How To Kill Tree Roots - Backyard Boss
We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.

How To Kill Tree Roots

Growing large trees in the middle of nowhere is a great way to invite nature back to Earth, but when your backyard is home to large trees, they can weaken and damage your house’s foundation.

A job like removing tree roots isn’t a task you can put off for too long either, as serious problems can arise if not handled efficiently and quickly. tree roots don’t always stop growing when the trunk is cut. Tree roots can continue to grow for up to seven years after the tree has been cut. They are known to grow through your sewage system, and no one wants to deal with that kind of a mess. The remaining stump can attract termites and other pesky creatures you don’t want anywhere near your yard or home.

In addition to stopping possible complications, there are various benefits of getting rid of your tree roots. First and foremost is an overall better-looking yard. Secondly, you eliminate any risk of damaged foundations and pipes bursting underground. Last but not least, getting rid of your tree roots can give your other plants nutrients that are being absorbed by the tree roots.

After this quick introduction, let’s dig into how you can kill tree roots in your backyard.

What You’re Going To Need

root tree in garden
Image credits: mansum008 via Canva

Tree roots can be difficult to get rid of, but the positive is that you have a lot of options. To get this job done, find below three good ways to get rid of that tree stump in your yard so you can get back to your life.

1. Chemical Herbicide

Chemical herbicide is one of the most common processes for getting rid of tree roots. Here is everything you’ll need for this process:

Saw Watering Can (or Hose)
Bucket Garden Spray
Glyphosphate Herbicide (forty-one percent or higher ingredient concentration)

2. Epsom Salt

We promised you an alternative, and here it is – Epsom salt. Here is everything you’ll need to get rid of your tree roots with Epsom salt:

Power Drill Wide Drill Bit (At least an inch wide)
Water Sprinkler Epsom Salt
Tarp

3. Digging Your Tree Roots Out Yourself

The last option for you is the old and classic way. That’s right, digging out the tree roots yourself. Here is everything you’ll need to make that happen:

Clippers Dirt
Topsoil Chainsaw
Mattock

Comparing the Methods to Kill Tree Roots

Tree roots
Image credits: preechafakmee via Canva

Before you purchase the tools, comparing options can always be helpful. Like most things in life, each comes with its positives and negatives. Let’s break down what those positives and negatives are, so you know what to choose.

When using chemicals, there is the possibility of toxicity poisoning your ground and spreading to other plants. It can, of course, also be harmful to any pets you may have, so you would need to be especially careful to keep them away from the area during the duration of the process. The significant upside of using chemical herbicides is it’s the fastest and most effective way that doesn’t require hard manual labor from you.

What makes digging out your tree roots a suitable alternative is it allows you to see precisely how many roots there are and how deep they may be. It is likely the least expensive choice as well. On the other hand, there is a possibility you can destroy other parts of your yard if you have a garden nearby. Plus, this requires manual labor that can take hours, possibly days. That said, make sure you sharpen your chainsaw to prevent self-exhaustion!

Epsom Salt is a more natural way than herbicide and less physically exerting than digging your stump out. It does take the longest out of the options we have presented, but it is efficient. We suggest you kill your tree roots with Epsom salt. A healthy medium is usually the best route. Also, why not use natural means when dealing with nature?

How to Kill Tree Roots – Instructions

root tree
Image credits: mansum008 via Canva

Here are step-by-step instructions for each process to get rid of your tree roots. You are getting closer to getting that stump out of your yard. Let’s get to it!

1. Chemical Herbicide

  1. You must make a fresh cut across the remaining trunk.
  2. Saturate the outer ring of the tree (cambium layer) with up to three inches of water.
  3. Mix half of your Glyphosphate Herbicide and half water and use a garden sprayer to apply to the outer ring of the tree.
  4. It should take about two months to kill your remaining tree roots.

Here’s a video explaining how to kill tree roots with Glyphosphate.

2. Epsom Salt

  1. Drill holes into the remaining stump. Make sure holes are an inch wide and deep as well.
  2. Cover the top of the stump with Epsom salt.
  3. Sprinkle water over the top of the Epsom salt.
  4. Cover your stump with a tarp to prevent rain from washing substances away.
  5. Repeat these steps every couple of weeks to ensure the process works. It will take around two to three months to die and twelve months to decay completely.

Here’s a video explaining how to kill tree roots with Epsom salt.

3. Digging Out Tree Roots

  1. Use a mattock to dig around the stump to expose as many roots as possible.
  2. Use a chainsaw to cut your larger roots; as you keep digging and find smaller roots, use your clippers to clip them out.
  3. Once you have all your roots cut, you can lift your stump out of the ground. You can then get the best tree stump killer to close the tree’s chapter.
  4. Fill the hole with dirt and cover that with topsoil.
  5. It can take multiple hours of physical labor.

Here’s a video explaining how to dig out tree roots.

In Summary

Having multiple options when dealing with such a big task as removing tree roots is necessary. Compare the tools required, cost, duration, and difficulty of each process to decide what works best for you.

Remember, safety is key. When working with chemicals and tools, always wear your protective gear and ensure you read the instructions that chemicals and tools come with to prevent accidents.

Do you have a faster, more effective way to kill tree roots? Let us know in the comments. If you enjoyed this article, please share so you can help another person out there tired of staring at that stump in their yard. Now go get rid of those tree roots!

shares