10 Fun and Easy Ways to Kill Your Trees and Shrubs

tree planted too deepSick of all those trees and shrubs cluttering up the yard? Enjoy buying and exterminating expensive plants? Read on my friends and find out how to kill all that pesky vegetation.

1: Plant too deep
Sure fire way to kill a plant. Some plants survive years before succumbing to this method. Eventually they will either grow girdling roots that wrap around the tree and choke it to death, or the deep roots will die due to lack of air. For added fun you can fertilize these trees every year and watch them green up in a hopeless attempt to survive.

2: Mulch deep and up to the trunk
Much the same as #1. You can do this yourself or have your landscaper do it for you. Ah ha you say, but mulch is good isn’t it? Correct my friend, it is, when kept away from the trunk and not more than 3-4” deep, so be sure to get it deep and touching the trunk and the tree will suffer and die just like in method #1.

3: Bury the roots
If you are the unhappy homeowner who inherited properly planted and mulched trees and don’t want to spend the money on mulch. Then just pile up soil around the roots, or if you are lazy you can just let all the grass clippings and stuff collect around the trunk.
(Here are some nice pictures and instructions on how to accomplish 1-3.)

4: Water frequently
After a newly planted tree is established, keep watering it daily so you can rot out the roots. If you like to throw away money you can hire someone to wrap far too many irrigation lines around a plant and set the system to water all the time. Be careful because there are competent people who will install and set irrigation correctly, so make sure you hire someone incompetent and don’t ask any questions.

5: Fertilize randomly
Again you say, but fertilizer is good no? Well yes for the most part but trees seldom if ever need fertilizer, and no plant other than annuals should be fertilized for one full growing season after planting. So if your trees and shrubs look sick go ahead and throw fertilizer at them and if you are lucky they will have been suffering from a condition such as an insect or disease that gets worse if you do. This is a method that can quickly kill a plant so if you are interested in watching your plants die slowly try methods #1-3.

6: Disturb the roots
There are many methods of root disturbance. Laying a driveway, digging a trench, or grading all work well. This death can be slow or fast so if you’re into a little mystery be sure to give this a try. With careful preparation and methods, many construction projects can be done around plants without killing them, so be sure to just wing it. Remember that the majority of a trees feeding roots are shallow and extend to or past the edge of the leaves, so even some light grading in these areas can be all it takes to wipe out a tree.

7: Girdle
This is a very popular and easy method. All you need to do for a newly planted tree that has been staked is nothing. Just sit back and watch as the strapping chokes the life out of your plant when trunk grows. Many landscapers will come and take down the stakes after the tree can support itself so be vigilant and keep an old shoe or something by the window to throw at them to scare them off. You can also tie a dog chain or something around the trunk and wait.

8: Compact the soil
An occasional car parked for a day or two or driven over a trees roots should not bother it at all. To properly compact the soil frequently park or drive equipment on the root areas. Even constant foot traffic can accomplish good soil compaction.

9: Other planting methods
Plants that come in pots are easy to kill, just plant them and the chances of survival are slim. If you break up the roots by cutting down the sides and the bottom, plant them at the right depth, don’t fertilize or pile mulch on top of them most plants quickly become established and get harder to kill. Balled and burlapped plants are much the same. Though they have not grown in pots, the machinery that digs them squashes the roots together and piles soil up around the trunk. So again just plant them and most of the time they will die without any further help. Be careful not to spread out the roots or remove any extra soil from around the trunk. Keep them in the wire basket or burlap and your chances of a good killing are greatly increased. If you screw up and they look like they will live cover them with a big pile of mulch and fertilize them.

10: Weed whack right up to the trunk
Sure, simple and easy especially for smaller plants. Weed whackers quickly girdle trees by cutting through the bark.

Remember most plants left to their own devices will grow and thrive. So unless you do something, before you know it your landscape will be over run with thriving trees and shrubs.

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