How To Kill A Tree Quickly?

Chainsawing Tree
Chainsawing Tree

If you are having problems with an unwanted tree, you may be asking yourself how to kill it. Fortunately, there are various methods that you can use to solve the problem. Some methods may take longer but are less expensive when compared to other methods. Some may be a bit more complex than the others. However, all of the following methods have been proven to be effective ways to kill a tree fairly quickly.

Professional tree service

One way to kill a tree is to hire a professional tree service to do the job. They can cut the tree down and remove the stump for you. You usually have the option of having the tree service remove the debris or cleaning up the mess yourself. If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, you may wish to have the tree service cut the wood into suitable-sized logs. Just be sure the tree is the type that provides good firewood, as some types aren’t suitable for burning. Also be sure to let the firewood become well-seasoned and dry before using it.

Cutting the tree

It’s not advisable for you to cut the tree down yourself unless you have previous experience and can accurately determine which way the tree will fall. However, you can kill the tree yourself by cutting a strip out of the cambium. The strip has to be cut of the cambium and not just the bark. Otherwise the tree will probably not die. This method takes a bit longer than having a professional tree service cut it down directly, but has the same results. The tree will start to fall apart as it begins to die. You can collect the pieces after they fall for use as firewood or grind them up to be used as mulch for plants if you wish to recycle the dead tree.


Another method of killing a tree quickly is to pave the ground above its roots. This method is a bit more expensive and messy. In order to be effective, you have to completely cover the roots by paving all around the tree and up to the tree’s bark. However, paving the area may hamper future use of the area. Pavement will also make it more difficult to remove the stump once the dead tree is cut down or falls down of its own accord.

Less feasible, yet still effective methods

The following methods are less feasible, yet are still effective methods of killing a tree. They are less feasible due to the cost or are less reliable than the aforementioned ways. These methods are:

  • Boring – Consists of drilling a 10-14 inch deep hole into the tree. After boring out the hole, you simply fill it with a mixture of equal amounts of rock salt and water.
  • Copper nail- Merely drive a copper nail into the base of the tree where the roots are. The nail leaves the tree vulnerable to diseases that will infect the tree, eventually killing it.
  • Sub-soiler- Use a sub-soiler to cut the tree’s roots. This method should be used with extreme caution, since it will be difficult to determine what way the tree will fall.
  • Nitrogen/Urea fertilizer – Just spray the entire tree down with a nitrogen/urea fertilizer on a hot, sunny day. Make sure you soak the entire tree thoroughly so the nitrogen and sunshine will burn the tree. It will not cause an actual fire.

The most important thing to remember when killing any tree is that it will eventually fall over. Be sure to take the proper precautions to guide its fall. Remove anything of value and keep everyone at a safe distance from the tree. Also remember that trees help to produce cleaner air as well as help to prevent soil erosion, so avoid eliminating the trees whenever possible. If possible, just transplant the tree. But if it must be killed, then try to recycle the tree whenever possible. Even if you don’t need firewood, someone else may need it. There are also numerous crafters and artists that may be able to use the wood. Hopefully, at least one of the aforementioned methods will help you to resolve the issue. If not, you may find several other answers to your question, “How to kill a tree quickly?” by doing a bit more research.


Author: Kelly

Kelly Sperber has been a professional writer for 5 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in January, 2011. Kelly enjoys skydiving, attending fashion shows, and gardening in her spare time.

19 thoughts on “How To Kill A Tree Quickly?”

    1. You can pour Epsom salt or Rock salt on the stump and roots, or white vinegar if you don’t want to grow anything else there. Or you can cover the stump with black plastic or a thick layer of newspapers and mulch to prevent it from getting any light. You can also drill holes in it or pave over it.

  1. Although I agree some of Kelly’s suggestions for killing a tree quickly, I wouldn’t recommend just assuming that the tree is suitable for use as firewood. Some trees actually make very poor firewood. You definitely shouldn’t use pine logs in an indoor fireplace! Any softwood is not a good choice for indoor fireplaces.

  2. hi I have a very large tree in my yard in florida in which unfortunately I have to cut down. the tree is beautiful and I would like to keep it but I have an inground pool very close to the tree. the roots are very big and I am trying to avoid damage to my pool. what can I do to save the tree and my pool. please help

    1. I am no expert on this matter but I have heard of people putting diverse “root barriers” to protect pipes, foundations, hardscapes and other landscaping. We used a small scale sort of barrier when we planted a climping form of timber bamboo ten years ago. Maybe there is some modified barrier application to fit your situation.

    2. Remove dirt at the base of the stump. Determine what major roots are growing towards your pool. Completely sever those roots (consider severing a number of feet out from the central stump, to leave your tree with a fair amount of remaining support on that side).

    1. Thanks for pointing out the need for acquiring a permit in some jurisdictions, Allenwoll. The reason some areas require special permits is that improper handling can kill endangered species of trees or create safety hazards, such as the tree dying and then becoming uprooted during a hurricane or storm.

  3. hopefully science kills all trees soon and replaces them with more efficient robots. trees are in the way pieces of shit. fuck them.

  4. i have a lot of scurbs, briars, trees in my back yard, the trees keep getting bigger and more grow each year. what can i do to kill them

  5. I don’t see copper nails as working according to another site. Epsom salt has right on the bag “use as plant food.”

  6. I had a bunch of wild cherry tree suckers coming up in the yard approximately 2 to 3 inch diameter. I cut them down and immediately used a paint brush to paint on full strength Killex weed killer. It worked great. It killed the existing trees and no more suckers coming up anywhere. Make sure you wear gloves.
    Trees only clean very little of the air. The benefits are few compared to the problems they can cause. They contain more dust, mold, pests that cause disease in humans and fungi that can cause disease and in some cases death in humans, not to mention the pesticides and fungicides that are sprayed on them. The benefits of planting trees goes more to the people growing them as a result of sales (marketing hype). The cons outway the pros

  7. My neighbour had planted a tree near my house, unfortunately the tree is growing as bigger on every year now the main branches are on our side becoz the shadow of that tree we can’t plant any vegetation. My father ask them to cut, but they denied. Plz tell is there anyway to kill the tree secretely. The tree is too big.

  8. Hello can i use diesel to kill tree on top not from there roots? Or use rock salt with diesel at the same time. The hole of the tree is on top of tree.

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