How To Kill A Palm Tree In 4 Steps Without Cutting It

palm tree

Palm trees are very resilient trees. They can look beautiful and majestic when they grow properly, and they can be used as attractive ornaments when they are planted strategically in different areas. Unfortunately, the palm tree can also cause a lot of damage when it grows in some parts of the home.

What You'll Need

These trees do not work well when used in a crowded community or in small properties. When planted near the home, it can damage the foundation of your house and it can also mess up the pipes below the ground. Its seeds can also clog your gutters especially if the palm tree is allowed to grow too large.

If you need to kill a palm tree, make sure that it is in your property. If you harm one that is not yours, you can be in a lot of trouble with the law. Since cutting the tree does not actually kill it, here is how you can effectively kill a palm tree without having to cut it.

What You Will Need To Prepare

1. A Cordless Drill

cordless drill

You will need to use this so you can easily drill on the trunk of the tree. You can use a hand drill or an ordinary electric drill if you do not have this tool. You can also chisel the trunk of the tree but it will take a lot of time and energy.

2. Drill Bits

drill bits

You need to buy a drill bit that is large and long enough to reach the middle part of the tree. You can use a drill bit meant for wood but it has to be strong enough to go through a live tree. You can opt for metal or concrete drill bits if you do not have the right one.

3. A Glyphosate Herbicide


you will use this to poison the tree. You can also use other herbicides especially concentrated ones if you cannot buy any glyphosate herbicide in your area.

4. Gardening Gloves

garden gloves

You will need to use this so you can protect your hands from the herbicide. You can also use work gloves so you can avoid injuries.

5. A Small Funnel


This will be used to pour the herbicide into the hole. You can use a large syringe if you do not have a funnel. Discard the funnel or the syringe after use.

6. Salt And Water Mixture

salt water

Dissolve a couple of pounds of salt in water. This will be poured on the tree’s roots so that it will dry up faster.

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How To Kill A Palm Tree Effectively

Step 1: Drilling Holes

holes on tree

Drill holes on the tree trunk using the cordless drill and the large drill bit. Make sure that the holes are angled downwards and that the drill bit is able to reach deep into the center of the tree. The holes must be drilled around the trunk of the tree in regular intervals. Make holes both in the chest and waist area.

Although you only need to reach the area below the bark, drilling deep enough towards the heart of the palm tree will allow you to kill it faster. Making a lot of holes around the tree will allow you to transport the herbicide inside the tree more effectively.

Step 2: Pour In The Herbicide


To effectively kill the tree, use a funnel and pour the herbicide down the hole. Make sure to pour enough herbicide into each hole and that the herbicide will not leak out of the holes that you made. Filling each hole will make the tree absorb it little by little until the entire system is poisoned.

Step 3: Give It A Second Dose


Most of these trees can easily absorb the herbicide in a matter of hours. Check it after half a day or so and if the holes have dried up, you can pour another dose of herbicide. You need to do this especially for very large plants. You can even give it a third dose after a few days if necessary.

Step 4: Be Patient


You need to wait for at least three weeks until the tree shows any sign of drying up. If the tree has still not died, you can give it another dose of herbicide. You can also pour a mixture of a couple of pounds of salt dissolved in water so you can kill the palm tree faster.

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Killing a palm tree must only be done if you own the tree and if you have a good reason to do it. Please contact the appropriate local government departments before doing anything to the tree so you will not have any problems with the law. You should also be very mindful when using or handling herbicides.

Killing the tree is actually more effective than cutting the tree. The tree that has been cut still has roots that can keep the tree alive and growing. By making the tree absorb an herbicide and by using salt, the palm tree will slowly die over time.

If the tree does die, you can use the tree as a wildlife habitat. You can keep it upright for birds and for other animals. But if you want to cut it, please avoid cutting it on your own especially when you have to deal with large trees. Contact a professional so you can get rid of it without causing damage or injury.

Have you ever killed a palm tree before? Tell us more about how you did it in the comment section.

Last update on 2021-01-20 at 02:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

Leave a Comment:

Kerrie says Dec. 2017

Thank you for this brilliant ‘how to’ guide. It is not an easy choice to remove these plants and not something that I would normally even consider, but, we have 8 that have grown around our perimeter and are pushing the fence over and the spines! I have been stabbed a few times now and reacted badly and am terribly concerned about our dog who loves to play amongst our plants.
I have been trying to get the fronds under control but am not prepared for the spiking spines any more.
Your guide is clear, ordered and hopefully, achieveable. If I could manage a chain saw I would try to maintain them, or some of them at least, but by hand with cutters and a hand help pruning saw, its just too dangerous and difficult.
so again, thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Kind regards and happy gardening,
Kerrie, South Australia

Carlos Rodriguez says Jan. 2018

I have my palm tree up on a rock wall that circles my backyard planters I had built. the palms were small at the time and now one of them is in danger of destroying my rock wall surface. I need to kill this tree to avoid rockwall further damage. and will create further cost.

Ellen says Feb. 2018

How can poisoning a Sabal Palm be confirmed
My beautiful sabal Palm was dead after I came back from vacation(2 weeks) is there a way to check how this could happen

Benjamin Heslop says Mar. 2018

Thanks so much!!!

Deborah says Jul. 2018

How to kill palm tree without drilling it

Sandra Sullivan says May. 2019

Saw palmetto. Native to my state, one sprouted near pipes going under foundation.

Saw palmetto’s trunk will double and triple in size over one season if large fan leaves are removed without killing the root system.

Used similar method here except removed as much of plant and base then added herbicide in a pooled area around base.

Now I’ve to keep eye and make sure it doesn’t sprout and bust my foundation as it does.

Lj says Jun. 2019

In Florida at least, plant Pothos at the base. As it grows the leaves will become 2-3 feet. It will take several years but when it reaches the top of the palm it chokes out the light to the crown and eventually it dies. Still need to have someone (professional) come cut it off in 24-30″ sections because of the weight.

awanamaker says Aug. 2019

someone/something killed 2 canary island date palms in our area. interesting thing, there are 68 of these palms in the nearby area but only our 2 affected. some say it’s a bug, but why just our 2? seems a mystery. can’t find any holes where drilling could have been done. fronds are completely dead and drooped down, but new growth is sprouting from the base. mystery

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