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How to Kill a Hawthorn Tree (Complete Guide)

How to Kill a Hawthorn Tree
Image by Horticulture

Sometimes, hawthorn trees can offer several reasons why homeowners want to get rid of them. 

First off, they can cause property damage. Plus, their roots start creeping into underground pipes or foundations, and their branches turn dangerous during storms.

Finally, they present safety concerns for homeowners, pedestrians, and motorists. So, if you’ve been looking for a sign to get rid of hawthorn trees in your area, this is it – read on to learn how!

1. Assess the Situation

Assess the Situation
Image by LoveToKnow

Before you grab your axe, take a step back and assess the situation like a pro. Start by figuring out why you want to give that tree the boot. 

Is it sickly and on the verge of giving up and turning into a foliage ghost? Or has it turned into a menace, threatening to wreak havoc on nearby structures? 

Now, here’s the secret sauce: weigh the risks and benefits. Consider the potential consequences of removing the tree, both environmentally and practically. 

Oh, and don’t forget to do your homework! Research local regulations and permits that might come into play. 

But hey, if you find yourself scratching your head or dealing with a real head-scratcher of a situation, don’t hesitate to call in the big guns as early as now. Reach out to a certified arborist or a top-notch tree removal service. 

2. Ensure Safety Precautions

Ensure Safety Precautions
Image by Build Magazine

Now, before you roll up your sleeves and jump into action, let’s make sure we’ve got safety covered. Donning the right gear, like sturdy gloves, protective goggles, and reliable clothing, it’s all non-negotiable. 

But that’s not all. Equip yourself with the proper tools of the trade: pruning shears, a trusty chainsaw, a reliable shovel, and a stump grinder. 

Having these babies in your arsenal ensures that you’ll breeze through the tree removal process like a pro. Oh, and here’s a tip: having a buddy by your side isn’t just for moral support. 

They can lend a hand during the process and be your backup plan in case things go sideways. Safety in numbers, as they say!

3. Choose the Right Time

Choose the Right Time
Image by University of Maryland Extension

To ensure a smooth and efficient removal, it’s all about choosing the right moment. Here’s the scoop: Do it during the dormant season, usually late fall or winter. 

Why, you ask? Well, during this period, our leafy friend takes a breather, slowing down its growth and vitality. It’s like catching it during its cozy hibernation phase. 

And hey, here’s a bonus: Removing the tree during its downtime reduces the chance of nasty diseases spreading to other trees. 

But hang on, we’ve got a word of caution too. Don’t even think about wielding that axe during stormy or windy days because, you know, safety first? 

4. Determine the Appropriate Tree Removal Methods

Determine the Appropriate Tree Removal Methods
Image by Buckingham Nurseries

Now, let’s dive into the various methods one can explore when it comes to bidding farewell to these majestic trees. Brace yourselves, for here are a few options worth pondering.

Foliar Spray

Foliar Spray
Image by Haifa Group
DifficultyModerate ●●○○○
Estimated Time for Tree to DieWeeks to months
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to medium
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment
• Herbicide of choice
• Sprayer or preferred applicator

Doing foliar spray on a hawthorn tree involves applying herbicides directly to the foliage of the tree. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to perform a foliar spray on a hawthorn tree!

How to Apply Herbicide to Hawthorn Trees Using Foliar Spray

1. Choose the right herbicide.
To effectively treat hawthorn trees, ensure you select an herbicide specifically labeled for this purpose and suitable for foliar application. Always follow the instructions and safety precautions provided by the manufacturer.

2. Mix the herbicide.
Refer to the herbicide manufacturer’s instructions for guidance on mixing the herbicide with water. Be sure to mix the appropriate concentration as recommended on the label.
Use the mixing container to create the herbicide solution.

3. Time the weather conditions.
Choose a calm day with minimal to no wind to avoid herbicide drift onto unintended areas or plants.
It’s best to avoid spraying during hot and sunny periods, as the effectiveness of the herbicide may be compromised, or it may cause damage to the tree.

4. Apply the herbicide.
Fill the sprayer with the herbicide solution and begin spraying the hawthorn tree from the bottom, working your way up.
Ensure thorough coverage of the entire foliage, ensuring that all leaves and branches are evenly coated. Be cautious of excessive runoff.

5. Provide post-application care.
After spraying, follow the herbicide manufacturer’s instructions to thoroughly clean the sprayer. This prevents cross-contamination with other plants or future use.
Rinse the sprayer multiple times with clean water.

6. Dispose of leftover herbicide.
Dispose of any remaining herbicide solution as instructed by the manufacturer. Always adhere to local regulations for the proper disposal of herbicides.

7. Monitor and reapply as necessary.
Monitor the hawthorn tree for signs of herbicide effectiveness. If necessary, follow the recommended reapplication schedule based on the specific herbicide used.

Cutting the Tree Down and Treating the Stump with Herbicides

Cutting the Tree Down and Treating the Stump with Herbicides
Image by Northern Woodlands magazine
DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Estimated Time for Tree to DieMonths to years
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to large
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment
• Chainsaw
• Pruning shears
• Stump grinder
• Herbicide of choice
• Sprayer or preferred applicator

This involves a combination of cutting down the hawthorn tree and applying herbicides to the stump to prevent regrowth. Lucky for you, we have the instructions on hand!

How to Cut and Fell Hawthorn Trees

1. Assess the situation.
Before proceeding, evaluate the circumstances surrounding the hawthorn tree removal. Opt for the tree’s dormant season, which is usually late fall or winter, to minimize disease transmission and enhance herbicide absorption.
Consider the tree’s size and location, ensuring ample space and safety precautions to prevent property damage or personal injury.

2. Prepare the site.
Clear the tree’s surroundings of any obstacles or debris that might impede the felling process.

3. Cut and fell the tree.
Choose the desired fall direction, ensuring sufficient clearance away from structures or neighboring trees.
Utilize a chainsaw to create a horizontal undercut on the side facing the intended fall direction. This undercut should be approximately one-third of the tree’s diameter.
Make a second cut, known as the backcut, a few inches above the undercut on the opposite side. Leave a small hinge to control the fall.
Stand clear and guide the tree’s descent carefully toward the intended direction.

4. Treat the stump with herbicides.
Immediately after felling the tree, use a chainsaw or pruning shears to cut the stump as close to the ground as possible. Make a clean, horizontal cut.
Within minutes of cutting, apply a suitable herbicide recommended for hawthorn tree control. Stick to the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific herbicide being used.
Thoroughly cover the freshly cut surface of the stump with the herbicide, using a paintbrush or sprayer according to the product’s guidelines. Take care to avoid spilling or spraying the herbicide on surrounding vegetation.

5. Repeat herbicide applications as needed.
Certain herbicides may require multiple applications for effective prevention of regrowth. Follow the herbicide manufacturer’s recommendations regarding frequency and number of applications.
Administer subsequent treatments at the specified intervals, usually every few months or as directed.

Girdling or Ring Barking

Girdling or Ring Barking
Image by Rick Shory –
DifficultyModerate to advanced ●●●●○
Estimated Time for Tree to DieMonths to years
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to large
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment
• Small pruning or handheld saw

Girdling or ring barking is a technique where you strip away a whole strip of bark from the tree’s trunk. Sounds innocent enough, right? Wrong! 

This seemingly harmless act wreaks havoc on the tree’s vital flow of nutrients and water. Eventually, the poor tree withers away, gasping for its life.

How to Perform Girdling or Ring Barking on a Hawthorn Tree

1. Pick the perfect time.
Choose the right time to perform girdling, ideally during the tree’s active growing season in spring or early summer. This is when the bark is more pliable and easier to remove.

2. Mark the area.
Identify the section of the tree’s trunk where you want to perform the girdling. It is generally recommended to make the cut at a height of about knee level.

3. Make the initial cut.
Using the pruning saw, make a horizontal cut through the bark and slightly into the sapwood, which is the layer just beneath the bark. Ensure that the cut encircles the entire circumference of the tree.

4. Widen the cut.
Make a second vertical cut from the initial horizontal cut, extending it downward to create a T-shaped incision. The depth of the cut should reach the sapwood.

5. Remove the bark.
Starting at the top of the T-shaped incision, carefully peel away the bark and cambium layer in a continuous strip around the tree. Use the pruning saw or a small knife to assist in separating the bark from the wood.

6. Inspect the girdled area.
Ensure that the strip of bark and cambium layer has been completely removed around the entire circumference of the trunk. Take a moment to double-check your work for accuracy.

7. Dispose of the bark.
To prevent the spread of potential diseases or pests, dispose of the removed bark properly. Consider composting or disposing of it in accordance with local regulations.

8. Monitor the tree.
After girdling, monitor the hawthorn tree closely over the coming months and years.
Keep an eye out for signs of stress, such as wilting foliage and reduced growth as it may take several seasons for the tree to decline and eventually die.

Basal Bark Treatment

Basal Bark Treatment
Image by Alabama Cooperative Extension System –
DifficultyModerate to advanced ●●●●○
Estimated Time for Tree to DieMonths to years
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to large
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment
• Herbicide of choice
• Sprayer or preferred applicator

Basal bark treatment is all about delicately applying herbicides to the lower trunk and that fancy root collar area. Consider it a stroke of luck, as we’re here to provide you with the ultimate guidance in this realm!

How to Perform Basal Bark Treatment

1. Mix the herbicide.
Follow the instructions on the product label to prepare the herbicide mixture. Dilute it as recommended and mix it in a spray bottle or backpack sprayer.

2. Clear the area.
Remove any grass or other vegetation around the base of the hawthorn tree to ensure direct contact with the trunk.

3. Apply the herbicide.
Use the spray bottle or backpack sprayer to apply the herbicide mixture evenly to the lower 12 to 18 inches of the trunk. Start from ground level and work your way upward.
Ensure complete coverage, including any visible roots or the root collar area. If using a paintbrush or sponge applicator, dip it into the herbicide mixture and directly apply it to the lower trunk and root collar area.
Be cautious not to spray or apply the herbicide on desirable plants or the surrounding soil to prevent unintended damage.

4. Allow the herbicide to dry completely on the tree.
Avoid rain or irrigation for the recommended time mentioned on the herbicide label to ensure its effectivenes

5. Clean up.
Thoroughly clean the equipment as per the instructions on the herbicide label. This helps prevent contamination and ensures safe storage.

6. Monitor and reapply as needed.
Monitor the hawthorn tree for signs of herbicide effectiveness over time. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks to months for the herbicide to translocate and kill the tree.

Injecting the Tree with Herbicides

Injecting the Tree with Herbicides
Image by Chemjet Tree Injector
DifficultyModerate to advanced ●●●●○
Estimated Time for Tree to DieMonths to years
Ideal Tree SizeMedium to large
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment
• Herbicide of choice
• Chemical injection system

When it comes to dealing with those stubborn hawthorn trees, one method that pops into mind is the injection of herbicides. 

We’re talking about getting up close and personal with the trunk or branches and introducing the herbicide directly into their precious vascular system. 

Precision and expertise are required when it comes to this method!

How to Safely Inject Herbicides into a Tree

1. Assess the tree.
Begin by evaluating the hawthorn tree’s size, health, and suitability for herbicide injection.
It’s advisable to seek guidance from an arborist or tree care professional to assess the tree and determine the most suitable herbicide and dosage.

2. Choose the herbicide.
Select a herbicide specifically formulated for tree injection. Stick to the manufacturer’s instructions, which include dosage recommendations and safety precautions.
Ensure the chosen herbicide is effective against hawthorn trees and environmentally safe.

3. Drill holes.
Use the drill to create evenly spaced holes around the tree’s trunk or branches. Typically, the holes should be made at a height of about 3 to 4 feet from the ground.
Adjust the size and depth of the holes based on the injection system and tree size.

4. Inject the herbicide.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the injection system and herbicide application. Depending on the method chosen, you may utilize a syringe, pressure chamber, or a specialized tree injection tool.
Ensure the herbicide is administered into each hole, adhering to the appropriate dosage according to the tree’s size and condition.

5. Seal the injection sites.
After injecting the herbicide, seal the injection holes with plugs or capsules designed for this purpose. This step is crucial to prevent herbicide leakage and minimize potential damage or infections.

6. Dispose of waste and clean up.
Dispose of herbicide containers and any waste following local regulations. Thoroughly clean the injection equipment to prevent cross-contamination.

7. Monitor the tree.
Observe the tree’s response to the herbicide treatment over time. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks or months to notice the effects.
Look out for signs of decline, such as wilting leaves, yellowing foliage, or branch dieback.

5. Ensure Stump Removal

Ensure Stump Removal
Image by

Let’s talk about the aftermath of tree felling. Once that mighty tree hits the ground, you’ll be staring at a stubborn stump. 

On top of using herbicides to kill that stubborn stump as we’ve mentioned before, we have two more options for you to choose from in case the route isn’t where you want to go!

And trust us, removing that stump is an absolute must if you want a job well done and no sneaky regrowth. Now, there are a handful of methods to tackle this task, which we’ll discuss below.

Manual Digging

Manual Digging
Image by Stump Removal
DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Estimated Time for Tree to DieVaries on expertise
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to large
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment
• Shovel
• Pickaxe or mattock
• Pry bar or root bar
• Hand pruners or loppers

Performing manual digging to remove a hawthorn tree stump can be a labor-intensive process, but it can be done with the right tools and technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform manual digging on a hawthorn tree stump:

How to Dig Up Hawthorn Tree Stump Manually

1. Assess the stump and prepare the area.
Take a close look at the stump and identify any significant roots extending from it. Determine the size of the stump and the extent of the root system.
Clear the area around the stump of any debris, rocks, or vegetation that might hinder your digging process.

2. Start digging.
Begin by digging a trench around the perimeter of the stump. Start a few inches away from the stump and dig downward, gradually working your way around.
While digging, try to uncover the main roots extending from the stump. Use the pickaxe or mattock to break up the soil and cut through smaller roots.
Dig deeper and widen the trench to reach larger roots. Be careful not to damage any underground utilities or nearby structures.

3. Cut and sever the roots.
Identify the main roots that need to be cut. Use the pickaxe, mattock, or a sharp saw to sever the roots one by one.
As you cut through the roots, utilize the pry bar or root bar to lift the stump slightly. This can help loosen it from the ground.

4. Continue digging and removing soil.
Dig underneath the stump, removing soil from beneath it. This will expose more of the root system and make it easier to detach the stump from the ground.
Use the pry bar or root bar to lift and wiggle the stump, breaking any remaining roots and further loosening it.

5. Remove the stump.
Once you have sufficiently loosened the stump and severed the major roots, continue lifting and prying until the stump can be completely removed from the hole.
If the stump stubbornly remains attached, you may need to cut through additional roots or dig deeper to release it.

6. Fill the hole and clean up.
Fill the hole left by the stump with soil, making sure to compact it and level it to match the surrounding ground. Properly dispose of the stump and any remaining roots or debris, following local waste management guidelines.

Stump Grinding

Stump Grinding
Image by Total Landscape Care
DifficultyAdvanced to expert ●●●●●
Estimated Time for Tree to DieImmediate
Ideal Tree SizeSmall to large
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment
• Stump grinder of choice

Now, when it comes to bidding farewell to those pesky tree stumps, including those stubborn hawthorn ones, stump grinding steals the show. Imagine a magnificent contraption known as a stump grinder swoops in and works its magic. 

It grinds that stubborn stump into teeny-tiny wood chips, rendering it a thing of the past. It’s a mechanical marvel that gets the job done with finesse!

How to Perform Stump Grinding

1. Prepare the stump.
Using a chainsaw or pruning saw, trim the stump as close to the ground as possible. This will minimize the stump’s height, enabling a more efficient grinding process.

2. Familiarize yourself with the stump grinder.
Take time to carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating the stump grinder. Ensure you understand the machine’s controls, safety features, and operating procedures before commencing.

3. Position the stump grinder.
Place the stump grinder near the stump, ensuring convenient access and maneuverability. Make sure the grinder rests on stable ground to prevent shifting or tipping during operation.

4. Start the stump grinder.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for starting the stump grinder. Most stump grinders are equipped with a cutting wheel featuring rotating carbide teeth or blades.
Adjust the cutting depth based on the hawthorn tree stump’s size and hardness.

5. Start stump grinding.
Lower the cutting wheel of the stump grinder onto the stump. Begin grinding from the outer edges of the stump, gradually working your way toward the center.
Use a sweeping motion, moving the cutting wheel back and forth to grind the stump. For more efficient grinding, apply downward pressure to the cutting wheel.
Continue grinding until you reach a depth below the ground, typically around 6 to 12 inches below the surface.

6. Clean up.
Once grinding is complete, stop the stump grinder and turn off the engine. Use a shovel or rake to clear the grinding area of wood chips and debris.
Dispose of the wood chips in accordance with local regulations. Alternatively, you may choose to utilize them as mulch or compost.

7. Inspect the area.
Thoroughly examine the ground for any remaining roots or protrusions. If any sections remain, employ a hand saw or ax to remove them accordingly.

6. Clean Up and Dispose of Debris Responsibly

Clean Up and Dispose of Debris Responsibly
Image by Lawn Love

Get in touch with your friendly neighborhood waste management services or tree removal experts for some solid advice on the most responsible disposal methods. 

You never know, you might even find facilities where that debris can be chipped and turned into mulch or compost if you’re lucky enough. And if composting isn’t an option, there are still other options! 

Simply arrange for proper disposal at a designated green waste facility or coordinate with the local waste collection services. 

By doing so, you’ll not only maintain a clean and organized garden space, but you’ll also sleep soundly, knowing you’re following all the environmental regulations and best practices in the book.


Is cutting down a hawthorn tree bad luck?

Cutting down a hawthorn tree is not inherently considered bad luck in most cultures or belief systems. However, the notion of trees being associated with luck or superstition varies across different cultures and traditions. 

In general, tree removal is often done for practical reasons such as safety, landscaping, or environmental management.

Do hawthorn trees have deep roots?

Hawthorn trees generally have a moderately deep root system. The depth of the roots can vary depending on soil conditions and other factors. 

Hawthorns are considered medium-sized trees, and their roots typically extend outward rather than growing deep into the ground. The root system is important for stability and nutrient uptake, but it is not typically as deep as some larger tree species.

How long does a hawthorn tree last?

Hawthorn trees can live for several decades, with an average lifespan ranging from 20 to 50 years. However, some hawthorn trees have been known to live for over 100 years under favorable conditions. 

The lifespan of a hawthorn tree can vary depending on species, environmental conditions, and management practices. 

Proper care, including regular pruning, adequate water, and protection from diseases and pests, can help prolong the lifespan of a hawthorn tree.

Does glyphosate kill hawthorn?

Glyphosate can damage or kill hawthorn trees, although the extent can vary depending on the amount exposed, tree maturity, and hawthorn species.

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