How to Secretly Poison a Tree?

Killing a tree is not advisable, but sometimes you just have to get rid of it. Either because it’s taking over your yard, it’s ruining the view, or simply because you don’t want it there anymore, you should find a way to remove it from your property.

However, by simply cutting it down, you’re most likely to be taken for a tree slayer by your neighbors or, at worst, to get in trouble with the law. Therefore, to prevent such occurrences, here are some effective ways to poison an unwanted tree without anyone knowing about it.

a tree

Kill It Fast With Tordon

A herbicide kills a tree faster and with greater ease and certainty than anything else. With that said, consider doing it with Tordon, which is a powerful herbicide that will kill any type of tree from the inside out while the tree stands in place. All it takes is to drill holes in the roots beneath the soil and fill them with Tordon. After a few days, the tree will be dead, leaving no visible evidence of poisoning.

You can also drill holes into the trunk of the tree, but it would be a challenge to hide them later. Therefore, it’s much easier to treat the roots, which are just a few inches under the soil.

Salt Will Kill It Slowly but Surely

In high dosages, salts can be deadly for plants. The sodium in salt will prevent the flow of potassium and magnesium, which are essential in the making of chlorophyll, a green photosynthetic pigment. That being so, the lack of chlorophyll will kill the tree. Therefore, when looking for an efficient way to secretly poison a tree, salt will do the job.

But then again, so you don’t kill all the plants around the tree and make it impossible to plant anything else in that area later, follow the steps below to do it the right way.

  1. Drill from four to six ½-inch holes, at least 3 inches deep, around the target tree, and fill them with salt. The holes should be drilled diagonally.
  2. Mix one part water to two parts salt. Initially, go with mixing 3 cups of water and 6 cups of salt in a container.
  3. Fill the holes with the solution. When it dissipates, refill them. Keep doing this weekly. After a while, you’ll notice that the foliage on the tree starts turning brown, indicating that you’re doing things right. Eventually, the tree will die.

Copper Sulfate Is Efficient as Well

copper sulfate

Copper sulfate is a poison used to discourage the growth of tree roots into vulnerable areas. But, when applied properly, it’ll kill the whole tree as well. However, never apply the copper sulfate on the ground around the tree, but directly into the tree instead since it can get into the water supply. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Near the base of the tree, peel back about two inches of bark.
  2. Drill a hole downwards. So as the tree dies more quickly, make sure the hole is as large as possible. This way, it’ll fit a higher amount of copper sulfate.
  3. Fill the hole with copper sulfate using a funnel.
  4. Push the bark back into place, so the rain doesn’t wash away the copper sulfate. Not only that, but to make it less obvious that you’ve just poisoned the tree as well.

Copper Nails Will Do the Trick Too

copper nail in a tree

If you’re not in a hurry to kill that unwanted tree, copper nails are an effective way to do so, leaving no lasting damages.

  1. Hammer in a copper nail near the base of the tree at a slight angle pointing downward. When it comes to the nail size, there are no specific requirements; however, the longer and wider the nail, the more efficient the treatment.
  2. However, a single nail won’t kill the tree. Keep hammering the copper nails around it, about half an inch apart. This way, the concentration of copper in the tree will increase, which will result in metal oxidizing – that is, tree poisoning.
  3. Cover the nail heads with mud.
  4. Once the tree dies, remove the nails. Still, keep in mind that it’s a slow process, that might take a year or two to get the desired outcome.

Apply Muriatic Acid

Muriatic, or hydrochloric acid, is a harsh chemical, which burns through pretty much anything it touches. For this reason, it’s a suitable killer for both weeds and trees in your yard. But, make sure to apply it only on the target tree; otherwise, the acid will kill any plant in the area.

Start by digging a trench around the tree, deep enough to expose the roots. Then, mix the muriatic acid with water in a metal container, according to the recommended ratio on the bottle. Finally, pour the solution directly onto the tree roots.

Which brand you pick it doesn’t make much of a difference. However, this muriatic acid from Duda Energy seems to rank pretty well online.

Acidic Water

Not only does it sound simple, it actually is. Generally, plants thrive with a pH of about 5.5 to 6.5. Therefore, if you continuously water the target tree with acidic water- that is, water whose pH value is below 6.5, it’ll most certainly kill it.

That is to say, the acidic environment can lower the levels of phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and molybdenum, nutrients that are essential to plant growth. Also, low pH levels will create mineral levels in the soil, which are toxic, therefore, harmful to plants, including trees.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this method since the water won’t be limited to the tree you want to get rid of only, but it’ll most likely get to the plants around it as well, killing them, too.


Long story short, you can secretly poison a tree with some of the following methods:

  • Herbicide – Tordon, more specifically
  • Salt
  • Copper – Copper Sulfate and Copper Nails
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Acidic Water

Whichever method you choose, sooner or later, you’ll get rid of that tree. However, since we’re talking about chemicals here, make sure you’re safe in the first place. Also, to prevent from being caught while treating the tree with one, well, do it by night.


Can vinegar kill a tree?

Applying white vinegar on tree leaves isn’t enough to kill the whole tree. However, by killing its leaves, the tree won’t be able to photosynthesize and transfer carbohydrates to the roots, which is essential for its growth. As a result, it’s most likely to die over time.

Can Roundup kill a tree?

Roundup will kill weed trees – that is, those under four feet. On the other hand, it won’t be as efficient with larger ones. To kill a large tree, you should combine Roundup with other chemicals.

Can I kill a tree with Epsom salt?

Epsom salt is hygroscopic, meaning the crystals tend to absorb water. That being so, when you add a large amount of Epsom salt, it’ll absorb the moisture from the wood, which then kills the tree.

Martha M.

Martha M.

I'm passionate about small DIY projects and my modest garden. I'm always up for a challenge! Soon after getting out of university, I realized I won't find many if I don't set the ground myself. Soon after, was created.

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