How to Dry Tree Trunk?

How to Dry Tree Trunk

Drying out tree trunks helps remove them without any heavy tools or professional help. So, if your property has such trunks that you want to get rid of or preserve, ensure to dry them. But how to dry tree trunk?

Natural ingredients such as rock and Epsom salt can absorb the moisture from the trunks and leave them to dry. Also, some herbicide solution reduces the drying time. However, as these products can affect the nearby plants, I will explore the alternative method along with these processes. Stay connected!

How to Dry a Tree Trunk: Step-by-Step Process

How to Dry Tree Trunk

If you do not have any young plants around the trunk, you can try out the steps below. These methods are easy to follow and do not cost much. So let’s get started –

Step 1: Spread Rock Salt 

How to Dry Tree Trunk

Drill holes in the trunk in a circle with gaps in between. Make a solution with a 1:3 rock salt and water ratio. And add the liquid into a tree injector. With the syringe or backpack sprayer, pour the salt into the drills. 

Step 2: Pour Hot Water and Add Mulch

To help the trunk absorb the salt, pour hot water over it. Then, the sodium chloride in the solution will prevent the roots from accessing any moisture. As a result, the trunk will dry eventually.

How to Dry Tree Trunk

Add a thick layer of mulch over the trunk so that the solution does not dry away quickly without absorbing the moisture from the tree trunk. 

Step 3: Use Epsom Salt and Herbicides

To fasten the decaying process of the roots to dry the trunk, use Epsom salt solution as well. Apply 100% Epsom and water mix to the holes.

How to Dry Tree Trunk

And apply glyphosate or triclopyr-based herbicides over them. Cover the stump with mulch, and in a few weeks, the trunk will dry completely. 

How to Dry Tree Trunk without Chemicals?

The extreme salt in the soil can make it difficult for other plant roots in the yard to reach available nutrients. Also, the chemicals can be harmful to the skin and your pets. So, switch to these alternative drying methods –

Step 1:  Prepare the Trunk

How to Dry Tree Trunk

Wear safety goggles and gloves and drill ten inches-deep holes in the trunk. Keep an inch of gap between each hole. Then, remove the dirt and debris from the drills.

Pour kerosene into each of them or add potassium nitrate with a plastic scoop. Fill the drills with hot water so that the solution can penetrate the trunk.

Note that do not burn any tree that contains toxic chemicals in it. Otherwise, their fumes can cause health hazards. So, avoid burning poisonous tree trunks

If possible contact an arborist to know whether the stump is poisonous or not. Or you can take pictures of the stump to research online about its characteristics. 

Step 2: Ignite the Trunk

How to Dry Tree Trunk

Place dry straws, leaves, and scrap wood over the trunk in a cone shape. Light the kindlings and let the wood and trunk catch fire. It may take one hour for the trunk to ignite. If necessary add more twigs and charcoal to the kindlings to start smoldering.

Choose the right chemicals to ignite the fire. Try not to add the quickly flammable solution. Because if the trunk burns faster rather than burning gradually, the moisture will not dry.  

Before starting the fire, go through the weather forecast. If there is no chance of heavy wind, rain, or storm, only then go on to ignite the stump.

Step 3: Check the Fire

Keep observing the fire so that nearby plants cannot catch fire. With a stick, keep rearranging the kindlings to keep the fire burning slowly. Also, with a garden hose, wet the ground around the fire. It will prevent the other underground root systems from burning. 

If possible, place a metal drum around the trunk to keep the fire burning until the stump dries completely. You can follow the tips in this tutorial:

Step 4:  Put Out the Fire

After a few hours or a day, put out the fire with dry sand. Then, with the assistance of a shovel, pull out the exposed roots around the trunk. It will aid in removing the tree stump without heavy force. Once you remove the dried trunk, leave it in direct sunlight for a day to remove any moisture left. 

Step 5: Cover the Trunk

Take a tarp to cover the trunk to block direct sunlight. Without sunrays, the trunk will decay and dry faster. Also, avoid watering around the tarp and stump.

If you have to water the nearby plants, make a drainage system that will drain the water before it reaches the trunk. In 3 to 6 months the trunk will dry. 

Step 6: Prune the Sprouts

Sometimes water sprouts or suckers can grow from a dead or diseased tree trunk. And these stems can absorb water. So, to keep the trunk dry, prune the sprouts frequently. 

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

Is It Legal to Burn Tree Trunks?

Sometimes, fire departments declare a fire ban. So, it is better to contact the local fire authority to confirm whether any ban is in effect or not. 

How Many Days Does It Take for A Tree Trunk to Dry?

It depends on the drying methods. Using salt solution takes from a few weeks to months to dry off the moisture. And burning the trunk takes a few days to dry it. 

Will control–burning the trunk damage nearby root systems?

If you follow the guidelines for control–burning, it will not affect other plants. However, removing too much soil around the tree and keeping flammable objects near can burn the surrounding roots. 


Once you get familiar with how to dry tree trunk with and without chemicals, you will not have to spend bucks on professional trunk grinders. After the trunk dries, I’d highly suggest immediately removing and disposing of it. Or else insects can infest the trunk and damage the nearby plants. 

Also, if you want to preserve the dried wood, do not forget to scrape off the bark and apply a wood stabilizer. And while burn-drying the trunk, try not to keep it burning for more than a few days.  

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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