How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree?

How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree

When the palo verde tree becomes invasive and its beetles affect other plants, gardeners tend to get rid of it. And there can be other reasons that they want to remove it. So, if you are in the same boat, let’s not waste any time and walk you through the process of how to kill a palo verde tree

Removing barks and exposing the sapwood are the natural ways to kill a palo verde tree. And filling tree holes with herbicide and foliar spray is the quickest method to do so. Follow up on the article as you need to know which tweaks to apply and when.

How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree without Cutting Down?

If felling a palo verde tree is not an option for you, you can treat its different parts to kill it. Some of these methods require chemicals, whereas others are natural. And here are the steps to do so –

Step 1: Foliar Spray

How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree

Palo Verde foliage easily absorbs herbicides and weed killers. As a result, it transfers the toxic chemicals to the roots to kill the tree. In order to apply it, add Roundup or Broadleaf weed killer to a back sprayer. And choose a Palo Verde that is under 15 feet.

Then, spray the solution on the leaves on a clear sunny day. Or else rain can wash away the chemicals before it penetrates the foliage. If no plants or grass are available, you can repeat the step every two weeks until the leaves wilt. And in a few weeks, the roots will rot.

Step 2: Use Injection 

How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree

If you do not want herbicide to drip off the tree to the soil or nearby trees, switch to the injection method. First, you need to use ½ inch drill bit to make holes in the lower trunk in a circle. 

While drilling the holes 1.5 inches deep, make sure to downward their angles at 45-degree. In other words, the holes should face a downward angle so that they can prevent the mix from rolling down.  

Keep a 2 to 3 inches gap between each hole. Then, once you have drilled them around the circumference, pour Tordon or Roundup with tree injectors. Then, if possible, cover the small to medium-sized trees with a tarp. Gradually, the sapwood will soak up the solution and start decaying. 

Step 3: Girdling 

How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree

In order to naturally decompose the Palo Verde roots and tree, ringbarking or girdling is effective. However, you will need to be able to handle garden tools well to try the process. So, wear protective gear. Then, with a hammer and chisel, remove 4 to 8 inches of wide bark from the trunk in a circle.

Without the bark, the nutrients will not be able to flow between the different units of the tree. And the tree will starve to death. However, this is a slow process. So, if you are in a hurry, make some drills in the ring and apply herbicide every few weeks. It will speed up the root rot.

 Step 4: Hack and Squirt

This step is quite similar to girdling. But here, you need to make several deeper cuts around the lower base. So, with an ax, make downward cuts around the circumference. And leave the frills or hanging bark strips hanging.

How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree

Leaving a 2 to 3 inches gap around each slit, keep making the cuts. Make sure the white sapwood is visible with each slit. If any sap drips off, let it dry completely. Then, spray glyphosate-based herbicide into the cuts.

Once the roots and branches absorb the solution, Palo Verde starts showing symptoms of decay. 

If you are confused about the method, listen to what a professional has to say: about it:

Step 5: Basal Bark Treatment 

Basal bark treatment is one of the easiest steps to kill any tree. All you have to do is spray the bottom of the trunk with Tordon. Or, with a paintbrush, paint 12 inches bottom of the bark with glyphosate-based Tordon. Wait for the liquid to spread throughout the tree in a month or so. And due to toxicity, the rotten roots will kill the tree.

How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree

Step 6: Natural Salt 

Salt used in huge quantities can decompose the roots and kill the tree. If you have 3 to 6 months to spare, try this process. First, make some slits and holes with chisels and an ax around the trunk.

The holes should face at a downward or 45 angle. Then fill them with a salt mix. It is better to cover the trunk with a tarp or sack. This will help the salt to penetrate. 

Repeat the whole process every two weeks. Every week you will notice the tree is losing vigor. After a few months, it will die due to a lack of nutrition. 

What Is the Best Time to Kill a Palo Verde Tree?

How to Kill a Palo Verde Tree

As Palo Verde is a standing and comparatively smaller tree, it does not require much of a hassle to kill it. Nonetheless, you need to be smart enough with the herbicide application.

Because spraying chemicals during its dormant season is of no use. So, follow these guidelines below to know the ideal time to kill it –

  • During dry seasons, Palo Verde trees remain dormant. So, try to inject the bark and roots with Tordon during fall or before rainfall. 
  • After rainfall, the tree will drop its seeds during full blossom. And they can grow into new trees. So, before the flower appears, apply chemicals.
  • If you want to kill the foliage and branches and keep the roots alive, spring is the ideal season. As the sap flows upward, the herbicide will spread through the foliage and twigs. 
  • To kill the roots, apply Tordon or girdle the tree in the fall. Because during this season, sap flows downwards. So it can carry the chemicals to the roots.  

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

What Is The Best Chemical to Kill A Palo Verde Tree?

Tordon, which contains glyphosate, is very effective in terms of killing the tree with its roots. Roundup also works fine on small to mid-sized trees.

Can You Kill Palo Verde with Soil Treatment?

Yes, it is possible to poison the soil to kill the roots first. However, this method might break down the soil structure needed for other plants. 

How Many Does It Take to Kill A Palo Verde Tree?

It depends on the herbicide toxicity and use frequency. Glyphosate herbicide applied frequently will kill the tree in two to three weeks. 


Killing a palo verde plant is better with Tordon herbicide treatment. However, if you still want to know how to kill a palo verde tree without toxic chemicals, I’d recommend the girdling method!

This is because it is naturally effective to block the flow of water and nutrients required for the tree to thrive. You just need to be patient enough with the process. If other options are available, avoid poisoning the soil. Or else you cannot grow grass or other plants in it. 

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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