How to get rid of Orange Trees?

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Orange or Citrus x Sinensis (commonly known as citrus) belongs to the Rutaceae family of trees, native to eastern regions of India and western China. They are one of the most cultivated fruit trees in the world, with Brazil being the largest producer. They are divided into two major varieties, sweet orange, and bitter orange. Orange trees are considered to be small trees, rarely growing more than 30 feet tall.

Let’s take a look at how to kill Orange trees and their root system.

How to Kill Orange Trees?

Some of the most popular methods for killing Citrus x Sinensis are:

  1. Foliar Spray
  2. Cutting the tree down and treating the stump with Herbicides
  3. Gridling or ring barking
  4. Basal Bark treatment
  5. Injecting the tree with killing chemicals
  6. Cut surface treatment

All of the above methods have their own pros and cons, if you want to learn more about them, make sure to check my other article about killing trees.

The best way to kill a small Orange tree

Some small Orange trees only grow up to 15 feet tall. 

The first option is to simply cut down the tree using a chainsaw or an ax and treat the stump with a herbicide like Tordon RTU, Relegate, etc. Using a herbicide will ensure that the root system of the orange tree will die as well. (Follow the steps in this post)

Cutting down a small tree should not be an issue and you can get it done without any professional help.

If you don’t want to cut down the tree, there are some alternative methods you can go for.

Basal Bark Treatment

This method should only be used if the diameter of the trunk is less than 6-7 inches.

Make sure you are wearing protective gear while spraying the chemicals including glasses and a PPE suit.

For this method, you will need a sprayer for spraying the chemical, a strong herbicide, and an oil-based solvent.

Ideally, you should choose herbicides that contain Trycloper or Trycloper Ester as the main chemical or look for Imazapyr-based herbicides. For example, Triclopyr from Amazon is a great option. (Affiliate link)

The solvent to mix the herbicide in would be diesel, basal oil, fuel oil, or kerosene.

The ideal proportion for mixing should be 1 part herbicide and 4-part solvent, so about 20-25% concentration.

Some types of herbicides in the market can directly be used for this method without needing to mix with anything like ‘Pathfinder II’, but they are not available to the consumer market in every state, furthermore, they tend to be more expensive.

  1. Once you have the solution, spray the bottom 20 inches of the Citrus tree with this solution and let it dry out.
  2. Repeat this process again for better absorption.
  3. Make sure that the tree is not wet while performing this technique as the chemicals can be hydrophobic, which means they will not be absorbed as effectively.

Foliar Spray

For this method, you will need a backpack sprayer and a herbicide to go along with it.

Make sure there is no wind during this as the herbicide can get carried away. The leaves of the tree should be dry before spraying the chemicals to maximize absorption.

  1. Use an effective herbicide like Roundup, Triclopyr or Ortho, which you can find here.
  2. Spray the foliage or the leaves of the Citrus tree with the herbicide.
  3. After every other day, repeat the spraying process for a week.
  4. The herbicide will be absorbed by the leaves and transported to the roots, effectively killing the tree within few months.

The best way to kill a large Orange tree

A citrus tree doesn’t usually grow more than 30-35 feet tall.

Other than cutting down the tree, you can use Ringbarking or Chemical Injection method.


Ringbarking would be the easiest and the most efficient method for killing a large Citrus x Sinensis as it will stop the nutrient flow within the tree. Because of the limited nutrient flow, the tree will eventually die.

  1. You will need to either get a hatchet, hammer and chisel or chainsaw for this method.
  2. Remove a ring of bark around the entire tree, about 4-8 inches wide.
  3. For extra measure, spray strong herbicide along the exposed bark. Tordon RTU would be a good option.

Chemical Injection

  1. You will need a drill and a herbicide for this method.
  2. Drill holes, 2-3 inches deep along the circumference of the Citrus x Sinsensis, about 2-3 feet above the ground. Make the angle of the holes downward.
  3. Inject a strong concentrated herbicide like Roundup or Tordon RTU into the holes and let it absorb.
  • After about an hour, inject more herbicide into these holes to increase the efficiency of this method.

What’s the best time to kill Orange tree?

The best time to kill a Citrus x Sinensis is during early to late Autumn. They start producing flowers during the beginning of winter which means that the tree will have the highest nutrient demand during this time.

Alternatively, you can also kill them right after the fruiting season. As a bonus, you can enjoy one last fruiting from the tree.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you kill an Orange tree without cutting it down?

Yes, the preferred method for doing so would-be Basal Bark treatment and Foliar Spray technique for the smaller trees and Ringbarking and chemical injection for larger orange trees.

Can you use Copper Nails to kill Citrus x Sinensis?

Yes, copper nails can be used to kill Orange trees by hammering the nails into the trunk. Depending on the size of the tree, you might need anywhere from 5 to 15 copper nails to get the job done.

Can orange trees be killed using bleach?

Although bleach can be used to harm the leaves and bark of trees, it can only kill small plants. Bleach can be used to kill small saplings or shrubs of Orange trees but it won’t be as effective as herbicides.


A small Orange or Citrus tree can be killed using Basal Bark Treatment and Foliar Spray method. For a bigger tree, you can use Ringbarking and Chemical Injection method. Alternatively, you can simply cut the tree down and treat the stump with a herbicide.

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