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How to Remove a Sapling Tree

small blade image by Stepanov from

Some varieties of trees can sow themselves energetically by dropping seeds onto the soil. If you do not keep a careful watch over your landscape, a tree sapling might begin growing in an undesired spot. Often by the time you notice the sapling, it is large enough to prevent you from simply pulling it up out of the soil. When this occurs, you must remove a sapling tree by extracting it from the growing location.

Create four or five superficial wounds just slightly deeper than the bark of the sapling with the pruning saw or lopping shears. Space the notches between 3 and 4 inches apart and place them at various spots along the sapling trunk.

Apply the glyphosate herbicide to the notches with the paintbrush. Coat each notch generously with glyphosate to enable the herbicide to soak into the sapling’s inner system. The tree will transport the glyphosate down to the roots of the sapling to kill the sapling.

Wait and watch the progress of the glyphosate on the sapling. Over the next one to two weeks, you should notice the sapling begin to wither and die. If the tree does not begin to visibly die within this period, apply the glyphosate a second time.

Cut down the sapling with the pruning saw or lopping shears just above the soil level after the tree withers and dies.


By using the glyphosate on the live tree before cutting it down to the soil level, you utilize the sapling’s circulatory system that transports the herbicide down to the roots to kill the sapling. While you could also cut the sapling down first and apply the glyphosate to the cut surface of the tree, the tree will not transport the glyphosate as readily as it will while it is still living. Apply the glyphosate to the tree while the tree is actively growing. Select a sunny and calm day with temperatures ranging between 60 and 80 degrees for best results.

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