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Trees are often seen as the showpiece of any garden. But they are not always in the right place or actually please in the long run. Is it permissible to “gently” kill a tree with vinegar?

In a nutshell

  • Killing trees with acetic acid is possible
  • lengthy process with an uncertain outcome
  • Vinegar essence not only damages the tree itself, but also the soil and all its inhabitants
  • Regardless of the method, trees may only be removed under certain conditions
  • not prohibited in principle, but inform yourself beforehand about local legal regulations

Kill tree with vinegar

Before the question of admissibility, the much more fundamental question often arises as to how the killing of trees with vinegar essence actually takes place. Poured onto the soil in the root area, the substance is absorbed through the roots and causes the following within the organism:

  • Lowering the pH
  • Change in osmotic pressure in cells
  • Disturbance of water and electrolyte balance
  • Desiccation and death of cells, leaves, shoots and ultimately the entire tree

Notice: The same applies here: the dose makes the poison. Small changes in the pH value also occur again and again in nature and are easily coped with by strong trees.

Vinegar application allowed?

Even if you turn to the question of whether killing with acetic acid is permissible or not, in many cases you will come to a point where the choice of method is initially immaterial. Instead, situations that are set out as follows, for example, also apply to vinegar:

  • municipal tree protection statutes with felling bans from a certain trunk diameter
  • Prohibitions under nature conservation law to fell inhabited trees
  • Prohibitions at felling times
  • Cutting bans in nature reserves, bird sanctuaries or natural monuments
Although often recommended as a home remedy for weed control, it is better to avoid using vinegar there due to the environmentally harmful side effects.

In addition, there may be specific bans on the use of vinegar essence, especially when doing so

  • high-quality soils are acidified and destroyed
  • protected animals or plants are also affected

In summary, it can be said that the use of vinegar to kill trees is not strictly prohibited. However, by using this supposedly gentle variant, one fulfills prohibition criteria much more quickly than would be the case with felling alone.

frequently asked Questions

What is the advantage of letting it die over cutting it down?

For you as a user, there is ultimately no reason why the use of killing substances appears to be clearly advantageous over felling. On the contrary. Due to the lengthy process with a sometimes uncertain outcome, success is questionable, whereas felling results in immediate results. Since this step is also only allowed outside of the breeding season etc., the common argument in favor of killing - the time for residents to escape - also seems only weakly viable.

Can you tell if a tree has died from using vinegar?

Directly on the actual tree, it is difficult to determine why the supply of the plant was causally disturbed. Since the lawn, surrounding plants and even soil dwellers in the root area are also affected when watering, the use of an acid can be clearly identified. Since only the immediate casting area is affected, deliberate action is obvious.

How safe is acetic acid to use?

If you resort to vinegar essence to kill trees, success is uncertain. Because different tree species do very well with acidic soils. In addition, severe dilution occurs due to soil moisture and rain, so that many plants are weakened but not permanently damaged.

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