How to Kill a Pine Tree: 5 Alternative Methods

Killing trees may be something that causes us to feel ashamed, no matter what the reason as trees are seen as something sacred and useful to the world. But unfortunately, there may be reasons why it needs to be done. Pine trees are tree species that can get out of hand and can also be a nuisance when they are in the wrong spot. So if you are maybe looking for a way to remove the dying pine tree in your garden (rotting pine branches, brown needles, oozing saps), or pine tree blocking your driveway, no matter what the reason there are safe and efficient ways how to kill a pine tree.

Pine tree cones
Pine cones and needles may be unwanted in a yard

There are quite a number of ways to get rid of a pine tree that is in the way, none of which may need the help of a professional and cost you an arm or a leg.

You may still want to contact a local tree removal service after you read this guide, and that is completely fine.

We have taken the time to investigate and have come up with the best and safest solutions for removing a pine tree.

Effective ways: How to kill a pine tree?

Looking at some of the ways how to kill a pine tree, in all cases, you may need a bit of help and it is going to take some effort.

Pine trees are quite resilient and one method may not always work. Cutting them down is an option but for that, you will need a proper chainsaw and some experience, burning is another option but can be quite risky and not recommended unless you are in a rural area.

Using chemicals is a great pine tree killer and one of the most popular ways, but let us rather consider a few less aggressive and dangerous ways first that may work just as well.

Let’s see the various methods of how to kill a pine tree!

Copper nails

How to kill a pine tree? Copper nails

The best way to kill a weak or already dying pine tree in your yard would be the copper nail method. This method takes much longer and is less effective in larger and healthier pine trees, unfortunately.

All that you need to do is to drive a few copper nails into the pine tree which will then in time poison and kill the pine tree.

Girdling method

Another more natural and less chemical way is of course girdling. Let’s see what girdling is.

Girdling, or ring-barking is a method of killing pine trees or other trees by means of removing a strip of bark around the tree trunk. By doing this you are basically interfering with the transfer of nutrients between the roots and the leaves of the tree which in turn will cause it to deteriorate and die slowly.

Girdling of trees has shown to be one of the most effective and least harmful ways of removing pine trees that will cause the least environmental damage.

Make sure to cut a deep ring around the pine tree and that both ends connect properly as otherwise, the pine tree will still be able to transport nutrients.

Cutting down with a chainsaw

Well if all else fails there is also the fastest – maybe not safest and most effective – way of cutting the tree down with a chainsaw.

You can always buy or hire a chainsaw and cut the tree down but you should never do this without help and take all necessary safety measures.

Kill a pine tree with a chainsaw or axe

Also keep in concern that the pine tree may grow back, so you may need to drill holes in the stump and pour salt or a herbicide to prevent it from regrowing.

On the upside, with this solution, you may end up with some nice timber and firewood, so bring out that log splitter!

Drill and fill method

The chemical method that we have appraised to be the most effective as a pine tree killer is the drill and fill method.

For this method, you will need a few tools and things though

To start off you will put on your gloves and pre-mix your herbicide in the mixing container and place it in the squeeze bottle for application.

Secondly, you will drill holes in the pine tree’s roots and then fill the holes with the herbicide.

Make sure that you drill at a slight slant and as deep as possible beyond the cambium layer of the pine tree in order to prevent the chemicals from seeping out of the trunk.

Lastly, you can now spray what is left of the herbicide on the leaves and rest on the pine tree taking care of the chemical not to come into contact with other vegetation.

A little tip from us is to do this in good weather where there is no wind or rain for the chemicals to spread!

Killing a Pine Tree with Salt

Using salt
Pine tree killer: salt

A cheaper and more basic and less dangerous method is to use normal table salt.

Holes will still need to be drilled into the trunk and roots, for the salt and water mixture to be poured down.

Salt will kill most plant life in a period of time if regularly applied, remember that it will also prevent any other plants from growing where you have drilled.

It’s going to take a long time before anything else grows nearby.

What about Epsom salt? This DIY method speeds up the decomposition process of tree trunks, taking only 6-12 months compared to the natural decay time of 3-7 years.


Does Bleach Kill Pine Trees?

Although diluted bleach solutions, like a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, have a lower probability of causing harm to a pine tree (Pinus spp.), the tree’s needles can still be damaged by bleach if it is not thoroughly rinsed off with an ample amount of fresh water.

Does Salt Water Kill Pine Trees?

Repeated exposure to salt can be fatal for sensitive tree species like white pine. Additionally, direct deposition of salt onto a tree’s root zone or salt runoff into the soil can have severe consequences for the roots.

Will Vinegar Kill a Pine Tree?

Yes, it is possible to kill a tree using vinegar. Pouring vinegar on a tree can corrode the bark due to the acid content, ultimately leading to the tree’s death.

Will Roundup Kill Pine Trees?

Roundup kills green material and inhibits fall seed growth in small and mature pine trees. For effective results on conifer trees, original glyphosate without surfactant is recommended as the surfactant dissolves the waxy cuticle.

What is the Best Poison for Pine Trees?

Faster-acting herbicides like metsulfuron and imazapyr can be combined with glyphosate for quicker results. Alternatively, a safer and organic option is to use nitrogen fertilizer to kill a pine tree.

How do You Kill Pine Roots?

To kill the roots of a pine tree stump, expose the root structure, drill holes, and pour boiling water over the roots.


To kill any tree is not the best feeling in the world, but sometimes it is very necessary. There are safe and effective ways to kill a pine tree as well as using chemicals, not to mention the more dangerous methods.

The Drill and Fill may be the most time consuming but it is one of the most efficient and safer ways, just as the girdling method also takes some patience.

Whichever way you choose to get rid of a pine tree, keep in mind to always take precautionary measures and put your safety and the safety of others as well as the environment first!

Pine needles and canes are not the only dangers for a lawn, Weeds like crabgrass or dallisgrass are a real pain in the backyard. 

There may be some preventative measures to keep a healthy lawn like strong, regularly mowed grass with proper ventilation (think about dethatchers)