If you use Tordon to kill a tree or a tree stump, you risk killing nearby trees. Tordon can move from tree-to-tree underground, if the roots of the two trees are close together in the soil. Once Tordon spreads to another tree through the roots, it begins killing the new tree. If the tree you’re trying to kill is planted close to other trees, use a Glyphosate product, like Roundup, as a tree killer instead.
Why Does Tordon Kill Nearby Trees?
Tordon is a systemic herbicide that spreads to the roots of treated trees. From there, Tordon leaches into the soil around the roots. Once Tordon infects the soil of your tree’s root zone, it will attack any other trees with roots in the same area.
- When Tordon enters the tree, it migrates to the roots.
- Once Tordon is in the roots, it will attack other root systems underground.
- Tordon only kills trees, shrubs, and vines.
It’s important to know that most tree species have root systems that spread even wider than their branches. Because of this, Tordon can infiltrate the soil in a large area. Tordon will attack almost any species of woody plant in the area, including ivy, bushes, and trees. However, grass and non-woody plants won’t be harmed.
How Can You Tell if Tordon Will Kill Surrounding Trees?
To check if nearby trees will be killed, measure the diameter of the tree or stump you plan to treat with Tordon. For every inch of trunk diameter, the root diameter increases by three feet. So, a 1-inch thick tree stump has a root system that is three feet wide (with the stump at the center). A tree that is 12 inches thick has a root spread of about 36 feet. That’s a pretty large area that can potentially become infected with Tordon.
- Measure the diameter of your tree’s trunk or stump.
- For every 1 inch of trunk diameter, your tree has 3 feet of root diameter.
- Remember, roots spread in every direction from the tree’s base.
Divide the root diameter in half to find the distance the roots extend from the trunk in every direction. So, a 12-inch trunk diameter means the roots have a diameter of 36 feet. When we divide this number by two, we find that the roots extend 18 feet from the trunk in all directions. Any trees or shrubs growing in this area can be poisoned by Tordon that passes from the treated tree to the secondary tree.
What Can You Use Instead of Tordon?
Roundup is my favorite alternative for Tordon when it comes to killing trees and stumps. Why? Because it won’t infect nearby trees, no matter how close they’re planted. For more information, I created a guide comparing Tordon vs. Roundup for killing trees that focuses on when to use each solution.
- Roundup is a great tree killer.
- You won’t harm nearby trees when you use Roundup.
- You can apply Roundup to trees similar to how you would use Tordon.
Tordon and Roundup can be used similarly to kill trees and tree stumps. Our guide on how to kill a tree without cutting it down contains several methods for killing trees with either Tordon or Roundup.
Will Rain Wash Away Tordon?
Rain and irrigation can help dilute Tordon in the soil, but it may not be enough to fully wash it away. Usually, Tordon takes 90 days to break down enough that it is no longer harmful to trees. A few storms aren’t enough to wash away this herbicide.
- Rain won’t wash away Tordon.
- Tordon stays active in soil for 90 days.
- Don’t plant new trees if you’ve used Tordon in the area recently.
An area treated with Tordon should be treated as a danger zone for woody plants for at least 90 days. If you’ve treated trees in the area with Tordon, do not plant any new trees, bushes, or vines until 90 days after the last Tordon application. This will prevent new plants from being killed.
Can Tordon be Sprayed on Leaves?
You can use Tordon as a leaf spray to kill trees, but it is usually not a good choice. First, it takes a lot more Tordon to kill a tree if you spray the leaves, so it will be more expensive to use this method. Second, the wind can carry Tordon overspray to nearby trees and harm them. Finally, even if you spray the leaves, Tordon will still travel to the roots and infiltrate the soil.
- You can spray leaves with Tordon but this is not recommended.
- It is more expensive to use Tordon as a leaf spray.
- Tordon overspray can travel to other trees and harm them.
Although Tordon is used as a foliar spray in some situations, these are not common. Using Tordon as a spray has the same dangers as other treatment methods, but is usually more costly and less effective.
What are the Dangers of Tordon?
Tordon is most dangerous when used near water sources. It can easily leach out of soil and into ponds, streams, and drainage ditches. From there, it can kill aquatic plants and animals. So, it is best to never use Tordon to kill trees or brush near water.
- Water contamination.
- Unintended death of nearby woody plants.
- Wear PPE to prevent inhaling or ingesting Tordon.
In order to stay safe when applying Tordon wear gloves and breath protection. Avoid touching or inhaling the Tordon compound. Once you’re done using Tordon, thoroughly wash your hands before eating or drinking. This will prevent you from ingesting any of the herbicide.
Will Tordon Kill Nearby Plants?
Tordon is a powerful tree killer with one big drawback—it can harm other plants. Here are the facts:
- Tordon can kill nearby trees, bushes, and vines.
- Once you treat a tree with Tordon, the herbicide travels to the roots and seeps into the soil.
- Tordon can then be absorbed by other plant roots in the area.
- Tree roots can spread much farther than their branches, so Tordon can affect a wide area.
- To avoid killing desirable trees with Tordon, use Roundup instead.
Tordon is excellent for killing isolated trees, or in areas where you want to kill several trees. However, if your pest tree is growing near trees you want to keep, do not use Tordon for the job.