Can copper nails really kill trees?

I mentioned to a friend that my folks have a tree in front of their house which they can’t stand; it makes a godawful mess everywhere and is too far from the house to shade it. It’s a city tree, so even if they call, the city probably won’t take it out–or if they do, they will insist on putting something else in its place.

My friend replied that long ago, her folks had the same problem, and when the city wouldn’t take the tree away, a friend of theirs came and drove a copper nail into the tree and killed it.

I’ve never heard of such a thing before and wondered if she’s remembering accurately. Are copper nails still available? Do they really kill trees? How?


The directions I saw for killing a tree with copper nails indicated that you should “ring the base of the tree with copper nails”.
That would probably work better than a single nail.

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