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How to Kill Birch Trees With Copper Nails

Updated July 19, 2017

Birch trees are identified by their paper-like bark, which can easily be peeled off the tree with your bare hands. Birch trees possess a smooth texture when they are early in development; eventually they take on a darker appearance as they get older. Birch trees, like most trees, are susceptible to a full manner of natural attacks from fungus and parasites that could eventually defoliate and kill the tree. If your birch tree is dying and is posing a threat to any structure adjacent to it, you may kill it with copper nails.

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  1. Examine the birch tree. Clear everything out of the way that lies directly below the tree's branches, as falling branches may cause harm or injury. Remove any large branches coming from the tree with a chainsaw or pole pruner and lopper. Cut or prune the branches at the point where the branch meets the trunk.

  2. Measure the circumference of each branch on the tree. Divide the circumference by Pi (3.14); that is the diameter of trunk. Chainsaw each branch that is over six inches in diameter. Handsaw any branch thinner than six inches. Chainsaw a wedge-shaped cut a few inches above the base of the birch tree’s trunk that extends a third into the tree; make sure the cut is in the direction you inevitably want the tree to fall.

  3. Chainsaw a second cut on the opposite side of the tree trunk that is slightly higher than the first cut and a third of the way in. Clear yourself from the area and watch the birch tree fall. Place the 3-inch copper spike nail in the middle of the cut. Hammer the spike nail into the middle of the trunk. Water the trunk to speed up the nail's oxidising process; this will speed up the rate of killing the wood.

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Things You'll Need

  • Chainsaw
  • Hammer
  • 3-inch copper spike nails
  • Pole pruner and lopper
  • Handsaw
  • Water

About the Author

Heath Wright has been writing since 2000. He was first published in the eighth grade for his poetry. Since then, he has written journalism for his high school. He was also a contributing writer and editorial assistant for "The Quill," the newsletter of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. He has a Bachelor of Arts in theater and a minor in marketing.

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