How to Kill Tree Roots & Vines

Updated February 21, 2017

If not kept in check, your yard can quickly spiral out of control. Quick-growing vines can invade the space of other plants and cause problems. Fortunately, the vines can be removed with an herbicide application. For tree stumps and roots in the yard, a chemical solution will break them apart for easy removal. Eradicating roots and vines is a rather straightforward process.

Attach a 1/2-inch drill bit to a power drill and bore holes through the visible tree roots. Space each hole 1 inch apart.

Pour a mix of 1 part sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and 2 parts water into a bucket. Stir thoroughly with a wooden stick. One to two gallons of the solution is adequate for most applications.

Pour the mixture over the exposed stumps and into the drilled holes. A periodic application of this mixture once a day for two weeks will speed decomposition of the roots. After the roots are soft to the touch, break them apart with a shovel and haul them away.

Cut away as much of the vines as possible, using gardening shears. If the vines are attached to a structure, make sure never to try to pull the vines off, as they can cause damage.

Fill a bucket with a liquid herbicide containing glyphosate.

Paint the herbicide onto the vines near their base.

Fill a pump sprayer with the herbicide and apply it directly on the vines that can't be reach with the paintbrush. Haul away the dead vines after one week. If there are any vines remain, reapply the herbicide and monitor them. If any herbicide was sprayed a structure, rinse it away with a spray of water from a garden hose.


Protect your shrubs near the vines by covering them with dust sheets.

Things You'll Need

  • Power drill
  • 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Bucket
  • Wooden stick
  • Shovel
  • Garden shears
  • Pump sprayer
  • Herbicide (glyphosate)
  • Paintbrush
  • Garden hose
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