Does killing tree stumps with bleach work? While trees are a great addition to any garden for a number of reasons, they create shade for when you want to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air on a warm summer day, they can also be a habitat for wildlife such as birds. These trees are however not without trouble. Also, they do not live forever and at some point, you may need to find ways of removing unsightly, potentially dangerous tree stumps. In this article, we will talk about killing tree stumps with bleach.
Methods Of Killing A Tree Stump
There are various ways that can be used to kill tree stumps. It can be done naturally or using certain chemical reagents. The different methods have different efficiencies and different applications for various scenarios, as well as advantages and disadvantages. There are, therefore, different considerations for each method. One of the most popular methods is killing tree stumps with bleach.
Will Bleach Kill Tree Stumps?
This method of killing tree stumps may seem outrageous, but if done right it can be as effective as any other method. The success of this method will depend on various methods such as the type of tree in question. The method of killing tree stumps with bleach is drilling holes in the tree stump and then spreading or painting all over the stump with bleach. After you have done this, observe the tree stump over time for signs of death. If after a week or two it does not seem to have worked, go back and do the same method with a stronger bleach. Once the stump has died, you may now go ahead and remove it by digging it out.
The idea behind using bleach to kill tree stumps is that bleach blanches and dries out the wood. Once the wood is dry, it will not be able to absorb or retain moisture from either rain or irrigation.
Let us get into a detailed, step-by-step on how to kill a tree stump with bleach.
How To Kill A Tree Stump With Bleach
1. Cut the tree down to expose the stump
If you have a large or tall tree to begin with, you will need to cut it down so that only the stump remains. Cut the tree below the branches that are coming out, to make sure that you are exposing the live tree stump.
If you want to drill holes on the stump to increase the contact area with the bleach, you may go ahead and do so. This will help the tree to suck up more of the bleach
2. Treat the tree stump with bleach
Apply the bleach to the tree stump by painting over it, and pouring it into the holes you have drilled. Treat the tree stump immediately after cutting it down because if you wait too long it will start healing itself. The longer you wait, the less likely you are likely to be successful with your tree stump killing.
After treating the tree with bleach, let it sit for a few weeks. While most tree killers will do so within a few days, it may be best to wait a few weeks to make sure that it is actually dead. You will know that your tree had died once it stops shooting new branches from the trunk or roots.
Once you have confirmed that the tree is dead, you can go ahead and rent a stump grinder to remove the dead stump. You also have the option of digging the stump out by hand to cut out the major roots, and then pry out with a pry bar or pull it out with a truck.
If the stump is dry enough, you can also just burn it.
Does Bleach Kill A Tree?
If bleach can kill a tree stump, would it also be able to kill a whole tree? Well, bleach is more likely to damage recently planted or young trees. This is because younger trees’ root system is not yet established. Bleach is unlikely to kill a mature tree.
Killing tree roots with bleach is however possible. You would need to follow the same steps outlined above for killing a tree stump. Here you will need to expose the tree toots to kill them.
If you are looking to just kill one root on a tree, you will need to make sure that you can the tree root away from the rest of the roots so that the bleach only treats the root you intend to kill
Is It Safe To Use Bleach To Kill Trees?
Using bleach to kill trees is only safe if there are no other trees or plants near the tree. This way, you will not see any more damage to other foliage.
Bleach can alter the pH of the surrounding soil. So to be careful, do not bleach tree stumps that have other plants around them, there are other methods you can use.
Chemicals That Kill Tree Stumps
Besides bleach, there are other chemicals that you can use to kill tree stumps. Here are some of them;
- Rock salt – a naturally occurring mineral formed from sodium chloride
- Epsom salt – another popular option that also uses a naturally occurring compound made from magnesium and sulfate
- Copper nails – hammering copper nails into a tree stump will poison the stump, eventually killing it. It is best to remove the nails after the process is complete, for safety reasons
- Diesel – using diesel the same way you would use bleach delivers reliable results
- Roundup – another reliable weed and tree killer. Do research on this product if you choose to use it, as it has been reported to have various negative long term effects
Conclusion – Killing Tree Stumps With Bleach
We hope the information provided here is more than you will ever need to know about killing tree stumps with bleach.
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An aquaculture specialist and freelance writer. Passionate about anything sustainable living, such as growing your own food, and if you can do it in conjunction with fish farming, even better! I currently work as an aquaculture researcher where I can expand and share my knowledge and skills on aquaculture, crop farming and adding value to wastewater by using it to grow food products. I enjoy reading and learning as much as possible, and writing is another avenue for me to share the knowledge I gain with others. I want my writing to inspire people to try their hand at gardening, whether indoors or outdoors. You can even start by keeping a few houseplants indoors to help you gain a bit of confidence if you need to.