Killing a tree (sigh) !

gillyblythingMay 14, 2006

I have tree - cottonwood/aspen type - it's on my property line (probably in my ownership) that's sending out roots and new little babies (all about five feet tall) into my garden. For ten years I've tried to control them by clipping them back, but I know I'm losing the battle - they are now everywhere including the foundations of my house.

The mother tree just has to go because I just can't clip fast enough!

Does anyone have any idea how to get rid of the parent tree, and eventually the kids ? I really don't want to use poison. Will girdling work ?

I have lots of cats, and besides my hatred of weedkillers in general, I need to deal with this safely.

I'll accept karma when the dead body crashes across my roof in the first winter storm - I have insurance and could use a new one anyway !

Any ideas would be very welcome.


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If you have taken steps to kill the tree and it crashes down on your roof, your insurance company most likely will walk away from your claim, since you contributed to this "accident". Then you will be stuck replacing your own roof. Sorry!

Wouldn't it be easier (and cheaper) to do it with a saw?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 7:21AM
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Have the tree cut down first! It's an annoying cop-out to kill a tree, then wait until the dead tree falls down or approach your neighbour about cutting down the now dead tree. Be honest and be upfront about your concerns and plans. If the tree is bothering them as much as it bothers you, they may offer to pay for half but certainly don't expect monetary assistance (especially if the tree is a non issue for them).

If you need permits for tree removal (like in Toronto), then do it. City foresters are intelligent people and they understand the value of an Aspen vs. an Oak.

Once it's down, there a many ways to kill the root system and stop the sprouts. Any tree removal service can do it for you.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 9:20PM
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Actually I like THE tree, and was just joking about karma and crashing trees. It could live forever as far as I'm concerned but the babies are a nightmare to control. It's just one of about fifty on my property and I had thought to do the least environmental damage - leave it standing as a wildlife tree, and also rid myself of the damaging offspring in the meantime.
I seem to have come across as an axe-murderer which was not my intention. This particular tree is a "volunteer" but happens to have rooted itself in a very inconvenient spot for someone who likes a few flower beds without a wilderness of new baby trees to deal with every couple of week.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 12:10AM
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Immediately after the tree is cut down, apply a liberal amount of concentrated Round-Up to the cambium (the living ring of cells just under the bark) which will be exposed and fresh. Paint it on, let it soak in, paint more, etc. 10 minutes of that should be sufficient and the tree & root system will expire.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 9:14AM
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I'm certainly no expert since all my gardening is done in about 5 pots on my balcony, but in my herbal class I learned that if you ring it it will die - maybe that's what girdling is. You take a 1 inch strip of bark off all the way round. That's what the electric company does to get rd of trees when people are protesting. At least you'd be leaving it up for the suirrels to live in :)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 3:03PM
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cangrow(Z7 BC Canada)

If you want to leave it as a wildlife tree, but save the risk of it crashing through your roof, you could cut it at 10 or 15 feet, leaving the top jagged.

This is what the arborist did when they were removing 'danger trees' at my worksite.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 2:54AM
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