Can You Kill A Tree with Diesel?

There are a ton of methods that you can use to kill a tree, but most of them require special equipment and commercial herbicides. A lot of people also use diesel as a tree killer, but it is really effective what is the proper way of using it?

You can effectively kill trees using diesel. To do that, you can use Chemical Injection Method, Cut Surface Treatment, or cut the tree down to its stump and treat it directly with diesel. You can also add sugar to diesel in equal parts to speed up the killing process.

It has to be mentioned that many times even after killing a tree, you will still have to remove it at some point. Especially if it is located near your property. If you would like to get the job done right off the bat by a local contractor, use our form to get free estimates for tree removal, trimming, or stump removal.

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Will Diesel Kill A Tree?

Yes! Diesel has been used as an effective tree killer for quite some time. It can be used to effectively kill small and large trees and can even be used to kill sprouting stumps and entire root systems.

With some very large trees, it is recommended to add equal parts of sugar to diesel before application to increase its effectiveness.

It is also recommended to add sugar if you plan to use diesel through basal bark treatment on trees with a smaller diameter than 6 inches.

How to Kill a Tree Using Diesel?

Some of the most widely used methods for killing a tree using diesel are:

  1. Basal Bark Treament
  2. Chemical Injection method
  3. Cut surface treatment
  4. Cutting down the tree to its stump and treating it with diesel
  5. Burning the stump after treating it with diesel

Chemical Injection Method

The chemical injection method is one of the most effective methods of using diesel to kill large trees.

You will need a drill, a chainsaw, and a dripper or sprayer to deliver the diesel.

  1. Cut down the tree down to its stump using a chainsaw. This step is not mandatory, but it will make the method much more effective.
  2. If you are not cutting down the tree, drill holes into the trunk of the tree at a downward angle around the circumference.
  3. Spray or drip the diesel into these holes and let the tree completely absorb it.
  4. If you desided to cut the tree down, treat the outer circle of the stump with diesel. For increased efficency, follow steps 2 and 3 after the treatment.

That’s it, if you are applying diesel to a stump, it will die within a couple of weeks to a month. On the other hand, if you are applying it to a standing tree, it can take anywhere from a couple of months to 6 months and multiple treatments for a tree to completely die.

Cut Surface Treatment

Cut Surface treatment is very similar to the chemical injection method. The only difference is that instead of drilling holes into the trunk of the tree, make deep gashes into the trunk using an ax or a chainsaw.

Spray or apply the diesel into these gashes and let the tree completely absorb it. Repeat the process a couple of times during the following week.

Basal Bark Treatment

A lot of times diesel mixed with sugar is used for a basal bark treatment.

To carry out basal bark treatment you will need a backpack sprayer and a diesel mixed in equal proportions of sugar.

Once you have the solution, spray the bottom 1-1,5 feet of the trunk until saturated.

Basal bak treatment is only effective on trees with a diameter less than 6-7 inches. The smaller the diameter, the more effective this technique is.

Burning the Stump

Once you have cut down the tree to its stump, make a series of cuts on the stump using an ax or a chainsaw. You can also use a drill and make a series of holes into the sump.

Treat the cuts every other day for a week with diesel and let it absorb. The more diesel is absorbed, the better the stump will burn.

Once done, light the stump on fire. Wait for the stump to be completely burnt and to ensure the safety of surrounding property and trees.

Keep in mind that lighting a stump on fire should be done keeping safety in mind. Make sure that there is no wind while lighting the fire as the embers can travel long distances.

Also, make sure to check with the local authorities beforehand. Some states have banned and will ban this technique in certain areas depending on the time of the year.

How Fast Will Diesel Kill A Tree

Depending on the size of the tree, diesel can kill a tree within a couple of months, but it can also take up to a year. The method which is used to apply diesel plays an important role.

If you cut a tree down to its stump, then it will take a shorter amount of time. The number of branches and the size of the foliage also play an important role. In short, the larger the tree, the longer it will take.

How Much Diesel Do You Need to Kill A Tree?

There is no exact amount of diesel that is required to kill a tree. However, a 1-gallon diesel canister will be more than enough to get rid of a medium-sized tree, even if you have to apply the diesel cope of times over.

Can You Use Diesel to Treat Tree Stumps?

Yes! Killing stumps with diesel will take even less time when compared to killing a large, standing tree. As I have explained above, you can use any of the methods on a sprouting stump as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Sugar and Diesel mix effectively kill a tree?

Yes! A combination of equal parts sugar and diesel is actually even more effective at killing trees than diesel alone. A combination of sugar and diesel will kill the sturdiest of trees.

Can You Apply Diesel to Roots to Kill a Tree?

Yes, you can. Simply expose the live roots, drill holes or make gashes into the roots and apply diesel directly onto them.

Is Diesel Better for The Environment When Compared To Other Commercial Herbicides?

Yes, diesel is considered to be better for the environment. Especially if you are only using it to kill a couple of trees at a time.

What kills trees fast and efficiently?

There are a number of methods and herbicides to kill trees quickly. Some of the best herbicides used to kill trees and treat tree stumps would be pure Tordon RTU and Roundup. They can both be applied on trees using a variety of techniques like foliar spray, grinding, and cut surface treatment.


You can also use diesel mixed in equal parts with sugar to increase its effectiveness in killing trees. For application, you can pick Basal Bark Treatment, Chemical Injection Method, Cut Surface Treatment, or treating the stump with diesel after cutting the tree down.

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