but are very cautious in terms of liability and litigation should their products cause farmers to lose millions from accidental crop failures, which they would be sued for! It’s all about money…

It’s important to keep in mind that the contaminated tree material poisoned with triclopyr BEE will be toxic for at least half a year, and if you put any of the material into your soil or compost it will contaminate that too – it will kill plants and trees. The estimated half-life (where the chemical breaks down to half the original amount) in aboveground drying foliage is 2 to 3 months

Any triclopyr BEE applied will not stay at the site of application either. Soil mobility refers to how easily a chemical can wash away, move through soil and affect non-target plants and trees, as well as contaminate the water table or wash into waterways.

According to the Thurston County Health Department review of this herbicide, “Triclopyr BEE will quickly convert to triclopyr acid after application, which is highly water soluble and adheres poorly to soil, therefore, herbicides containing triclopyr BEE are considered high in mobility hazard.”

We’ve already mentioned that this toxic herbicide will persist for a while and doesn’t break down readily. How long exactly? The Thurston County Health Department review tells us:

“Triclopyr BEE will convert to the acid form within a day of application and it is unlikely to dissipate into the air or break down interacting with water (hydrolysis). Triclopyr is primarily broken down by microorganisms in the top 12 inches of soil but when it gets deep into soil, where there is less oxygen, it can persist for years. Triclopyr is likely to break down to less than 50% of the applied concentration within 60 days of a land application, which is rated as moderately persistent.”

Since triclopyr is mobile in soil and moderately persistent it has a potential to leach into soil and groundwater and to contaminate drinking water. In terms of toxicity, triclopyr is considered moderately toxic to mammals and oysters, and low in toxicity to birds, insects, fish and crustaceans.

So, you can go the ‘man versus Nature’ chemical warfare approach and use triclopyr, which will contaminate your living area and the environment, or you can kill a tree stump much more safely and cheaply using a more sensible approach.

In Permaculture, the problem is the solution

In Permaculture’s design principles, we have the Attitudinal Principle – “Everything Works Both Ways”. Whether we see something as positive or negative, as a ‘problem’ or as a useful resource, depends on our attitude. Typically, people see a disadvantage as a ‘problem’ and then implement an energy-intensive ‘solution’ to attempt to ‘fix the problem’. The other option is to take a different attitude, look at everything as a positive resource, and figure out how to make use of it! We can get creative and think of all the ways we can turn these disadvantages into useful things we can use in our system.

With this in mind, have you ever accidentally killed a young tree or plant by over fertilizing, or known anyone that has? It happens all too often, with people getting carried away with large amounts of chicken manure in their garden, and especially with young citrus trees because gardeners hear that they’re ‘heavy feeders’ and over-feed them!

When excessive fertilizer is applied around the roots of a plant or tree, it creates a high concentration of salts in the soil, and through osmosis, water naturally moves from areas of low salt concentration to areas of high salt concentration to equalize the proportion of water to fertilizer salts. What large amounts of fertilizer do is draw water out of the roots, drying the plant or tree out, causing the symptoms of lack of water, such as leaf burn, and if the desiccation is extreme enough, the death of the plant or tree results – this phenomenon is called fertilizer burn.

The osmotic desiccation of plants through fertilizer burn can be a problem when over-fertilizing, but it can be used to our benefit to kill tree stumps too, with a few subtle changes to the process!

Killing tree stumps with Epsom salts

Epsom salts is nothing more than magnesium sulphate, people use it in their baths to relax, and gardeners use it as a supplementary nutrient to rectify magnesium deficiencies in plants and trees. It’s also readily available, cheap and completely safe for people and the environment.

Large amounts of Epsom salts will draw moisture out of a stump much like an over-application of fertilizer does to roots, eventually drying it out, after which it will just naturally rot away. Any magnesium released into the soil will just be taken up by plants – magnesium is the key element in chlorophyll which allows plants to photosynthesize and makes leaves green.

To kill a tree stump with Epsom salts, you’ll need:

  1. A drill with a long drill bit about 25mm (1”) wide. You can use a drill with a spade bit or an auger bit as shown below.

    An electric drill with spade bit and hand brace with auger bit for drilling a tree stump
  2. A packet of Epsom salts

  3. A sheet of plastic, garbage bag or tarp to cover the stump, to protect it from the rain

Procedure for killing a tree stump with Epsom salts:

  1. Drill holes into the top of the tree stump, using a 25mm (1”) drill bit. Drill holes at least 15-20cm (6-8”) deep using a spade bit or auger bit.

    On larger stumps, space the holes around 7-10cm (3-4”) from the bark edge and from each other. On smaller tree stumps aim for six or more holes. The intention is to create enough holes that run deep enough to hold a sufficient amount of Epsom salts so that it can more easily penetrate into the wood and the roots to dry them out.

  2. Fill all the holes with dry Epsom salts all the way to the top.
  3. Slowly add just enough water to each hole to moisten the Epsom salts – it doesn’t need to be really wet, just moist, and be careful to not wash the Epsom salts out of the holes.
  4. To prevent the Epsom salts being washed out by rain, cover the stump a sheet of plastic, a garbage bag or a tarp, and anchor or fasten down the cover so it doesn’t get blown away by the wind.

That’s all there is to the process, it’s fairly straightforward!

Additionally, if roots extend from the side of the stump, they too can be drilled and filled with Epsom salts. If the stump if freshly cut, once it is drilled and the holes are filled with Epsom salts, the whole surface of the stump can also be cover with a thick layer of Epsom salts to speed up the drying process.

The stump can take up to six months to dry out, depending on the size of the tree and its root system. Check the stump each month to see if the level of the Epsom salts in the holes has dropped as it’s been absorbed. If it has, top up the level of the Epsom salts and moisten as before.

Hopefully you won’t have to kill too many trees on your gardening journey, but if you do have to remove a tree, this is definitely a much better way to get rid of living tree stumps than contaminating a garden with poisonous chemicals!

  1. Thurston County Health Department – Thurston County Review, triclopyr BEE (butoxyethyl ester)
  2. EXTOXNET Extension Toxicology Network, Pesticide Information Profiles – Triclopyr
  3. National Pesticide Information Center – Triclopyr (Technical Fact Sheet)

Cutting down a loved tree is a difficult decision, but sometimes it becomes necessary. When a tree becomes a nuisance or a safety hazard, whether due to its falling fruit, weak wood, or disease, the best option may be to cut it down. Once the work of cutting the tree down is done, however, you may be wondering what happens to tree roots when the tree is cut down. What about the stump?

Always consult a professionally trained arborist to inspect your trees for damage and to help you determine the best solution for your landscape. Here are some tips to get you started.

What Happens to Tree Roots When a Tree Is Cut Down?

Once a tree is cut down, the trunk is chipped into mulch and hauled away, or cut into smaller logs or blocks for other purposes, but the roots remain in the ground. Without leaves, the cut tree cannot produce food for the growth of its roots. However, the roots might have enough nutrients left to allow the growth of sprouts from the roots or from the leftover stump. If a sprout develops enough leaves, it can eventually grow back into a tree.

If a tree doesn’t produce root sprouts, then it’s unlikely it’ll regrow. Instead, the roots will eventually decompose. Trees like pines, oaks, and maples do not grow back from roots. Conversely, some tree species aggressively sprout from the roots even after the tree is cut down and the stump ground up. These tree species are considered invasive due to their aggressive spread. Trees like elms, ficus, and willows can grow back from roots. As a rule of thumb, fast-growing trees can grow back and slow-growing trees cannot.

What To Do with the Tree Stump

Once your tree is cut down, you are left with the tree stump. Now you have to make another important decision—let it stay or get it removed.

Here are a few things to consider when you make this decision:

  • Tree stumps can be hazardous

Stumps sticking out of the ground can trip children running around in your yard, causing injury. Additionally, yard work becomes more difficult, as you have to keep track of and go around all the tree stumps while mowing your lawn. If you don’t, you run the risk of ruining your lawnmower by running over the stumps.

  • Tree stumps can ruin your aesthetic

Tree stumps scattered around a well-manicured lawn stand out like sore thumbs, ruining the aesthetic of your landscape. The aesthetic of your land, in turn, has an effect on its real-estate value. A large number of tree stumps could drive your property value down. Besides that, tree stumps take up a lot of valuable space in your yard. This space could be repurposed into an outdoor gazebo or a space to entertain guests and hold family picnics.

  • Tree stumps can give access to pests and insects

Tree stumps are living systems that can be host to a number of pests and insects. During the long decomposition process stumps go through, they invite insects like ants, termites, and beetles. These pests can spread to other plants in your lawn, or even your house, if not contained properly.

  • Tree Stumps Can Regrow in Uncertain Ways

Multiple small trees and even fungi can grow out of the spot where the old tree stood. This haphazard growth of small trees is often unsightly and very difficult to remove. Moreover, these trees steal nutrients from plants situated close to them, causing harm to other trees.

How to Remove Tree Stumps

Tree stump removal is professional-level work, and you should consult certified arborists in your area to get this work done. Alternatively, here are a few ways to handle tree roots after the tree is cut:

  • Natural removal

You can control regrowth of trees from tree stumps naturally, without pesticides, but this requires patience and persistence. This method requires cutting off any sprouts as soon as they appear. Cut them with pruners just below the ground level or, preferably, at the point where they meet the roots or stump, removing parts of the stump that are sprouting. These cut sprouts should be trashed and not put in the compost pile. Digging up the roots doesn’t help, as sprouts can still come out of any remaining bits. Consistently removing sprouts from stumps can take anywhere between two to seven years to completely exhaust the nutrients stored in the roots.

  • Chemical removal

A quicker and more permanent way to deal with tree stumps is to treat the leaves from the sprouts with herbicide. The poison from the herbicide will be absorbed by the leaves and travel to the roots. This process takes about a year to completely kill the roots. Painting the freshly cut tree stump itself with herbicide prevents new sprouts from growing out and also helps kill the roots. Another option is to drill a few holes in the trunk to allow the herbicide to seep inside and be absorbed by the roots more quickly.

Herbicides that contain glyphosate or triclopyr-amine work best for killing a tree stump. Apply this on a dry, calm day with no rain in the forecast, and be careful not to over apply herbicide, as it could spread to surrounding plants. Be sure to take proper safety precautions while handling and applying the herbicide: wear pants, closed shoes, and a long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin and goggles for your eyes. Remember to dispose of the paintbrush you use as soon as you’re finished.

Both options take a while to work, and during that time, the stump will stick out unpleasantly in your lawn. To hide the stump, you could decorate it with bright colors, repurpose it to act as a stand for a bird-feeder, or hide it under a picnic table.

Another great way to deal with tree stumps is to use stump grinding services to get rid of them altogether.

Tagged as: stump grinding, stump removal, tree root removal

Do Trees Grow Back After Being Cut Down?

Before I started cutting a bunch of trees down in my yard I started to wonder, “do trees grow back after being cut down?” I wanted to make sure that they didn’t come back so I decided to call an arborist. Here is what I learned.

Some trees will grow back after being cut down and some will not. The most common trees that will not grow back are pines, palms, oaks, maples, cedar, fir, cypress, and aspens. There are a lot of others but these are some of the most common. Trees that will grow back after being cut down are Cottonwoods, Russian Olives, Elms, Tree of heaven, Ficus Trees, Willow trees, Poplar trees, and Tamarisks. As a general rule, fast-growing trees come back and slow growing trees don’t.

If you have a slow growth tree in your yard that needs to be removed then just cut it down. It shouldn’t come back. The roots and everything should die and start to decompose. However, if you have a fast growing tree like the ones I mentioned above then you will need to kill it with a tree killer to keep it from growing back.

How To Stop A Tree Stump From Growing Back

The key to stopping a tree stump from growing back is to treat it with a tree killer right after its cut down. The crazy part is you can read about all these really nice ways to kill trees using salt, bleach, and roundup but these won’t necessarily kill your tree.

I know this because I tried it.

I tried killing my elms with Epson salt, and roundup and they grew back. These may work on your tree because all trees have different tolerances but to play it safe here are a few tree killers that really work.

Some of the best tree stump killers are Tordon, Killzall 2-4-D, and diesel. I am testing a few others out to make sure they work. These are tried and true tree killers.

I think people that say you can kill a tree with salt used it on a tree that won’t grow back after being cut down and they shared it with their friends.

Now there is tons of false information out there about what actually kills trees.

To stop a tree stump from growing back you need to treat it with a tree killer right after it is cut down. Just paint some tree killer on the outer ring of the tree. You don’t really need to drill holes or paint the entire stump.

If you have a tree stump that is growing back you just need to fresh cut the stump. Meaning cut the tree down where the stump is still alive.

For tree stumps that are already too close to the ground, you can cut each branch off the stump and treat each branch.

After a couple days the tree stump should be completely dead and you can remove it by grinding it out or pulling it out. If you want to save some money you can remove the tree stump by hand.

3 Natural Ways To Stop A Tree Stump From Growing Back

Using tree killers are very effective but for those who are trying to keep chemicals out of their lives here are the three best natural ways for stopping tree stumps from growing back.


Goats are browsers, meaning their favorite thing to eat is leaves, trees, and bushes. Once you cut your tree down to a stump put a fence around it or stake a goat to the stump for a couple months.

Each time the tree stump tries to send up new branches the goat will eat them down.

After about three times the tree will give up and die. It may take a while but it is completely natural. You may want to just tether the goat to the stump whenever you start seeing new growth instead of leaving it there for several months.

Plastic Bag

I have a friend who is permaculture certified and he always seals his stump with a black garbage bag and says it kills even his super resilient elm trees. If it works on elm trees it should work on anything.

I tried this out myself but I am still waiting to see the results.

I cut the tree down and covered the stump with a black garbage bag and taped it around the stump. Hopefully, I will have the same results as my friend.

Here are 9 more for how to kill tree stumps naturally.

Copper Nails

From everything I have learned copper nails will kill trees however it takes a long time like over a year. I haven’t tried hammering copper nails into a tree after cutting down a stump.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if the stump did manage to send up some branches before it completely dies. Once I try it I will let you know.

Salt and Epson Salt, Boiling Water And Vinegar Don’t Work!

I know. I know. Everyone says these work. Well, they didn’t for me when I tried it. When I treated my elm tree stump with salt after cutting it down it still grew back. The growth was much slower than if I would have done nothing but it didn’t completely kill it.

Using a huge 50 lb bag of salt might work but that doesn’t seem natural. I want stuff to keep growing in my yard.

I can’t believe people have actually tried some of these ideas but if burning a tree stump doesn’t kill it then boiling water sure won’t either.

A lady commented on one of my youtube videos that she used vinegar on her tree to help it to grow. It actually died. Even after reading this I would still be surprised if vinegar would kill a large tree after being cut down.

Here are 9 more ways to remove a stump naturally.

Will painting a tree stump stop it from growing?

On trees like pines, maples, oaks, and palms you only need to cut them down to stop them from growing. If they are cut to a stump, they will die without doing anything else. Trees like elms, poplars, and cottonwoods need to be treated with a tree killer to die.

Just painting a tree stump with paint won’t kill these trees. If you do paint it you will soon see new branches starting to grow a little lower down the trunk.

If you fresh cut the stump and paint a tree killer like Tordon, Killzall 2-4-D or diesel then the tree stump will stop growing and will die.

All you need to do is paint one of these tree killers onto the tree stump right after it has been cut. The tree will suck the poison into its roots and will completely die.

If you cut a tree branch will it grow back?

What if you just want to cut a tree branch will it grow back? No. Tree branches don’t grow back from the cut branch, however, a new branch can grow next to the one you cut or if you use a similar genus of tree you can graft a new branch onto the tree.

For some trees like poplars and elms, it might seem like the tree branch is growing back because of all the succors they will send out but it is always a new branch just trying to take its place.

Do tree roots continue to grow after a tree is cut down?

Tree roots of pines, evergreens, maples, oaks, palms will die after the tree is cut down and will not grow. Faster-growing trees like elms, cottonwoods, poplars, will not die by just being cut down and the roots will continue to grow.

You need to use a tree killer to completely kill the roots. They will often send up new branches so they don’t die.

Aspen tree roots will die if you cut down all the trees but as long as one is still alive the roots may stay alive. If you want your tree completely dead then use a tree killer that works like Tordon, Killzall 2-4-D or diesel.

How long does it take for a tree to grow back after being cut down?

After being cut down some trees can start growing back new branches as early as 3 to 4 weeks. I cut my elm tree down to a stump and I was amazed at how fast they started to grow back. It was a very large tree and must have had a massive root system.

In just a few months it already had some good sized branches.

You can always wait and see if how long it takes for the tree to grow back. But if you just want the tree dead and gone then use a tree killer like Tordon, Killzall 2-4-D or diesel.

Paint it onto the fresh cut stump so it sucks it down into the roots and it won’t come to grow back after that.

Now you should know what trees grow back and which ones don’t. That way you can make sure to not waste your time treating a tree stump that doesn’t need any treatment. Only treat the ones that won’t die and use something that actually works.

killing the roots of trees after cutting them down – as organically as possible

Hi – thanks for your answer. The roots are almost over the septic tank and definitely into the septic field, so I’m very hesitant about digging them out – and they are significant in size and depth. The septic person said that he has seen instances where the roots continue to grow and spread after the trunk is removed. That’s why I’m a little less confident than you that the roots will definitely “eventually rot”. He said the only way to be sure the poison would be absorbed by the roots – and therefore kill them eventually – was to seal them in. He spoke about roots “shattering” and “crushing” septic tanks because of their force. Does that seem melodramatic to you, or could the roots of a fast-growing tree – which these volunteers have been – have the potential to have that much force? I’m not sure if your background is as a forester. Do you have a recommendation for a non-organic treatment that would definitely kill all the root growth? At this point I am most concerned about the possible damage to my septic system. Thanks again for your time, Virginia

Tree roots and stumps are sometimes used as landscape ornaments if adequately used to elevate container plants or blended in the backyard with other lawn decor. However, a large portion of the general population considers stumps and tree roots as a nuisance because they are not always pleasing to the eyes.

With growing tree root problems worldwide, tree root killer products have become more and more popular. To remove tree stumps and kill annoying tree roots that you feel are unsightly, you do not have to dig across your entire yard or pay for costly professional services to extirpate the tree stump or roots.

There are natural ways to handle tree roots and stumps. Here, we have listed five remedies that you can use in making cheap, yet useful recipes for your homemade tree stump killer.

How to Kill Tree Roots

1. Dark-Colored Bucket or Heavy-Duty Black Trash Bag

Killing trees’ annoying roots is not as easy as chopping down a tree. Even if you cut down trees that grow in shade to the ground, new growth from the stump or plant roots will continue to bud, which will eventually turn back into mature trees again. To get rid of the tree stump, a dark trash bag or bucket can work as a homemade tree root killer.

Just cut a big stump close to its base and cover it with the trash bag. For a smaller tree stump, you can use the dark-colored bucket for cover. After you have blocked moisture and sunlight, use a weight to keep the cover in place. Expect results in approximately two months or less.

You can also employ this method for a weed killer that will not kill grass. Cover weeds with plastic or a bucket. It may take a while for weeds to shrivel and die, but you won’t harm surrounding plants or grass that you want to keep.

2. Epsom Salt

We all know that Epsom salt has many benefits for health and wellness. But aside from that, there are many fantastic Epsom salt uses in the garden.

Epsom salt contains sulfur, as well as magnesium that can aid in producing a healthy environment for plants and trees to grow if given in small amounts. However, if used in large quantities, Epsom salts can yield deadly results for all types of evergreen trees and other plants.

Epsom Salt Tree Root Killer Recipe

  • 2.5 gallons of warm water
  • 15 cups of Epsom salts
  • 1 large bucket (3-gallon capacity)
  • Garden trowel
  • Drill

To make the recipe, fill the bucket with warm water. Add Epsom salts and stir until the granules dissolve. Use your garden trowel to dig the soil around the stump to reveal its base and root system as much as possible.

The more parts that are visible, the higher the chances of killing the stump and prevent future growth. Drill holes two-inches-deep in four corners of the stump, as well as in some roots.

Pour the mixture into each hole. Use all of the solution to saturate the stump. You can make more solution if the stump is too large.

After a week, fill the holes again. Repeat if necessary, or until the wood completely dries out. Once it’s dry, you may cut out the dried stump. This is the perfect homemade root killer for sewer lines.

3. Rock Salt

Rock salt has numerous uses aside from melting snow in walkways, roads, and highways. Its active ingredient, sodium chloride, has a destructive effect on tree roots and stumps.

The sodium chloride draws out the moisture, consequently drying out the tree stump. A tree root without moisture lacks nutrients, which will eventually lead to its death.

Rock Salt Recipe

  • 2 pounds rock salt
  • Drill
  • 2 liters hot water
  • 0.8 cubic feet mulch
  • 0.8 cubic feet soil

This method works by packing rock salt into holes you’ve drilled in various parts of the tree stump. To make the drying process faster, you should also pour copious amounts of rock salt around the base of the tree stump. A two-inch layer of rock salt will be sufficient.

Add hot water for the rock salt to leach into the soil. Cover the tree stump with soil and mulch. Let it sit for one and a half months or until the stump decomposes. You can start the removal process once the stump has decayed fully.

4. Undiluted White Vinegar

When you’d rather use a safe, non-toxic, homemade tree stump killer instead of chemicals, vinegar is a good option. In small amounts and low concentrations, gardeners can use horticultural vinegar on plants for germination. But if sprayed frequently, and in large volumes, undiluted white vinegar can be an effective homemade tree root killer.

Homemade Tree Stump Killer – Vinegar Recipe

  • 1 empty spray bottle
  • 2 cups undiluted white vinegar

To make this process work, select a sunny, dry day and fill a clean spray bottle with undiluted vinegar. Sprinkle the vinegar thoroughly into the shoots that are growing back from the stump or tree roots. Repeat the process until the leafy top growth that supplies the roots with nutrients die, eventually killing the rest of the tree roots.

5. Foaming Root Killer

Foaming root killers also serve as effective drain cleaners, especially among professional plumbers. They use commercial products such as RootX, copper sulfate crystals, and tree root killers that contain various chemicals such as a herbicide called dichlobenil to clear drain pipes, sewer lines, and septic tanks of tree roots.

Foaming Root Killer Recipe

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Regular table salt
  • Boiling water

If you do not wish to use commercial tree root killers, you can make a natural tree root killer by using the recipe above. Mix the ingredients on the list. Immediately flush it down into the lowest toilet in the house.

The solution will start to fizz, and this fizzing action will fill the pipes, causing the salt to leach on the roots. The obstructing roots will die, but the results won’t be immediate because it will take time before the dead roots get washed away.

Why Make a Homemade Tree Root Killer?

Aside from being unsightly, tree roots grow deep below ground, searching for moisture and nutrients. They crawl through the soil, force their way towards sewer pipes and collapse them, eventually damaging the entire pipeline.

If you let root intrusion rule over your yard, it will cause costly damage, as you will need a professional plumber to fix the issue. Fortunately, there are many affordable and simple ways to kill tree roots. Without spending too much, you can make a homemade tree stump killer.

We hope you found our tips on how to kill tree roots useful. Please share these tree stump killer recipes on Facebook and Pinterest to help others in removing unsightly tree roots and stumps in the yard.

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