How to Kill Honey Locust Trees?

How to Kill Honey Locust Trees

Honey locust tree branches and thorns grow in every direction. Also, locusts volunteer their growth, even if you do not nurture them. Hence, it leaves no room for other beneficial trees to grow. If you are in the same situation, you probably are looking for how to kill honey locust trees.

Hack and squirt is the easy method to chemically kill the tree. And for environment-friendly ways, felling and girdling will work effectively. Not sure how to carry out the methods successfully? I am here to get you covered!

Why Should You Kill Honey Locust Trees?

Sometimes, you might want to keep the unexpectedly grown honey locusts. But this hardy tree can be highly undesirable once they affect your garden and ecosystem. So, before you face these issues described below, you should kill the tree:

How to Kill Honey Locust Trees
  • Adult locusts develop sturdy and long thorns that can injure livestock and people if they accidentally hit a tree.
  • Sometimes, the thorns fall on the ground and can puncture vehicle tires.
  • Their roots spread over basements and concrete structures. It forms cracks on the surfaces. 
  • They can grow in dense thickets that can damage the chemical structure of the soil. 
  • Honey locusts compete with nearby plants for nutrients. Hence, your garden plants starve. 

How to Get Rid of Honey Locust Trees?

As honey locusts grow rapidly, you will hardly get time to pull out their saplings to kill them. And to get rid of their adult trees, these are the surefire methods you can try –

Method-1: Hack and Squirt 

Unlike the title, the hack and squirt is a no–brainer to kill the honey locusts. You just need to make a slit and apply anti-growth herbicide. Well, here is the process in detail:

  • On the lower trunk, push a knife or axe to make a half-inch-deep hack or cut. The cut should be facing a 45-degree downward angle.
  • You can slide the knife through the cut to loosen the layer of bark
  • Fill a squirt bottle with Glyphosate or Triclopyr solution. It is the best chemical to kill honey locust trees.
  • Prepare the solution as per the instructions recommended by the manufacturers. 
  • Place the nozzle of the bottle against the slit and spray the solution into the cut. 
  • Do not overspray Glyphosate or else the liquid can drip off and contaminate the ground. 
  • Wrap a plastic cover or sheet around the hack and let it be there for three to four weeks. 
  • Once the chemical reaches the roots, the roots will transfer it to all units of the honey locusts. Slowly the toxic chemical will kill the tree.

Know about this method’s effectiveness from the professionals:

Method-2: Girdling 

If you do not want to risk contaminating your yard or other plants, girdling is the natural way to get rid of the locusts. Wear protective goggles and follow the method as described:

  • Push a knife or ax in the trunk. Ensure the knife hits against the woody structure underneath the bark.
  • Move the knife in a circle to create a deep slit around the trunk. 
  • Make another deep cut below the first slit. 
  • Then, try to peel off the layer of bark between the two cuts.
  • Remove the woody structure under the bark with a knife. However, do not expose the white layer of the trunk.

After three weeks or a few months, the tree will die due to a lack of nutrients. 

Method-3: Felling 

Felling refers to cutting down the tree. As these species do not grow taller, you can easily cut them without needing a lot of space for the tree to fall. So, if you are okay with this process, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Escape Route

Escape route means the space the tree requires to fall over the ground. Also, you will need a route to leave the place once the tree starts leaning. So, remove all the obstacles around the ground. 

Step 2: Make Cuts 

In the lower base, make a deep undercut using a chainsaw. The cut should be one-fifth of the total diameter of the tree trunk. Also, it should face the direction the tree will fall. 

Go in the opposite direction of the first cut, and make another cut above the initial cut. The second cut should not be too deep. Once the tree starts leaning, leave the place using your escape route. 

Step 3: Remove the Stump 

With a shovel, dig out the soil around the tree stump. Then, try to loosen the stump using a grinding machine. If you do not have the tool, you can rent one for half a day. 

Try to remove the stump from the ground with a stump removal tool. Or you can drill holes in it and apply some rock salt. Excessive salt will kill the roots. Therefore, no shoots can grow back from the stump. 


If you are in tropical areas, you are more likely to be familiar with the adverse effects of honey locusts on your garden’s ecosystem. Because these species grow invasively in these areas. And for their successful removal, I’d suggest exploring how to kill honey locust trees while they are young. 

Even if you are not in the tropical region, wind can transplant these plants. So, determine thorny species in your garden before they become invasive.

It May Also Helpful for you: How to Kill a Poplar Tree for more article about tree removal click here

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

Is it legal to kill honey locust trees? 

If the locust tree is in public or natural areas, it is illegal to cut it without a permit. But in some localities, the regulations are not that strict. It is better to confirm the laws from local authorities. 

Can cut honey locust trees grow back?

As long as the stump and roots are healthy, they will grow suckers or sprouts. And these shoots can grow into adult trees. So, you will need to starve the roots of nutrients.

What is the best natural method to kill honey locust trees?

The effective chemical-free method to kill honey locusts is girdling. As removing a layer of bark prevents the flow of nutrients, the roots starve to death. 


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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