How To Kill A Palm Tree Fast

Potential Killers for a Palm Tree

Palm trees are a common sight in many parts of the U.S. and elsewhere. Although a beautiful and desirable plant, if the tree becomes a nuisance, you may need to find ways to remove it quickly. To efficiently kill a palm tree there is no silver bullet, but you have several options, depending on the health of the tree and where you’re located.
If you have a shorter palm tree, around 20 feet or less, some swear by physical removal as an effective way to kill a palm tree. With a well-equipped toolbox and a chainsaw, the task of removing smaller palms may be much easier than one may think. Cut off the trunk just a few inches above the ground, careful to leave as little of the root system intact as possible. The other advantage of this method is that you can dig around the root system of the tree and completely remove it.
For larger palm trees, and depending on your location, a common practice may be to hire an expert to apply a specialized chemical solution or herbicide directly to the plant. Although many chemicals are not recommended for palms, highly concentrated glyphosate is known to effectively kill palms. Glyphosate, in the form of Roundup, has been labeled safe for homeowners, but it may be restricted depending on your area. Additionally, this product presents some notable hazards when used without the proper safety gear, and proximity to sources of drinking water.
A less dangerous but equally effective way of killing a palm tree is by creating an environment for the tree in which it experiences a shortage of water or nutrients. You may begin by cutting off the water supply by cutting off its roots by a shallow trench. Additionally, you may apply mulch and cover the base of the trunk with a tarp, to prevent water and light penetration of the soil.
Other experts suggest to simply alienate the palm tree from water and sunlight in order to starve it of its energy. Alternating plastic sheets every two to three months with some limestone gravel spread underneath will help to raise the temperature of the soil warding away any moisture or additional nutrients the tree needs to survive. It is important to note that this process could take anywhere from six months to two years, and may not work with established trees.
If you are looking to kill a palm tree quickly, you should consider consulting a professional as there are many considerations to take into account such as safety, the size of the palm tree, local regulations and severity of infestation.

Cutting or Pruning the Tree

Trimming off the fronds is the most commonly used method to get rid of a palm tree. Although this won’t kill the plant, it will make it look unkempt and unattractive. Cutting off the fronds can also decrease its ability to photosynthesize which means the tree will die if not slowly very slowly. Even though pruning is an easy option, it’s not recommended if you’re looking to quickly get rid of a palm tree. Additionally, trees that are pruned will tend to become densely foliated, which could make them susceptible to insects and additional diseases.
If the palm tree is in close proximity to a building or you’re concerned about damaging the nearby foliage, professional pruners can be hired to safely remove the fronds and the leaves. Be sure to follow the pruning guidelines specific to the type of palm tree you’re looking to get rid of.

Underground Prevention

The underground removal method could be used for smaller palm trees. It can easily be done by digging out the roots by three or four feet below the ground. These roots can be up to twelve feet deep depending on the species and size of the tree. If the root system is severe then a professional could be employed to remove the root without causing damage to the nearby ground.

Aerial Removal

Aerial removal is the best way to get rid of the larger palm trees. It will require using a crane or a helicopter to lift the tree out of the ground with minimum disturbance. This method is often used in large parks and gardens as it allows for safe and quick removal of large trees while preserving the surrounding vegetation.

Chemicals as a Last Resort

Applying a specialized chemical solution or herbicide, like glyphosate, directly to the plant may be the most dangerous and controversial method to remove a palm tree. This method should only be used after all other attempts to remove a palm tree have failed or in the cases where the tree cannot be removed physically for some reason. When using this method, special precautions should be taken and local regulations must be followed.

Returning the Site to its Natural State

Once you’ve chosen the best option to get rid of the palm tree, the site should be restored to its natural condition. This means removing the debris, removing any debris and even possibly filling in the hole where the tree was located and replanting the area with native species.

Preventing Palm Trees From Reappearing

The most important step in get rid of a palm tree is to ensure that it does not reappear. This can be done by checking for and removing any remaining seeds, stumps, and roots. Stumps should be ground and a herbicide should be applied to the stump that remains. If the roots are still alive once the tree is removed, then they will have to be removed as well in order to prevent a new shoot from growing.

Additional Options for Large Infestation

When dealing with a large infestation of palm trees, there are a few additional options. One is to burn the trees. This is often used as a last resort when other options have failed and the infestation poses a threat to the public safety or to nearby vegetation.
Another option is to use a palm tree grinder. This machine is able to cut through the trunks and grind them into mulch. As with burning, this should be used as a last resort when all other options have failed and the infestation has become a danger to public safety or nearby vegetation.
Finally, some property owners opt to simply leave the palm trees in place. This may be the most cost-effective option in some cases and can be used when the infestation poses no threat to public safety or the surrounding vegetation.


Killing a palm tree is no easy task and the method used should take into account the size, species and surrounding vegetation when making a decision. It is important to remember that professional help should be consulted for if you’re dealing with larger palm trees, or an infestation of them. Furthermore, it is important to remove any remaining stump, seeds, or roots to ensure that the palm tree does not reappear. With the options above, you should be well-equipped to safely and efficiently kill a palm tree.

Anita Miles is a nature enthusiast who loves to explore the different varieties of trees around the world. She has a passion for learning more about the different types of trees and their uses in landscaping. Anita is also an advocate for protecting our natural resources and preserving our forests for generations to come.

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