How To Kill A Russian Olive Tree (For Good)

Looking for how to kill a Russian Olive Tree? I have tested many ways to kill these invasive trees. The key is to treat the stump right after being cut with a tree killer that works.

First, cut the Russian Olive Tree down to a stump. Within 30 minutes of cutting the tree down, you should treat the tree stump with a tree killer. Treat the cambium or outer ring of the tree with 100% concentrate and the Russian Olive Tree will die roots and all. So let’s dive into what tree killers work best.

Growing up in Utah, Russian Olive Trees were a big part of my childhood. I built my first tree fort in one and received many cuts and scrapes from climbing in them.

There are actually a lot of incredible things about these trees that you probably didn’t know.

The fruit and leaves have antioxidant, antimicrobial, healing and anti-inflammatory properties just to name a few. Seriously it is a superfood/medicine.

You should read this research article before you decide to kill this amazing tree.

Even though they could save your life it may be growing in the wrong place. Here are the steps to for killing a Russian Olive Tree.

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Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

Step 1- Cut The Tree Down

Russian Olive Trees have big thorns so be careful. Small Russian Olive Tree can just cut it down using a chainsaw or reciprocating saw.

For large trees, cut off the branches starting at the bottom and work your way up the trunk of the tree. Then work your way back down cutting the main stalk in manageable chunks.

Step 2- Kill The Russian Olive Tree

Just cutting a Russian Olive Tree to a stump wont kill it. In fact, all you have really done is just ticked it off and it will grow back with a vengeance.

It is important to treat the stump right after cutting it down. Even waiting 30 minutes will lessen the tree killers effectiveness.

Use A Tree Killer That Works!

I recommend using Tordon because it works every time and will kill any type of tree. Fertilome Brush and Stump Killer would work as well.

I haven’t had success with killing my elm trees with roundup but the Utah Ag Extension has tested using Roundup concentrate and has seen that it does kill Russian Olive Trees.

You only need to treat the cambium layer of the tree stump. That is the outer ring of the three just inside the bark. The center of the stump should be a darker color and is called heartwood. 

Pour or paint a tree killer all around the outside ring of the trunk and let it sit for a week or so and it will die.

Step 3- Remove The Stump

Once the Russian Olive Tree is dead the stump can be removed without worrying about it coming back.

Russian Olive Trees grow mostly through seeds so if you end up with a tree growing back it was probably grown from a seed.

There are many ways to remove the stump depending on your situation will determine the best way to get rid of it. Here are several ideas for how to remove a Russian Olive Tree stump.

  • Pull it out with a chain and vehicle. Preferably a 4 wheel drive one.
  • Dig around it and cut the stump below the surface.
  • Pull it up with a handyman jack.
  • Rent a stump grinder.
  • Pull it out with a tractor.
  • Burn it.

For more ways and specific instructions to remove a tree stump check out my article on how to remove a tree stump.

Natural Ways To Kill A Russian Olive Tree

I am always looking for the best ways to things naturally, killing and removing trees included.

I feel that society is always looking for the quick and easy fix to a problem. Sometimes the quick way leaves us with unwanted side effects. 

There are ways to kill trees naturally here are some of the best that I have discovered.


If you have a big enough tractor or can borrow on you can always just pull the whole tree out roots and all. That should do the job. 

Plastic Bag

Instead of treating the stump with a tree killer simply cover it with a black plastic bag and duck tape around the bag to seal it to the trunk. I have tested this method and so far so good.


Goats are browsers meaning their favorite thing in the world to eat is leaves off of trees and bushes. Cut the tree down to a stump and once it starts to grow back tether a goat to the tree. 

The goat will eat all the leaves and small branches. After 3 times the tree will not have anymore strength to send up new branches and it will die.

Copper Nails

I have heard that copper nails will kill trees but I am still too early on in my test to see if it actually works. The only problem with this method is that it takes over a year to actually work.


Don’t even try using salt, rock salt or Epsom salt. Russian Olive Trees are known for being able to grow in very poor salty soils. The chances are pretty good that it wont work.

I hope I persuaded you to keep your amazing Russian Olive Tree but if not that’s okay at least you know how to kill and remove a Russian Olive Tree like a pro. 

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