What Kills Trees Quickly?

Trees are more resilient than many people think. To make the case more complicated, what if you want to kill a tree quickly? At the end of the day, the methods you can put in practice come with their own pros and cons. The criteria trinity is cost, time and end-result. Nevertheless, there are fast ways that can help you deal with any unwanted trees in your yard. Please, consider the size of the tree and set realistic goals accordingly.

The 5 Fastest Way to Kill Trees

Here’s a simple note: killing a tree can be fast, but it depends on its size. The larger it is, the more time you’ll need. A general bush killer can be an effective way to eradicate a four feet tall tree. The tree will die once you spray its leaves, and it can be more effective if you remove trees growing all over the place. Bigger trees, on the other hand, you have to cut them down. After so, treating the stump with Tordon can add up to its effectiveness.

Here are some other ways to deal with unwanted trees:

Spray Trees

Spraying herbicide like Stump Killer can work well in eradicating trees up to 4 feet tall. It won’t die by spraying if it is larger than that. All you have to do is mix it well in a gallon sprayer and spray all the leaves. Spraying the bark is fine, as in, it won’t benefit the tree.

Cut and Remove Tree

Cutting the tree down is the best option and only option if the tree is big. There are some trees that don’t require chemicals to be killed, such as maple, pine, and oak. You can just cut it down.

Best Chemical Tree Killer

I have found out what experts use to eradicate trees, and I am happy to share it with you. Tordon is the most widely known and suggested tree killer, even used by arborists.

Here’s what you need to do:

Within 30 minutes of cutting the tree, apply Tordon on the freshly cut tree. It’s proven to be efficient and effective.

Seal Stump with Plastic

If you are looking for an awesome natural way to remove a tree, plastic is the answer. Cut the tree to a stump. After that, seal its topmost with plastic and secure it with a rope or tie-down. Using a duty black plastic is recommended. This will, over time, get all the moisture out of the tree. In addition, any branches that might start growing back, won’t get the necessary sunlight.

Call an Arborist

Killing a tree can also take most of your time. If you have a busy schedule, no available equipment, or don’t bother to the job, just call for professional help – contact an arborist. Asking the help of a professional can help you save your time and energy. An arborist knows what to do and how to handle the tree. You are also guaranteed that it will be professionally done – no other damages. They also have the required equipment, so you have nothing else to worry about anymore.

What Doesn’t Kill Trees Quickly?

There are a lot of ways of killing a tree, however, not all are fast, and some are just myths. Doing it yourself, you have to be fully aware of the method you are to use and what you have to avoid to succeed in your work.

Knowing what doesn’t kill trees quickly will spare you from wasting time and resources.

To help you, here’s the list that is too slow in killing trees:


Your goal is to kill the tree, not to keep it alive. Other people use salt with water by filling drilled holes in the stump. This is continued through stimulating the tarp and adding water to the stump each week for more than a few months. If you don’t have the patience, skip this method and try the quicker ones.


Cutting out a ring of bark that surrounds the tree is considered as girdling. If you wish to remove a tree that doesn’t need a chemical to die like maple or pine trees, this method is quite effective. However, it is not that practical, unlike just cutting it down. It may die, but not completely. Only the part where you girdled it. Sometimes, it can still grow out sprouts.

Diesel and Motor Oil

Personally speaking, I haven’t tried this method yet. However, this method includes using diesel or motor oil to cover the top of the stump after cutting the tree into one. Some people tend to use this method, but are slower than the five fastest ways mentioned above.

Copper Nails

Researching about using copper nails to kill a tree ends me up, knowing that it may take a year to kill the tree completely. It’s a simple process, yet one that takes too long. You just need to hammer in copper nails. The copper nails will percolate to the tree.

Other Fast Tree Killers

If you are still not happy with the above-mentioned methods, we have a couple more.

Homemade Tree Killer

Tree killers like RoundUp or Killzall don’t kill the hardiest trees.

But, there is a way.

All you have to do is add up other chemicals on the tree killer. This way, it will do the job effectively. This is a recipe that will help in killing even mature trees.

Take note that the ingredients must be concentrates. You can use any small container to add and mix the chemicals.

  • The first one is 3 tablespoons of RoundUp Concentrate – this is a substitute for Killzall-4-D.
  • The second one is 3 tablespoons of Hi-Yield Spreader Sticker. This chemical helps in improving the absorption and sticking of the true killer.
  • The last one is one tablespoon of Ammonium Sulfate. Adding this one helps in enhancing the application of the chemical. Make sure to mix these ingredients well.

Once prepared, use a paintbrush to the inside of the bark to apply the chemical. Don’t forget to treat it immediately after cutting the tree, ideally within half an hour. If you fail to do so, the tree can form a thin protective layer, that will make the chemicals less effective.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to cover the whole stump with the homemade tree killer. You only need to apply it outside the cambium ring. If you don’t the time to prepare the mixture yourself, or you don’t want to deal with highly concentrated chemicals, you can just buy a stump killer like Gordon.

Besides spraying, there are other ways of getting chemicals in the tree.

Gordon’s Stump Killer

Gordon’s Brush Killer is a highly recommended tree killer since it does the job quickly. It prevents the re-growth of trees and bushes.

How to Use Gordon’s Stump Killer?

  1. Cut down the tree to a stump
  2. Apply the mixture
  3. Leave it for a couple of days

It’s a 3-step process that kills the tree. However, the stump will still be there, rotting over time. You will still have to remove the tree stump using other methods.

Efficiency Over Efficacy – What’s More Important?

It’s individual. Some people will like the tree and the stump out of their yard as soon as possible. Others don’t mind it being there, and will resort to less efficient, yet effective methods, like wrapping the stump with a plastic bag. As a brief summary, cutting down the tree is inevitable. From that point on, you will have to treat it (read kill it) and deal with the tree stump.


What kills trees quickly?

There is no natural way of killing a tree quickly. You will need a specific mixture of chemicals to kill any tree. You will need ammonium sulphate, herbicide concentrate and a spreader sticker. This is the most effective homemade tree killer. You can also get one off the shelf, ready to use.

Do trees grow back after being killed?

If the tree is killed, with the application of chemicals, or it has suffered too much damage to its roots, it will not regrow. However, a tree that’s cut down with healthy roots can regrow new branches. This is why it’s essential to kill the roots or treat it with chemicals to permanently kill it.

What is the most effective way to kill a tree quickly?

The fastest way of removing a tree is to cut it down, and get the stump out along with its roots. This is, however, a very expensive method. There are other quick methods that will kill the tree fast, but the stump will still stay in place and rot.

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, TopYardDesign.com was created.

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