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How to Kill Cedar Trees

junipers and leaves image by Jon Yuschock from

Cedar trees, also called juniper trees, exhibit invasive tendencies in many areas. Farmers and ranchers remove these trees to provide room for crops and livestock. The spreading nature of cedar trees on rangelands reduces the amount of desirable crops for harvesting and grazing. Homeowners also wage war against these invasive trees in yards and landscapes. Cedar trees compete with other plants for soil nutrients and water. Get rid of invasive cedars in your own landscape to allow room for favored trees, shrubs and flowers.

Pull out small trees by hand. Use a hose to soak young seedlings the night before weeding to soften the soil. Pull seedlings straight up to avoid breaking the roots to ensure complete removal. Remove trees at this early stage to eliminate costly measures in the future. Remove large areas of mature specimens by cutting the trees from their roots and pulling out the roots with a bulldozer or plow. Cut early in the year to avoid seed disbursement.

Apply an herbicide to any large tree stumps. Some mature trees resist removal of the entire root sections. Select an herbicide marketed for use on tree stumps and apply according to the package directions. Avoid applying a stump herbicide on a rainy day. Check your treated stumps for new sprouts. Cedar trees often require numerous applications of stump herbicides to eliminate new areas of growth.

Burn off large sites of cedar growth. Burning effectively removes large numbers of young seedlings. Before burning, allow area grasses to mature in the location of your small cedar trees. These grasses provide fuel for your fire. Contact your fire department or county government before starting a prescribed burn. Find out which methods they recommend and ask about any restrictions or required permits.

Reclaim your land from new cedar growth by introducing biological measures of control. Allow goats to graze on fields and pastures. These animals chew away young seedlings, eliminating mature cedar growth and reproduction. Another type of biological control involves a certain type of bug. The juniper budworm feeds on juniper foliage. Steer clear of destroying these helpful bugs by avoiding chemical pesticides in areas near your cedar trees.


Avoid setting prescribed burns during windy weather. Contact your local government before setting a prescribed burn.

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