How to slowly kill a pine tree

How To Kill A Pine Tree [All You Need To Know][Info]

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Unless you’re trying to convert your pasture land into a forest, pine trees can be quite a nuisance!

They multiply quickly, are prone to diseases, sap all nutrients, and hinder the growth of vegetation cover in the yard. While a few pine trees add the right amount of spark to your land, an increasing number can get impossible to manage. Therefore, eliminating them at the outset is of the utmost importance.

If you notice rampant growth of pine trees in the vicinity, you can secretly kill them without getting into any trouble. Don’t worry! You won’t be breaking any laws since even forest management professionals frequently burn and chemically treat pine trees to mitigate their unbridled expansion.

To make things easier for you, we’ve done our research and compiled this guide that highlights the most effective methods to kill a pine tree.

Please note that in no way this article is meant to encourage killing pine trees, unless the situation requires it, pine trees are exceptional pieces of greenery that should not be tempered with.

So, without any further delay, let’s get started!


  • How to Kill a Pine Tree
    • Why Kill Pine Trees?
      • Inhibits The Growth Of Plants
      • Prone To Pest Infestation
      • Damages The House Foundation
    • How to Remove a Pine Tree
      • Method 1| Killing Through Copper Nails
      • Method 2| Killing With Salt
      • Method 3| Using Herbicides
      • Method 4| Drilling A Hole
      • Method 5| Use Homemade Tree Killers
      • Method 6| Girdling
      • Method 7| Soil Treatment
      • Method 8| Cut It Down
      • Conclusion
      • Related Articles

Why Kill Pine Trees?

Before we get into the details, it is important to ask one question – why kill pine trees at all? After all, they lend a Christmas-like vibe to the yard and make it look gorgeous without requiring much maintenance.

Anyone passionate about gardening or the environment despises the idea of killing plants. However, sometimes it becomes essential to eliminate certain trees to allow vegetation to thrive and diversify. Given here are a few ways in which the unchecked growth of pine trees does more harm than good.

  1. Inhibits The Growth Of Plants

Pine trees take up a lot of space, and plants can seldom survive near or under them. In fact, many landowners often complain about the inability of grass to grow under pine trees. These trees are enormous and form a shade over smaller plants. Thus, they don’t allow enough sunshine or rainfall to get to them, thereby hindering their growth.

Pine trees tend to multiply quickly, and before you know it, they create a miniature forest in the yard. Much like weeds, they absorb all the nutrients, and the other plants do not get enough space or nourishment. Hence, to maintain a balance, the removal of pine trees becomes essential.

  1. Prone To Pest Infestation

Sometimes, you’ll notice brown needles, oozing sap, and rotting pine branches. These are typical symptoms of a diseased pine tree. Decaying wood attracts pests and varmints that spread to other plants in the yard.

Thus, killing the tree is the best way to keep a pest infestation at bay and your plants healthy.

  1. Damages The House Foundation

Pine trees have deep roots, and if they are planted close to the house, they can damage the foundation and cost you a fortune in repairs. Even if neighboring houses have an abundance of pine trees, they can still pose a threat to your foundation since their roots are widespread and expand exponentially.

How to Remove a Pine Tree

The good news is that you don’t need professional help to get rid of pine trees. A few simple DIY methods will kill these trees over time and give you a neat yard. Now that we’ve understood the importance of killing pine trees, let’s look at some of the most effective methods of getting rid of them.

Method 1| Killing Through Copper Nails

Copper nails kill the pine trees in your yard without causing any damage to the plants around it. For this method, you’ll need a hammer and a couple of copper nails. Choose nails that are long and broad enough to penetrate deep into the trunk and cover a large surface area.

The first step would be to clear the area around the bottom of the tree and hammer a copper nail at an angle, pointing downwards towards the root. Keep hammering nails at the base, at least ½-inch apart, and form a circle around the tree.

The more the number of nails, the higher the concentration of copper in the tree, and the higher will be the chances of it getting diseased quickly.

A widespread myth is that a single nail is enough to kill a large tree. However, this is far from the truth. A small nail suffices only for a sapling or tiny trees. To kill an enormous tree, you’ll need more nails that’ll oxidize quickly.

After you’ve hammered the nails, cover them with mud or foliage to conceal them. The purpose of this is to protect the look of the lawn and to make the process more subtle.

Method 2| Killing With Salt

Salt has high sodium content that blocks magnesium and potassium flow in a tree, thus hindering chlorophyll production that ultimately kills them. Most people make the mistake of sprinkling salt around the tree without realizing that they are destroying the nearby plants as well.

So, for this method to be effective, you have to target the specific tree. Start by lightly excavating the area around it to expose its roots. Then, drill six ½-inch holes on the trunk, angled downwards towards the base. Make sure that they are at least 3-inches deep to contain the salt solution.

Then, mix 6 cups of Epsom salt with 3 cups of water until the salt dissolves completely, leaving behind a highly concentrated solution. You can alter the amount of solution depending on your needs, but always keep a ratio of two parts salt and one part water.

Now, carefully pour the solution into the holes you’ve created, refilling them as it dissipates. To preserve the appearance of the yard, you can use some soil or foliage to cover the holes in the tree trunk.

Method 3| Using Herbicides

One of the most effective methods of killing a pine tree is through herbicides or chemical fertilizers. If properly applied, they pose no threat to the environment or your plants.

In this method, with the help of a shovel, you lightly excavate the area around the tree to expose its roots.

Then, with the help of a driller, make a couple of holes at the base, angled at 45-degrees. Fill these holes with your choice of herbicide and cover them with foliage or mud.

Remember to allow the tree to absorb the chemical entirely and refill the gaps if necessary. Out here, we’ve listed 3 of the most commonly used herbicides for your convenience.

  1. Glyphosate

One of the finest chemical pine controllers is glyphosate, and forest managers can vouch for its efficacy. You may use tree injection devices to inject this chemical into the foliar structure of the tree. Alternatively, you can also drill holes on the trunk and pour the glyphosate directly into it.

Although the process is slow, the herbicide manages to penetrate the tree through the drilled holes and kill it. Similar to glyphosate, we have metsulfuron that kills off the pine much quicker than its counterpart.

  1. Nitrogen Fertilizer

One of the safest chemical treatments out there, this method takes longer but is non-toxic. In this, holes are drilled around the trunk and then filled with nitrogen fertilizer. With the help of a spray bottle, you’ve to keep the holes moist, and then the nitrogen compound will lead to the growth of fungi that’ll decompose the wood and hinder the tree’s development.

This method can also kill other types of trees, but the only disadvantage is that it takes time to work.

  1. Imazapyr

Another fantastic tree-killing chemical, Imazapyr, can work separately or be combined with glysophate for faster results.

It moves through the length of the plant tissue and kills them by blocking the production of specific amino acids required for their development. This method is mainly used to kill large trees in forests that hinder the growth of other plants.

Method 4| Drilling A Hole

One of the most effective ways of killing a pine tree is through the drilling and filling method. You’ll need tools such as a pair of gloves, a face mask, a herbicide, and a drilling machine for this.

First and foremost, mix the herbicide and pour it into a squeeze bottle for ease of application. Then, drill deep holes, angled at 45 degrees, towards the roots of the pine tree. Make sure the holes go beyond the cambium layer and are deep enough to hold the herbicide.

The next step would be to fill the holes with the chemical and spray whatever is left on the leaves. However, remember not to let it come in contact with other plants in your yard.

It is recommended that you do this in pleasant weather, where rain or wind doesn’t scatter the chemicals or wash them away.

Method 5| Use Homemade Tree Killers

If you prefer organic gardening and do not want to use any chemicals, then the ingredients in your pantry will come in handy. Out here, we’ve listed some popular homemade tree killers.

  1. Killing With Vinegar

Regular white vinegar contains acetic acid that burns the leaves and prevents them from photosynthesizing. This, in turn, doesn’t let carbohydrates and other nutrients get to the root of the tree and slowly kills it.

To hasten the process, drill holes in the tree trunk and fill it with vinegar. Keep refilling as the tree absorbs the vinegar, and it’ll die within a month or so. Combine this with the salt treatment, and you can get rid of pine trees even quicker.

  1. Caustic Soda

Cut the tree with the help of a handsaw or chainsaw, leaving behind the stump. Then, mix one part of caustic soda with two parts water and pour the mixture over the tree stump.

Once the entire length of the tree has been saturated, the caustic soda will start working by traveling down to the roots and poisoning it. Monitor the tree for a while and check for any new signs of life. Repeat this method if necessary.

  1. Mulch

You’ve heard about the numerous benefits of mulch for plant growth. But excess of anything is overkill, and that’s precisely how you’re going to use this method to kill pine trees.

Spread a 10-inch thick layer of mulch around the trunk. This will attract insects and lead to an infestation. The insects and varmints are eventually going to make their way through the mulch and start consuming the tree trunk, thus weakening its roots.

Although this method can take quite some time, it is entirely non-toxic and pretty effective.

Method 6| Girdling

In girdling, a strip of bark from around the trunk is removed. This disrupts the transfer of nutrients and moisture from the roots to the leaves and vice versa.

To do this, make use of a saw to cut a deep strip and mark the area from which you want to remove the outer bark and the cambium layer. This area can be 3 inches for smaller trees, and for more giant trees, the girdle should be at least 8 inches wide.

With the help of an ax or chisel, remove the bark and expose the plant to desiccation. After a few days, you’ll notice leaves and twigs falling off the tree, owing to starvation, and thus, the plant will be rendered useless.

Method 7| Soil Treatment

If the situation in your land has gotten out of control, and several pine trees have sprung up, soil treatment is the last resort.

In this, you lace the soil with a concentrated solution, applying them evenly and waiting for it to attack the roots and kill the pine trees in the yard in one go.

Method 8| Cut It Down

If everything else fails, then cutting down the tree is the only way to go. With the help of a chainsaw, cut the tree right through the center. If you are not equipped to do this yourself, get a professional’s help.

However, in most cases, cutting might not be enough, and the tree continues to grow. Thus, the best way to avoid this is by immediately applying herbicide on the surface of the cut tree. This prevents sprouting by suffocating the roots and ensures that the tree doesn’t grow back.


With that, we come to the end of this guide. When it comes to killing a pine tree, you have several options to choose from, depending on the urgency and efficacy.

Although cutting or killing trees is always discouraged, if they begin to grow in inappropriate places and hinder the growth of other plants, then such a drastic action becomes a necessity. However, be careful not to damage the other crops in the yard in this process and always sleep on your decision.

Do you really need to eliminate this tree?

It is time for us to take our leave, but we hope you found this guide informative. If you have any other ideas for killing a pine tree discreetly, do let us know in the comments below.

Until next time, take care!

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5 Tips on How to Kill a Pine Tree

Perhaps you have a pine tree that you have had for a long time and love it like no other. However, as most things go, it is suffering from old age and it might be infested with plant diseases or undergoing root decay. Whatever the problem is, it is not an ideal situation to be in.

Even though you might love your pine tree to death (literally), you know that it is, in fact, dying, and that you will need to get rid of it somehow, especially since it has the potential to affect the other trees, plants, and flowers surrounding it. That said, you might be at loss for how to get started.

While you might feel stuck in this awkward limbo of whether or not to cut the tree down, let alone how to get started doing so, there is no need to fear: we are here to help! Read on to learn more in this article on how to kill a pine tree safely.

We will give you advice on the necessary tools and steps to take for the optimal procedure and soon enough, you can clear up your landscape in no time.

Without further ado, let’s get started!


  • Items You Will Need to Kill a Pine Tree
    • A Drill
    • Chemicals
    • A Saw
  • Step-By-Step Tutorial on How to Kill a Pine Tree
    • Cut Down the Tree
    • Salt the Earth
    • Pave the Surrounding Area
    • Use Herbicide
    • Perform Girdling
  • Conclusion

Items You Will Need to Kill a Pine Tree

Granted, killing a pine tree can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to something so large and hefty to take on. While it might be intimidating at first, there is no need to be afraid.

By looking into and researching ahead just what items you will need to do so, you can have more confidence in making it a reality. With that said, here are just a few items you will need to kill a pine tree:

A Drill

It is a common tactic to use a drill to drill holes around the roots of the pine tree, as means of damaging the roots and preventing them from getting the nutrients that they need to continue growing. As a result, the holes slowly kill them off.


From herbicides to nitrogen fertilizer, there is a plethora of different chemicals that can be used to kill off a pine tree. Here, we list a few of the commonplace ones:

1. Glysophate

This chemical is the principle product in Roundup, and it serves as a notable product for pine tree control. It kills off pine trees by entering the plant through its foliar structure, i.e. penetrating the needles before killing it off.

However, the process is slow and it requires precise drilling and applying in order for the pine tree to weaken and eventually die.

2. Imazapyr

With this particular chemical, you can either use it alone or in conjunction with glysophate to kill pine trees, should you so desire.

It does so by removing the taller pines to let in more light, with which the heat can be used to kill off the roots, aside from avoiding watering and other essential strategies to keep a plant alive.

3. Metsulfuron

As an active ingredient in some leading herbicide brands like Escort and Matrix, metsulfuron is sure to kill off your pine tree in no time.

It has very similar chemical properties such as that of glysophate, but it works faster to kill the pine tree; as long as there are a few holes drilled into the plant, using metsulfuron should get rid of the tree in no time.

4. Nitrogen Fertilizer

Although appropriate for killing a pine tree, using nitrogen fertilizer will take a while to take effect, since its chemical properties are not as potent as the other chemicals described.

It requires that you drill several holes in the trunk area before applying the nitrogen fertilizer; soon enough, it will create fungi that will slowly eat away at the tree, eventually killing it.

5. 2,4-D

You can choose to use this chemical either as a spray, a cut method, or an injection. It is used to thin out pine stands and when used in conjunction with tichlophyr, it can certainly do the trick with effectively eliminating your pine tree.

A Saw

If you prefer to kill your tree the old-school method, you will need to obtain a hefty saw to get started. Granted, it will take a lot of physical energy to cut it down on your own, but as long as you target the roots and whatnot, it should not be a problem.

The most important thing, however, is to make sure that you are killing the pine tree for a good reason, whether it is already diseased or subjected to dying soon from old age. Even further, you can only kill the tree if it is your own and on your own property. In any case, just make sure that what you are doing is legal, so that you do not run into any trouble when doing so.

Step-By-Step Tutorial on How to Kill a Pine Tree

You can watch this video to learn more on How to Kill a Tree

Now that you have obtained your materials, it is time to start cutting down your pine tree. There are no exact steps to doing so, but rather different options. Here are some you can do in order to be successful:

Cut Down the Tree

The most basic method, all you need is just a saw (or a hefty machine) in order to do so. Start by cutting down the outer part of the tree before making your way into the center.

If necessary, drill holes into the trunk and fill it with herbicide to make it more effective at killing it.

Salt the Earth

Believe or not, that sodium chloride you use for your dinner plate can actually kill trees; it does so by drying out any source of water there is and overall just making it difficult for plants and other objects to sustain life.

All you need to do is spread it around the tree’s area, and let it go until you start seeing results.

Pave the Surrounding Area

In other words, you over-mulch the tree’s environment as means of closing off opportunities for the tree’s roots to grow. In a way, you are suffocated the tree by doing so.

You can also pave over them so that there is no way for the roots to grow anywhere, thereby stunting and eventually killing them.

Use Herbicide

Similar to point #1, you will need to drill holes into the tree before adding herbicide to the mix. Brands such as Roundup are good to start with, and making sure that it gets applied just about everywhere around the tree will work the best.

Perform Girdling

This fancy word simply means removing the bark off the tree. By doing so, you effectively disable the transportation of nutrients from leaves to roots and soon enough, the tree will die.


Overall, killing a pine tree can be a difficult process, not only because it is a large plant, but also you might not be able to part with it after all these years.

By researching beforehand and staying strong, we guarantee that the process will be quick and painless as possible, and you can ensure a healthy garden in the future.

Did you find this helpful? Let me know in the comments and share with someone you know!

Happy Gardening!

all possible ways to get rid of tree plantations, as well as remove their growth, without resorting to felling

There are situations in which it is necessary to stop the growth of a tree or completely remove it, but sawing and felling are not applicable.

If you decide to destroy a tree, you must understand the possible consequences, including a high likelihood of a fine or even criminal prosecution .

However, these methods can be used legally, for example, to control the growth of a felled or uprooted tree that has been removed with permission.

In addition, cessation of growth or removal may be required when:

  • a young shoot from a wild root is growing near the foundation;
  • among trees of one species, a wild plant of another species appears and suppresses other plants;
  • after clearing the field and uprooting the stumps, wild growth appears.

Let's figure out how to destroy a tree without cutting it down.


  • What is the difference between cessation of growth and removal?
  • How to stop growth?
    • Treatment of leaves
    • Treatment of trunk
    • Treatment of roots
  • How to get rid of a tree?
  • Conclusion

What is the difference between cessation of growth and removal?

The cessation of growth leads to the death of the plant, but the trunk and branches can retain their shape for decades. Such a plant turns into deadwood and dries quickly , because the sap flow in it completely stops.

Removal means the destruction of the trunk or roots in any way, after which the restoration of the tree is no longer possible.

However, after removal of the trunk, it is possible that roots remain active and new shoots appear. It is also possible to simultaneously remove the trunk and roots, but it is impossible to remove or destroy the roots before removing the trunk.

How to stop growth?

All methods of stopping growth can be divided according to their effect into:

  • leaves;
  • barrel;
  • soil and roots.

Foliar treatment

Foliage is treated with various herbicides, the most popular of which is Roundup .

Although marketed as a weed killer, this product is well suited for killing most deciduous trees.

The main component is glyphosate, which blocks the synthesis of certain critical substances, which leads to the death of all parts of the plant.

Roundup is applied to the leaves with the Sprayer using protective clothing, respirator and goggles, as glyphosate is highly toxic. In addition, any glyphosate-based preparations should not be used where animals of any kind frequently appear.

Foliar spraying with Roundup or other herbicides can be done at any time, but will be most effective when spraying early foliage.

When applying the preparation to the plant, it is necessary to proceed very carefully, if possible avoiding material falling on the ground . Once in the soil, glyphosate will poison it and groundwater passing through it, then with them it will get to other plants, as well as into a well or well. Due to the high toxicity of the drug, it should be used only in exceptional cases, when no other methods of dealing with the young growth of the tree give a result.

Impact on the trunk

To stop the growth of the plant through the trunk, use the same methods that we talked about in the article about removing stumps without uprooting.

Due to the fact that the wood of the trunk is almost indistinguishable from the wood of the roots, these reagents act on the trunk in exactly the same way.

It is most convenient to drill holes for laying reagents at a height of 1.5 m from the ground, this will allow you to perform all work with a minimum level of discomfort. If necessary, the height can be changed in any direction, because reagents spread along the tree along with the movement of juices .

When choosing a reagent, it must be taken into account that urea and saltpeter loosen the wood and deprive it of strength, due to which the tree may fall under the influence of wind.

Treatment of roots

The effect on the roots differs from the effect on the trunk only in that the preparations are not injected into the wood, but poured around .

This method is only applicable where no other plants are planned to be planted after the removal of the tree.

Therefore, you do not have to worry about the negative effects of reagents.

This method has several significant disadvantages :

  • increased consumption of reagents, because it is necessary to create a high concentration in the area of ​​the root system;
  • total barrenness of the soil;
  • pollution of high-lying groundwater.

How to get rid of a tree?

In cases where you need to destroy a tree without cutting it down, you can:

  1. Knock it down in various ways.
  2. Remove the root from the ground (if required).
  3. Dispose of leftovers.

Only young trees of small height and diameter can be felled. If the height exceeds 4–5 m, and the diameter of the trunk exceeds 10 cm, it is better to cut it down, because larger plants can only be dumped using heavy equipment , i.e. an excavator or a bulldozer.

At home, you can knock down the trunk using a car or truck. The heavier the machine, the easier it will be to break the trunk or twist the roots out of the ground.

Felling requires rope or cable twice the height of the tree. A cable or rope is tied to the trunk at a height of 2/3 of the trunk length, then tied to a towbar or transport hook.

It is desirable to load the trunk as much as possible in order to increase the weight of the car and the grip of its wheels with the ground. Then they start the car and, turning on the first gear, slowly pull the cable or rope and continue moving forward.

This job should not be done without many years of driving experience, as pressing the accelerator pedal too hard will result in wheel slip and reduced traction .

In addition, it is undesirable to use machines with an automatic transmission (automatic transmission) or a variator for this operation.

It is also very important to use the clutch pedal correctly, because mistakes will lead to rapid wear of the clutch disc or engine stalling.

If the trunk has broken off from the root, the root must be removed from the ground. If you leave it in the ground, then there is a high probability of both the appearance of a new shoot and the development of pests and pathogens of various diseases in it.

We have already talked about the different uprooting methods here. After that, it is necessary to dispose of all the wood in any acceptable way, which can help you with the article on the removal of trees and branches.


It is possible to get rid of a tree without cutting it down only if it is small, using both herbicides and other methods for this. However, most of the methods pose a threat to the soil, as well as animals and people.

Therefore, resorting to such extreme measures is necessary only if it is not possible to remove the tree or its growth in any other way.

Pine Man. How Andrey Sagaydak let the forest into himself

Pine Man

How to leave the big city, settle in a hundred-year-old hut and get everything you dreamed of

Elena Struk


The December forest is silent. He froze like a many-armed idol. If you hold your breath, you can hear the sound of transparent drops on the tips of the needles. Although no. It's the silence in my ears. But if you raise your head up, you can see movement high in the sky. The caps of pines, resting against the clouds, slowly sway. They are like shamans who went into a trance to make it snow. Or giant hypnotists who move like pendulums and whisper: “You are falling asleep, falling asleep. Sleep. You are having a wonderful dream. About the forest.

This forest lives in the interfluve of the Desna and the Dnieper. Andrei Sagaydak looks after him, or maybe they look after each other.

Pines have always grown in these places. Polissya is such a piece of taiga, abandoned to the south. The soils here are poor. Mostly sandy, dry, acidic. But the pine is a steadfast tin soldier, a pioneer tree, it does not give up either in the cold or in the sun.

Sagaydak came here by accident. At least it seems so at first glance. Although then you realize that someone has been preparing the ground for it here for a long time. Since we start this story, then from 1950 years, when they decided to create a military training ground "Desna", and evict nearby villages. Pastures, hayfields, vegetable gardens - everything has disappeared. In the 1960s, people were pushed back again, because they were building a reservoir on the Dnieper. The vast territory of Central Polissya disappeared from the maps, but the forest has grown. And in 2002, the Mezhrechensky Regional Landscape Park appeared here - the largest in Ukraine, on 100 thousand hectares, and Andriy Sagaydak along with it.

As a child, he dreamed of a small castle - wooden or stone, but always with a real moat around. Such a universe for a knight.

Now he has something remotely reminiscent of this dream - thousands of hectares of forest, some kind of protection status and, if not a castle, but a hundred-year-old hut in the village of Otrokhi, which for some reason was not resettled.

We are standing at a fork - teenage pines on the left, mature trees on the right. We must choose a path. Today Andrei is my guide, and I follow him.

“It's very easy to determine the age of a pine tree,” he says, turning to a young tree and carefully taking it by the top. - In one year, a pine tree produces one ring of branches. This one has nine. So she is nine years old.

It is not easy for young trees in the forest. And in general, the chances of becoming a tree from a pine seed are small. It is ready to start a life independent from the mother in the third year after the appearance of the bump. At the end of winter, its hard scales will open in an instant, like floodgates on a dam, and the seeds will be free, unless, of course, they have been eaten by a moth or moth before that moment. Then again it's a matter of chance. A seed may fall into a thick cushion of moss in which there is no strength to germinate, or it may end up in the shade. Sagaydak points to a thin stalk with green needles, no more than ten centimeters in height. This is a small pine tree.

“It probably won't survive because it's too close to a mature tree,” he says, and his words bounce off the trunks like balls and fly further to hit the trunk again.

If you look closely, it turns out that there are many such babies under your feet. Usually you don't pay attention to them, but now the eye is retuning to a new landscape, like some superhero.

— In the forest, it is so planned: just in case, the seeds germinate, the seedlings live for a year or two, they lack light, and they die. But if suddenly something happens to an adult tree, they will take its place under the sun. And all this in order for the forest to continuously exist.

When Sagaydak explains, his hands begin to fly, like a conductor in front of an orchestra. In the role of the orchestra - the forest, the first violin - the pine. A wave of the hand and the orchestra plays.

— There are people who are sure that without human intervention the forest will grow old and die forever. Even some foresters support this idea, my guide laughs. — People think that there was some first forester. He planted everything.

“And he saw that it was good,” I laugh in response.

To give the pine seed a chance, nature has equipped it with a wing. It seems that Andrei also has this, otherwise, how could he, a man born in Kyiv, be brought here?

Catching the wind, the seed can fly away from its mother and try to build its life elsewhere, like a group of teenage pines on an open lawn. A few years will pass, and those that are stronger will come out ahead, and those that are weaker will fall behind and gradually leave. This is the natural course of things.

They seem to have equal opportunities now. But there is heredity, and even accidents. The roe deer bit off the top - that's it, the tree will no longer be able to catch up with its relatives. Or a runaway. He eats through the moves in the shoots, they do not die, but bend down. The next year, they need to take the time to turn up, and the tree will fall behind. A honey agaric can capture a pine tree, and the larvae of the May beetle can gnaw off the roots in a few years, so that it will die.

Andrei suddenly stops.

- By the way, here are the tracks of a wild boar. The one that is bigger is from a penny.

Wild boars love the cockchafer larvae and dig the ground in search of them. There must be balance in everything.

The forest is often thought of as a collection of trees, like a box of pencils.

- But the classic forest is much more complicated. This is a community, - Andrey focuses on the last word.

Here both individual species and individual organisms adapt to each other. Trees interact with each other, forming an environment that is comfortable for themselves. And if suddenly someone falls out of this community, the rest may suffer. For example, along the edges of clearings, pine trees often dry out. Depending on what kind of trees there are in the forest and how close the crowns are, certain types of shrubs, herbs, and animals live under them.

- Tourists often ask: "Why is it not so tidy here?" In their view, there should be order in the forest - dry trees should be disposed of. Dead wood is an eyesore, Sagaydak smiles. - But if the forest is “cleaned out”, it loses an important component. After all, mushrooms, mosses, lichens, insects, which are eaten by birds, live in dead wood.

In Europe, they even came up with a slogan: "Dead wood - living forests." Andrei continues to "conduct" with an invisible stick.

“And then there is something underground,” he says, “lowering” us to the lower level of the forest. With these words, I begin to look more closely at my feet, as if this would help to shine through the layer of red needles, but I stumble upon a brownish mushroom cap. Zelenushka or green rowan is the latest local edible mushroom. This is not visible, but pine roots are twined with her mycelium. Through them, the tree receives minerals that it itself is not able to absorb from the soil. In return, the pine tree gives away the sugar produced through photosynthesis.

“Mycelium mushrooms can entangle the root systems of several neighboring trees, so that in fact they exist as a single organism,” explains Sagaydak.

Meet the Les community, the status is Everything is complicated.

Ten meters along the trail and again a trail - this time an elk. One can imagine how Alexander Sergeevich felt when he wrote about "traces of unseen animals." There is a trail, but the animal is not visible. As if the alarm went off and scared everyone around.

- Do mermaids sit on branches? I can't stand it.

The swamp is still very close - right behind me is a huge reserved Bondarevskoye.

- I heard stories from locals about mermaids in the spirit: "I didn’t see it myself, but my sister met." They perceive it not as something otherworldly, but rather as the norm. Like, it happens. To the forest here is rather a rational attitude.

Once an ethnographer came to Sagaydak to collect Polesye folklore. She said that the forest for the locals is everything that is outside the yard, and everything beyond the line is inhabited by evil spirits. But no matter how much Andrei tried to extract mysterious stories about the forest and its inhabitants from the locals, little came of it. Is that a story about a log, through which it is better not to step, otherwise you will get lost. No one knows what it looks like, but they say it exists.

— If a person constantly lives in the forest, he does not perceive it as a hostile element. Grandmothers do not take a gun with them when they go looking for mushrooms or berries, although they go far inland. Forests are not afraid here. This is a habitat.

No wonder it even penetrated the local surnames - Vedmedi, Zhily, Sudaki, Elk. There used to be a ghoul farm. Here, even swamps are not afraid, hayfields were arranged on them. And people lived there for several days.

The forest seems fabulous or gloomy to those who are far from it. For example, me. That's why you need a guide.

“What is unfamiliar attracts or frightens,” says Sagaydak. - And when you are constantly next to him, in him, you begin to recognize him. You understand that there is nothing terrible or wild here. You can sort everything out. You understand when a branch cracked under the weight of snow, and when a beast stepped on it. It's like a relationship between lovers. At first, the relationship is covered with romance, and then they become more uniform. The main thing that I now feel for the forest is respect.

However, Andrey Sagaydak came to this not by the most direct path. Probably stepped over the same log.

Almost all of his childhood he spent on his grandfather's farm, and there, no matter which way you go, there is forest everywhere. In the same place at his grandfather's barn, he found old magazines about hunting. They captured him so much that Sagaydak decided to study as a forester, specializing in “hunting”. When he informed his parents about entering the Faculty of Forestry, they used heavy artillery to dissuade his son. They saw him either as a biologist or a veterinarian, but not as a forester. Mom called a friend who studied at the Forestry Institute in Leningrad. As planned, she was supposed to paint what a senseless profession she was, and her son, apparently, should have been scared and abandoned the stupid idea. But the plan failed.

At the age of 21, Andrey was already working as a head of a section in the hunting department of the Vyshe-Dubechansky forestry. An interesting job as for yesterday's student - 22 thousand hectares, five rangers and a driver in submission, a service house in the forest - a large one, not far from Kyiv, there are no neighbors around. Friends constantly came to Sagaydak, it was fun. But that's how it was at first.

— When you read about war in books, it looks romantic — feats, courage, heroes, battles, swords, — Andrey says. “But if you come across her in reality, you will understand that there is little romantic in her. So it is with hunting. If you live in the city and from time to time you go hunting, you feel like an Indian. You're a man, you tracked down the beast. But if your job is to organize a hunt for someone, everything is completely different. You are not an Indian, and you did not outsmart the beast, but simply learned its habits, so you can get close to it. There is no heroism and skill. There is a common craft.

Hunters do not say "killed the beast", they prefer to call it the word "got", which, however, does not change the essence. At some point, this became a problem for Sagaydak. Just now you saw a beautiful elk, and a second later an unsympathetic uncle shot him dead. And your task is far from heroic - you have to skin, butcher the carcass, put it in bags. Somewhere not there you wandered. For two years, bloody packages forever turned Andrei away from hunting. And when he was offered the position of deputy director in the newly created Mezhrechensky park, he immediately agreed. For several years he wandered between Otrokhy, where he worked, Chernigov, where he lived, and Kyiv, where he taught. And then his position in the park was reduced, and he and his first wife moved to Kyiv, it seemed, for good - a teaching career at an agricultural university, a family.

But the forest has its own plans for him. In 2006, Sagaydak was called back to Otrokhi, now as a director. He again agreed, only now he had to part with his wife. But a little later, Sveta will appear in his life - "adjutant on all issues, without her I would not have coped."

Ten years ago he bought a hundred-year-old hut in Otrochi. He and his wife left everything inside, both embroidered towels and icons, only the walls were repainted, they brought a refrigerator and a washing machine. Sveta even got the hang of cooking in the oven. In this house, right near the forest, they took root.

Yet the pine seed fell on the prepared soil. Maybe they prepared her stories about her great-grandfather, who served as a forest ranger in tsarist times.

— The forester then had a rifle with a bayonet, he lived in the forest, — says Andrei. - Five foresters were led by a ranger. He was also entitled to a rifle, as well as a dragoon saber and service horse. It was such a paramilitary structure. If you are going to the forest with a cart, check with either the forester or the ranger. They even made sure that people did not pick blueberries with combs. But most importantly, the foresters had nothing to do with logging.

Andrey even found the “Regulations on the Forest Guard of 1851”. In it, the forester's rules of conduct looked like this: “Do not make unnecessary acquaintances and connections, do not often visit, go to bazaars and fairs. When making rounds, do not take any gifts from anyone.

- It turns out that the image of the forester as a kind bearded uncle who lives in a wooden house on the edge, walks with a gun and guards the forest, has remained with us since then. Tourists ask me how my working day goes. I'm not a forester, but I play along. Like, I get up at five in the morning, take a gun and go to guard the forest, but what else? he laughs.

It seems that a troll lives in the Polissya forest. But the good forester-guard has long been gone. Since 1953, forestry has combined forest protection and harvesting. Now the foresters not only grow the forest and protect it, but also cut and sell wood.

- The modern forester has become a lumberjack. If your income depends on how many trees you cut down, you are no longer so much a security guard as a semi-businessman,” admits Sagaydak.

Many people think that the forester is the owner of the forest, but in fact he is the bottom link in the forestry system, a giant tree-growing structure.

If you look closely, the pine trees between which we wander stand in rows, like frozen ballerinas at the barre, thin and tall. They are so because they grow densely, shading each other from different sides. Each tree tries to reach the sun and strives upwards. Its lower branches, constantly living in the twilight, do not withstand and die off. The competition between pines is high, but this is what man forces them to do.

Forestry is based on this. If the same pines grow in open places at a distance from each other, they are not so tall, but sprawling, knotty, with dense crowns. Picturesque but useless. Because man needs wood, not natural forest. As foresters say, business trunks are straight, without extra branches, which are easy to cut into logs 5-6 m long and sell. And in order to get such, you need to plant pine trees densely. And may the fittest survive. But then his time will come.

It all starts with a small click, which after a fraction of a second repeats again, but louder, then again - more resoundingly, and finally cuts through the air with an explosion. I look questioningly at Sagaydak. These are not exercises at a military training ground, the echoes of which also reach here. Lumberjacks nearby. We can't hear how the saw works, but we can hear the sound of breaking branches when a 35-meter tree is just beginning to fall, touching other trees with its crown. It seems to grab the hands of passers-by, but no one will help, and the trunk will collapse. The forest of the Mezhrechensky park belongs to the leshoz, and the status of a regional landscape park does not protect trees from felling.

— The Forest Code says that the forest performs water protection, soil protection, ecological functions and is a source of timber. But in fact, the last one is in the first place, everything else is incidental, - Sagaydak says sadly. - Our forestry is geared towards growing commercial timber.

Pine has always existed in Polissya, but not in such quantity, and it was diluted somewhere with birch, somewhere with oak. Pine grows quickly, gives a lot of wood, where there were conditions, it was planted and received large areas of monotonous forests. The pine tree is 80 years old, it is cut down, a new tree is planted in its place, and so on in a circle. As a result, forestry is in many ways similar to agriculture, only farmers harvest once a year, and foresters - once every 80 years.

Sword of Kolesov. A transverse handle at the top and a narrow steel shovel resembling a sword blade, at the bottom - a tool for planting pine trees. The design was invented by the director of the Kharkov Agricultural School at the end of the 19th century, but it is still used today. Traditions in forestry change as slowly as a tree grows.

The sword is up to my waist and weighs more than three kilograms. To make a hole, you need to take it with both hands, lift it up and plunge it into the ground with a swing. No wonder they named it that way. In forestry, saws are for men, swords are for women. It is women who are engaged in planting silvicultural plants. At the cutting site, a tractor with a forest plow passes, after which furrows remain. Holes are made in them and a one-year-old pine is planted, which is bred in forest nurseries. That is why the forest grows in rows.

Cones forestry buys from the population. When the cone is dried, it opens and the seeds fall out of it. But seeds have wings, and people don't need wings, so they break them off.

Theoretically, there is a special drum for this, but in practice everything is easier. Sagaydak tells how it was done in the forestry where he worked. The seeds were poured into a linen bag, put on the floor and trampled on it. Then it was necessary to turn on the usual Soviet fan and pour the seeds from bowl to bowl until all the wings flew away.

When the pine sprouts, it needs to be weeded, and on hot days shaded from the sun with special shields. Young seedlings are planted in clearings either in early spring or late autumn. All this resembles a garden, only very large.

— Our foresters boast that the area of ​​forests in Ukraine is not decreasing. But, in fact, we have huge areas of young plantings, which are still far from the forest, - Sagaydak explains. - At least 60 years old.

If, for example, they are left unattended, they will survive in spots, and in a few decades they will look like a forest of different ages. But from an economic point of view, this is irrational.

— How do we teach foresters? It is necessary to grow highly productive forests - the forest must be tall and slender. I was taught this too. But in fact, we need it, not the forest and nature. The wild forest itself is able to regulate the processes within itself.

In Otrokhy Andriy is called a "museum man" behind his back. But without grinding, as in any community, it could not do. From the very beginning, relations between the director of the park and local residents were not very good. There was a lot of fuse, and he measured the efficiency of work by the number of fines issued for violations of environmental legislation.

— Well, I came from a hunting estate. He put on his uniform, attached shoulder straps and began to catch violators. Either someone with a net catches fish, then someone is poaching. As a result, I was perceived as an environmental inspector,” he smiles.

Relations have changed with the advent of the museum in Otrochi. In the hut that Sagaydak bought, there were a lot of old things - spinning wheels, towels. When he saw these treasures, he immediately set about creating an ethnographic corner that would preserve the local history and tell about forestry. In the country club, the park rented a room for an office. It was there that Sagaydak decided to open something like a small museum. But the club burned down, moreover, on the day when the scientists of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, who had been staying in the park for several days, were leaving Otrochi.

In the evening, the zoologists called Sagaydak to say goodbye again (they were just crossing the border), and he told them about the fire. The Germans replied: "Let's see what can be done." The following year, they transferred money, which was enough to purchase materials for the construction of the museum and the office building.

Sagaydak drew a plan of houses on a piece of paper. They built it on their own - he, the head of security, his wife, local craftsmen and volunteers. When the premises were ready, Sagaydak took old things from his hut, relatives gave him a box with great-grandmother's clothes, he found something from his grandfather on the farm, the neighbors gave the wagon. For a long time they were looking for a boat-dovbanka, which the locals made from a single trunk of a white willow. She was found in the neighboring village of Rudnya. Then there was a grand opening for the locals.

Sagaydak tells all this while we are warming ourselves by the stove in the museum. There is a fire burning and wood crackling comfortably. Although, as Sagaydak jokes, this stove only warms the eyes. There is no electricity here, but there is a candle made of wax on the table, and next to it there are splinters with which Sagaydak kindled a fire in the furnace.

— These are the kind of splinter used before, — Andrey points to a small light chip. “These are pieces of a pine that has fallen ill with seryanka cancer. Due to illness, she becomes very resinous. Such pines are easy to spot, they seem to have a gray coating on the bark.

Each new torch ignites instantly and crackles loudly in silence until it burns out. The uneven light from the candle barely reaches the middle of the long table. Further, pitch darkness, in which stands the most favorite exhibit of Sagaydak - a hundred-year-old board, which he found in the yard of his wife's great-grandfather.

If in the Zhytomyr woodlands the tradition of collecting honey in the woods in the woods is still preserved, here, unfortunately, it is not. Sagaydak gently touches the old tree with his hand. The board is wide, I could hardly wrap my arms around it, and almost as tall as me. The tree itself was 150 years old when it was cut down to make a beehive.

- This is a pine tree. Big, old, resinous, that's why it is stored for so long. The board was made not from a straight tree, but from a knotty one. See those rings? - Sagaydak circles the places where once there were powerful branches. Do you know why I love this board? Because it is a testament to what the forests were like here. This is what the maps of the last century show. There were few dense forests here, but large areas of woodlands formed. And in the woodlands, the pines are sprawling, stocky, with large branches. They did not grow up alone, but in the open, where there was enough light and space for them. They didn't have to waste their energy fighting for the sun.

It seems that at this moment Sagaydak is not talking about pines at all.

- I think the ideal forest is the one that Shishkin painted. In his paintings, the trees are massive with developed crowns. This is what we have lost. These are the "light" forests that are protected in Europe, for example. After all, forest-meadow landscapes are gradually disappearing, and they have more biodiversity.

There are few forests that live according to their own laws, and not those invented by man. These are, as a rule, protected areas of large nature protection objects. But they don't have complete freedom either.

— We still carry out sanitary cuttings, thinnings, remove lagging trees. Although there should be other rules for protected areas. And specific goals,” says Sagaydak.

- What could be done here?

- Return this area to its more natural state - to light forests. It is necessary to renew those types of ecosystems that have become rare. Here, for example, there were heathlands, and black grouse, and roe deer, and lynx cling to them.

But while the territory of the Mezhrechensky park belongs to the leshoz, Sagaydak cannot implement all his ideas. And swamps do more to protect local ecosystems than the status of a regional landscape park. They were given as a park because they are not so valuable in terms of economic activity. Among the swamps there are islands, and on the islands there is really a reserved forest.

But artificial plantings are also gradually running wild. Sagaydak points to a small clearing. Water gathered in the lowland, thickets of bushes appeared. There is moss underfoot, which means that it is no longer so crowded and dark here. Blueberries grow along the edge of a tiny forest lake, and next to them are lingonberries, which shed their leaves for the winter, but their green branches cut through a thin layer of white snow. All these are signs of a natural forest. In two decades, the rows of pines will spread so that they cannot be seen, and each tree will have a chance to dance solo after years of standing on the line.

Andrei Sagaydak is modest about his achievements. On the territory of the park, it was possible to preserve animal species typical of Polissya - there is a stable population of lynx and crane. They even defended the well-known "pest of the national economy, which feeds on the people's good."

- See, the shoots are bitten? This moose did his best, - Sagaydak points to a pine tree.

Its young twigs seem to have been cut with wire cutters. A pine with a damaged top throws out a side branch, which then twists like a lyre to act as a trunk.

- If the elk regularly bites the pines, they turn into bushy and gnarled. What do you earn from these? Sagaydak continues. - So, if you approach it exclusively from an economic point of view, the elk is indeed a pest, its numbers need to be controlled, preferably reduced. Even in Soviet times, articles were published with the headings “How to reconcile an elk with a forest,” as if they were antagonists.

This phrase could become a meme. In the Mezhrechensky park, “the elk and the forest,” or, to be more precise, with the foresters, still managed to be “reconciled”. Young plantings of pine trees are protected from the "pest". At the same time, there are more moose per unit area than in any other nature protection object.

- Sometime during our studies, the dean told us a rather unpleasant phrase: "The main thing is getting business trunks, the rest is romance." Now I understand that this is not the way to treat the forest.

This is what Andrey Sagaydak learned from the forest, and now he is trying to pass his knowledge on. No wonder he's a guide.

— “My life is the wisdom of the forests, and the forests are disappearing quickly. A few years will pass - and there will be no trees here, and my wisdom will become madness (quote from the story "The Adventures of Rolf" by Ernest Seton-Thompson. - Focus ),” he says thoughtfully. I like this phrase, even if it sounds pompous. I really know a lot about our woodland forests. This is probably my main mission - to tell people about forests and the nature of the forest. I like it when a person begins to see something here that he did not notice before.

Around the same pines as a couple of hours ago, when we just entered the forest. Only now they no longer seem like silent wooden idols. Each giant tells his story, holding on tightly to the ground with roots that spread underfoot like an invisible net. This is their realm, where the trees are big and you are small.

“Passengers, please, let the carriages go. Passengers, look at the pull. A woman's voice coming from the subway speakers refers to the human flow, which is not going to recede, but, on the contrary, is surging like the sea.

Today Andriy Sagaydak is in Kyiv - taking students' credits. He teaches the subject "forest ecology" at the Kiev-Mohyla Academy.

- Did you pass everything? I ask him when we meet in a noisy café.

- I say to the students: "You understand that your grades are too high?" If you don’t overestimate, then you will have to go to retakes, but I don’t want to, ”he laughs.

Andrey is looking forward to winter because it is the calmest time. No more than 50 people remain in Otrokhy "and you can, like a forest, switch to energy saving mode." Andrey Sagaydak has long reduced his visits to Kyiv to the minimum necessary - he works at the academy for a quarter of the rate. Although his parents still do not lose hope that their son will move from the forest to the city. They already have a "difficult case". Sagaydak's grandfather, who is 91 years old, still lives on a farm, and it is not possible to pull him to Kyiv by any means. Andrey is not going to abandon his forest either. Friends are trying to convince him to defend his PhD thesis. And he explains that he does not need it, because he is not going to return to the capital, and in Otrokhy the degree is of no use. The forest will not appreciate.

- We are not vegetarians, eco-settlers, downshifters or hermits. I have internet and I watch TV. And in Otrokhy I met much more interesting people than in Kyiv. It’s just how we live,” says Sagaydak.

He is such a tree. Looks like his favorite - a pine tree. But only not in a straight line, which is grown like wheat in a field, but in such a way that it could be - sprawling, branched. For which there is space, and the sun, and the sky. From which they will not remove the bark, which they will not dry, paint and give it a convenient shape for someone.

— I have a simple and honest life near the forest. You don’t have to pretend in it, - Andrey explains. - You know, when you walk through the forest, you watch the beast from afar, you listen to the sounds of birds. They don't notice you, you leave no trace. Here is a tricolor violet. It seems to be not a discovery, but in December it is too late for her to bloom. But the lynx marked the territory, came close to the village, although shy. You feel and see everything acutely, but you are invisible. It is such an amazing feeling, like in the song "imagine me as something that is not here.

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