What herbicide works well to control sweetgum trees?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHabitat Management
Hi Dr. Woods,
On a past episode of growing deer tv I watched you clear a small plot of small diameter trees by cutting them off close to the ground and apply a herbicide via a sponge brush to the small stump left behind. As a recent deer steward level 2 graduate I am just getting my feet wet when it comes to herbicide applications. I wanted to know if I cut down some large sweetgums say 1 1/2 – 2ft in circumference could I use this same method to completely kill the trees roots and what herbicide would I need.
Thanks for any advice and have a blessed day!


Those are some large sweetgum trees?  I’d make sure there isn’t a market for them before felling them. Trees that large will be difficult to remove from the food plot site without using heavy equipment.  Most of the imazapyr based herbicides do a great job of killing sweetgum trees!  Many folks use the hack n squirt method and simply add 1 ml of imazapyr per each 3″ of tree diameter.  If you fell and wish to treat the stumps, it is most effective to treat within five minutes or less of cutting the tree. If you wait the tree’s sap will limit the amount of herbicide that penetrates the tree.

Remember that only the cambium layer of a hardwood is living.  There’s no need to treat more than a 1/2″ inside the bark level.  I mix a blue dye with the herbicide so it’s easy to tell which stumps have been treated.  

Be careful and enjoy creation,


October 19, 2015