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How to Kill Ash Trees

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ash trees can be killed through girdling.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Hatchet
  • Glyphosate

Tip

  • To cut down the tree, make a wedge shaped cut that opens in the direction you want the tree to fall. The wedge should be about 45 degrees wide and should extend 1/3 of the way through the tree. Make a second cut slightly higher than the point of the wedge. This cut should be narrow and should extend up to the point of the wedge. The tree will fall in the direction of the wedge. You can use a chain saw or ax to cut down the tree. Allow the stump to rot naturally. If you are uncomfortable with removing the tree yourself, you can have a professional do it. Always wear protective clothing when cutting down the tree, including long sleeves, long pants, close toed shoes, safety goggles and a hard hat.

Warning

  • 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.

About the Author

 

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.