How to Kill Ash Trees


Ash trees are a frequent choice for home landscaping because they are a fast-growing tree in abundant supply in local nurseries. But ash trees suffer from numerous problems, including insects such as ash borers and damage from high winds and winter storms. When a home owner must remove an ash tree, they are often left with a stump or tree roots that produce new tree saplings, called suckers, in an effort to survive. One way to prevent suckers from roots is to kill the tree through a process called girdling before it can produce them.

Step 1

Cut a ring into the bark at the base of an ash tree with a hatchet. The ring should be about 2 inches wide on a small tree, up to 6 inches wide on a large one and 1/2 to 1 inch deep. This ring should sever the bark completely, and disrupt the vascular system in the tree.

Step 2

Mix a solution containing 1 part glyphosate and 9 parts water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

Step 3

Spray the poison onto the cut in the bark of the ash tree until the exposed cut is saturated with the poison. Use all of the poison in the bottle. Glyphosate will lose effectiveness within five days of the day that you mix it.

Step 4

Wait for the tree to die before removing it. Signs that the tree is dead include brown, crunchy leaves, dropping leaves, brittle twigs and brown wood beneath the bark. If the tree does not die after a few months, you may need to reapply glyphosate.

Tips and Warnings

  • You can absorb glyphosate through your own skin or by inhaling vapors. Always wear protective clothing, including breathing protection, long sleeves, long pants, gloves and close-toed shoes while mixing and spraying glyphosate. Take a shower immediately after using glyphosate.

Things You'll Need

  • Hatchet
  • Glyphosate


  • University of Ohio Extension: Controlling Undesirable Trees, Shrubs, and Vines in Your Woodland
  • Cornell University: Glyphosate
  • Colorado State University Extension: Ash Trees

Who Can Help

  • Quali-Pro: Glyphosate
Keywords: ash tree troubleshooting, girdling trees, tree removal, killing ash tree

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."