How to Kill Leylandii (Cupressus leylandii)

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The Leyland cypress (also called leylandii) is a fast-growing coniferous tree. It can grow to a height of 15 meters, and is commonly used for enhancing a home’s privacy.

However, owning leylandii can also cause disputes with neighbors, whose properties may be overshadowed by the plant. For that, many people want it killed. If you are one of them, here are ways on how to kill leylandii.

Using Caustic Soda

The way to do this is to leave a stump by cutting the trunk and then killing the stump by digging around the roots and slinging caustic soda into that part.

  • Remove loose limbs from the plant before falling it. Loose limbs may cause injury.
  • Have an exit plan. Exit routes should be far from the direction of the fall. Have at least two exit routes, one to the right and one to the left of the fall direction.
  • Hold a chainsaw a few inches above the trunk’s base. Hold it parallel to the ground. Do a V-shape as you cut through that part. First, cut a quarter of the way through the trunk. This is the direction where you expect the tree to fall.

Kill Leylandii

Move to the other side. Cut downwards until the end of the first cut is met. Step away to safety.

  • Since you want to kill the plant such that it will not grow again, go for the final step (if you intend to let it grow again, you’re done): killing it with caustic soda.
  • For this, prepare the solution. Mix one part caustic soda to two parts water.
  • Put the solution round the roots. Repeat this step until the stump dies.

Note: Have you heard of root “rotters”? Check them out on the internet and read reviews about them. Get one of these products. Cut the tree to about 2 inches. Make loads of holes on the stump and fill them with the “rotter”.

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Using methods without chopping it down

If not cutting the leylandii is paramount, do one of these ways. Do two or three of these if using one method at a time didn’t accomplish the goal.

  • Weed killer – Injecting a weed killer into the trunk might do the trick. Use a drill to put holes. Drill many holes. Use a 6-mm bit for this. Use a squeeze bottle for the weed killer. Protect your hands using gloves. It may take some weeks to see the strategy working. A good example of a weed killer is concentrated glyphosate.

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  • Copper sulphate – If fast killing is premium, one option to use copper sulphate. They say it is more poisonous than any weed killer.

Do the same method explained above. However, you may just drill holes on the roots rather than the trunk. Some school teachers can give copper sulfate for free.

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  • Sodium chlorate – For the same method still, you can use sodium chlorate as an alternative. They say it can kill anything and everything. Put some around the tree’s roots. However, it will also kill everything that it touches. Watch the surrounding area when pouring.

Look for the chemical in garden centers. Remember: It is SODIUM chlorate. There’s also another chemical called POTASSIUM chlorate used for terroristic acts. You’re not going to buy that unless you want the tree blown up.

  • Copper spikes – There are debates on the use of copper, but some people insist it is effective. The logic for those who use copper nails or spikes is that copper dissolves cellulose. Cellulose is the material from which plants are made. Dissolving cellulose using copper will result to cello and viscose.

The instruction is to cut a 2-inch strip around the trunk, making a full circle. Drive copper spikes going around. This ensures no re-growth as those whose who have done this swear.

Best Method to Kill Leylandii

Dig it out

The final option you have is to dig the tree out of the ground. Purchase a mattock. It looks like a pick axe and is excellent for cutting the roots of a tree near its trunk.

This requires a lot of hard work, but this one can give the best results by a mile. If you choose this approach, cut the trunk first.

The remaining part should be about 5 feet tall. That kind of height will give you a lot of leverage for the part where you will uproot the whole thing.

The Law

If this move to cut your leylandii is out of a dispute with your neighbors, you probably need to refer to the law covering keeping this tree. It’s beautiful alright, but it can truly be a nuisance.

The law says it should be less than 2 meters high, but even if your tree has already reached that height, there are other bases for complaints.

For example, the tree bars light. Also, the tree is affecting enjoyment of the complainant’s property. Keep talking to your neighbors until they agree to a more acceptable resolution, like thinning the tree instead.

Last update on 2021-10-24 at 09:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jonathan E. Bass

Graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. I am currently a gardener. I have a small garden behind my house. I love it.

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