Killing Tree Stumps With Bleach (Does It Work?)

Everyone is looking for an affordable, fast and easy way to kill and rot their tree stumps using home remedies. Does killing tree stumps with bleach work? Depending on the type of tree it may do the trick so here be how.

To kill a tree stump with bleach, expose the live stump by cutting it with a chainsaw below where live branches are coming out.  You may want to drill holes around the outer layer but most tree killers will work without doing this. Paint bleach onto the stump or fill the holes. 

If the stump doesn’t die then repeat this process but use a stronger tree killer like Tordon.

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Ever since I tried killing my Chinese Elm trees and failed I have made it a life mission to see what actually kills tree stumps and what doesn’t.

Roundup and Epson Salt didn’t kill my elms. Since then I have discovered many more ways to kill tree stumps that really work. Is bleach one of them?

I am going to test killing a tree stump with bleach on my next elm tree but until then the best I can go off is what I have found online. I have watched every youtube video on this topic and read every article I could find.

As far as I can see, some have had successful results. That’s why I said it may kill your tree stump. I am skeptical if it will actually kill one of my Chinese Elm trees. If it will kill a Chinese Elm tree it will kill any tree. They are very tough trees.

It will take several months to see if my elm tree actually dies but I will update this article once I have my results.

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How To Kill A Tree Stump With Bleach

Here are the steps to killing a tree stump with bleach. I have talked with a bunch of tree removal experts and this is how they apply any tree killer to kill a tree stump.

Step 1- Fresh cut your stump to reveal the live tree.

If you just pour bleach all over a stump it may kill some of the branches but it won’t kill the roots. To kill the entire tree cut below the where branches are coming out to make sure you are exposing the live tree.

Trees transfer all their nutrients back and forth through the outer ring of the tree. After cutting the stump it should look wet. If it looks like dry dead wood then you need to go lower.

You can also cut each branch that is growing out of the stump and treat each one individually. I have seen a lot of people drilling holes all around the stump but most arborists (people who kill trees for a living) never do that. They just paint the outer ring of the tree with a good tree killer and that’s it.

If you want to drill holes then drill them in the outer layer of the tree. That will expose more of the live tissue to hopefully suck up more of the bleach.

Step 2- Treat tree stump with bleach.

It’s important that you treat your stump immediately after treating it. The tree will begin healing itself so the longer you wait, the less effect the bleach will have. Paint the beach on the stump or pour and fill each hole.

I have read that you should repeat this every day for a week but I don’t think that will make any difference except wast a lot of your time. After the first day if the bleach didn’t kill the stump the tree will let that top part die and begin growing below the treatment so you would be basically pouring bleach on dead wood.

Let the tree stump sit for a few weeks. Most tree killers will kill a stump within a few days but give it some time to make sure it is actually dead. You will know it is dead if you don’t see any more new branches shooting up out of the trunk or roots.

Step 3- Remove the tree stump.

Hopefully, it worked and now you need to remove a dead tree stump. The best but most costly is to rent a stump grinder. If you have a lot of stumps to remove it might be worth renting one.

A few other ways are you can remove it by hand by digging around the stump and cutting the major roots then prying it out with a pry bar or pulling it out with a truck. You can try burning it but you will need to wait until the stump has dried out.

I have seen people rot their stump by covering it compost and letting nature take its course. After about a year you can chip and pry the rotted stump out.

What If Bleach Didn’t Kill My Stump?

If you see new branches starting to shoot up out of the trunk or roots then you will need to use a tree killer that really works. Repeat step one by fresh cutting your stump and treat your tree with a stump killer that I know works.

The best tree killer that works every time Tordon. Others I have heard work are Killzall 2-4-D, diesel, and Fertilome Brush and Stump Killer. Use one of these tree killers by painting the outer ring of the tree and within a few days, your stump should finally be dead. Check out my article for more ways on how to kill a tree stump.

Tree Stump Removal With Bleach

I saw an article that said bleach will rot your stump. I’m sure it will remove any stains or disinfect it really well but I don’t think bleach will rot your stump. I tried rotting my stump with salt and it didn’t work. Rotting any wood takes a long time.

The best way I have heard to rot a stump is to go natural. Just bury it in compost and let fungi do its thing. After about a year the stump should be rotted out so you can pry it out with a pry bar.

How about making it a bleached tree stump table. These are super popular on Pinterest. Just leave your stump there. Chip the bark off and sand it a bit. Paint bleach all over it to make it look nice and white and WHALA you have a bleached stump table or chair in your yard.

Killing Tree Roots With Bleach

If bleaching a tree stump can kill a tree then it will kill roots as well. Basically, you would follow the same steps. Cut the root and treat with bleach.

If you are just trying to kill one root and not the whole tree makes sure to cut the tree root from the main tree and cut it back foot so you don’t treat the main tree with bleach as well.

Then pain bleach onto the root. Hopefully, it will work but to be safe, just use one of the tree killers that I mentioned earlier.

I hope that is more then you will ever need to know about killing tree stumps with bleach. It would be great if bleach could kill every tree because it is so cheap. But you may want to just spend $9 more dollars to get a tree killer that really will do the job.

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