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How To Secretly Poison A Tree – A 6 Method Guide on

Although it is not recommended to kill a tree, there are occasions when it is necessary. You should find a solution to get rid of it from your property, whether it’s because it’s taking over your yard, obstructing your view, or merely because you don’t want it there any longer.

Therefore, learning how to secretly poison a tree would help because by just cutting it down though, you risk being mistaken for a tree slayer by your neighbors or, at worst, getting into legal trouble.

There are some practical techniques we have discussed in this article to poison an invasive tree while remaining undetected to avoid such events.

How To Secretly Poison A Tree
Herbicide damage in SA apple orchard – via Flickr

A Guide on How To Secretly Poison A Tree

Depending on the species, killing trees can be difficult. Here are different ways you can use to secretly poison a tree.

1. Killing it With a Herbicide 

The most popular way to kill an unwanted tree is by using a herbicide. There are many herbicides on the market, but they can be divided into contact, systemic, and non-selective.

  • Systemic herbicides are the most effective because they are transported throughout the plant’s system, killing it from the inside out. However, they also pose the greatest risk to non-target plants.
  • Contact herbicides work by damaging the plant’s cell membranes.
  • Non-selective herbicides kill any plant they come into contact with.

Application of Herbicides

There are many different ways to apply herbicides, but the most common is through spraying. You can buy a spray bottle or use a garden hose with a spray attachment.

Be sure to read the herbicide label carefully and follow the directions. Wear protective gear, such as gloves and a respirator, is also important when applying herbicides.

It’s as simple as drilling holes in the soil’s roots and filling them with Tordon. The tree will die in a few days, leaving no outward signs of poisoning.

You can also drill holes in the tree’s trunk, but hiding them later will be difficult. As a result, treating the roots, which are only a few inches below the surface, is much easier.

When using herbicides, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • First, you should only apply herbicides to the tree’s foliage. Avoid getting the herbicide on nearby plants, as it can kill them.
  • Second, you should avoid spraying in windy conditions, as the herbicide may be blown onto unintended targets.
  • Third, do not apply more herbicides than is recommended. Applying too much herbicide can cause damage to the tree and potentially contaminate the soil.
  • If you are not comfortable applying herbicides yourself, you can hire a professional arborist to do it for you. 

2. Killing with Salt 

Salt can also kill trees, though it is not as effective as herbicides. It takes longer for the salt to kill the tree, and it can also damage the soil. However, salt is a cheap and easy way to kill a tree.

The sodium in salt blocks the flow of potassium and magnesium, both of which are required to produce chlorophyll, a green photosynthetic pigment. As a result, the tree will die due to a lack of chlorophyll.

  • To use salt to kill a tree, you will need to pour it around the tree’s base.
  • Drill four to six-inch holes around the target tree, each at least three inches deep, and fill them with salt. Drill the holes in a diagonal pattern.
  • Combine one part water and two parts salt in a mixing bowl. First, combine 3 cups of water with 6 cups of salt in a bucket.
  • The solution should be poured into the perforations. Refill them after it has dissipated. The salt will gradually work its way up the tree, eventually killing it.
  • Continue to do this weekly. After a while, you’ll see that the tree’s foliage begins to turn brown, signaling that you’re on the correct track. The tree will eventually perish.
  • It may take several months for the salt to kill the tree, so be patient. You should avoid using salt to kill a tree if there are any nearby plants, as it can damage them as well.

3. Killing with Girdling

Girdling is a method of killing a tree that is not as commonly used as herbicides or salt, but it is very effective. Girdling involves cutting a band around the tree’s trunk, which interrupts the tree’s flow of water and nutrients. The tree will eventually die as a result.

You will need a sharp knife or an ax to girdle a tree. Be very careful when girdling a tree, as it is easy to damage the tree’s bark. Make sure the band is tight and cut around the trunk.

You should avoid girdling a tree if there are any nearby plants, as it can damage them as well. Girdling is a very effective way to kill a tree, but it is also the most dangerous. You should only girdle a tree if you are confident you can do it safely.

Girdling How To Secretly Poison A Tree
Girdled Tree – via Flickr

4. Killing with Copper Sulfate

Copper sulfate can also be used to kill trees. It is not as effective as herbicides or salt, but it is a cheap and easy way to kill a tree. Copper sulfate blocks the flow of water and nutrients to the tree, causing the tree to die.

However, never apply copper sulfate to the ground around the tree’s base; instead, inject it straight into the tree to avoid contamination of the water source.

  • Peel back around 2 inches of bark near the tree’s root.
  • Drill a downward hole. As the tree dies faster, ensure that the hole is as large as possible. This way, a larger amount of copper sulfate can be accommodated.
  • Using a funnel, fill the hole with copper sulfate.
  • Reposition the bark so that the copper sulfate is not washed away by rain.

5. Killing it with Muriatic Acid

Being a harsh chemical, Hydrochloric acid, also known as Muriatic acid, can also kill trees. Muriatic acid severs the tree’s connection to water and nutrients, causing the tree to die. However, never apply muriatic acid directly to the tree; instead, pour it around the tree’s base.

  • First, dig a trench all around the tree that is deep enough to reveal the roots.
  • Then, in a metal container, combine the muriatic acid and water according to the bottle’s recommended ratio. Finally, directly pour the solution onto the root systems.
  • Pour a small amount of muriatic acid solution around the tree’s base.
  • Wait for the acid to eat away the bark before pouring more.
  • Do this until the entire circumference of the tree is covered in acid.
  • Be very careful when using muriatic acid, as it is a dangerous chemical.
  • It is important to wear gloves, goggles, and a mask when using it.

6. Killing with Copper Nails

Copper nails can also be used to kill a tree. It is a cheap and easy way to do so.

  • Place a copper nail at a small angle pointing downward near the tree’s base. There are no set requirements for nail size; nevertheless, the wider and longer the nail, the more effective the treatment.
  • On the other hand, a single nail will not destroy the tree. Continue hammering copper nails around it at a half-inch spacing.
  • The copper concentration in the tree will rise due to this, resulting in metal oxidation and tree poisoning.
  • Using mud, cover the nail heads.
  • Remove the nails once the tree has died. However, keep in mind that this is a lengthy procedure that could take a year or more to complete. 

Final Remarks

Now that you know how to secretly poison a tree using different methods, you can choose the one that best suits your needs. These methods are effective, but they also require different levels of expertise.

Be sure to read and follow all safety instructions before using any of these methods. And as always, if in doubt, consult a professional.