How to Kill a Pine Tree (And Why Would You?)

One day it suddenly occurs to you that you have a problem. There’s something looming over your yard and causing damage to your foundation with massive roots, or you have pine trees growing like weeds. It happens to all of us at some point or another, myself included. It’s time to kill them.


When researching the question of how you can kill a pine tree, you find many different suggestions. Some of these methods work, but many do not. Here’s how to kill a pine tree without wasting your money or your time.

Why You Need to Kill a Pine Tree (Why Not Cut It Down?)

pine trees

Trees are very resilient. Cutting them down does not always work unless you also have a way to remove the roots. Even if the tree is gone, the roots may continue growing and the remainder of the truck will continue to grow sprouts.

Large trees especially can cause severe damage your driveways and your foundation. They also damage pipes and can block any sun from reaching your yard. Between the lack of sunlight reaching your grass and all the pine needles, your yard can easily turn into a mud pit.

Now that you know why you need to kill your pine tree, it’s time to discuss the best methods for doing so. Methods range from killing the tree using chemicals, to simple natural solutions.

  • If you want to become an arborist in 36 short months, this article is for you!

Effective Ways to Kill a Pine Tree

Using Chemicals

One way to kill a pine tree is by using chemicals. The most popular way to do this is by using Roundup. Roundup is an herbicide containing Glyphosate, typically used to kill small weeds.

Roundup is supposed to be used by spraying it onto the green part of the plant, however, when used in a strong enough concentration and applied to the inside of the tree, it will gradually poison it.

To kill a pine tree with Roundup, you’ll need to drill several holes into the trunk of the tree and around the base, into the roots. Doing this give you the best chance of success. Make the holes large enough to pour or spray Roundup in and drill them at a downwards angle as deep as you can.

Fill the holes with Roundup and wait. Take care to wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself. Don’t do this when it’s windy because you risk getting the chemical onto yourself or surrounding plants, which you don’t want to kill.

Keep in mind that Roundup will stay in the soil for a while where you apply it to the roots. You might not be able to grow anything else there for a while.

Here’s is a short video to show you how to kill a tree stump using roundup.

The Copper Nail Myth

Many places on the internet suggest that you can kill any tree by driving several copper nails into it to poison the tree. Although this does technically poison the tree, it works very slowly and won’t work at all on most larger healthy trees.

When compared to other methods of killing trees, using copper nails is an extra-slow and inconsistent method. It can be used if you can’t do any of the other methods mentioned here, but it might be a waste of your time regardless.

Tree Girdling

The most effective way to kill a pine tree is by girdling it. By girdling a pine tree, you prevent nutrients from going from the roots to the top of the tree. Girdling a tree is quick and effective.

Girdling a tree is cutting a deep ring around the tree with both ends connecting. An even better way to do this is by double girdling, as shown in this video.

This is both quick and easy and requires nothing other than a few minutes of your time and a chainsaw. Be sure that when you do girdle a pine tree, the ring is deep and connects to itself. If the ends of the ring do not meet, the tree will still be able to deliver nutrients up the trunk.

Killing A Pine Tree With Salt


Another option is to use salt. When using salt to kill a tree, you will need to drill holes into the ground around it so you can access the roots.

You will need to make a solution with as much salt as you can dissolve in several cups of water, and pour it into the holes. Salt kills most plant life, trees included.

This method works somewhat slowly and will prevent plants from growing far into the future, so it’s not the best way to kill a pine tree.

In Summary

You can kill a pine tree by using Roundup, or by girdling it. You can also kill it with saltwater, but that’s not a great option. Using copper nails doesn’t work for large or healthy trees.

Comment if you have any questions!

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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