How to kill trees (elm & maple)

msfuzzMarch 7, 2010

So I figured I'd ask around here, since everyone here is so knowledgable & helpful. :) We found out today that the trees in our front yard (which we hate anyway (the trees, not the yard)) are invading our sewer pipe and causing major havoc. My husband wants to kill them off, but we can't afford to just pay someone to come and cut them down. We've got a lot of neighborhood cats (including our own), so whatever we do can't turn the front yard into scorched earth. I thought I heard somewhere that you could bark a tree, then paint vinegar on it to kill it. Anyone heard of that? Any other suggestions? Thanks!

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david52_gw

You can ring it - just get a hatchet or machete or a hammer and wood chisel and whack the bark off down to the inner wood all around the base of the trunk - then I'd paint the lower, root bit with straight, undiluted Roundup®

That won't get rid of the roots in the sewage lines. I know they sell copper sulfate-or-something that you poor down the drain and it's supposed to kill the roots, but I have heard several horror stories about how that seeps out where the roots came in, killing more than you wanted to. And you still have to ream out the dead stuff.

And you still have a couple of dead trees standing there.

This post really wan't much help, huh.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:11PM
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msfuzz

LOL It helps, David. Thank you. I believe the product you're talking about is RootX, which we may do. We had the plumber out today to "root" the roots, so we're good on that for a bit. If we can kill the trees off, the problem should be temporarily solved. The trees aren't that big (+/- 10ft tall), so even if they're dead, it's not like they're going to fall on the house or anything crazy.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 10:53PM
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koidog(z5 CO)

We use vinegar as a weed killer and it works great! I think it works better than roundup. If you can, I would try that first.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:18AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Presuming these trees are indeed the ones in the pipe:

1. 10-ft trees invading sewer?!?!?!? Presumably they are planted in the wrong place - too near the pipe. Not their fault.

2. Such young trees in a pipe is more of an indicator of the quality of the pipe than the trees. You may have larger problems here.

3. 10' trees are tiny. You can cut them with a hand saw. Much faster death than girdling them.

4. If you kill them, you are forgoing their benefits. When you replant new trees to reap their benefits, see #s 1. and 2. above.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:43AM
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mtny(SW MT zn 3)

Dan's points are well stated...10 'is pretty managable usually....and assuming that they are species which will in fact mature at a greater size perhaps is worth having them transplanted. if they are nice enough possibly you could interest a landcaper in a partial trade for the service...
.. if access is practical, a knowledgable operator with a spade should be able to successfully achieve this. and possibly with competent line location(an essential here) sewage system could be avoided entirely unless trees are directly on top of pipe run.... and even if they are and you eradicate them you are still left with a compromised pipe which leaches because the physical damage has already occured....

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 1:04PM
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msfuzz

My husband bought this house before we started dating, and he got it because it was cheap (the previous occupants pretty much trashed it). The trees are in a HORRIBLE location, both planted (well, I don't know if they were planted, but that's where they are growing!) pretty much right over the top of where the sewer runs. My husband thinks some of the pipe is cast iron, and the plumber said some of it is also clay. So yeah, we have a problem anyway. But we're not going to be here much more than the end of this year, or at most, 1 more year from now. We can't afford (or really justify) doing thousands and thousands of dollars in sewer repair in order to just leave. And even though the trees aren't too tall, they're both fairly well established, one being 6" & one 8" in diameter or so.

Anyway, I much apprecieate everyone's input. The likely answer is that we won't do anything, and having roto-rooted this year, won't have to do it again before we leave. But if my husband gets a wild hair........LOL We have another tree in the back that needs removed so my garden gets light, so I may invest in having a service come out and remove all three, and chip them up. :)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 6:57PM
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