How to Kill a Japanese Cherry Flowering Tree

Updated February 21, 2017

According to Mississippi State University, some gardeners rank flowering Japanese cherry trees such as the Yoshino cherry as among the world's best flowering cherry trees. But like many fruit trees, the Japanese flowering cherry is a softwood tree with a limited lifespan. Over time, misshapen, broken or damaged trees can become an eyesore in your lawn. Cutting down a cherry tree may not be the end of the tree. The tree may produce new seedlings from the roots or the stump. Instead, kill the cherry tree permanently prior to cutting it down.

Chip a ring into the bark of a Japanese cherry tree around the trunk, at a height of 3 feet using an axe. The ring should be at least 2 inches deep and 2 inches wide. This ring should interrupt the tree's vascular system, which is located in the bark.

Chip a second ring into the trunk 3 inches higher than the first ring.

Spray the rings with a systemic herbicide such as glyphosate. Glyphosate will be pulled into the roots of the tree and aid in killing it.

Cut down the tree after it has died. Signs of death include loss of all foliage, and wood under the bark turning brown. To cut down the tree, make a wedge-shaped cut in one side of the tree. This wedge should open at a 90-degree angle and extend one-third of the way through the trunk. Make a second cut on the other side of the tree. This cut should be slightly higher than the first cut, and should extend two-thirds of the way through the tree's trunk. The tree will tilt along a fulcrum made up of the wood between the two cuts and will fall in the direction of the wedge-shaped cut. Make your cut 3 feet or higher along the tree to make it simpler to remove the stump.

Dig around the stump in a ring that's 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep, using the grubbing hoe. Cut through roots using the grubbing hoe or a pair of branch loppers. Push the stump to one side to expose all the roots beneath the tree. Cut through these roots with the branch loppers. Lift the tree's stump from the ground once it's free of all roots. Fill in the hole with soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Axe
  • Glyphosate
  • Grubbing hoe
  • Branch loppers
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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.