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Again and again one reads about alternatives to felling unwanted trees. But what about the legal side? Is chlorine allowed to kill a tree?

In a nutshell

  • The use of chlorine products as plant killers is generally not permitted
  • In addition to damaging the tree, chlorides also damage the soil, other plants and soil dwellers
  • In principle, the following applies: You must not simply cut down every tree or let it die

How do chlorine compounds work?

In principle, chlorine in a wide variety of organic components is absolutely essential for many growth processes in plants. On the other hand, it becomes critical as soon as the required or at least tolerable dose of chlorine is exceeded, for example to cause a tree to die. Then, sooner or later, the following disorders of the plant organism occur:

  • reduced formation of organic acids
  • disturbed synthesis of sugar, starch and protein
  • accumulation of water in the tissue
  • generally disturbed water and electrolyte balance
  • reduced growth performance and hardiness

Notice: Which chlorine concentration is critical depends on the individual plant or tree species. Some species are very fond of chlorine, others are much more sensitive.

Allowed or forbidden?

Regardless of why you add chlorine to the soil, there are strict limits under the Federal Soil Protection Act. It may only be poured or used in other ways when diluted with water up to a maximum content of 0.05 milligrams per liter. For your plan to kill a tree with chlorine, this clearly means: Since the dose required to kill a tree is much higher, the use of the substance with the chemical formula Cl for this purpose is clearly prohibited.

If you absolutely want to let a tree die, then for the sake of the environment, please use another means!

Use chlorine - injections & Co.

In addition to watering with chlorine solution, other methods of administration to the tree are available, most notably injection. However, you should also exercise caution here because:

  • Chlorides can only be absorbed very slowly by the tree substance
  • Parts of the substance from the injection site have a high probability of ending up in the ground
  • in this case, the upper limits described apply again

In addition, a single injection of chlorine is hardly enough to kill an entire tree. As a result, the danger of penetrating the ground increases with each puncture.

Notice: Due to the close contact with chlorine compounds, there is also a risk of chemical burns on the skin or mucous membranes. Both direct contact and vapors from highly dosed chlorine solutions are therefore a real hazard for the user.

frequently asked Questions

Do felling bans also apply to killing?

In principle, the legal ban on felling applies to any way of removing a tree. In practice, however, it is rather difficult to time the lengthy process using chlorine or other substances so precisely.

Can the use of chlorine be identified as the cause of death in a tree?

Although forbidden, chlorine is still used to kill a tree. In the long term, the highly volatile substance can no longer be detected. However, if a high-dose chlorine solution is used, chemical burns can still be seen on the wood or the bark for a long time.

How effective is chlorine anyway?

Depending on the dosage, chlorine preparations are quite capable of killing even a strong and large tree. Often, however, complete success is not achieved, so that the plant sprout again after the winter or at least individual shoots remain alive.

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