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How to Kill a Tree Without Anyone Knowing? | Grow Gardener!

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Before we start, it must be clear to everyone that killing a tree is not a small matter! It takes a long time for a tree to grow to its full size, and killing it should be the last resort.

There has to be a good reason why you plan to take this step. On top of it, if you have to do it sneakily, then there have to be some really good reasons!

I can share a lot of information on this because I have done extensive research on this topic! We had a big tree in our garden, very close to the kitchen. It not only blocked sunlight but also had deep roots that were dangerous to the structure of our house. Its dry branches were a hazard and would break and fall suddenly.

I decided to get rid of the tree, but thanks to my wife and neighbors, who were all tree huggers and just wouldn’t let me do it!

That was when I started to look up different methods to do it without anyone knowing about it. If you are facing a similar problem, then I suggest that you first gather as much information as you can.

Read on to find out how to kill a tree without anyone knowing.

how to kill a tree without anyone knowing

How to Kill a Tree Without Anyone Knowing?

To kill a tree and that too, in a secret manner, is a tall order and not very easy to achieve! A tree is not a small something that you can destroy without letting anyone know about it.

I had to try several things, and thankfully, my brother, who had a farm nearby, let me experiment! He wanted to remove some, and I convinced him to let me do it.

I tried a few methods and also improvised and tried to find new innovative ways to kill a tree without letting anyone know.

Here are a few of these methods that you can also try.

Tordon: A Swift Tree Kill Solution

Applying herbicide to the tree - How to Kill a Tree without Anyone Knowing

Usually, when you want to get rid of a tree, you would first cut down the tree and then drill holes in the stump and roots.

You can use a tree killer like Tordon, which is very useful.

However, in this case, when you don’t want anyone to know, you can drill holes in the visible roots.

  • If possible, you can dig a little bit to expose more roots.
  • If you drill holes into the roots which are under the soil, no one can see them.

Apply herbicide to those roots, but remember it may take a while before you notice any changes.

You can also drill on the bottom part of the tree trunk and apply the tordone. If you feel the need to hide these marks, you can use a piece of bark and some glue to cover them up.

Go all around the tree and drill holes everywhere, applying the herbicide when the cuts or holes are fresh. If you get a chance, you can spray the herbicide on the leaves and foliage as well.

Using Copper Nails to Kill a Tree

Copper nails kill tree - How to Kill a Tree without Anyone Knowing

If you’re dealing with an unwanted tree and you’re in no rush for quick results, there’s a unique way to handle it without causing immediate damage.

Copper nails can be your secret weapon.

Just hammer them near the tree’s base, slightly angled downward.

While there’s no strict size requirement, longer and wider nails work better.

The key is to keep hammering several nails spaced about half an inch apart in a ring around the tree.

This increases the copper inside the tree, leading to a slow process of metal oxidation that can eventually harm the tree.

It’s a discreet method, so remember to cover the nails with mud to hide them.

Be patient; it might take one or two years for the tree to show signs of decline. If it works, you can remove the nails once the tree is gone.

NOTE: Remember, larger trees might need more nails to be affected, but this method is a way to handle them quietly.

Girdling: An Undercover Technique to Kill Trees

Girdling kill tree - How to Kill a Tree without Anyone Knowing

Girdling is a standard method of killing a tree.

In this process, you can disrupt the connection between the roots and the leaves.

You can do this by peeling off the bark in a ring shape, usually by chopping or cutting the bark away. This way, you are cutting off the vascular tissues that carry food from leaves to roots.

When you don’t want people to know, you can do this and cover it with a banner or poster.

Keep checking and monitoring the progress. Soon, you will notice that.

These are some of the best and most common ways to kill a tree silently. But that’s not all, I have got more for you!

Alternative Ways to Kill a Tree!

There are many more ways to kill a tree.

But you will need some safety equipment such as gloves, glasses, masks, and more to kill a tree silently while following them.

Let’s discuss all of them in complete detail.

Using Acid to Kill a Tree

This is an excellent way to kill a tree.

You can use hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid in this regard. Although both have different properties but will give good results.

Let me tell you the whole procedure!

Pour acid around the base of a tree at night for a few days.

Remember that it has a strong smell and can burn your eyes or even harm your lungs. So, while pouring, you should be careful and stand downwind.

You will notice that very soon, the leaves will start to fall. Once the leaves fall, it isn’t very easy for the tree to recover.

Acid is not very expensive, and you can easily use it. It may, however, damage the surrounding area, or produce a strong smell, which is not easy to explain.

But you can cover the stains on the ground with soil and use a freshener if someone comes close.

Using Salt to Kill a Tree

High dose of rock salt or Epsom salt can kill trees, and many people prefer using salt because it is natural and cheap.

But how it works?

Actually the sodium in salt prevents the flow of potassium and magnesium which is vital for chlorophyll.

That’s why if you are looking for a cheaper and an effieicent way, you can go with this option.

Dig a hole near the tree and fill it with salt and then cover it up. Digging a hole next to a tree can be suspicious, so use some excuse to dig.

Probably, you will need a lot of salt, but thankfully it is not very expensive.

After a while, you will notice that the foliage on the tree start turning brown and will eventually die off.

But, as you know, everything has some bad sides too, so it’s important to talk about the not-so-good things.

One side effect of using of high amount of salt is that it can wither the grass around the tree, so it might not be a quite way to kill a tree.

Using Vinegar to Kill a Tree

Vinegar can burn the living tissues and leaves of any plant or tree.

But make sure to use the correct type of vinegar, otherwise you have to wait till the rest of your life to see the death of the tree.

Horticultural vinegar is different from white vinegar. White vinegar has 5 % of acetic acid, while Horticultural vinegar has 20 %.

White, household vinegar may not kill a tree directly, but by killing the leaves, you can prevent photosynthesis. This will slowly starve the roots and kill the tree.

If you can get the vinegar to the roots, it can speed up the process. Just drill holes in the roots and fill them up with vinegar.

You will get better results when you use vinegar in combination with salt treatment. A large tree can even die within a month.

Using Mulch to Kill a Tree

Mulch can boost tree growth if appropriately applied and in the right proportion. If you spread it in a layer of about 3 inches thickness, it will allow oxygen to reach the roots – it is ideal.

By the same logic, if you apply excess mulch, it can kill a tree.

If you really want to kill a tree silently, simply spread a thick layer of mulch, about 8 to 10 inches all around the tree. You should pack the mulch tightly and build it up into a small mound around the trunk.

  • This will attract all kinds of insects and varmints to feast on the tree.
  • It also encourages water and moisture retention, which is not suitable for a tree’s health.
  • It will result in shallow roots, which makes a tree unstable.

This is an entirely non-toxic method but can take months to kill the tree.

Using Bleach to Kill a Tree

Trees and plants depend on several fungus and bacteria that are present in the soil.

These microorganisms provide aeration and nutrition to the tree. Bleach can sterilize or kill these microorganisms.

If you pour bleach around the roots, it will slowly finish off all microorganisms. All the necessary bacteria and fungi will die and, in turn, lead to a slow death for the tree.

Best Ways to Hide Your Moves!

Killing a tree is not very difficult, but the fact that you have to do it without letting anyone know makes it very difficult.

Here are a few things that you can try to keep your intentions undetected.

You may find some of the ideas strange or even funny, but believe me; you need some strategy to kill a tree in secret!

Use Poison Darts to Kill the Tree

Pretend that you are using the tree as a target and use poison-tipped or copper arrows and darts. You can do this in broad daylight without letting anyone know about your true intentions.

Use Cowboy and Indians as a Cover

You can play Cowboys and Indians and leave the copper arrows embedded into the tree. The copper will get absorbed into the tree, disrupting the flow of nutrients and minerals.

Kill the Tree During Nighttime

It is always better to use herbicide, tree killers, etc. at night under cover of darkness and then cover it as much as you can with soil.

Kill Your Tree When Neighbors Are Not Around

This is the best option when you have inquisitive neighbors. When you know they are out for a vacation, then plan your move.

Don’t Talk About It

It is best not to talk about your intentions, even with friends and family. You never know who is a tree hugger or a tree lover!

Have Patience

If you are planning to kill a tree without letting anyone know, then you need to have a lot of patience! Most of your moves will require a lot of time and will yield results only after a long time.

Remember that killing a tree requires a lot of effort, especially if it is a large one! On top of that, if you want to do it in a hush-hush manner, then it becomes even more complicated.


I wanted to kill a tree in a quiet manner because of specific reasons. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, then you will find all the information very useful.

I was able to try different methods on different trees on my brother’s farm, but you will not get too many chances! When you decide to get rid of a tree, it is after a lot of deliberation and weighing all the pros and cons.

So, if you find any obstacles in your way, you need to find ways to achieve your aim!

Pesky neighbors, soft-hearted family members, or some vague laws can all turn you into a plotter of the best kind! If you find the information useful, do let us know.

We will be even happier if you feel it good enough to share with other people in a similar situation! Please write to us or contact us to clear any doubts or questions that you may have.

Any suggestions or advice from you is welcome! If you have the right information, then killing a tree without letting anyone know will not be all that difficult!


Thursday 7th of September 2023

I have several little trees growing right next to my foundation. They were ignored by the people living in my house, so they got kind of big, but were still small enough to easily cut down. I can't get to the roots to dig them up, but I know I need to kill them there to make sure they don't keep growing. This has given me a lot of options. Thanks.

Hoang Quang

Friday 8th of September 2023


Glad it could help!


Sunday 2nd of May 2021

Advising people to stand downwind when using hydrochloric acid means the wind is blowing at you. Standing upwind means the wind is blowing past you and pushing the fumes away.


Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

Thank you for the article. Its very helpful as I want to get rid of a small tree planted by the local council just outside my house ! I didn't want one but they don't care as council is full of tree huggers and the pavement is classed as council's care and they do what they like !

Hoang Quang

Friday 8th of September 2023


You're very welcome!