Crepe Myrtle Removal

Misscole85(9)May 31, 2011

We have a problem crepe myrtle in our front yard that was planted long before we moved into our house. It was a very big beautiful tree, but unfortunately who ever planted it put it within a few feet of the driveway and house. We had to have it cut down to prevent further damage to the house, this was done a few years ago. Long story short, we had a nightmare of a time with the company that took it out, they said they would remove the root ball, but all they did was cover it in mulch.

Over the last few years, we have tried drilling holes into the stump and main roots and filling with a root killer (don't remember the name but it was a white powder) we practically covered it in salt, sprayed it over and over with weed killers and even went as far as to dump a jug of bleach onto it.

I know these trees can be nightmares to get rid of, but has anyone killed one off successfully? Digging it out isn't an option as some of the roots go under the driveway as well as the house. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Drilling holes in the stump (unless done very close to the bark, so as to reach the phloem) is ineffective. What you need to do is to apply a concentrated herbicide like glyphosate (RoundUp, Gly-4, etc) or triclopyr (brush-b-gon, etc) to the freshly cut phloem. Since you are working with root suckers, a second application (or even possibly more) may be necessary. CrApe myrtles can pretty persistent. Be sure to treat all the suckers at one time (rather than doing a few now and more some other day). If the stump had been treated originally, it would have been very easy to take care of it to start with.

I sure hope you don't plan on growing anything else in the spot for a long time. It sounds like you have a real mess on your hands with the salt and whatever else you've tried.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:12PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Hire someone to bring their stump grinder in for 15 minutes, or rent one yourself!

But even with that, you won't be able to plant there for a looooog time, as brandon has mentioned.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 11:20PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Also, the root ends (left from the stump grinder) will almost certainly sprout. I'd try to kill the stump before removing it to avoid this problem. Maybe it won't matter if it's in the middle of the yard where the root sprouts can be mowed down.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 12:33AM
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I don't have any better solutions for you than stated above, but I can sure commisserate, the previous owners here were crape myrtle fiends, they had six scattered over the property, none in really good shape, one between our and the neighbor's driveway, one almost as tall as the house in the 5 foot section between house and fence in back, along the back fence, in the back yard, we had them all removed and are still battling the suckers. Everywhere.

From what I've read, it'll take a while but you have to pull up (or treat) the suckers as soon as you see them, the more sunlight they get, the longer the underground root system lives. Best of luck to you.

Your comrade in the myrtle sucker war,

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 7:39PM
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We have a few others that are in nice spots, it was just this one that we looked at it and said "what were they thinking???"
Yeah I don't plan on growing anything there anytime soon, but I've been having to spray weed killer to keep the grass and weeds from growing up with the CM. Will get some of the products listed this weekend and start spraying the crap out of it!

One more question tho, after we spray it, should we lay down black plastic or anything to block out the light? Or would that just be a waste of time?

Thanks for all the help so far! I hope it works. Been battling this tree for years.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:12AM
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We had two Crape Myrtles at this house when we moved in. One we decided to keep, the other we wanted to go. We cut it to the ground and ground the stump, then put black plastic over the root ball. We do still get suckers (3 years later), but I just keep pulling them out and hoping it will eventually give up. :)

The second one, the one we kept, is planted like three feet from the corner of the house. :( Obviously not ideal, but it does do a good job of anchoring that corner. We only kept it and two Boxwoods in the foundation planting. I wasn't under the impression that they had really damaging roots - was I wrong about this?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 1:22PM
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The roots on ours cracked our driveway and the branches damaged the gutters on our house (knocked a section down completely in a storm) We would have trimmed the branches, but we would have ended up with a lopsided half of a tree. It was only a little over a foot away from the driveway and about 4 feet from the corner of the house.
Really you want to avoid planting any big trees right next to a house like that. as they grow they can damage the foundation. (not to mention the branches can cause extensive damage to your roof if you don't/can't trim them) Trees tend to have really big root systems, the CM we have shot roots out underneath the driveway and had new shoots popping up in our flower bed. (Luckily I was able to kill those off.)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 4:43PM
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