How to get rid of an Oak tree?

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Oak Trees or Quercus are some of the most diverse tree species on the planet. They are grown in almost all of the continents and they can be divided into both evergreen and deciduous depending on the species. Oaks also produce small fruits, known as acorns. The timber of this species is one of the most useful types of wood out there.

Let’s take a look at some of the methods to kill of Oak trees and their root system.

How to Kill Oak Trees?

Some of the most popular methods for killing Oak trees are:

  • Foliar Spray
  • Cutting the tree down and treating the stump with Herbicides
  • Gridling or ring barking
  • Basal Bark treatment
  • Injecting the tree with killing chemicals
  • Cut surface treatment

If you wish to learn more about killing trees in general, give this article a read.

The best way to kill a small Oak tree

A small Quercus tree is considered to be up to 10 feet tall. Methods like Foliar Spray would usually be applicable to use on trees at this height, but because of oak trees’ nature, it is recommended that you use Girdling.

Ringbarking would be the easiest and the most efficient method for killing an Oak as the bark removal will stop the nutrient flow within the tree, eventually starving the tree.

Because Oak trees thick bark, to kill the tree using the ringbarking method, you will need a chainsaw or an ax.

  1. Once you have the tools, remove a ring of bark around the entire circumfence of the tree, about 4-8 inches wide.
  2. As an extra measure, spray concentrated tree-killing herbicide along the exposed bark. That’s especially neccesary if the tree is on the bigger side of the spectrum.

Alternatively, you can also simply cut the tree down to its stump and treat it with an herbicide to kill the root system of the tree.

See my recommended herbicides here.

The best way to kill a large Oak tree

A large Quercus can be massive, easily growing above 130 feet. For trees this big, it is recommended that you use two methods in conjunction to speed up the killing process.

Of course, if you are in a hurry you can cut the tree down and treat the stump with a herbicide. But this will be very difficult considering the size of the tree.

If you are not cutting the tree down, you can use Girdling along with Cut Surface treatment.

Girdling has to be done in the same manner as I explained above. After which, you can go ahead with the Cut Surface treatment.

  1. Using an axe, chainsaw or a hatchet, make 3-4-inch-deep gashes into the trunk of the tree, around the circumference.
  2. As soon as possible, but not later than 30 minutes of making these gashes, spray a herbicide like Glyphosate or Tordon RTU into these cuts. (Amazon affiliate link)
  3. Let the herbicide absorb and repeat the spraying process 2-4 times.

What is the best time of the year to kill a Quercus?

Depending on whether the Quercus is evergreen or deciduous, the perfect killing time would be just before the new leaves start growing on the tree. With the former, you can kill them all year round while with the latter, you should kill them just after the shedding season.

Things to consider while removing a tree on your own

Oak trees are not invasive, but they do produce small acorns which can fall on nearby land and lead to small saplings growing around it.

It is not necessary to worry as Quercus are medium growth trees and you can easily wee them out if they are small.

Quercus wood is also in demand, so if you are cutting down the tree, there are a lot of things you can do with it. From making furniture to getting whiskey barrels made out of them. Oak is also a highly rated firewood.

Should you hire a professional tree removal service?

This depends on the type and size of the tree you are dealing with. If the Quercus is small, you can manage to get it killed and removed yourself.

On the other hand, if the tree is big things can get complicated. From killing the tree to getting it cut down and transported – there are a lot of factors to consider before rolling up your sleeves.

If the tree is located in a crowded area, I always recommend hiring a tree removal service to get the job done.

If you are interested in the cost of tree removal services, take a look at this post.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you kill an Oak without cutting it down?

Yes, you can! The preferred methods for killing Oak without cutting it down would be Girdling and Cut Surface Treatment.

What are the best herbicides for killing Quercus?

Concentrated tree-killing chemicals are suitable, such as Tordon RTU, Glyphosate, amitrole, dicamba, and imazapyr will get the job done if applied correctly.

Should you kill a Quercus once the acorns have fallen down?

Yes, a great time to start the killing process of an Oak tree would be after the acorns have fallen down. As part of the killing process, try to pick as many acorns up and be mindful of any new shoots or shrubs growing in that area over the next few seasons.

Can I use Oak as firewood after cutting it down?

Oak is exceptional firewood if seasoned correctly. Not only is it suitable for outdoor campfires and cooking, but it is also suitable to use in fireplaces to burn as a heat source.


There are two easy ways to kill Oak trees – Girdling and Cut Surface treatment. Alternatively, you can simply cut the tree down and treat the stump with a herbicide called Tordon RTU.

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