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5 Best Herbicides for Trees

Best Herbicides for Trees

Most recommended
Dow AgroSciencesDow AgroSciences RTU548 Tordon RTU Herbicide QT Size
  • Effective
  • Superior Results
  • Easy-to-use

A good choice too
Spectracide HG-66420 Spectracide HG-66420 Stump Remover
  • Destroys stumps
  • Use with brush killer
  • Easy to pour

A good choice too
Bonide 274Bonide 274 728639280241 Vine & Stump Killer
  • Kills vines & stumps
  • Brush-top applicator
  • Effective & Economical

Bonide BND272Bonide (BND272) - Ready to Use Stump-Out
  • Remove Old Stumps
  • Bonide Stump-Out
  • Ready to use

Scotch BrandScotch Brand Scotch 1885 LB Root Destroyer
  • Available In A 1 lb Size
  • Kills Deep Down To The Roots
  • Country Of Origin : US

Choose the Best Herbicides for Trees

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Herbicides for Trees

123 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

66.67% of users selected Dow AgroSciences, 16.26% selected Spectracide HG-66420 , 6.5% selected Bonide 274, 4.07% selected Bonide BND272 and 6.5% selected Scotch Brand. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

Whatever the cause, whether you’re about to destroy a tree or a stub, you’ll need to look through your choices to make an educated decision on the right strategy for your case. If you are worried about pesticides or if you remove a tree in an environment where you cultivate fruit or vegetables, you will want to completely remove the tree. However, if you are confident about using a chemical herbicide, a range of alternatives is available.

Below a few herbicides for trees and stumps are covered to make your choice easier. Check the individual reviews of each product and the specs in the comparison table. The buying guide will help to pick the best product in the U.S. market.

Dow AgroSciences RTU548 Tordon RTU Herbicide– the best for simple use!

Dow AgroSciences RTU548 Tordon RTU Herbicide QT SizePicloram, the main chemical in Tordon RTU herbicide, was graded as Group E – the most desirable classification available. It is “practically non-toxic” to humans, insects, and honeybees.

The formula also holds more than 20 woody types at bay. The herbicide translocates to the root structure of the tree to avoid re-sprouting.

It is extremely easy to use even if you have never applied one of such products.

  • One of the safest chemicals;
  • Ready to use straight from the bottle;
  • Apply directly to the cut;
  • Good for off-season treatment as well;
  • Recommended for non-crop and forest areas;
  • Requires a few applications;
  • Won’t cope with large and old trees;
  • Requires cutting the stumps;

The composition of the non-freeze chemicals makes the product run freely even in wintertime. The blue dye helps you to quickly keep track of the treated stumps.

Spectracide HG-66420 Stump Remover– the best for the price!

Spectracide HG-66420 Stump RemoverIf you’re on a budget but you want a good tree stump killer, this formula is really the way to go. When coupled with a brush killer and added directly to drilled cuts, this substance is extremely powerful.

What is really special in this weed killer is that it relies entirely on the stump. So, you don’t have to think about inadvertently destroying or injuring the vegetation or plants around the tree in question.

While this product is very successful, the only way to see the perfect results is if you pair this product with a brush killer. And, in order to really use this device, you need to drill holes deep into the bark and then add hot water.

You can see results in a matter of weeks to a couple of months. Plus, most people also seem to like the nozzle provided with this bottle that helps you to precisely squeeze the liquid through the drilled holes.

Tips for users: These granules accelerate the decomposition of the stump, leaving it porous. Once the bark has become brittle, it may be quickly discarded or burnt. Decomposition can take several weeks or months, based on the size of the stump.
  • Cost-effective;
  • Speeds up the decomposition of stumps;
  • No mixing is necessary;
  • Odorless;
  • Easy to pour;
  • Money-back guarantee;
  • You need to drill the holes into the bark;
  • Takes some time to act;
  • Based on potassium;

Spectracide Stump Remover Granules speeds up normal stump decomposition without destroying the underlying plants. Easy-to-use granules leave no scent and do not need mixing.

Bonide 274 728639280241 Vine & Stump Killer– the best for versatility!

Bonide 274 728639280241 Vine & Stump KillerThis substance has a range of applications, including killing stumps, vines and brushes. It’s also really simple to use with the applicator cap included, which helps you to press the gel into the bark.

The Bonide Stump-Out Stump herbicide is perfect if you have a busy property with invasive species. You can quickly add this substance to trees, brushes or stumps and clean your yard with ease.

It’s also simple to apply. It comes with its unique applicator cap that allows the formula to squirt this substance onto your tree stumps.

  • Versatile;
  • Prevent the appearance of any vegetation on stumps;
  • Easy to use;
  • Include an applicator cap;
  • Expensive;
  • The small brush;
  • Frequent application is required;
  • Not available in Vermont;

The Bonide herbicide is a concentrated vine and stump killer. It destroys vines and stumps without destroying suitable plants, prevents stumps from re-sprouting after slicing, is productive and economical, the brush-top applicator allows it simple and accurate to apply.

Bonide BND272 Chemical Stump Remover– the best for natural decomposition!

Bonide (BND272) - Ready to Use Stump-OutIn comparison to other stump removers, Bonide Stump-Out is composed of sodium metabisulfite, doesn’t contain potassium nitrate. There’s no reason to think about cutting or digging the tree stumps since this chemical remover can serve to facilitate the decomposition of tree stumps.

Built for the removal of chemical stumps, this herbicide is simple to use and healthy for your lawn or greenhouse. This substance is designed for stumps that have been seasoned for 12-18 months after being removed. A non-explosive removal would not involve the use of fire to achieve effects. However, whatever the usage of fire, the substance can kill off and deteriorate the stump.

These granules may be used on the stumps alone to improve the normal decomposition of the wood. Otherwise, as kerosene or fuel oil is pumped onto the stump while it is on, the stump will burn down to the roots.

  • Cost-effective;
  • Simple to apply;
  • No mixing is necessary;
  • No digging or chipping;
  • Natural decomposition;
  • May need up to 6 weeks to act;
  • A brush killer is not included;

A good choice to destroy every mild tree stump in your backyard – when used in combination with a brush-killer. It’s a nice option to applying potassium nitrate if you’re not comfortable about that anyway.

Scotch Brand Scotch 1885 LB Root Destroyer – the best for killing the roots!

Scotch Brand Scotch 1885 LB Root DestroyerThe Scotch Brand Root Killer is a twice-yearly application for plant and tree roots invasive to sewage pipes. After roots have absorbed ample copper sulfate, the roots will die and continue to degrade and the flow of water will increase. As roots expand, follow-up therapies may be required.

Applications may be rendered twice a year in the springtime after plant development starts, either in the late summer or early autumn, or at any moment a decreased water movement, believed to be induced by root growth, exists. The chemicals apply the biggest copper sulfate crystals accessible for longer-lasting performance.

  • Quickly kills the roots of the tree;
  • Good volume;
  • Made in the United States;
  • Can cope with large trunks and stumps;
  • Difficult to use;
  • May clog a narrow drain;

Root Killer produces copper sulfate crystals that efficiently suppress the roots of trees and plants that invade the sewage pipes. Built for trouble-free implementation and fast, high-performance results. Even, it’s much cheaper than copper pool algaecides, which typically have a 7% concentration, which is 99%.

The Buyer’s Guide

Active ingredient

Triclopyr amine along with Triclopyr ester are herbicide-type growth regulators, while glyphosate and imazapyr destroy plants by inhibiting the production of plant proteins. Aminopyralid is mostly effective in legumes such as kudzu and may not be suitable for your needs.

Dichlobenil is a water-soluble/foaming herbicide sometimes applied in foaming root killers mixed with metam sodium, a touch herbicide that is listed as dangerous. This device is used commercially for registered applicators. The use of a foaming agent improves the absorption of the root system and extends the substance such that it reaches the sewage pipe and contacts the roots inside the sewer line.

If you cut the tree to a stub and expand from the roots around it, add the herbicide specifically to the stump. The surface of the stump should be freshly cut. Then it should be fully soaked to get the chemical down into the stump to the roots. Dicamba, glyphosate, picloram, imazapyr and triclopyr are compounds used in the stump and root-killing herbicides.

Liquid vs granular herbicide

Liquid weed control. The liquid herbicide is dissolved in water and then applied with a special sprayer. Equipment may be as complex as a riding system that is calibrated to apply incredibly specific quantities of weed control or as basic as a hand-help pump or a backpack sprayer.

The more advanced equipment helps the consumer to add only the correct amount of weed control required – not too much (which would have been unnecessary and may have destroyed the grass) or too little (which might not control the weeds).

On the other side, a pump-up or backpack sprayer is affordable and readily accessible. They are less reliable, but they can still be efficient when applied correctly.

Granular products. The granules are tiny herbicide-coated balls. These chemicals are used to push spreaders, hand-held ‘whirly-bird’ spreaders or, more specifically, driven spreaders.

Although certain lawn weed control drugs are engineered to avoid weeds from developing (e.g. crabgrass killer) this guide may compare “post-emergent” lawn weed control formulas – meant to eradicate active growing weeds – such as clover and dandelions that you see developing in lawns. Post-emergent solutions must be in touch with, stick to, and absorb through the weed leaf to be successful. It is worth remembering that more robust weeds can need special products to be successful.

The tree size

  • Small trees. Simple foliar spraying will be successful in destroying the tree and its roots for small trees up to around 15 feet tall. Chemicals picked in foliar sprays must be quickly absorbed and should not be added to the roots during droughts. Triclopyr, 2,4-D, picloram and dicamba are approved for spring and early summertime, midsummer imazapyr and late summer and early fall glyphosate;
  • Medium and large trees. For medium and large trees with a size of more than 5 inches, the herbicide must penetrate the roots directly through the plant’s vascular system. The application consists of a sequence of cuts or injections down into the bark, accompanied by the immediate application of the herbicide to the cuts or gaps. The chemical is then transmitted all over the forest, destroying the tree and the roots. The compounds used in these herbicides are triclopyr, 2,4-D, picloram, and dichlorprop;

The application method:

  1. Cutting the tree’s surface. This method includes the formation of a passage across the bark such that the herbicide can be inserted through the vascular tissue of the plant. Begin by creating a sequence of downward cuts across the perimeter of the tree with an ax or a hatchet, keeping the frill (cut part of the bark) attached to the tree. Apply the chosen herbicide to the cuts immediately. Stop spring applications as the sap streaming from the wound inhibits a strong absorption.
  2. Injections. Using advanced tree injection tools to apply a particular quantity of herbicide to the tree while cutting. Treatments are successful where injections are rendered across the tree every 2 to 6 inches. Apply to the trees 1.5 inches or more in diameter at chest level for best performance. But this method requires professional assistance. 
  3. Treating the stump. After cutting a tree, the potential to grow can be reduced by quickly spraying the freshly cut surface with a weed killer to avoid sprouts. Treat just the outer 2 to 3 centimeters, including the cambium coating, of the stub on larger plants (the internal heartwood of the tree is already dead). For trees with a diameter of 3 inches or less, handle the whole cut surface.
  4. Foliar spraying. It is a popular method of using herbicides on brushes up to 15 foot long. Apply from early summer to late September, considering the option of herbicide. Treatments are least successful during hot weather and when trees are under extreme water stress.
  5. Soil treatment. Some soil solutions applied uniformly to the soil surface may transfer into the root zone of the targeted plants after sufficient rainfall or airborne moisture. Banding (also known as lacing or streaking) adds concentrated solvent to the soil in a line or band separated every 2 to 4 feet. You may use this form of program to destroy a huge number of plants.

Safety tips when using herbicides for trees

When using some form of herbicide, always use care when using it. Do not apply in windy conditions or if rain is anticipated. Keep pets and kids away from the affected region until the substance is dry. 

Use gloves so that the herbicide does not get on your hands while you spread it and wash your hands properly after usage. Often obey the instructions for the usage of the substance on the bottle.


When is the best time to use a herbicide on a tree?

The best time to use a herbicide on a tree is in the early spring, before the leaves have begun to grow. This will allow the herbicide to penetrate the bark and reach the roots of the tree, where it can be most effective.

If you have a tree that is already infested with weeds, you may need to treat it multiple times throughout the year. Always follow the instructions on the herbicide label carefully to avoid damaging your tree.

What are the benefits of using herbicides on trees?

Herbicides can provide many benefits to trees, including:

  • Killing unwanted vegetation that competes with the tree for resources
  • Allowing the tree to put more energy into growth and development
  • Helping to control pests and diseases

There are a few things to keep in mind when using herbicides on trees, however. First, it’s important to choose an herbicide that is specifically designed for use on trees. Second, be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully. And finally, always contact a professional if you have any questions or concerns about using herbicides on your trees.

What are the risks associated with using herbicides on trees?

The most common risks associated with using herbicides on trees are root damage, chemical burn, and foliage loss. Root damage can occur when the roots come into contact with the herbicide. This can kill the tree or make it more susceptible to disease and pests. Chemical burns can happen if the herbicide is applied too close to the trunk or leaves of the tree. This can cause the bark to peel off, leaves to drop off, and branches to die back. Foliage loss happens when the leaves of the tree are exposed to the herbicide. If left untreated, this will turn the leaves yellow and cause them to fall off prematurely.

Video Tutorial: How to remove tree stumps

Final thoughts 

That was the detailed guide focusing on some of the best herbicides for trees and stumps available on the U.S. market. However, never neglect the rule of thumb – use the environment-safe chemicals and carefully read the labels. Also, pay attention to the volume and application method of the picked herbicide.