How to Kill a Palm Tree: Removing Unwanted Palms

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Although palm trees are often considered a beautiful addition to a garden, they may not be as suitable for every setting.

They can provide too much shadow, preventing you from growing the flowers and vegetables you’d like.

Moreover, the fronds might collapse and inflict major damage on your property, or you could accidentally tread on one without realizing it.

It is best and most effective to cut down or dig up a palm tree while getting rid of it. Herbicides aren’t necessary for eradicating palm plants. One of the things you might need to do if you have a palm tree is get it cut down. You may do this in several ways. Here are a few options for cutting down a palm tree, along with the necessary equipment and procedures.

7 Ways To Kill A Palm Tree

Here are seven methods for eliminating palm trees and their respective root systems.

1. Injections Of Chemicals In The Trunk Of A Palm Tree

Injections Of Chemicals In The Trunk Of A Palm Tree
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You’ll need a drill of an appropriate size and a herbicide to carry out this technique for destroying palm trees.

Commercially available herbicide herbicides like glyphosate, triclopyr, and picloram come highly recommended. You can also use a saltwater solution, but it won’t work on coconut palm trees, so you’ll have to find another option.

To begin, you can drill a few holes at a downward-facing angle into the tree’s trunk’s central region, pour in the solution and let the tree absorb it. After waiting an hour or so, repeat the injection operation once more.

The palm tree, injected with chemicals, will ultimately dry up and die. You should be able to dig out the tree’s roots and uproot it from this location using common gardening tools.

2. The Girdling Method

The Girdling Method
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Palm trees may be quickly and efficiently killed by girdling. It is so powerful that it causes many unintentional tree deaths each year. But what exactly is girdling?

“Girdling” describes the process of injuring or removing the bark and cambium from a segment of a tree’s trunk. If a tree doesn’t have these cellular layers, water and nutrients can’t get up the trunk. Thus, it stops growing. Sometimes death is certain, although it may not occur for years.

When a tree is girdled on purpose, the entire outer layer of bark is usually stripped off. However, if the girdle is wrapped around the trunk even halfway, it can be fatal.

To girdle a palm tree, one needs a sharp instrument, such as a chisel, hammer, or hatchet. Choose a convenient trunk area and peel the bark back to expose the wood. Cut out a strip at least 4 inches broad for the greatest results.

Girdling the tree will kill it, but it may take some time. In addition to girdling, chemical pesticides can hasten the process.

3. Cut The Tree And Remove The Stump

Cut The Tree And Remove The Stump
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You can use the tried-and-true “cut and remove stump” method to cut a palm tree and all of its roots.

Once the tree has been cut down with a chainsaw or ax, a herbicide can cut the stump and its roots. Using a shovel, loosen the soil around the stump’s periphery and dig under it to free the roots.

This method of palm tree destruction may appear simple at first, but it requires extreme caution. We recommend hiring an expert if the palm tree is tall or huge.

4. Spraying a Foliar Herbicide

Spraying a Foliar Herbicide
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You can apply herbicide to your palm tree via a foliar spray if it is less than 10 feet tall.

To destroy a palm tree, apply one of the authorized herbicides and spray it on the leaves. However, this requires some forethought, as the solution may spread to your other plants and the surrounding area. For optimal results, use foliar herbicides in the late afternoon or early evening, with less chance of wind.

5. Hack and Squirt or Cut the Surface

Hack and Squirt or Cut the Surface
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The hack-and-squirt approach is well-titled, although it is not particularly sophisticated. Although it does take some specialized tools, this method of palm removal is successful.

An implement with a sharp edge, like a hatchet, and a chemical herbicide are needed for the hack-and-squirt method of tree removal. The tree’s bark will be sliced using a sharp instrument. We will next inject the herbicide directly into the cuts.

If you want to go inside the tree, it’s best to do it at a downward angle. Doing so may make a trough for the herbicide to be dropped into without the risk of it washing away.

To get the tree to your desired height and width, you must make many cuts around its circle. Carefully perusing the herbicide’s label can help you establish the appropriate dosage and better estimate the total number of cuts that will be required.

6. Basal Bark Treatment

Basal Bark Treatment
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A basal bark treatment will effectively kill palm plants with a diameter of fewer than 6 inches. This method involves applying a chemical pesticide diluted in oil to the tree’s foundation. The lower 15 inches of the trunk should be coated with the oil mixture once for the greatest effects.

The basal bark treatment may take many weeks to start showing results. The plant may not truly die for several more months after that.

There are benefits to treating basal bark. This feature, for example, makes it simple to cut unwanted palm trees without damaging any of the desired plants nearby. However, it is hardly the first thing that comes to me when I need to get rid of a single palm tree quickly.

7. Treating the Soil

Treating the Soil
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Some chemical herbicides penetrate the soil and attack the tree from the roots up.

In cases where you decide to eliminate not just the main trunk but also any present or potential branches, then you must use these products. However, we wouldn’t normally pick a soil-applied herbicide above the alternatives presented here unless this situation presented itself.

Herbicides sprayed into the soil must be handled carefully to avoid damaging nearby plants you want to save. Soil characteristics like pH and composition affect chemical composition. This is why we think chemical methods of palm tree management are superior.

How to Get Rid of Palm Tree Roots?

How to Get Rid of Palm Tree Roots
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After you cut down the palm tree, there are a few options for getting rid of the roots in your yard or elsewhere on your land.

The first is to acquire a shovel and pull up the roots manually. Dig a hole around the stump and cut out the roots with a hatchet or saw. Remove any leftover dirt and carefully dispose of the roots.

You may also use a stump grinder to remove the remnants of the palm tree and mulch the debris. Finally, you can stifle a plant by burying its roots with a layer of landscape fabric, cardboard, or newspapers.

The roots should be dead and simple to dig up with a shovel after a week or so. One can speed up the procedure by pouring hot water over the roots twice.

How to Get Rid of Palm Tree Shoots or Pups?

To begin with, one must use the hand-pulling method to manage the growth of palm trees if there are just a few shoots. Consistent application of this method, which initially necessitates close monitoring, has the potential to provide positive benefits over the long run.

Herbicides used before or after palm seedlings sprout can kill them. Spraying the area with a herbicide containing trifluralin or oryzalin will kill any developing shoots and stop further growth. An herbicide targeting palm trees, such as picloram or triclopyr, should be used if the sprouts have already emerged from the soil.


  • Palms may be effectively managed and removed using the same techniques used for deciduous and coniferous trees.
  • Always put your own and the environment’s safety first when devising a plan for cutting down trees.
  • You shouldn’t try to cut down a tall palm tree if there’s any possibility of it falling on you. Similarly, when applying chemicals, one must take care to reduce waste and protect desirable neighboring vegetation from contamination.


How can I get rid of a palm tree’s roots?

Using a stump grinder is one of the most efficient ways to get rid of a palm tree stump quickly. As its name implies, stump grinders reduce tree stumps to the ground. They not only remove the unsightly remnant of the tree, but they also prevent certain species from sending forth new shoots.

Can a palm tree die from vinegar?

When compared to grass, trees are more resistant to the effects of vinegar. Overspray from spraying vinegar on neighboring weeds shouldn’t harm a mature tree, even if it floats to the tree. It’s probably alright to also pour vinegar on individual weeds under the tree.

Can palm plants survive exposure to bleach?

No, bleach, when applied in concentrated form, can harm tiny trees and has a long history of use as possible weed control. However, compared to commercial herbicides like Tordon, the outcomes are less consistent or effective (picloram).

Are the roots of palm palms deep?

The roots of palm trees only go around three feet deep. One distinctive feature of this tree is that its roots spread horizontally rather than down into the soil. No tap root cans are present. The tree’s initial point of contact with the soil is its initiation zone.

Can you easily remove palm trees?

No, you should hire a tree service to remove your palm tree since its weight might cause structural damage to your home or other adjacent buildings. You can dig out the roots and keep the tree for replanting or gently cut it down with a chainsaw. Take your time to ensure the palm tree is brought down without incident.


There are various ways to kill a palm tree. If you have smaller palm trees, the foliar herbicide method is the best way to kill them. However, you can use girdling or chemical injection techniques if you have larger trees. These methods will help you make the tree die from the inside and reduce its growth. Other methods listed in this blog are also very effective in killing these long trees.

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