Can You Use Copper Nail To Kill Tree: 4 Steps You Should Follow

A picture showing the difference between lavender and russian sage copper nail to kill tree

Depending on the species, killing trees or cutting them down is not a piece of cake. It may be necessary to utilize more than one trick to eliminate an invasive plant. 

Trees can be killed by chopping them down, but that’s not exactly stealthy. What is the effect of copper nails on a tree? When done correctly, yes, but only when done correctly. Or can you use copper nail to kill trees?

Due to their location or high cost, trees in homeowners’ yards that are unsightly or cause a mess are often difficult to cut down.  

So do copper nails kill trees? Can you use a copper nail to kill tree? The tree can be slowly poisoned and killed with copper nails, making its removal much more accessible.

Here’s all the information you need about copper’s effects on trees and how to kill a tree with copper nail. Let’s get started!

Copper Nails Kill Trees

Trees can be killed very effectively with copper nails. It may take work to achieve the desired results on an enormous tree with just copper nails. The good news is that it’s still possible if you put in the time and effort.

My favourite way to get rid of problem trees is with copper nails. It can be helpful to understand the process to achieve the best results. Trees older than 3 inches are unlikely to benefit from this treatment, but young trees with a diameter of 1 to 3 inches may benefit from it.

The Copper Nail – What Is It?

A copper alloy is used in the manufacture of these nails. Due to their corrosion resistance, copper nails are frequently used in construction. Although they cause significant damage to trees, they have one disadvantage.

What Causes Copper Nail To Kill Tree?

Multiple angles are available for copper nails to attack trees. This method gets the job done by causing physical, chemical, and biological damage.


Oxidation of copper occurs when copper is exposed to air and water. A green penny or the Statue of Liberty may be examples of oxidized copper.

People, algae, fungi, plants, and bacteria can be toxic when copper oxidizes into copper sulfate. Ingestion or contact with the eyes, not contact with the skin, will cause it to be harmful to people.

Stunts Growth Cell Functions

Branches of trees grow with the help of growth cells. It is believed that copper in the stems and branches of the tree stunts the development of these cells, preventing them from performing their primary functions.

Affects Transport

Trees’ vascular systems are particularly susceptible to copper’s toxic effects. Copper oxide in tree stems has been shown to harm the tissues that transport nutrients and water. As a result, the tree’s overall health and weight are affected as the area surrounding these tissues gets stunted.

Severe Injury To Transition Cell

Transition cells are adversely affected by copper oxides. Their surroundings become detached, and they die off. Trees are ultimately compromised and die as a result.

Damage To Leaves

It will eventually damage the leaves as the toxic copper moves through the tree. Those leaves will yellow and become white, and because there isn’t enough chlorophyll in the leaves, the tree is unable to absorb nutrients from the sunlight.

How to Kill

So the question of using copper nail to kill tree has been cleared. But now you must know how to use copper nail to kill tree. Consider the steps below.

First Step

Make a slight angle with the copper nail and hammer it into the tree’s base. Copper nails do not have a standard size, but generally, the longer and broader the nail surface, the more effective the treatment. A long nail can also penetrate deeper into the tree, causing the disease to spread more rapidly.

Second Step

The nails should be hammered about one-half inch apart around the tree. As a result, more growth cells will be damaged, as well as copper concentrations will increase in the tree. High concentrations of metal result in oxidation, which poisons the tree. Trees that are small, such as saplings, are more likely to die from a copper nail than giant trees. With time, larger trees will grow over a nail without issue, while a single nail may damage smaller trees.

Third Step

If necessary, mud the nail heads. Mud covers copper nails so that they are concealed. Due to its bright colouring, copper appears quite plainly on tree trunks. In addition to preserving a tree’s appearance, covering the nails can reduce the visual impact as it begins to die. The fact that the tree has been damaged will be hidden only partially by mud, however.

Fourth step

The nails should be removed after the tree has died. Because there are many nails, the nails may fly out and hurt someone or damage the machinery used to remove the tree.

What is Copper Sulfate, and What Does it Do to Trees?

It is possible to poison trees with copper sulfate. It can kill a tree if used in large enough quantities to prevent roots from spreading into areas where damage will result. They can be called tree-killing spikes. A root coating of copper sulfate will do a lot of damage to a tree, however, since it is highly toxic.

It’s best to drill holes in a tree first and then remove some bark. Once there is almost no more copper sulfate in the tree hole, pour it into the tree using a funnel. If you cover the hole with bark again, the tree will eventually die and wait for the poison to leak out.

How Much Time Does A Copper Nail Take to Kill a Tree?

We will look at how long it will take a nail to kill a tree once we know if we can use copper nails to kill trees. There are several factors that can cause copper nails to kill a tree. Depending on the size of the tree, the number of copper nails used, or where they were placed, you might have different times of killing a tree. Nevertheless, copper nails may kill a massive tree over a long period of time, whereas for small trees, it may take just a few weeks.

Final Thoughts 

It comes as no surprise that copper nails kill trees due to their ability to inhibit the functions of growth cells, leaves, and stems. So if you want to kill a tree slowly, you can use copper nail to kill tree. Furthermore, following the above steps will allow you to cut down a small tree within a few weeks or a big one within a few months.

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