Whether you’re killing weeds that sprout in the nooks and crannies of tree roots or getting rid of tree suckers growing up from roots, it’s best to remove them by hand.
- Hand pull weeds growing up among tree roots.
- Use pruning shears to clip tree suckers sprouting from roots.
- Avoid using chemical herbicides and homemade weed killers, as these can damage trees.
Trees can be damaged by many types of weed killers, from commercial options like Roundup and 2,4-D, to homemade vinegar and salt mixtures. It’s best to avoid these when killing weeds if you want to preserve the health of your trees.
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How Do You Kill Weeds Without Killing Trees?
The key to eliminating those stubborn weeds and crabgrass tufts from the base of trees without harming your trees is to avoid chemicals altogether. This may sound like a lot of work, but the hand-weeding method will get rid of ugly weeds that steal water and nutrients your trees need. Additionally, by skipping chemicals, you prevent damage to your tree.
How to Kill Weeds Growing Near Tree Roots
Leave all your weed killers on the shelf, including so-called “natural” weed-killing remedies like vinegar and salt. All of these can potentially damage trees, especially young trees. To get rid of weeds or any other invasive plant without harming tree roots, do the following:
- Hand pull to remove weeds growing near roots and the base of trees.
- Use this weeding tool to carefully remove weeds without harming tree roots.
- If possible, use a string trimmer or mower to cut back weeds. Be careful to make sure tree trunks and roots are not damaged by landscape equipment.
Exposed roots and tree bark will soak up weed killers, be burned by acidic compounds like vinegar, and can even be harmed by boiling water. The best way to keep trees safe is to remove the weeds growing near tree roots by hand.
How to Remove Tree Root Suckers
Many species of trees send sprouts up from their roots. These small sprouts—called suckers—will steal nutrients from the main tree, as well as cause tree growth in parts of your yard where you don’t want it. To get rid of suckers:
- Use pruning shears to clip the sucker off where it sprouts from the root or base of the tree trunk.
- If the sprouting point is underground, clip the sucker off at ground level.
- If the wound where the sucker was cut off is exposed to air, cover it with this pruning seal.
If you don’t have a pruning seal available, standard school glue is effective at sealing small wounds from tree pruning. It’s essential to remove suckers by pruning. Attempting to pull them up could damage tree roots. Also, avoid chemical use. Any chemicals applied to suckers will travel back to the parent tree.
Will Roundup Hurt Trees?
Roundup is potentially deadly to trees. The main active ingredient in Roundup is Glyphosate, which is a non-selective weed killer. This means it attacks all types of plants: grasses, weeds, flowers, and trees.
- Roundup contains Glyphosate, which attacks trees.
- Glyphosate can enter a tree’s system from contact with leaves, bark, or exposed roots.
- Roundup may kill a tree slowly—if it enters the bark it can weaken the tree, causing it to die during winter dormancy.
- Young trees are at higher risk than large, mature trees. Do not spray Roundup on tree suckers growing from roots. The chemical may be carried back to the parent tree.
Avoid spraying Roundup in any area where the spray may come in contact with trees you wish to keep alive. Additionally, be careful to spray Roundup on wind-free days, to prevent overspray from being carried onto trees.
How Do You Kill Weeds in Tree Roots?
It’s essential to avoid herbicides and homemade weed killers when killing weeds growing in tree roots. Anything that kills weeds can also damage your tree. Instead, remove weeds by hand, down to the root. By removing weeds this way, you keep your tree from harm.
It’s important to keep weeds out of tree roots because weeds are moisture and nutrient thieves. They steal the water and fertilizer that your tree needs to thrive. Carefully and quickly kill weeds with old-fashioned hand removal.