How to Kill a Water Oak Tree?

How to Kill a Water Oak Tree

As much as oak trees can add beauty to the yard, their acorn and leaf debris can mess up the yard. So, in case you do not want to nurture the plant any longer, it is better to kill it. And it will save you from unwanted infestation and waste. But there is a question, “How to kill a water oak tree?”

Cutting down the trunk can kill water oak naturally. And applying home or store-bought herbicide can fasten the process. For your convenience, I will discuss both methods with the necessary details!

How to Kill A Water Oak Tree Naturally: Step-by-Step Guide

If you do not want to disturb the nearby vegetation in an attempt to kill the water oak plant, natural methods are for you! It also cuts down on the oak tree removal cost. So, follow the steps doable to you –

How to Kill a Water Oak Tree?

Step 1: Apply Rock Salt Solution

Epsom or rock salt gradually kills water oak trees by absorbing the soil moisture the plant uses to thrive. To apply the salt, in 2 cups of water, add 1 cup of salt and mix the solution. 

Pour the solution or spray it around a small oak tree trunk and soil. For large water oaks, drill holes into the branches and fill the drills with the salt mixture. 

And to take off oak tree roots, drill into the exposed roots and add the mix. Within a few days, they will weaken, and with a shovel or hand, feel free to pull them out.

Around the salted area and roots, add 3 to 6 inches of mulch and water it for a few days. It will allow the solution to reach toxic levels and block potassium and magnesium from entering the tree.

As a result, the plant will decay. However, it is a slow process to transfer the solution to the roots and kill them. To clear any further doubt, watch it right away:

Step 2: Cut Down the Tree

Water oaks and their roots generally do not grow once you cut down the trunk to the stump. So, if you are good with handling a chainsaw, wear safety gloves and goggles first.

Then, make a cut or notch at the lower trunk and insert the wedge with a hammer. Keep a 3 to 4 inches gap from the first notch and create another notch to hammer in the second wedge. 

How to Kill a Water Oak Tree?

Keep cutting the trunk and fitting in the two wedges until the tree falls down. If the wedge seems way thinner than the notch, place another wedge on top of it to fit them properly.

If the process seems too confusing, make sure to watch the tutorial:

Step 3: Insert Copper Nails

Oxidized copper nails kill the growth cells of water oaks, and thus, the growing process stops. So, with a hammer, insert the nails in a circle with a half-inch gap in between. Make sure to hammer them as deeply as possible to fasten the tree decay.

How to Kill a Water Oak Tree?

In a few days, the tree starts losing its vigor. Afterward, the leaves wilt and turn pale. Once the plant dies, do not forget to remove the nails.

Step 4: Use Vinegar

Vinegar is a DIY herbicide that alters the pH level of the soil. In this way, the water oak tree does not get enough air and nutrients to grow. With an applicator, spray undiluted white vinegar on the leaves and branches.

How to Kill a Water Oak Tree?

Drill holes in the exposed roots and lower tree trunk to fill them up with the solution. Add mulch over the sprayed soil to block airflow, which will fasten the dying process. However, this may take multiple applications in a month in order to kill the tree.

How to Kill Water Oak Tree with Herbicide: 2 Easy Steps

To get rid of the whole tree faster, nothing can beat the efficacy of herbicide, especially Tordon. You can apply the chemicals on different parts as described below as per your preference:

Step 1: Apply to the Soil

If there is no grass or vegetation around the oak tree, spray the herbicide mix. Before applying it, go through the product label to dilute the solution properly. 

How to Kill a Water Oak Tree?

Water the soil regularly so that the tree roots can absorb the chemicals and transfer them to all branches faster. But how long does it take to kill an oak? Well, in a few days, the tree will stop promoting foliage and root growth.

Step 2: Spray the Foliage

In order to keep the nearby plants safe, the foliar application is a wise decision. Use a spray backpack to apply the mix to the tallest branches. And do not forget to wear safety equipment to save your skin and eyes from chemical reactions. 

How to Kill a Water Oak Tree?

Note that, for newly grown foliage and leaves, use an auxin-based solution during the spring. And if the water oak tree has pale leaves, apply roundup or enzyme-based herbicide during the late fall. These schedule-based solutions are essential for faster decaying. 

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

Can You Inject Herbicide to Kill Water Oaks?

Yes, you can inject herbicide to kill the tree. However, you must not inject the chemicals during the spring flow of internal sap that reduces herbicide affectivity. 

Which Method Is Best to Kill Water Oak Plants?

It depends on the health of the oak tree. If the plant is aged and diseased, applying natural solutions is ideal. Otherwise, herbicides are more effective in fastening the process.

Is It Safe to Apply Herbicides to Stop Oak Tree Growth?

As long as you apply the solution as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, the surrounding yard and plants are safe. But overflowing the solution can kill the grass. 


There can be many reasons for you to get rid of the water oak plant, especially if it is severely diseased. No matter what the cause is, once you know how to kill a water oak tree, you can save bucks. Because you can do it on your own without hiring professionals!

Sometimes, oak roots block the pipes of your home. In that case, I’d suggest you pour vinegar into the drains to kill the tree. 

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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