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How to Kill Chinese Elm Trees

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Chinese Elm is a fast-growing evergreen tree that, according to the USDA Forest Service, is extremely under-used. It has a rounded canopy with somewhat weeping branches. It grows between 40 and 80 feet high and does well in urban areas, even if the soil is poor. However, there are negative traits that may cause you to want to kill Chinese Elm trees. The roots tend to grow out of the ground and the branches tend to droop, making clearance an issue.

Cut the Chinese Elm down with a chainsaw. Run the blade as close to the ground as possible. Make sure no one is in the way of the falling tree and enlist the help of a friend.

Make several holes in the top of the remaining tree stump. Drill on a slanted angle, making the holes 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Drive the drill bit 8 to 10 inches deep.

Fill each hole with a commercial stump-killing solution or salt peter, which is nitrate of potash. This will kill the root so you can extract it. It will also keep the Chinese Elm tree from re-growing.

Wait while the stump killer takes effect. It may take several weeks. Re-apply once a week to speed up results.

Spray a commercial brush killer on any green foliage that sprouts from the Chinese Elm tree stump in the meantime. Don't let the solution get on any neighboring vegetation or it will die.


Things You Will Need

  • Chainsaw
  • Power drill
  • Drill bit
  • Tree stump chemical or salt peter
  • Brush killer


  • Wear gloves and a face mask when dealing with chemicals.


  • Keep pets and children away from stump killers and other chemicals.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.