Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Kill a Tree With Roundup

Dead Tree image by Timothy Lubcke from

Although nobody wants to harm or kill a tree, there are situations when removing it becomes absolutely necessary. These may include shading your lawn and stunting plant growth, deeply embedded roots that sabotage your house’s foundation or because you want to clear the area for something else. Whatever the reason, a bottle of Roundup or glyphosate will kill the tree and save you the lengthy back-breaking process of chopping it down. The efficiency and effectiveness of this poisonous herbicide makes it a favored choice of professionals and home gardeners alike.

Select one of the three methods of puncturing the tree that will help the herbicide penetrate the internal growing tissue and eventually kill it. You can cut several wedges in the trunk of the tree with an axe, remove a big portion of the bark from the trunk of the tree or drill holes in the trunk. Select the method that you can easily do.

Hold the axe firmly at a downward angle and cut a wedge into the trunk of the tree. This wedge will hold the Roundup so the tissue absorbs it fully. Repeat this process to make wedges all around the trunk. Make the wedges closer to ground level.

Measure and mark a 1-foot-wide square on the trunk of the tree with spray paint. Use a sharp knife or handsaw to cut over the mark to remove the section of the bark. Do not worry if you get some of the tissue directly under it as well. Roundup will easily penetrate the growing tissue through this exposed section. You can also drill several three-quarter to 1-inch-wide holes around the trunk of the tree if you select the drilling method to puncture it.

Wear gloves and read the label for directions and precautions of using Roundup. Pour Roundup directly into a spray tank if it is already diluted, or pour the concentrate in the spray tank and add the recommended amount of water to dilute it.

Spray the exposed area of the tree, whether it is a wedge or bark, or pour Roundup into drilled holes with a funnel. Douse the area with Roundup to ensure it reaches the tissue and poisons it. Large trees will die in two weeks or less.


You can also check with your local Agricultural Extension Office about the use of herbicides to kill unwanted or invasive trees. They may offer useful information to aid the process. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and protective eyeglasses when puncturing the tree to prevent injury from any flying parts. Cover any nearby plants you do not want to kill with burlap or plastic, so they are not exposed to Roundup.

Garden Guides