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Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

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Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  cricket on 3/8/2014, 3:33 pm

I have an (8 inch in diameter) elm tree growing next to the septic line.  It is also along side a cement and rock pathway which would need to be removed to dig out the roots.  I need to get rid of the tree before it causes problems, however I would like to leave about 4 feet of the trunk as a corner post for a gate.  Somewhere I read if you drill deep holes in the trunk and fill them with Epsom Salt and a little water it will kill the root system.  Has anyone tried, or had success with this method?
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Re: Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  boffer on 3/8/2014, 3:41 pm

I've read that epsom salt will work.  I know from experience that either glyphosate or diesel will kill cottonwood stumps.
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Re: Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  rabbithutch on 3/8/2014, 4:59 pm

It might work, but I bet you will give up when you try to bore holes in the stump deep enough to be effective.  Elm is tough.  Green elm is difficult to drill large holes into.

Killing the roots means you will have to take the tree down anyway.  Why not just take it all the way down, grind the stump and put in a gate post.  I bet that will be less grief, all things considered.
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Re: Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  camprn on 3/8/2014, 6:22 pm


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Re: Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  walshevak on 3/8/2014, 8:23 pm

I killed a tree by mistaking Borax as boric acid to kill the ants in the roots.


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Re: Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  sanderson on 3/8/2014, 8:27 pm

My husband killed a tree by pouring rock salt in holes that he dug among the roots.
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Re: Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/9/2014, 3:08 pm

We already have problems with oil getting into the water table. Hopefully nobody uses diesel for a landscaping chemical.

Epsom salts can turn your soil alkaline, if I recall correctly. They add magnesium, which your soil may or may not need(or want). No loss if you don't care what grows there in the future. Glyphosate (round-up and its kin) are short-lived killers. Some people have killed trees just by over-compacting the soil around them -- parking their car or a big truck over the roots, for instance. Even for just a day or so.
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Re: Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  Yardslave on 3/9/2014, 4:07 pm

My neighbor's gardener killed off their 80 year old cypress with a weed eater!. He kept trimming the grass and weeds growing around the tree, close to the trunk. He wasn't paying any attention to what he was doing and girdled the tree by slicing into the bark at ground level. If you want to get rid of the tree this is a real slow way of doing it; but if a permit is needed for tree removal (like in my town), a dying tree will not elicit any objections from any tree-hugging approval committee.
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Re: Will Epsom Salt kill tree roots?

Post  cricket on 3/10/2014, 12:00 pm

Thanks for the suggestions and link info.  I am going to try Epsom salt in the trunk and the larger  roots. Also, just for good measure I think I will cut a large band of bark off the bottom of the trunk.  Hopefully this will work and I won't have to resort to tearing out the sidewalk and digging out the roots!
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