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How to Kill Cypress Trees

How to Kill Cypress Trees

If your cypress trees are causing more trouble than they’re worth, it might be time to bid them farewell. 

Cypress trees can be killed by cutting them down, girdling or ringbarking, solarization, mechanical stump removal, foliar sprays, and basal bark treatments.

Other methods include chemical stump removal, chemical injections, and professional tree removal services.

Read on to learn more about each method!

7 Ways to Kill Cypress Trees

7 Ways to Kill Cypress Trees
Image by Plantura

Time to say “Hasta la vista, cypress trees!” If you’re looking to bid these green giants farewell according to size, we’ve got some ingenious methods up our sleeve!

Cutting the Tree

Cutting the Tree
Image by The Spruce
DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to medium-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieSeveral months to a year
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Pruning saw or chainsaw

When it comes to small cypress trees, let’s get hands-on, shall we? Manual removal is your go-to move, and it’s as practical as it gets. 

How to Cut Down a Cypress Tree
1. Determine the tree’s size, condition, and surroundings for safety considerations.
2. Wear protective equipment, including a hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and steel-toed boots.
3. Remove any obstacles or debris near the tree that could hinder your movement.
4. Identify a clear path to retreat once the tree starts falling.
5. Create a V-shaped notch on the side of the tree facing the desired fall direction.
6. Make a horizontal cut on the opposite side of the notch, slightly above the bottom of the notch.
7. Move quickly to the predetermined escape path as the tree starts to fall.
8. Stay away from the falling tree and any potential hazards.
9. Cut off the tree’s branches using proper pruning techniques.
10. Cut the trunk into manageable sections for easier removal.
11. Clear the area of branches, logs, and other debris resulting from the tree removal.
12. If desired, remove the remaining tree stump using appropriate tools or chemicals, or hiring a professional to do the job for you.

Stump Removal (Mechanical)

Stump Removal (Mechanical)
Image by YouTube
DifficultyHigh ●●●●○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to medium-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieDependent on method and size
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Stump grinders or excavators

Ah, the mighty stump! So, you’ve successfully chopped down that tree, but now it’s time to deal with the leftover stump. 

Trust me, you don’t want any surprise regrowth popping up like an unwelcome guest at a party. Let’s dive into stump removal methods, starting with the mechanical wonders.

How to Do Mechanical Stump Removal
1. Wear protective gear, including safety glasses, gloves, and sturdy boots.
2. Determine the size, location, and condition of the stump to choose the appropriate mechanical removal method.
3. Gather a mechanical stump grinder or a stump grinder attachment for a heavy-duty machine like a skid steer or excavator.
4. Remove rocks, debris, and any other obstacles near the stump that could interfere with the removal process.
5. Position the grinder directly in front of the stump, ensuring it’s stable and secure.
6. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to start the grinder and adjust the cutting depth according to the stump’s size and hardness.
7. Move the grinder’s cutting wheel back and forth over the stump, gradually lowering it into the wood.
8. Grind the stump in sections, gradually working your way around the entire circumference until it’s level with or slightly below the ground.
9. Periodically check the grinder’s fuel level and cutting teeth sharpness, making any necessary adjustments or replacements.
10. Clear the ground of wood chips and debris as you work to prevent obstructions and maintain a safe working environment.
11. After grinding, inspect the area for any remaining roots or protrusions that may require additional grinding or removal.
12. Remove all equipment from the site, clean the area of debris, and dispose of the stump and wood chips appropriately.
13. Fill the hole left by the stump with topsoil and level it with the surrounding ground for a smooth and even surface.

Stump Removal (Chemical) or Cut Surface Treatment

Stump Removal (Chemical) or Cut Surface Treatment
Image by WSU Tree Fruit – Washington State University
DifficultyHigh ●●●●○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to large-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieSeveral weeks to months
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Herbicide of choice

We suggest doing this after cutting down the tree. This insidious technique works by applying herbicides to the stump left behind by the tree.

The secret lies in the herbicides’ ability to infiltrate the stump’s woody tissues, like a secret agent on a mission. They penetrate deep into the stump, disrupting its vital processes and putting an end to its stubborn existence. 

How to Do Stump Removal (Chemical) or Cut Surface Treatment
1. Determine the tree’s health, size, and location to ensure safety during removal.
2. Wear protective gear, including gloves, safety glasses, and a hard hat.
3. Choose a chainsaw or handsaw appropriate for the tree’s size and type.
4. Position the saw parallel to the ground and make a horizontal cut on the trunk at a comfortable working height.
5. Make a downward angled cut just below the horizontal cut, forming a V-shaped notch.
6. Position the saw slightly above the horizontal cut on the opposite side of the tree, cutting straight through the trunk.
7. Start cutting from the top of the tree, working your way down, and carefully lower each section to the ground.
8. Apply a suitable cut surface treatment to the stump immediately after felling to prevent regrowth and promote decay.
9. Remove any debris or branches and ensure the area is safe and clear.
10. Decide whether to keep the wood for personal use or arrange for its removal and disposal.

Girdling or Ring Barking 

Girdling or Ring Barking 
Image by Awesci – Science Everyday
DifficultyLow to moderate ●●●○○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to medium-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieSeveral months to a year
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Hand saw or chainsaw or ax

The girdling game is like putting a tight corset on a cypress tree. This method gets the job done by cutting off the tree’s lifeline – the flow of water and nutrients – and saying sayonara, sustenance!

For small cypress trees, girdling is a real game-changer. It throws a monkey wrench into their growth plans, making it hard for them to keep up with the tree squad. 

How to Do Girdling or Ring Barking
1. Choose a mature tree for removal.
2. With a saw or ax, make a horizontal cut encircling the tree trunk, approximately 2 to 3 inches deep.
3. Ensure the cut is smooth and complete, creating a continuous ring around the trunk.
4. Remove any bark or vegetation within the ring.
5. Avoid damaging the tree’s inner layers beyond the ring.
6. Wait for the tree to die naturally, which may take several months to a year.
7. Monitor the tree’s condition regularly.
8. Once the tree is dead, proceed with safe tree removal methods, such as cutting it down.
9. Dispose of the tree debris appropriately.


Image by Home Hacks
DifficultyLow to moderate ●●●○○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to medium-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieSeveral weeks to months
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Clear plastic tarp

Solarization is the natural way to give those small cypress tree stumps a hot, hot surprise. Let’s go over the process quickly so you can get the gist.

How to Do Solarization
1. Choose an area that receives full sunlight throughout the day for effective solarization.
2. Obtain a clear plastic tarp, preferably black or opaque, that is large enough to cover the tree and surrounding area completely.
3. Clear the ground around the tree, removing any debris, rocks, or vegetation that may hinder the placement of the plastic tarp.
4. Trim the tree’s branches and foliage as much as possible to reduce its size and facilitate the solarization process.
5. Carefully drape the plastic tarp over the tree, ensuring it completely covers the tree and extends beyond its perimeter.
6. Use stakes or rocks to anchor the edges of the tarp to the ground, preventing it from blowing away.
7. Leave the tarp in place for several months, typically during the hottest part of the year, allowing the sun’s heat to penetrate and kill the tree’s roots.
8. Periodically inspect the tree for signs of decay, such as wilting leaves, browning branches, or a lack of new growth.
9. After a few months, remove the tarp and inspect the tree. If it has significantly deteriorated or is clearly dead, proceed to the next step.
10. Cut down the tree carefully, taking appropriate safety precautions. Dispose of the tree’s remains according to local regulations or reuse it as desired.

Foliar Spray

Foliar Spray
Image by
DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to medium-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieSeveral weeks to months
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Herbicide of choiceHerbicide sprayer

Foliar spraying is our herbicidal superhero taking down cypress trees one leaf at a time. Here’s the deal: you grab your trusty herbicide, specially designed for those woody troublemakers, and go to town on the foliage. 

As you spray, the herbicide gets absorbed by the tree, infiltrating its very essence. It then embarks on a journey, making its way down to the roots, spreading its lethal powers along the way. 

It’s a sneak attack from within, like a double agent working to eliminate the tree from the inside out. While foliar spraying can be effective, always play by the rules. 

Follow the instructions provided by the herbicide manufacturer, because we’re all about safety first. And don’t forget to check local regulations too – let’s keep things legal and environmentally responsible. 

So gear up, wield that spray bottle with confidence, and bid those cypress trees a not-so-fond farewell. It’s time for them to leaf the scene, thanks to the power of foliar spraying!

How to Do Foliar Spraying
1. Select a foliar herbicide specifically formulated for tree removal.
2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the herbicide with water in the recommended ratio.
3. Wait for a day with minimal wind and no rainfall to ensure the herbicide stays on target.
4. Put on gloves, goggles, long sleeves, and pants to protect yourself from direct contact with the herbicide.
5. Pour the herbicide mixture into a garden sprayer or backpack sprayer, following the sprayer’s instructions.
6. Stand a few feet away from the tree, ensuring the herbicide spray will reach the foliage.
7. Aim the sprayer nozzle at the tree’s leaves and branches, spraying a uniform coat of the herbicide over the foliage.
8. Take care not to overspray or allow the herbicide to drip onto the ground, preventing damage to surrounding vegetation.
9. For larger trees or dense foliage, consider repeating the spraying process to ensure complete coverage.
10. Wait for the herbicide to take effect, usually within a few weeks. The tree should begin to show signs of decline.
11. Once the tree has died or weakened sufficiently, consult local guidelines for tree removal, ensuring safety measures are followed.

Basal Bark Treatment: 

Basal Bark Treatment
Image by
DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to medium-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieSeveral weeks to months
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Herbicide of choice

• Herbicide applicator or paintbrush

For this method, we apply herbicides directly to the trunk’s lower portion, beneath the bark, where they can work their magic. It’s all about that sweet spot called the cambium layer.

So, if you’re up for some hands-on action and want to take down those cypress trees with precision, basal bark treatment might just be your ticket to success. Aim, apply, and let those herbicides work their magic, one tree at a time!

How to Do Basal Bark Treatment
1. Identify the target tree for removal.
2. Wear personal protective equipment including gloves, goggles, and appropriate clothing.
3. Mix an approved herbicide following the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Using a backpack sprayer, apply the herbicide to the lower 12 to 18 inches of the tree’s trunk.
5. Completely cover the trunk’s circumference, from the ground level to the first set of branches.
6. Avoid spraying the herbicide on nearby vegetation.
7. Do not dilute or alter the herbicide solution.
8. Allow the herbicide to dry completely on the tree.
9. Monitor the treated tree for signs of decline and eventual death over the coming weeks.
10. Safely remove the tree once it has died, following appropriate cutting and disposal procedures.

Chemical Injections

Chemical Injections
Image by
DifficultyHigh ●●●●○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to large-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieSeveral weeks to months
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Herbicide of choice

• Chemical injection system

Learn the art of tree assassination! Injecting the tree with killing chemicals is like playing secret agent with herbicides. 

It’s a covert operation where the chemicals are injected directly into the tree trunk, infiltrating its vascular system. Once inside, these sneaky chemicals wreak havoc on the tree’s internal processes, leaving it no choice but to bid adieu. 

How to Do Chemical Injections
1. Choose a tree for removal, ensuring it’s suitable for chemical injection method.
2. Acquire a quality tree-killing herbicide and a syringe or specialized tree injection equipment.
3. Locate the tree’s trunk base and identify evenly spaced injection points around the circumference.
4. Follow manufacturer instructions to mix the herbicide properly, ensuring correct dilution and safety precautions.
5. Fill the syringe or injection equipment with the prepared herbicide, avoiding spills or leaks.
6. Insert the syringe into the identified injection points and carefully administer the herbicide into the tree’s vascular system.
7. Distribute injections evenly around the tree, covering the entire circumference.
8. Observe the tree for signs of decay and monitor the progress regularly. Allow sufficient time for the herbicide to take effect.
9. Once the herbicide has taken effect and the tree has died, arrange for the safe and appropriate removal of the tree, following local regulations.

Professional Tree Removal

Professional Tree Removal
Image by The Architects Diary
DifficultyHigh ●●●●○
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to large-sized cypress trees
Estimated Time for Tree to DieSeveral weeks to months
Things You NeedContact number of your local professional tree removal expert

Imagine this: You’ve got a majestic, big-boy cypress tree standing tall near your precious abode, but it’s time for it to bid adieu. Don’t fret! 

Bring in the professionals, and they’ll work their magic. They’ll swing by, assess the tree’s condition, and then whip out their trusty cranes and ropes like circus performers. 

So sit back, relax, and let the pros handle the tree-slaying extravaganza. It’s like watching a high-flying circus act, minus the popcorn.

What to Do After the Cypress Tree is Killed

What to Do After the Cypress Tree is Killed
Image by Hobby Farms

Once you’ve successfully taken down that mighty cypress tree, it’s time to tie up the loose ends and ensure the area is clean as a whistle. If you’re still unsure what to do, don’t worry – just follow our guidelines!

1. Clean up the area.

Gather all those fallen branches, logs, and other tree debris scattered about. We don’t want any tripping hazards or impromptu log rolling competitions, do we?

2. Determine the disposal methods. 

Depending on the amount of tree materials left behind, you’ll need to figure out the best way to bid them farewell. Check with your local waste management or recycling facilities to see how you can dispose of them responsibly. 

If you’re feeling crafty or need some firewood for a cozy night, you might find creative uses for those materials.

3. Evaluate the correct techniques for stump treatments.

Ah, the stubborn stump. Decide whether you want to evict it completely or let it be. If you opt for removal, you have options like mechanical grinding, excavation, or the intriguing world of chemical treatments. 

But if you’re feeling fancy, you can always spruce it up with some soil or decorative elements to transform it into a garden gnome’s favorite hangout spot.

4. Monitor for regrowths in unremoved stumps.

Even in the aftermath, those tenacious cypress trees might try to make a comeback with sneaky regrowth. Stay vigilant and promptly pluck out any new shoots or suckers that dare to emerge. 

5. Restore the balance of the area.

With the debris gone and the tree’s reign over, it’s time to restore harmony to the land. You can plant new vegetation, install captivating landscaping features, or simply let nature take its course with some natural regrowth. 

Just remember to consider the aesthetics, functionality, and how much TLC you’re willing to give when planning the restoration.

6. Continue to plan your garden.

Think about the possibilities of replanting. Maybe you want to fill that void with a different tree species or some beautiful, non-invasive plants. 

Do a bit of research and find the perfect match that will flourish in your area and satisfy your aesthetic desires.

Planter’s Tip:

Don’t forget to check if there are any rules, regulations, or permits you need to abide by for tree removal, stump disposal, or replanting. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to a certified arborist or landscape professional. 


Can vinegar kill a cypress tree?

Vinegar can’t kill a cypress tree. To achieve satisfactory control or removal of a cypress tree, it’s more commonly advised to employ alternative methods such as cutting, herbicides, or girdling.

Can diesel kill a cypress tree?

Diesel can’t kill a cypress tree. While diesel can have a negative impact on plant growth, its use as a herbicide or tree killer is not scientifically supported or considered safe.

Using diesel or other petroleum-based products on trees can harm the environment and contaminate the soil.

How long does it take for a cypress tree to die once it’s been treated?

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for a cypress tree to die once it’s been treated. 

The time it takes for a treated cypress tree to die can vary depending on several factors, such as the size and health of the tree, the method of treatment, and environmental conditions.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when trying to kill a cypress tree?

Some of the most common mistakes to avoid when trying to kill a cypress tree are not following product instructions, using improper herbicides or concentrations, inadequate treatment, and neglecting safety precautions.

Secondary mistakes are not wearing personal protective equipment and using the wrong tools for the job.

How can I dispose of a dead cypress tree safely and responsibly?

Disposing of a dead cypress tree safely and responsibly can be done in several ways, such as by contacting local waste management or recycling facilities to inquire about tree disposal options.

Another is to consider recycling the tree materials by chipping them into mulch or using them as firewood if suitable. 

If allowed, you can bury the tree materials on your property as long as it complies with local regulations and does not pose any environmental or safety risks.

Finally, you can utilize the services of professional tree removal or landscaping companies who can handle the safe and responsible disposal of the tree debris.

It’s important to check local regulations and guidelines regarding tree disposal and adhere to any specific requirements in your area to ensure proper and responsible handling of the dead cypress tree.

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