Dealing with nuisance trees

DrBigDaveJuly 18, 2014

In my newly acquired home I have found that 7 of the 11 trees in my small backyard are the infamous Tree of Heaven AKA Ghetto Palm AKA Stink Tree AKA Tree of Hell. More detail can be found

The tree suckers vigorously, resprouts vigorously, deposits natural herbicides in to the ground and has various other antisocial behaviors.

I can take the smaller trees out, but the larger ones I can't tackle right away (probably not for another 3-4 months.)

One of the larger trees is close to my house. For the large trees can I minimize some of the antisocial suckering by girdling (ring barking) the tree? Presumably this should stop sugars from making it down in to the root system. Would it also stop resprouting? Will it stimulate extra suckering? Can I stop the extra suckering if I do ring barking plus glycophosphate (round-up herbicide) will that kill the tree right away and risk the tree falling over by itself in an uncontrolled way?

Let me know your opinions about what I should do to contain this pest.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Would it[girdling] also stop resprouting?

==>> absolutely not.. and it will encourage it a million fold ...

cut to the ground.. and apply 100% concentrate round up , according to the label to the cambian edge of the cut ... using the very expensive applicator at the link

with said applicator .. you will use minimal product ...

frankly.. i dont think you can kill them w/o such ...

and if they resprout.. take the hand pruners.. snip and drip ...


ps: i dont know what to do with the mustard.. there is a joke in there somewhere.. but i have never figured it out.. lol

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:33PM
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Can I stop the extra suckering if I do ring barking plus round-up herbicide? I think that you are on the right track. It sounds to me like you likely have one tree with several suckers which is common with TOH. From the link I provided: "Systemic herbicides are absorbed by the plant tissues and carried to the roots causing the entire plant to die..." If it were me I would do this ASAP and let the trees vascular system carry the herbicide throughout the root system.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nat'l Park Svce Recommendation

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:00PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

If you cut into the cambium (the green layer under the bark) of the trunk in multiple locations, and apply the concentrated generic glycophosphate. The generic takes longer to kill, but will be transported much further in the vascular system resulting in more of the root system being killed and not suckering. Also if you cut into the trunk at multiple locations without nearly girdling it, more glycophosphate overall can be applied without stimulating the suckering. Cut just below the bark, you could even make it a slice so that it can hold a reserve of glycophosphate for a few hours to increase uptake. Probable will have to repeat a a few times.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:53PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Out in the yard the mower may come in handy for knocing down the suckers.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:13PM
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I've only tried this one small sapling so far, but if you cut it down and then chop down into the remaining stump a few times with an ax or maddock (leaving it frayed)...that seems to keep it from resprouting. No need to use toxic herbicides then, either..

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:16AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

FWIW Glyphosate - (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) - has no sugar moiety so glycophosphate is a incorrect name for it.

Another technique I used which is easier than girdling the trunk is the drill a ring of holes near the base - maybe 1 for every 3 inches of diameter. If you leave the top of the tree up for some reason, they should have a mostly axial, partly radial component:drill in, and down, at as steep an angle as is feasible. But you can also just cut the top down and quickly drill downward holes just inside the edge of the bark. NB that the drill bit will get very hot! Use a big 3/16 or 1/4 drill bit. Fill these holes with about a 60/40 mix of generic glyphosate and water, with a few drops of detergent too. Maybe if you really didn't do a lot of holes you might need pure 40% concentrate, but you have to remember it only takes a couple mL of this compound in the right places to kill the plant, even a large one.
Of course don't do this right before rain because it will wash out. But after 24h it will all have absorbed and the plant will be dead. I just killed a bunch of ash seedlings this way this spring, and none have come back. Some got as high as 9-10' in 2 years. For little ones like that that are

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:33PM
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Can I stop the extra suckering if I do ring barking plus glycophosphate (round-up herbicide) will that kill the tree right away and risk the tree falling over by itself in an uncontrolled way?

OK......nobody addressed this and it's important. The OP is given all sorts of methods to kill a large tree next to his house. Do you all really want him to have a dead tree.......still to his house? I have a dead tree, zapped to hell and back by lightening. It's been standing for two years now but one of these days she's gonna blow.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:48PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Glyphosate is distributed through the plant via living phloem (the inner most part of the bark lying just outside the cambium). Any of the chemical that is applied deeper than that (into or onto xylem) is wasted and will not contribute to the death of the tree. If holes are drilled into the tree for distribution, they need to be very shallow (and I can't really picture a drill bit getting "very hot" doing this). Also, you wouldn't want to damage the transporting cells, by cooking them, before they are able to distribute the herbicide. If you don't want to completely cut down the tree, frilling would seem to be the easiest (pretty quick and simple to do) way to handle the situation. Google tree frilling for examples.

What many refer to as "pure" or "concentrated" glyphosate or RoundUp is actually not pure or 100% glyphosate (which is not commonly available), but a solution of around 30 or 40% (depending on the product/brand). As Arktrees alluded to, a simple glyphosate solution is often more effective than some of the "instant kill" formulas like many RoundUp products. In any event, you don't want to use the "ready to use"/premixed stuff. It's too weak to be very effective.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:30PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Yes, yes, that's why I said "pure" 40%...I just meant the normal commercially available form, NON-diluted. Most of which also include surfactant, though in my opinion seldom enough for every job.

The whole reason I posted, and perhaps I should have that frilling is a bit of a nuisance compared to 2 quick drills. Which ALWAYS works for me. And yes, it SEEMS like you should have to be right near the edge where the phloem is. In practice, for whatever reason, this is not the case. As long as you are sorta near the edge, apparently a few millimeters of xylem does not stop the diffusion of the glyphosate. I just looked at some I did yesterday, for example. I used a syringe with a blunt cannula (perfectly legal to buy on ebay or whatnot, I get mine from duda diesel where I also buy KOH, a terribly useful household chemical if you're intelligent enough to handle it) so I know exactly how much went into each hole. It was almost 3ml. Today, the holes are empty. However it happens, the roundup 25% (after I slightly dilute) diffuses w/in the stub of tree trunk. It was humid last night so it certainly wasn't evaporation.

And if you don't believe me about the drill bits...try it! Again, I pointed this out because it is a bit of a mystery how hot they get on "live" wood, but they do. (I try to bother w/contributing what is not common knowledge...there are plenty of other people who can add common knowledge)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 1:12PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Correction: 1, 2 or more drills. I'd say for

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 1:16PM
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Been there, done that ... pictures below :)

We "frilled" the trees in mid-summer, hacking an upward facing groove all around and using a foam paint brush to apply a liberal quantity of the generic "Eliminate" glyphosate cioncentrate from Walmart into the frills.

1 - the initial response was an increase in sprouts all over the root system. I sprayed these with regular glyphosate to kill whatever roots they were coming from, or just pulled them out ... the tree could no longer feed the sprouts.

2 - The top parts of the tree started wilting from lack of water and nutrients, but it took a while. If I spotted a sector that was not wilting, I re-did the groove and glyphosate treatment.

CAUTION: they are brittle trees at best. Don't kill them unless you are ready to remove the big ones promptly. They start shedding branches on your head. We had them removed the following summer.

This post was edited by lazygardens on Sun, Jul 20, 14 at 15:37

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:35PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"Yes, yes, that's why I said "pure" 40%..."

David, maybe you missed the other comments above and on other threads, but the misstatements regarding this are pretty common on here.

"...frilling is a bit of a nuisance compared to 2 quick drills."

That seems to be an uncommon opinion and one that I don't understand, but whatever works for you. In most cases, I find frilling very quick, easy, and effective. It's one of the principle methods used by those fighting invasive tree species on a large-scale/"professional" level.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 6:08PM
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Triclopyr (Brush-B-Gone) works better than glyphosate for the woody stuff, at least it has for me.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:36AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Yes I've used triclopyr in the past. Amine I presume, if it was the trade version Brush-B-Gone.

Although other classes of herbicides might well have greater activity on a per unit basis, their cost is usually higher. At least to people who buy in small end-user quantities. IIRC I got my 2.5 gallons of Glyphosate concentrate for something like $50 on sale at Tractor Supply. It has lasted me almost 2 years. Even if it only takes 1/2 as much triclopyr, you're looking at paying about $100 for 1/2 a gallon of that concentrate. Since generic roundup works fine, is cheap and widely available (except in Canada, I can't begin to comprehend their so-called pro-environmental lunacy), and easy to wash off if accidentally misapplied I stick with that.
I still experiment with other approaches for new challanges. For example I'm currently testing ester 2,4-D, mixed with a clever solvent blend of my own design, to kill an absolutely gigantic 4" caliper poison ivy.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 11:49

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:48AM
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