The chemical process of killing a tree with salt is what we’ll be discussing here.
When it comes to tree removal, a variety of strategies are available. Each of these helps obtain definite results. A tree may be removed outright or simply be killed. The outcome you want will largely depend on the method used.
Will Salt Kill a Tree?
Yes. This is also known as the chemical process. Salts are chemicals, as such; the adoption and use of these compounds can be called the chemical approach to killing trees.
So, how is a tree killed with salt? If this sounds strange to you, we want to reassure you that it isn’t. It’s a technique that has long been in use.
Types of Tree Killer Salts
When it comes to killing trees using salt, clarifications need to be made about the type of salt to use.
So far, different kinds have been used some of which include sodium chlorate, ammonium sulphamate, rock salt, and Epsom salt. Although all of these serve to kill trees, not all are recommended.
The safest of these salt types to use include rock salt, and Epsom salt. That is because they tend to be safer and less toxic to use compared with the others.
There are regulations that prohibit the use of certain salts like ammonium sulphamate and sodium chlorate for killing trees.
The main reason why these are prohibited is due to the toxicity to aquatic environments. It’s difficult to point out where such regulations are applicable.
You’ll have to find out what regulations there are regarding salt used for killing trees.
If you can’t seem to figure that out, you can simply use the most acceptable types; rock salt, and Epsom salt. Both of these have similar use techniques.
During the course of our discussion, all mentions of salt will be focused on these two. Now, let’s focus on how these chemicals kill trees.
How Salt Kills Trees
Salt is one ready compound that’s commonly sprinkled on roads to help melt snow in winter. While such an objective is achieved, the problem or side effect regarding its application is the condition of trees around the roadside.
These usually appear burnt. How does this condition correlate with the salt applied?
Salts are absorbed by trees through root systems. As the salt finds its way into the tree, a chemical reaction occurs that interferes with the normal functioning of the tree.
Normal functioning in this sense refers to the production of chlorophyll without which the plant dies.
The sodium contained in the salt sets off the chain reaction that blocks the flow of magnesium and potassium. These (magnesium and potassium) are crucial for chlorophyll production.
Without these vital ingredients, a tree begins to die. It’s based on this understanding that salts are applied to kill trees.
Killing A Tree With Epsom and Rock Salt
To kill a tree using salt, you’ll need to understand how the process is carried out. Of course, you’ll need to have your salt ready in addition to water to make a solution. A drill is required to make holes.
Apply your solution and repeat the process until the results become visible.
It’s important to note that killing a tree with salt isn’t an immediate process. In other words, you won’t have immediate results.
It takes time which can sometimes last anywhere from a few weeks to several months for visible results. Also, the size of the tree matters. Let’s discuss each of the steps mentioned above.
i. Get the Tools and Supplies Needed
To kill a tree with salt, you’ll need to make ready all the supplies and tools necessary for the job. These aren’t much. All you need is to find a good drilling tool as well as some salt.
Here, you get to choose the type of salt you wish to use. As mentioned earlier, Epsom salt and rock salt are among the safest.
You also need some water to make your salt solution. About 6 cups of salt should be added to 3 cups of water. This helps create a concentrated mixture to help achieve faster results.
ii. Drill Downward Holes around the Tree
With your drill tool, you’ll need to start creating holes around the trunk of the tree.
When drilling such holes, your drill should be positioned at a downward angle to help hold the salt solution. The depth of the hole matters. Drill holes that are at least 3 inches deep.
Does the number of holes matter? They do matter!
You don’t have to make a mess of the tree when drilling these holes. You only need to create a few of these around the tree to ensure that the salt solution is evenly distributed.
iii. Make Your Salt Solution
Having drilled your holes, you’re not ready to make your salt solution and fill them up.
As mentioned earlier, your solution should consist of 3 cups of water to 6 cups of salt. Have the mixture mixed thoroughly until it’s properly dissolved.
It’s important to maintain this ratio (1 part water to 2 parts salt) irrespective of the volume of salt solution you plan on making.
iv. Apply to Holes
This is where you need to fill up the holes drilled with the salt solution made.
You might want to use a funnel to help with easy application. From this point, there’s little to do apart from observing the solution.
v. Repeat Frequently Until Clear Results are Obtained
Having applied your salt solution to the holes drilled on the tree trunk, you’ll have to constantly observe to refill the holes with more salt solution until visible results are seen. As mentioned earlier, this won’t be immediate.
You’ll have to continue for several weeks until the tree’s foliage begins to turn brown and the tree eventually dies.
vi. Don’t Apply to Roots
When drilling holes for salt treatment, it’s important to avoid the roots as such may affect surrounding plants. The safest way to do this is by drilling into the trunk of the targeted tree and applying the killer solution.
Killing a tree with salt isn’t a difficult process. While we’ve discussed the different steps involved, it’s best to consult with a tree professional.
This approach gives you better outcomes than any other.