How to Use Epsom Salt to Kill Tree Stumps and Roots?

People have been using a lot of methods for getting rid of their trees. One such method includes using Epsom salt to kill a tree’s roots and sprouting stumps.

Is Epsom salt really effective and what is the correct method of using it?

You can kill a tree’s roots and its stump using Epsom salt by drilling and inserting salt into the tree. Alternatively, you can also soak the root system and tree stump with an Epsom salt-water solution. Epsom Salt works by dehydrating the root system which stops it from absorbing any nutrients.

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What Is the Difference Between Epsom Salt and Normal Salt?

A lot of people get confused between table salt, sea salt, and Epsom salt. Although both of these compounds have the word ‘salt’ in them, Epsom salt is not actually a salt.

While table salt is composed of sodium and chlorine, Epsom salt is composed of magnesium, oxygen, and sulfur. The reason why the latter is called a ‘salt’ is due to its crystalline structure which resembles table salt.

Both Epsom salt and regular salt can kill trees having anti-inflammatory properties.

How Does Epsom Salt Work on Trees?

Although Epsom Salt contains magnesium and sulfur, which are important nutrients that a tree needs for proper growth, using these in excess can also kill a tree.

Excess use of Epsom salt will dry out the area where it is applied and affect the surrounding area as well.

If it is used directly on the roots, it will completely dry them out which will stop the roots from being able to absorb any moisture and nutrients. Similarly, applying it to the stumps will completely dry them out and affect the roots in the process.

Drying out the stump brings down the rotting time to 6-7 months which would take multiple years if left to rot naturally. Once completely rotted, it will be much easier to remove the roots and the stumps.

Here are alternative methods to use for killing trees quickly.

How to Use Epsom Salt to Kill Tree Roots and Stump?

There are two most common methods of using Epsom salt to kill both tree stumps and roots.

Drilling or Chemical Injection Method

For this method, you will only need a drill.

  1. Drill holes into the stump or the roots, if you are drilling into the stump, make holes as deep as you can. It is recommended to drill at least 5-6 inches deep.
  2. Fill the holes with Epsom salt to the top.
  3. Pour water into the holes very slowly to soften the salt. This will aid in absorption.
  4. If you are performing this method in the rainy season, you might have to cover the roots and the stump with tarp so that rainwater does not dilute the salt.
  5. Repeat this process a couple of times over the next month to increase its effectiveness.

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to a drill, you can make deep gashes into the roots and the stump using an ax.

Soaking Method

For this method, make a solution of 1 part Epsom salt and 2 parts water. Epsom salt is very easily soluble.

  1. Soak the stump and the roots with this solution and cover them with a tarp.
  2. Repeat this process every couple of weeks until you notice visible dehydration.

How Long Does It Take for Epsom Salt to Effectively Kill A Tree?

Depending on the size of the tree, its stump, and the root system, Epsom salt can take anywhere from a couple of months to 6-7 months to completely dehydrate and kill the tree.

You can also accelerate this decomposition by adding some nitrogen-heavy fertilizers to the roots. Coffee grounds, chicken manure are some options.


Epsom salt can be used through injection method or drilling into the stump and the roots and filling the holes with Epsom salt. Alternatively, you can also soak the stump and its roots with an Epsom salt-water solution which will completely dehydrate them over time.

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