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View Full Version : Best way to kill unwanted trees


whitetail fanatic
11-26-2011, 10:12 AM
I posted this in Lickcreek's hinging thread, but at the suggestion of another member, I decided to start a new thread in hopes that it would attract more responses. Also, in a lot of ways, I guess it's sort of a different and more specific topic than what is covered in the hinging thread.

What's the easiest and most effective way to kill larger trees, 15-25" in diameter, without having to cut them down? I have a few ideas, but I would like to hear from Paul or anyone what would you recommend? The trees will be maple, birch, poplar, shagbark and bitternut hickory, ash, etc. Any trees up to about 15" I will just hinge cut or drop the tree, but the larger ones I would rather kill and leave standing. It seems if I go into an area and completely drop all the larger trees that I want to kill, the area is solid tree tops and for a year or two, the deer can't hardly move around in there. Leaving the larger trees standing will leave more room to walk around and the smaller trees that I hinge cut or drop will provide immediate cover, while brush and new saplings will soon grow up within a year or two, providing the ultimate cover. Below are 3 ideas that come to mind. Anyone, please share your advice and if there is a better way, please let me know. Thank you!

1. Make a complete cirlce around the tree, through the bark and 1/4" or so deep into the wood (penetrate through the cambium layer) with a chainsaw and brush on Tordon or 41% glyphosate around the cut.

2. Drill 1/2" diameter holes around the trunk, deep enough to penetrate through the cambium layer, spaced at about 3" around the circumference, and fill the holes with Tordon or 41% glyphosate using a squirt bottle like an old ketchup bottle or something.

3. Double girdle the trunk, making 2 cuts all the way around the circumference, and do not treat with any herbicides.

My feelings are this. I would like to do either #1 or #2 using only 41% glyphosate if that would be guaranteed to kill all trees, but I have my doubts as to whether that would be effective or not. If I used Tordon, would that be 100% effective? Also, does the time of year when this is done have an effect on how well it kills the tree? Is January/February a good time to do 1 or 2?

I would like to do #3 if I knew it would kill the trees, since I would not have to use any herbicides, but it seems like I've read that even double girdles do not always kill trees, is that true?

Thanks!

HabitatMaker
11-26-2011, 12:46 PM
Big trees are hard to kill with chemicals. I have spent a career in that business and I would avoid chemical control on bigger trees, I won't do it on my own property. Anything over about 12-15 inches I move to either cut and stump treat or I move to girdle and allow top to die.

Tordon RTU/Pathway is the best stump treatment. You can use it as well as part of the girdle to kill the stump but my experience is mixed.

Of the trees you mentioned Hickory (or Pecan) is one of the most difficult to kill and I would lean to cut down and treat stump not girdling.

Two chainsaw gashes is more than adequate to kill the tops. If a tree can recover from its entire vascular system being cut in two twice, you have witnessed a miracle and should get a TV show and hold prayer meetings....if one did recover, that would tell me you did not make a cut all the way through, all the way around the tree.


Nothing will be 100%. Gly is ok on smaller stuff but it is asking way too much to expect it to do what you describe.

whitetail fanatic
11-26-2011, 01:10 PM
Big trees are hard to kill with chemicals. I have spent a career in that business and I would avoid chemical control on bigger trees, I won't do it on my own property. Anything over about 12-15 inches I move to either cut and stump treat or I move to girdle and allow top to die.

Tordon RTU/Pathway is the best stump treatment. You can use it as well as part of the girdle to kill the stump but my experience is mixed.

Of the trees you mentioned Hickory (or Pecan) is one of the most difficult to kill and I would lean to cut down and treat stump not girdling.

Two chainsaw gashes is more than adequate to kill the tops. If a tree can recover from its entire vascular system being cut in two twice, you have witnessed a miracle and should get a TV show and hold prayer meetings....if one did recover, that would tell me you did not make a cut all the way through, all the way around the tree.


Nothing will be 100%. Gly is ok on smaller stuff but it is asking way too much to expect it to do what you describe.


So a double girdle should be 100% effective at killing all trees, correct? Do you only have to go deep enought to cut through the cambium layer? Just wondering if you or anyone has tried this for sure on maple and hickory, cause Paul mentions in his hinging thread that he double girdles them (quite deeply) and applies tordon, but if the chemical is not neccessary, I would just double girdle and be done.

whitetail fanatic
11-26-2011, 01:56 PM
A quote from Paul to some of my questions in the hinging thread

Herbicide is pretty powerful stuff and most trees are unable to survive a does of "poison" while they may be able to heal from a wound such as girdling. That said, I have not tried hack and squirt on large maples and hickories so I can not give a certain answer to this question Wes. Personally i would use the double girdle and them treat at least a portion of one girdle with herbicide. (I don't go all the way around the girdle...just one spot)

Here's a link to some treatment methods for smaller trees...Hack and squirt (http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1058/ANR-1058three.html)

A double girdle is generally all that is required but herbicide just adds insurance that you won't have a "do over"....;)

HabitatMaker
11-26-2011, 01:58 PM
So a double girdle should be 100% effective at killing all trees, correct? Do you only have to go deep enought to cut through the cambium layer? Just wondering if you or anyone has tried this for sure on maple and hickory, cause Paul mentions in his hinging thread that he double girdles them (quite deeply) and applies tordon, but if the chemical is not neccessary, I would just double girdle and be done.

The chemical is only necessary if you want to kill the root system and not have a resprout from the area below the girdle

hillbilly archer
11-26-2011, 02:02 PM
I have not seen a double girdled tree not die. It may take 2 full years (or longer) but it will die, most larger trees don't seem to resprout like the small ones either.

whitetail fanatic
11-26-2011, 04:26 PM
The chemical is only necessary if you want to kill the root system and not have a resprout from the area below the girdle

I have not seen a double girdled tree not die. It may take 2 full years (or longer) but it will die, most larger trees don't seem to resprout like the small ones either.


Thanks for the replies everyone. I think I will go with the double girdle method and no chemicals. If anyone else has any other advice or methods they have used, please share. Thanks!

brushpile
11-26-2011, 07:49 PM
Butternut is as toxic to other plants as Walnut, so I'd treat Butternut with Tordon RTU.

http://learningstore.uwex.edu/Walnut-and-Butternut-Toxicity-P390.aspx

whitetail fanatic
11-26-2011, 08:37 PM
Butternut is as toxic to other plants as Walnut, so I'd treat Butternut with Tordon RTU.

http://learningstore.uwex.edu/Walnut-and-Butternut-Toxicity-P390.aspx

brushpile, I'm guessing you were thinking that I have butternut when you posted that? If so, you might have misread or misunderstood what I wrote in my first post, but one of the species I listed was bitternut hickory, not butternut. Also known as smoothbark hickory. In the link below, it does say that bitternut (smoothbark) hickory is part of the walnut family, but I've never noticed any toxic effects around them like I do around walnuts. What do you think?

http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/trees/hickory_bit/tabid/5373/Default.aspx

thanks!

bigmike
11-26-2011, 08:42 PM
Afer a walnut tree is cut down, how long does it take before the soil around it is nontoxic?

brushpile
11-26-2011, 09:04 PM
Yup, I made a mistake.

Bigmike, until the juglone is dispersed in the soil. With good drainage and adequate rain, about two years on some of my soils.

bigmike
11-26-2011, 09:26 PM
can i put anything down to neutralize?

bigmike
11-26-2011, 09:43 PM
Will the Tordon or Roundup be absorbed into the roots and then kill surrounding trees?

whitetail fanatic
11-27-2011, 07:00 AM
Will the Tordon or Roundup be absorbed into the roots and then kill surrounding trees?

I think that is possible with tordon (not possible with roundup), others will know more, but I'm pretty sure it's possible with tordon, at least within the same species where their roots are close to one another or touching underground.

HabitatMaker
11-27-2011, 08:47 AM
Will the Tordon or Roundup be absorbed into the roots and then kill surrounding trees?

No. The rates you use are small and will only, and is rare, move from a treated tree to an untreated tree through roots that are grafted. Consider the amount of active chemical an individual root would contain and try to imagine that being enough to harm, much less kill a neighboring tree.

letemgrow
11-27-2011, 09:01 AM
Butternut is as toxic to other plants as Walnut, so I'd treat Butternut with Tordon RTU.

http://learningstore.uwex.edu/Walnut-and-Butternut-Toxicity-P390.aspx

Good to know, still have some coming in from the MDC nursery tho. :D

sandbur
11-27-2011, 11:17 AM
I doulbe girdled some cottonwoods in a windbreak to give the spruce and jack pines some room. they died over 3 years or so. Thr girdles were high and I have lots of brushy regrowth. I like the regrowth to thicken up the windbreak and reduce people seeing through it.

Regrowth of some species would make quickly available browse just like hinge cutting.

whitetail fanatic
11-27-2011, 06:48 PM
Thanks for all the replies so far. I'd like to ask for anyones experience with using tordon to kill trees. I'm wondering if it will kill all trees (all sizes and species) if I just made like 4 or 6 cuts with a chainsaw, 1" or so into the tree evenly spaced around the perimter, and squirt a little tordon into each of the cuts? I would like to kill the tree I have to kill in this way because I think if it would kill any and all trees, that would be the fastest and easiest method. Otherwise I will use the double girdle method, but I think that would be much more time consuming, and tedious. I've got many years of chainsaw experience, but mostly cutting trees completely down. I have only girdle a dozen or so trees before, and from what I remember, I get really dizzy after only a few trees. I could not imagine working all weekend in the woods doing nothing but double girdles. So, like I said, I'd like to do it with the 4 to 6 cuts and tordon method as explained above if you think that would work?? Looking forward to all your replies! Thanks!

indianaforester
11-27-2011, 08:16 PM
I do this for a living and the best advice that was given is being overlooked, no method is 100%. With that said I girdle the tree with a 1 inch deep cut and treat with liberal amounts of Tordon RTU or Pathway in the cut. Some species will live through this, ie. mulberry. Some species will grow over a single or a double cut and continue to thrive. Be sure your cut crosses itself. Trees contain an impressive healing mechanism and will surprise you. In certain species of trees flash over is common so if you are trying to thin like species then double girdling without herbicide is your best bet. Tordon will stay in the soil and be taken up by the roots of trees so be careful where you spray and wash your equipment, a little goes a long way. Lastly always read and follow the label.

brushpile
11-27-2011, 08:44 PM
Good to know, still have some coming in from the MDC nursery tho. :D

There is help, if you will take it. I think you're chemically dependent on juglone... Might be only psychological at this point, so treatment has a good chance. Please don't take it too hard, and please get help.:D

bigeight
11-28-2011, 08:19 AM
I do this for a living and the best advice that was given is being overlooked, no method is 100%. With that said I girdle the tree with a 1 inch deep cut and treat with liberal amounts of Tordon RTU or Pathway in the cut. Some species will live through this, ie. mulberry. Some species will grow over a single or a double cut and continue to thrive. Be sure your cut crosses itself. Trees contain an impressive healing mechanism and will surprise you. In certain species of trees flash over is common so if you are trying to thin like species then double girdling without herbicide is your best bet. Tordon will stay in the soil and be taken up by the roots of trees so be careful where you spray and wash your equipment, a little goes a long way. Lastly always read and follow the label.

So instead of two girdles parraleling each other, you should make a figure 8 With the cuts so they cross cutting about 2"deep?