Gazillions of Tree Seedlings! HELP!

Suzi AKA DesertDanceMarch 16, 2013

A previous owner planted a Liquid Amber tree, which as proceeded to seed itself everywhere! Evidently other owners hacked the stems which caused suckering...

HOW DO I GET RID of all these unwanted trees? Can I smother them? Round up doesn't touch em! Gophers don't touch them, and gophers are legion!

We had the main tree taken out and the stump ground. Now the job is to clear the land of it's offspring.

Any suggestions?



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Many threads on this board with individual strategies, all of which include persistence and elbow grease. Some choose to spray chemicals.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:39PM
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I wish I lived near you. I'd take some of those babies off your hands! I have a lot of land and would welcome them. Gorgeous fall colour!!!

I've seen them in the wild in Louisiana, Tennessee and throughout North Carolina and other Southern states, and you are right! They really grow thickly and multiply rapidly. I've seen where the highway department and utility people have cut them to the ground and sprayed and they just come right back with a vengeance.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:50PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Concentrated glyphosate (the main ingredient in most RoundUp formulations) can certainly be one solution. If you want to get rid of one of these trees, simply cut it just above ground level and apply glyphosate to the freshly exposed phloem layer. Failure of this method would be due to either poor timing (might not work well in early spring during sap rise, for instance), using an inappropriate mixture (using the premixed stuff, designed for easy-to-kill tender green grass, probably won't work), or less than complete coverage (applying chemical to one small sucker of a massive tree is a waste of time).

In the lawn, it's probably easiest just to mow the suckers/seedling down. They may sprout back up a few times, but won't stay around for long.

In flower beds, it may be easiest to weed them out along with other weeds. If there's a ton of seedlings, elimination (if possible) of nearby seed-sources may be worth considering.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:15PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

RU will kill them.. when done properly ...

get a pair of good pruning shears..

get the very expensive applicator at the link ...

and get full strength 41% round up or generic ...

snip off a sprout.. apply ONE SINGLE DROP .. move on.. repeat ad nauseum ...

you are correct.. spraying leaves with per-diluted WEAK RU will usually not kill a tree ..

go hunting about every 4 to 6 weeks.. and redo the job.. until the plant understands you want it dead..

do also understand .... they sucker from the roots of larger trees.. and killing a large root mass will take more patience ...

since you did not 'mix' the RU ... return it to its properly labeled container.. and store for next use ... and rinse out the applicator .... BTW.. it is labeled as a tree and stump killer at this rate of application ... aka a 'labeled use' ....

round up becomes inert on contact with the soil.. but i dont even know how you will do that.. with the expensive applicator ..

good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: think dollar store.. precise application is the key.. not the brand name

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 9:31AM
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've had to do that to try to rid my property of the Paper Mulberry trees that were here when I bought the place. Still, they keep popping up many yards from where I found the last one

Paper Mulberries are the MOST invasive and fastest growing tree I have ever seen, personally! They send out orange coloured roots that seek out all other trees and shrubs. These orange roots wrap around and around a tree and literally choked them to death. I even found them wrapped around and around my fish pond when I dug it to replace the liner. The roots can grow as far as they need to grow to find a new place to pop up. They pull out easily, but you have to spray them and keep after them to get rid of each one. One tiny threadlike piece of that orange root is enough to keep the process going again.

I have seen them pop up over 100 feet from another tree. Even very tiny ones will send out roots seeking the next victim. Some sent roots from my property, down the road-front bank and then under the county road out front and began growing new trees on the other side - over a hundred feet away. Un-Freaking-REAL!

Killing the parent tree was not the solution - the roots are still under the ground and they will quickly just change directions and go elsewhere..And they grow tall fast! At least these invasive trees don't make seeds - not that I've ever seen anyway.

I've been trying to eradicate these Paper Mulberries for over 18 years! In the past few weeks, I've found a dozen or so new small trees that grew in the shrubs last year, hiding from view until everything went dormant for winter.

Drought is no deterrent for them. They are not seeking a water source - they are after the other trees!

I have very little hope left of ever completely eradicating them from my property, but I have to keep after them else they will choke out and kill all the other shrubs and trees. They already have. It killed my big Corkscrew Willow and a large male fruiting mulberry that shaded my Koi pond and Japanese garden. It was a huge old tree, and the paper mulberry killed it in two years.

Good luck with your tree problem. Just stay after it.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Sweetannie4u, wow! I feel your pain. Not sure if this tip will work, but I'm fixin to try it! Since these volunteer trees are all part of a network of shoots coming from a living root system, we must kill the roots, right!

So, I have in my acreage an equally invasive vine that will climb and choke any fruit tree in it's path! YIKES!

I posted in the weed forum, and I'm wondering if option 3 would work for these invasive tree shoots.

Mix up a weak solution of round-up, stick it in jars, bend the tree leaves to enjoy the jar juice. The leaves will live long enough to kill a large prorportion of the roots. It's a slow death, but a joyous one for those of us stuck with this horrible problem. I'm not sure how to bend a tree shoot into a jelly jar full of poison water, but I'll figure it out!


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:21PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Sweetannie wrote: "Killing the parent tree was not the solution - the roots are still under the ground and they will quickly just change directions and go elsewhere."

If you really kill the tree, as opposed to just making it's leaves fall off with some non-lethal solution, the roots will also be dead and will not do anything but rot.

"It was a huge old tree, and the paper mulberry killed it in two years."

I can't think of a way that would have happened. Your huge old tree probably fell victim to something else or a combination of factors (possibly including the paper mulberries).

Desertdance wrote: "Mix up a weak solution of round-up..."

Their are two things you might want to change in that plan. First, why would you use a "weak" solution of RoundUp? The weaker the solution, the less likely it is to work. As Ken wrote, the full-strength 41% (or something like that) stuff would work best.

The second thing that you might consider is (if we are still taking about a tree) cutting the tree completely down and applying the herbicide to the stump. If you are talking about a vine, and especially if it's where you may not be able to get down at its base, the jar method will work well.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:45PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Our tree got slayed and the stump ground, but it has these roots everywhere that are sending up shoots.

Why slow, weak? Because it can't figure out what's happening! It drinks deeply into it's roots, and then comes the grim reaper.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:52PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"Our tree got slayed and the stump ground..."

I see. Well, the company that cut your tree down didn't do it correctly. If they had applied the proper herbicide when they cut the tree and then came back a little later to take care of the stump, you wouldn't have the problem. All you can do at this point is target ever sucker as it appears. It may take a little time, but you can definitely win the battle if you stay at it. Buy one of Ken's famous applicators and make the hunt for suckers into a game. (Sometimes I wonder if Ken owns stock in that mustard company.)

"Why slow, weak? Because it can't figure out what's happening! It drinks deeply into it's roots, and then comes the grim reaper."

LOL, that's funny. But it doesn't work that way in real-life. Using the weaker concentration actually may give the tree the final laugh.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:02PM
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The parent tree was cut flat to the ground two years ago. RoundUp was applied full strength on the top - so yes, it died. It's completely gone, as are all the other adult trees.
The new neighbor bulldozed the ones across the road last year.

They don't have a central tap root and are shallow rooted. When I pull on the small trees (3-5 ft. tall), they easily come right out of the ground, but break off from the yellow runner roots. From the roots left in the ground, more saplings are produces, continuing to spread elsewhere and make new trees. They pop up everywhere, but only under another tree, bush or shrub.

When dug out, I find those yellow roots entangled around and in with the poor plant's roots. I've been here for 18 years and battled them continuously. One little tree that may be growing in a bush, hidden, that I didn't spot, will start sending out those damnable roots and another invasion will begin.

The new trees do not produce leaves until the trunks are several feet tall, and they don't look like trees at all. So they are impossilble to see growing under a shrub. As they grow, they strangle out and simply replace the host plant. They are all linked under ground by a massive system of roots.

They create beautiful canopied shade trees, though, which is why they originally were brought to N. America from East Asia.
In Asia, they were/are used to make beautiful Rice Paper and Rice Paper products, like screens, lanterns, etc., and for making writing paper, scroll paper, and watercolor paper for artists. The process for making the rice paper is fairly easy to do, but detailed, and VERY smelly. Very interesting process with beautiful results.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 5:12AM
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