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How to Kill Cypress Trees

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017

Cypress trees are fast-growing coniferous evergreens commonly used as landscape borders, privacy screens and garden accents. Some types grow up to 30 feet high, while others reach 60 feet or more. Cypress trees feature strong, thick roots that spread in every direction underground. These invasive roots threaten the foundation of buildings, underground water pipes or nearby structures and also compete with nearby plants for nutrients in the soil. Partially destroying or cutting down a cypress tree is of no use as it grows back even thicker. Kill and remove all roots to eradicate a cypress tree from your property.

Chop off outward branches to thin the tree, so it is easy to cut down. Use an axe or handheld saw to remove as many branches as you can. Step back and determine the direction in which the cypress tree will fall. Make sure no buildings, garden furniture or equipment are in its way.

Use a sharp axe to make a series of three cuts in the cypress tree so it falls. Make the first cut downward into the trunk at a 45-degree angle, ensuring it goes one-third of the way through. Make the second cut horizontally into the trunk so it meets the first one and forms a triangular wedge, like a slice of lemon. Remove this wedge.

Stand on the opposite side of the cypress tree and make a horizontal cut in the trunk that is higher than the wedge. This back cut assists the tree in falling over, leaving a stump behind.

Chop the stump with an axe or chainsaw to cut it as close to the ground as possible. Also make cuts on the exposed stump that penetrate the tissue underneath.

Spray, pour or brush a systemic herbicide immediately over the stump, ensuring it penetrates the cuts on the surface as well so it travels below. The herbicide reaches the roots of the cypress tree and kills them. Apply the herbicide every other day for a week to kill all the roots.

Dig the soil around the stump with a shovel to remove it. Also sever dead roots and remove them. Make sure you do not leave any roots behind.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Axe
  • Pump sprayer or paintbrush
  • Herbicide

Tips

  • Chop the fallen tree trunk into smaller sections and use the wood for firewood.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for directions and precautions when using the herbicide.
  • Apply herbicide to the exposed stump immediately to prevent it from healing and regrowing.
  • Cover nearby vegetation with a tarp during herbicide application to prevent any exposure that could kill them.
  • Make sure you remove all the roots from the ground to prevent the cypress tree from sprouting again.
  • Girdle the cypress tree to kill it. Remove the entire bark around the trunk and inspect it frequently to ensure it does not grow back. Girdling prevents nutrients from reaching the leaves and roots, thus killing the tree.

About the Author

 

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.