Killing trees can be tough depending on the species. Invasive species like camphor laurel and willows are tough as nails, so you might need more than one trick up your sleeve to get the job done.

The easiest way to kill a tree would be to chop it down, but it is not exactly inconspicuous. The three best methods in order are:

1. Ring-bark the tree (fast)
2. Poison with Roundup (fast)
3. Copper nails (slow kill)

We have elaborated on the different ways via which you can kill a tree so that you can take your pick.

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Why not get it removed directly?

Even in cities with the strictest rules regarding tree removal, there are always ways around them.

Your tree dying is a great excuse to have it removed, but if you get caught it can also cost you a $10, 000 fine.

My arborist says it’s a dangerous tree!

There are lots of things an arborist (tree care specialist) can see that you can’t which might warrant your tree being removed without a permit.

Get a local arborist out to give you a free tree inspection and a price for removal.

They will soon tell you if you even need a permit or you are ok to remove it without one.

Can you kill a tree with salt?

You can use Epson salt to kill a tree discreetly much like the use of a copper nail. The method is surprisingly effective as you will discover when you try it out. This is because sodium which is present in salt hinders the flow of potassium and magnesium within the tree.

The tree needs both these elements making chlorophyll. The stunted supply of potassium and magnesium will lead to the absence of chlorophyll, and the tree will eventually die. The simplest way to go about is to sprinkle a ring of salt around the tree.

However, you need to know that just sprinkling salt in the general area will make it impossible to plant anything else in that area after the tree is dead due to the high salt concentration.

To avoid toxic soil follow these 3 steps:

  • Drill some holes diagonally down into the tree. You should start the drilling at least five inches above the base of the tree. All the holes should be minimum of three inches deep.
  • Create a mixture of 3 cups of water and 6 cups of salt. You can experiment with, but basically, you need a liquid with very high amounts of salts.
  • You can then pour this solution down the drilled holes. Re-apply every few days and should take a few days to a few weeks for larger trees to take effect.

What is the quickest way to kill a tree?

While there are many ways you can kill a tree, some are faster than others. Some of the quickest ways to kill a tree are:

Is it illegal to kill trees?

This will depend on a number of factors. Every city and or state has its own set of laws when it comes to trees. Normally anything that is legal to remove is legal to kill (as they are basically the same thing).

You will need to check the tree removal Ordinance as it applies to your local city. Normally though if it’s a small tree or an invasive species, it is not illegal. If it is a larger specimen, then you will need to get a permit from your city first before you kill the tree.

Will the tree become dangerous once it is dead?

Dead trees are structurally unsound because their limbs are susceptible to breakage. They can fall on your property and causing damage, or injure someone. The longer a dead tree is left standing the more dangerous it becomes.

The only thing anchoring a tree to the ground is its roots. When a tree dies, those roots begin to rot. Once they have completely rotten through, the tree will eventually fall over. Once your tree is deal, you are best getting a professional tree surgeon in ASAP to remove the tree.

How do you kill a tree without anyone knowing?

If you want to kill a tree undetected, the best way to go about it would be to poison the tree slowly so that it does not die a sudden, suspicious death. You can drill some holes around the tree and pour Roundup in with a very weak mix ratio, maybe double the ratio recommended on the pack.

Apply it one per week and slowly build up the ratio of the toxicity levels slowly rise in the tree over a couple of months.

When you see the tree start to turn and die, lay off the poisoning to the death is slow. That way your neighbors will be none the wiser.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.