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How to Kill Trees With Copper Nails

As long as you use nails that are big enough to enter the growth cells under the bark, you can kill trees with copper nails. Disease and infection caused by the nails will eventually kill the tree. Although it may take a bit of time for the trees to die, killing trees with copper nails is a simple process that only requires the nails and a hammer.

Mark the nailing locations around the bottom of the trees near the root system. Use the claw of a hammer to make small notches in the bark. Make three to five notches on each tree.

Hammer copper nails that are at least 2 inches long into the trees that you want to kill. Place the pointed end of a copper nail against the notched bark and hammer it all the way in. Hammer copper nails into all of the notches.

Add more copper nails to the tree’s trunk, if necessary. If you don’t see signs that the tree is dying within about four months, hammer additional nails into the tree’s base.

Kill Trees With Copper Nails

Sometimes, trees need to be killed. Although chemicals and salt water effectively kill a tree, both methods can damage the soil around the tree, with worst-case scenarios as severe as a plot of land where nothing can grow or survive again. Near the base of the target tree, hammer in a copper nail at a slight angle pointing downward. Cover nail heads with mud, if necessary. The purpose of covering copper nails with mud is to conceal the nails. Covering the nails makes the process less obvious with a casual glance and can preserve the look of a yard as the tree starts to die. Otherwise, the nails could fly out and injure someone or they could damage the machinery being used to remove the tree since there are many nails.


The timeframe required for the copper nails to kill a tree varies, depending upon the size of the tree, as well as the length and number of nails that you hammered into the tree’s surface. A smaller tree could begin to show signs of dying within just a few weeks; however, it could take up to several months for you to see signs of dying in a larger tree.

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