Does Bleach Kill Tree Roots? How to Remove Roots

If you’re looking to kill tree roots, you probably have a stump you need to remove. Stumps can grow back into trees if given enough time, granted the roots are still alive, so it is essential to kill them before sprouts start growing.

How do you do that, though? There are many different methods used to kill tree roots. Some work while others don’t. Read on to find out how to kill tree roots effectively.

Does Bleach Kill Tree Roots?

Does Bleach Kill Tree Roots?

Yes and no.

Bleach can kill the roots of smaller, less mature trees to kill the plant effectively. It may not work as well on mature trees as on smaller trees. Bleach doesn’t work to kill tree roots the way that other methods do.

Bleach will work well where it is applied. It will dry out the part of the tree you use it on, but it may not do much else.

You also have to consider the bleach’s impact on surrounding plants and the soil. It can also harm animals nearby if they come into contact with it. Bleach can change the soil’s pH, making it harder for things to grow. It can also have the same effect on surrounding plants as on the tree, except it is more likely to kill them if they aren’t as strong as a tree.

What Else Doesn’t Work?

Boiling water is also unlikely to work in killing tree roots. This method is done by drilling holes into the stump and exposed roots and pouring boiling water into the holes. This method is supposed to shock the root system and stop them from working, but it is incredibly hit or miss.

How Do You Kill Tree Roots?

Does Bleach Kill Tree Roots?

There are a few methods you can use to try to kill tree roots. Always remember that tree roots can intertwine with utility lines underground, so you should always be careful when using any method to kill the roots. 

Rock salt can get the job done. Remember that rock salt can significantly harm your pets and other animals when ingested. Take any pets into account when deciding whether to use this method.

The rock salt method is similar to the boiling water method. You drill holes into the stump and any exposed roots and then fill the drilled holes with rock salt. Fill those holes with water, but don’t overfill them. Doing this will deprive the stump of moisture and kill the roots.

The salt method may also have unintended impacts on the soil, as salt can damage the soil and make it unusable. 

If you hire a professional, they can use a stump grinder. This method is a bit messy, but it should do the trick.

There is also the option of digging up the root system yourself, but this is a lot of work, and you may not even get all the roots.

You can use herbicide, but it should be a last resort. The herbicide, like bleach, can impact the surrounding plants, animals, and soil. If non-herbicide methods can effectively kill the root system, you should try those first.

In Conclusion

Many methods can kill tree roots, but bleach should not be one. Its ineffectiveness and the risk of harming other plants and animals outweigh any potential it has to work on smaller trees.

Contact an arborist if you are genuinely stuck trying to figure out how to kill unwanted roots.