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How to Kill a Tree with Diesel in Easy Steps

Why Kill a Tree?

Trees are our friends, but there are times when you need to get one out of the way. It is like a part of a body that needs to be surgically removed to save the rest of the body. It sounds cruel, and yet it may become indispensable to kill a tree to make way for something more important.

We must explore all the options before deciding to eradicate a tree. If the tree is causing some minor obstruction, then think of an alternative, including relocating it.

However, you can take this step if you believe it is necessary and there is a good reason like:

  • It is obstructing the growth of other plants and preventing sunlight into the home.
  • It is leading to more damage due to falling branches and leaves.
  • Kids and pedestrians may get hurt due to the tree.
  • The roots are spreading and killing the lawn and other smaller plants around it.
  • You need to make structural changes in the garden or home.

There could be many more reasons for someone wanting to remove a tree. It is a difficult decision, and you should consider it carefully.

Is Diesel a Good Option?

We have now relocated many times and try not to make any changes to the house or landscape to avoid harm to the environment.

Finally, when we found the dream house, we had enough space for a garden and play area for kids. We realized that the huge tree near the garage was the only issue that we had to deal with.

So, what did we do to get rid of it completely? Yes, I know there are many options, and chemicals and professional services are there.

However, I did not want to use chemicals for this tree as they may leach into the garden soil and contaminate my plants. I read a lot about tree removal and looked at many options.

I have experienced this problem more than once in my life and tried to find an easy yet effective method.

I called an expert to review the situation, and after careful consideration, he suggested that I use diesel. He explained to me that it was one of the best methods, especially for the kind of large tree that I wanted to eradicate.

He assured us that diesel would take care of the tree and stump entirely and that too, with less harm to the surrounding areas and other plants. I followed his advice and can tell you that the results were great. I can provide a few tips that will help in simplifying this daunting task.

Things That You Need

First of all, to take on this project, you need the right equipment and material. Safety gear is of great importance as well.

  • Ax – you need an ax to cut off the parts of the tree, leaves, and branches, as much as possible that are sprouting.
  • Electric saw – you can use this if the tree trunk is very thick, and you need to cut it.
  • Drill – you will need to make holes in the remaining part of the tree to fill with diesel.
  • Diesel – this is going to be the main ingredient to help kill the tree. Depending on the size of the tree and stump, you may need a couple of gallons of this flammable liquid.
  • Sugar – the expert advice that a mixture of equal parts of sugar and diesel would be more useful for the hard and tough parts.
  • Safety Gear – Safety precautions are crucial as the diesel may harm the skin, eyes, or hands. Do not forget safety glasses before starting the process.

How to Kill a Tree with Diesel

Important Point

The entire process is simple, and yet you need to ensure that no-one comes in the area while the treatment is going on. Explain the hazards to the kids and isolate the area.

Check the restrictions on fire in your area carefully as diesel is fuel and may burn easily. Then only bring the fuel out. The fumes may also cause some discomfort, and that is why older people and young kids should not come in the vicinity while the treatment is going on.

Step by Step Process

Let us look at the entire process step by step so that you can easily follow the same. When it comes to killing a tree with diesel, it is best first to cut the tree down as much as you can and then use diesel.

  • The first step is to assess the tree/stump carefully. If it is a large tree with many green branches and leaves, then cut as many green parts as possible. Use an ax or an electric saw if available.
    • This will reduce the amount of diesel that you use and thereby reduce the harm to the environment.
    • Make small deep cuts into the bark of the tree with an ax and remove a chunk of wood. You can fill these holes with diesel.
  • You can kill green and living roots by coating the same with diesel and leaving them exposed. Cutaway the root as much as possible and then paint the remaining part with diesel. These will die very soon.
  • Similarly, if you cut off the tree branches and paint diesel on the exposed living parts, then the tree slowly dies away. You can use this method if the tree is small, and you have some time to allow it to die slowly.
  • However, if you do not have any restrictions, then you can also burn the tree stump. Drill holes in the stump and on the sides. Fill these with diesel and then light the same. The stump will soon turn into ashes.
  • The stump can be lit like a bonfire with small dried branches and dry leaves to support the burning process.
    • In this case, try to contain the fire within a drum and cover it so that burning embers and ash do not contaminate the surrounding areas and houses.
    • This may take a few hours, and the fire should be under observation while the process is going to avoid any accidents.
    • This will destroy even the strongest tree stump leaving a pit. Then you can fill it and even it out.
  • The magical solution of diesel and sugar, in equal parts, is useful. The experts vouch for its efficacy in the most stubborn tree stumps.
    • The tree dies off soon if coated by this concoction. Mix equal parts of the diesel and sugar in a big jar and shake well so that the sugar dissolves.
    • This fluid must be used to coat the thicker pieces of the stump. This prevents the tree from receiving nutrition, and it dies slowly.
  • You can adopt a different approach to kill a tree. Drill some holes in the living roots and pour diesel into these. This can be used for smaller trees and plants.
    • The tree withers away slowly, and the process does not need any cutting and burning but is slow in comparison.
    • However, you cannot pour too much into the ground as that will leach into the water and soil around the tree area. So, try to minimize the damage to the roots.

Is It Safe?

Diesel is a perfectly safe option to kill a tree of any size. You can use it to kill a palm tree or a mesquite tree. Palm trees usually are easy to eradicate, as you can cut away these simply.

However, at times, the tree may grow back from the stump, and that is when the diesel treatment works the best. Just cut away as much as possible and paint the exposed living part with diesel or the mix of diesel and sugar.

grow back from the stump

In the entire process, you must take care of the fact that trees are essential to our environment. Yet, it would be best if you took all the precautions before you start the procedure.

Remember that the use of diesel is illegal in many areas as it can leach into the groundwater. Hence, it is essential that you use as little as possible and try to limit the spread in the area by targeted use.

Sugar, as an additive, helps in reducing the amount of diesel you need to use and helps to minimize the damage to the environment.


Diesel is one of the safest chemicals to use compared to other herbicides and weed killers commonly used by people to kill trees. If you find this information helpful, then share it with others who are facing a similar problem.

If you have any suggestions for us feel free to contact us. We have tried to answer most of the common questions; however, if you have any doubts, we will be happy to answer them. Use diesel to kill a tree in an easy and effective way.


Monday 13th of September 2021

I took a camphor tree out 2 years ago and have discovered that not all roots were taken out They have grown back into my garden and are difficult to dig out. Will diesel kill them if I drill holes into the roots and fill them with diesel. Otherwise I will have to dig up half my garden. Thank you for your advice Trevor

Hoang Quang

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

Yes, it will kill them. To get the best results while using diesel, follow these steps:

1. Examine the tree/stump carefully This is the most crucial step to deem fit because it will present a blueprint on what tools to use and how to conduct the entire process successfully. For instance, techniques used to kill a large tree might differ from that of a small tree. So, assessing the tree will ultimately unfold the size of a tree you are dealing with in this case.

Therefore, consider cutting the stems first if it is a large tree with several green leaves and branches. Primarily, you can use an electric saw or ax to pull the branches down. The essence of cutting branches first is to lessen the amount of diesel that ought to be used, hence lowering the environmental harm. However, if you are handling a small tree, nothing much is needed; just cut it down to stump.

2. Cut the tree down to a stump After you've examined the tree, it's now clear that you are either dealing with a small or a large tree. The subsequent step will be to cut the tree down to a stump. Before cutting any tree, ensure the place is free from any power lines, buildings, or fences to avoid future harm to other properties. If a tree is in a critical area, you can call an expert in this field to walk you through a safe tree-cutting process.

However, a small tree is simple and easy to cut down to stump than a large tree. In the case of a large tree, you can use specific tools such as a chainsaw or handsaw to cut off the lowest branches as you go upward. Therefore, cut the tree trunk in a sizeable section until a stump remains after you're done with branches.

3. Use diesel to kill the tree stump This step will apply if you're left with a fleshly tree stump. So, immediately apply the diesel to the tree stump with a paintbrush. Note; you need not wait three days or 2 to use diesel on the stump because it can heal and sprout again. A paintbrush is recommended for this process to avoid pouring the diesel fuel on the ground instead of targeting only the stump.

Similarly, diesel is hazardous and can cause profound harm to the environment. To minimize the destruction, you can also drill holes into the tree stump with the help of a power drill or auger bit and fill in the diesel. Also, you should be careful when using diesel as a way to kill trees on your farm. Ensure you use as little as possible not to pour some on the ground.

4. Remove the tree stump Applying diesel to the camphor tree stump kills the tree cells and makes them vulnerable to any destruction. Thus, you can easily remove the stump by digging around it and using a reciprocating saw to cut the stump underneath the ground level. You can rent a stump grinder to remove your tree stump if available. Besides, you can burn the stump or burry it entirely and leave other parts of the wood to decompose as time goes by.

Conclusion Diesel is the most convenient and straightforward way to kill camphor trees compared to other chemical methods. In most cases, a chemical might bring more harm to the environment when used as a killer method to destroy trees, unlike diesel.

Therefore, to get you started with diesel to kill camphor trees, all you need is to follow easy and simple steps. This includes assessing the tree stump, cutting the tree down to a stump, applying diesel on the stump, and removing it by digging around it or renting a stump grinder.