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 Problem Plants Questions

Elimination of nutgrass from native flower bed
October 14, 2007 - Nutgrass!*#!* My new bed in NE Austin wraps around a hot sunny SW street corner. Grass wouldn't grow there [I wouldn't water it.] I removed the turf [mostly stickers] to a depth of about 4", carefu...
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace Phragmites australis (Common reed) in Cedar Ridge Preserve
February 25, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the DFW area and volunteer at a preserve (Cedar Ridge). We are constantly battling the common reed, Phragmites australis, around the pond. I am wondering what shou...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating Najas flexilis from a pond
December 22, 2014 - What method would be effective in eliminating Najas Flexilis from a pond?
view the full question and answer

Poison Ivy in Semi-wetland Massachusetts
June 27, 2013 - You answered this question for Tennessee, but I would like an answer for a Massachusetts semi-wetlands area: What can I plant to discourage poison ivy, or at least make it very clear that it is poison...
view the full question and answer

Desert Willow Roots from Lubbock, TX
September 18, 2014 - I have a very, very happy Desert Willow that has grown larger than we expected and is probably too close to the house. Do I need to worry about a cracked foundation or pipe problems? Thanks!
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center