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How to Kill a Eucalyptus Tree?

How to kill a eucalyptus tree depends on many factors. Most folks consider having a eucalyptus tree in their property a welcome feature. However, there are many trees that can actually be harmful and even detrimental to a typical backyard.

For instance, some trees can have roots that can actually find their way to your home’s foundation, causing damage. If you find that, you are confronted with what has become an invasive situation, you need to explore the different options of how to kill a eucalyptus tree.

For example, if you are worried about chemicals or are killing a tree in a space where produce is grown, physically removing the tree could be the better option. (Read Does A Grapevine Have Leaves With Parallel Veins)

How to Kill a Eucalyptus Tree

Chemical Herbicides

If you are OK with using chemical herbicide, there are many options are available for you. The many ways to kill a eucalyptus tree will work with these different methods.

In some cases, an herbicide has to be one of the entire exposed cambium layer (a slim ring inside the bark) a few minutes after an incision is made.  Omitted parts could result in failure for this method. Herbicides that are usually selected are formulas that have a 50% concentration of either glyphosate or triclopyr.

Stem treatments must be avoided in the spring or early summer. This is due to the fact that the sap is elevating in the stem.

Hence other options are available, such as cutting the eucalyptus tree down first, or rendering it lifeless as it still stands erect.

Cutting the Eucalyptus Tree Down

Tools available for cutting or chopping down a tree are a hand saw, loppers, or chain saw. The size of the trees will help determine the tool of choice.

As a rule, chop the tree at an area as near to the ground to the ground as possible. Try to achieve a flat, level surface. After cutting the tree, use herbicide on the surrounding of the whole circumference.

Eucalyptus Tree

How to Kill a Eucalyptus Tree without Chopping It?

A few methods of doing this are available. These are particularly helpful for killing bigger size or trees when cutting them down presents problems. The ways will vary from straightforward and traditional hand methods to complex mechanical techniques.

Since the eucalyptus tree will be left erect after it is are killed with these many methods, the benefits and disadvantages of this should be considered before making a choice. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In Mulch)

Benefits of Leaving a Tree Standing But Dead:

  • This is the cheapest and swiftest method to kill a large eucalyptus tree (or any tree). You are able to halt the invasive process with very little effort and time.
  • Whenever public safety is not a problem or concern, trees left erect will still act as a habitat for many wildlife species. Snags (standing dead tree) will ultimately drop their limbs slowly over time. This gradual process greatly diminishes the impact when the tree finally tumbles down.
  • There will be little change in the area, unlike chopping down a tree that leaves a huge void. A less negative reaction can also result. Visually, a dead tree is easier to absorb, than just a tree stump.

Disadvantages of Leaving a Dead Tree Standing

  • When a tree must later be extricated, the wood can become very hard the first few years. Sawing becomes rather difficult.
  • When several trees are killed, criticism is likely especially from overzealous conservationists.

Methods to Kill a Tree Standing


Girdling is the process of taking out the band of bark that encircles the tree. It ends the tree’s life by cutting the cambium layer. This results in the prevention of the delivery of water and nutrients thru the trunk.

Many tools can be used for girdling trees. These include including girdling knives, hatchets, chainsaws, and torches. The quickest way is a single girdle using a chainsaw.

The incision must be substantially deep to reach all inward folding of the cambium and bark and cambium.  Herbicide is sprayed into the saw incision. If herbicides are not used, make two rings 3” or more apart completely around the tree, and remove all bark between the cuts.

dead tree

Drill Holes

Drilling is a method for stem treatment owing to the availability of the new high output cordless drills. Drill holes around 5/16” at a downward trajectory, spaced 3” apart forming a line encircling the base of the tree.  Swiftly fill each hole with your herbicide.

If you are working on many trees, you might want to use at the very least an 18 Volt drill. Have some spare batteries on hand as this killing method can consume a lot of power.


Frilling is the use of a hatchet to cut downward into the bark and the cambium. It creates a continuous ring encircling the trunk. This is quite akin to girdling as it also cuts off the cambium layer.

The bark can be peeled down the stem to the root crown. Doing so will already kill the tree. Frilling is best for trees that measure 4 to 5 inches in diameter at least.  A quick application of the chosen herbicide into the cuts is needed. (Learn How To Propagate Virginia Creeper)

Likewise, make certain it comes into contact with the exposed cambium layer found at the frill edge.

Basal Bark Treatment

With this method, the herbicide is sprayed right on the tree stem. There is no cutting through the bark required. The trick is the herbicide should be absorbed through the bark. This method is more effective with younger trees that have thinner bark.

The stem diameters of up to 6” or 8” are ideal. The herbicide application is via spraying or painting onto the bark, forming a band encircling the stem. For this method, use an oil-based herbicide.

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