Monday, October 5, 2015

Will Epsom salt kill an unwanted tree trunk?

Photo of Epsom salt crystals

Q. Will Epsom salt kill an unwanted tree trunk and keep it from re-sprouting? I was told it will.

A. You were told correctly. Epsom salt does this by drying out plant tissue. If you use enough, it will dry out the tree stump and kill it.

With a ½ inch or larger spade drill bit, drill holes at least 4” deep at 4” intervals into the top of the stump. Pack the holes with dry Epsom salt. Moisten the salt in the holes, being careful not to wash any out. Cover the stump with plastic, anchoring it down with a few bricks. In due time, the stumps will dry and rot.

The advantages of using Epsom salt are that it is inexpensive, natural, and arguably "eco-friendly." The disadvantage is that enough run-off can damage nearby plants, too. Use carefully.

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