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Do Copper Nails Kill Trees: [Answered & How To Do It]

TreesOpens in a new tab. are by far a nuisance and a blessing. While they can provide adequate shade in the summer to help with electrical bills, they can be detrimental in a storm. And, this is not to even mention all the time that you’ll spend raking leaves and picking up limbs during the summer and fall seasons. So, do copper nails kill trees?

Copper nails can and will kill trees, but this really depends on several different factors. It depends on the size of the tree, the size of the nail, and the placement of the nail.

Killing Trees With Copper Nails

Do Copper Nails Kill Trees

As you already know, sometimes trees can be a nuisance. When they are simply in the wrong places, they’ll damage driveways and buildings as well as block pertinent sunlight from reaching the garden during the most efficient times of the day.

And, this is not to even mention the root systems. If a root system gets into your plumbing, you are pretty much done for. You’ll have to call someone to come out, dig up the plumbing, and completely replace it.

While there are a number of methods available for eliminating trees, copper nails offer a gentler solution because there won’t be lasting damage. For instance, you can kill trees by spreading certain chemicals around the base, but you’ll likely do damage to the rest of the area as well.

You’ll kill the grass, you might destroy fences, and you’ll certainly hurt your property value. This won’t be the case when utilizing copper nails. You’ll get the desired results without the potential for long-term, lasting damage to other areas.

Step 1: Getting Started

Depending on the size of the tree that you are dealing with, you’ll want at least a 3 to 4-inch nail. Something that will reach the center of the tree where the growth structure is.

You’ll always want to make sure that the nails you are utilizing for the task are as near 100% copper as they can be. While it will probably be impossible to find nails that are all 100% copper, you should be able to find a close enough mixture to handle the task at hand.

Once you have everything in hand and ready to go, you’ll want to start at the base of the tree. Hammer in the copper nail at a slight angle with the sharp point going downwards.

Just keep in mind that longer nails also means deeper penetration, which translates into an increased chance of the tree becoming diseased.

Step 2: Continuing Onward

Unfortunately, it is going to take more than just one copper nail. In fact, you’re going to want to make an entire ring around the base of the tree, making sure that the nails are all at the same angle as the first one with an inch to an inch and a half of separation.

Doing will increase the damage that you do to the growth cells of the tree as well as increase the concentration of copper you are putting into the tree.

Just a quick note, you’ll want to leave the head of the nail accessible for late removal. Obviously, the higher the concentration, the faster the tree dies. This is because more metal increases the chances of metal oxidization, which is poison for the tree.

One nail will not kill a large tree. The tree might even grow over that nail in given time. A single copper nail might be able to do in a small sapling, but this will not be the case with larger, sturdier trees.

Step 3: Covering Your Tracks

If you own your own land or yard and have complete say-so over what goes on then you can likely skip this step. You could likely also just cut the tree down if you wanted for faster, more immediate results.

However, if you are dealing with unruly neighbors or an opposing landlord, you might not want them to know what you are doing.

If this is the case, you’ll want to immediately cover the heads of the nails with mud. Copper will show quite plainly in the trunk due to its bright color, and it’ll be a dead giveaway.

Covering the nail not only potentials hides what you’ve done, but it can prevent your yard from looking unsightly as well. A tree with a bunch of nails ringed around the base will look more like n eyesore than you’d imagine.

Step 4: Removal Of The Nails

Once the tree starts to die out, you’ll want to come back and remove the nails. This will not only, once again, hide the fact that you sabotaged the tree, but it can prevent damage from machinery that might be used to finish removing the tree.

Not only this, but these nails can fly out and damage someone. They’re under more pressure than you’d ever imagine.


So, Do Copper Nails Kill Trees? Well, The right copper nails placed abundantly in with the depth can end the life cycle of a tree. This might not always be the case, but more times than not it will cause that tree to disease.

This should only be a last resort type of deal. It would be best if you could speak with your landlord or neighbors and come to a reasonable agreement has how to deal with the tree.

However, if you own the property and want to eliminate trees, you can still take advantage of this method. It’ll obviously take longer and you might still end up having to saw or cut down certain sections of the tree, but these nails will without a doubt weaken the tree.

For more info, go here.
Why do copper nails kill trees?

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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