Will Diesel Kill Trees? (Only If You Do This First)


I was looking for a way to kill some trees with chemicals I had around the house, I tried salt but that didn’t work. That’s when I heard about using diesel fuel to kill trees.

Yes, diesel fuel will kill trees. My friend is a landscaper and has been using diesel fuel to kill the toughest trees for years. Cut the tree down to a stump then simply apply diesel fuel to the top of the stump with a paintbrush. You can also drill holes on the top of the stump to apply more diesel. In a few days, the tree should be completely dead, but if not keep reading to learn what to do next.how to kill a tree with diesel, will diesel kill trees, burning tree stumps with diesel

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How To Kill A Tree With Diesel Fuel

Step 1- Cut The Tree Down To A Stump

To cut a tree down to a stump first access the area to make sure you won’t be damaging any powerlines, buildings, or fences. If these obstacles are in the way you may want to consider hiring an arborist. For small trees just cut them down to a stump.

If it’s a large tree then follow these steps. Begin by cutting the lowest branches off with a handsaw or chainsaw. Work your way up the tree cutting off all the branches.

Then work your way down by cutting the trunk in manageable sections until you are left with a stump. Leave enough stump to wrap a chain or rope around for pulling it out.

Step 2- Kill The Tree Stump With Diesel

Now that you have a fresh cut stump immediately apply diesel fuel to the stump with a paintbrush. This will help you avoid pouring diesel fuel all over the ground.

Diesel fuel is toxic to plants and people so be careful and cautious. You can drill holes into the stump with an auger bit and power drill and fill the holes with diesel fuel but just painting it on should do the trick.

The reason I said to immediately apply diesel is that once cut the tree stump will begin to heal itself and even within 30 minutes after cutting the diesel fuel will be less effective.

Before you go start killing trees with diesel fuel first check to see if your tree even needs to be poisoned to death. Most trees will die by just being cut down.

I made a list of all the trees that need to be treated to die and ones that can just be cut down. You can look at that list here.

When using diesel fuel to kill trees or bushes make sure not to spill it on the ground and use as little as possible because diesel fuel will remain in the ground and can get into groundwater.

Once treated with diesel fuel let the tree stump sit for a few days to a week to let it soak up the diesel into the roots. Then you can remove the tree stump.

Step 3- Remove the Tree Stump

There are many ways to remove the tree stump like renting a stump grinder, that’s the fastest, but let’s stick with the things you already have around the house.

The easiest way to get rid of your tree stump is to dig around the stump and use a chainsaw or a reciprocating saw to cut the stump below the level of the ground just a few inches.

Then bury the stump and let the grass grow in and around it. Even just an inch of dirt on top is enough. Really if it doesn’t matter leave most of the wood in the ground. It will decompose over time and no one will ever know it was there.

You can also burn it. The most effective way to burn the stump is to cut it into a Swedish candle by cutting vertical lines down the stump in a hashtag (#) pattern to the ground then start on fire and roast some smores.

The only problem with this method you will need to wait until the wood dries before it will burn.

Will Diesel Kill A Large Tree?

Diesel will kill a large tree but you may want to add some sugar first.

My landscaper friend said he would mix sugar in diesel fuel to kill the toughest trees. If just plain old diesel fuel doesn’t do the job try mixing sugar in with it.

He told me that his dad has used diesel for ages but after getting all his landscaping and chemical certifications he had the idea to mix sugar in with diesel fuel. He said he never had a tree survive a diesel sugar treatment.

Use an equal part mixture of sugar and diesel. Just get a one-gallon gas can and fill it with a half-gallon of diesel fuel. Then fill the rest with sugar and shake until sugar dissolves. For under $10 bucks you will have a gallon of the best tree killer around.

Burning Tree Stumps With Diesel

If you don’t have fire restrictions you can burn your stump. Since you already treated it with diesel all you need to do is burn it.

This works best if you can make cut hashtag (#) lines into the stump or drill a hole down the center and holes out the bottom like a rocket stove. Use a power drill and 1-inch auger bit. Build a small fire around the stump and let it burn.

If your tree stump will fit I have seen people place a 55-gallon drum with the bottom cut out over the drum and fill it with dry wood or even charcoal. Within 24 hours or so the stump should be burned several inches below the soil.

Next just fill the hole with dirt and you are done.

Will Diesel Kill Tree Roots?

Diesel will kill tree roots. If you kill the roots with diesel the whole tree will die. To kill tree roots with diesel just uncover live roots and drill a hole into it and pour diesel fuel into it.

Make sure to not spill diesel fuel onto the ground because it can get into groundwater.

If you just want one root to die and not the whole tree, then cut the root from the tree and treat the cut root with diesel by painting it on.

Will Diesel Kill Tree Stumps?

Diesel will kill tree stumps. However, you need to expose the live part of the stump before treating with diesel.

You can do this by cutting each sucker branch and treating each one by painting diesel fuel on it or you can the stump below where the suckers are coming out and paint diesel on the stump.

Will Diesel Kill Mesquite Trees?

Diesel will kill mesquite trees. Simply cut the mesquite tree down and paint diesel fuel on the stump. The tree should be dead within a few days to a week. Then you can remove the stump.

Will Diesel Kill A Palm Tree?

Diesel will kill palm trees however, palm trees don’t need to be poisoned to die. They can be simply cut down and removed to completely die.

If you have a completely crazy palm tree that grows back after being cut down then cut it down again and paint diesel fuel on the stump. This should do the trick.

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