En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - June 28, 2013

From: waco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Trees
Title: Killing regrowing shoots of a downed hackberry tree
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hackberry plants won't die. You and others have suggested to cut the suckers or saplings to get rid of them. Over the years I have continued to cut the same saplings and the only thing I have now are hackberry sapling root structures the size of a salad plate. I need to get rid of these things - they are all over the place.

ANSWER:

As a last (and effective) resort, use a herbicide.  You must cut as many of the growing shoots as you can very close to the ground.  If there are lots of shoots, cut them in groups of six or eight.  Then, within five minutes at most, use a small brush to paint the cambium layer (or whole shoot if less than 0.5 inches in diameter) with CONCENTRATED Roundup herbicide (not the diluted form sold to spray on leafy vegetation).  The cambium layer is the ring of cells just beneath the bark.  It's functions include transporting nutrients made in the leaves by photosynthesis down into the stem and roots and transporting water from the roots up to the leaves. If the herbicide is not applied within a very few minutes after disrupting the cambium it will not be taken up effectively by the plant.  Then cut and treat another group of shoots and continue the routine until all shoots are treated.  If some of the saplings are as large as small trees you can simply girdle the trunk and apply herbicide in the cut opening.

Roundup concentrate can be obtained from some garden centers or hardware stores.  Roundup persists in nature for only a few days, but it is toxic to some animals while it lasts.  That is why you must carefully paint it on with a small brush rather than spraying over a larger area.  And do not use it within a few feet of a stream or pond because rain could carry it into the water, where it would kill aquatic organisms.  This is why we only recommend its usage in unusually stubborn cases.

 

More Trees Questions

Area under live oaks from Austin
October 08, 2012 - We have many live oaks in our mostly shaded half acre. While I have tried to plant mostly native plants, often beneath them, the plants are showered with leathery leaves, acorns and sap, while oak sp...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screen Tree for Patio in NC
April 15, 2013 - What is a good tree to plant in front of a brick wall/fence to provide privacy and not compromise the structural integrity of the wall? The brick fence is my neighbors but I need privacy as they can s...
view the full question and answer

Overwatering Texas Mountain Laurel from Rosanky TX
June 06, 2012 - I just read your article in the Statesman about over watering Mt.Laurel. Now I know why my lovely 15 year old tree is dying. We put in new grass this winter and I watered too much. Is there any hop...
view the full question and answer

Dog eats Celtis laevigata, sugar hackberry
May 21, 2012 - This is an odd question but I am a biologist and have for years notice an odd behavior in my Golden Retriever. When he gets stomach distress or something makes him nervous like an incoming thunderstor...
view the full question and answer

Problem with flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolatta)
July 14, 2008 - My Flameleaf Sumac appears to have an insect infestation in the bark which oozes a sappy sticky substance. This has apparently caused one of the limbs to die. Will it kill the whole plant and is there...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center