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cfmuehling

Sasafrass & Mulberry trees

cfmuehling
17 years ago

I hate 'em.

They sucker, grow from seeds, and generally annoy the crap out of me, coming up through my beautiful on-purpose plants. They struggle enough with the never-ending moles, voles and drought. (Yes, drought. The rain only moistened the 1st 3/4'' - 1'' of my soil!!)

Anyway, I continue to cut these trees' suckers off, but they just shoot up again elsewhere. I try to dig deeply and pull them out by the roots, but tha tisn't always possible.

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas for permenantly sending these to plant hell?

Thanks,

Christine

Comments (19)

  • lynnt
    17 years ago

    I've heard of one good means to deter these buggers that I've not tried myself: have you tried painting the cut stump with full-strength Round-up or brush-be-gone when you cut them off, Christine?

    By the way, the dwarf crepe myrtle you gave me has come back from the roots -- I thought for sure I'd killed that poor little thing, leaving it above ground last winter...

    Lynn

  • cfmuehling
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    I gave you the Baton Rouge CM, didn't I? That was a lovely color, even though it was too pink for me. They're hardy little devils, so it's great to hear this one proved it to be true.

    These suckers are really not big enough to have stumps. I've tried the round-up, but it thinks it's a vitamin spray. I'm thinking Brush-b-gone for the roots. I might let them get a little taller, then expose the root and put this stuff on them. Unfortunately, many of these suckers are coming up in the middle of other plants. I guess I'll just do the best I can!

    Someone else recommended a root killer from Gardener's. The name escapes me, but I will look into that, too.

    C.

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  • lynnt
    17 years ago

    Don't really need anything as big as a "stump", just a freshly-cut branch or stem/stalk. Brush-killer painted on the open wound gets pulled down into the roots -- and this direct application also keeps the poison off the good plants nearby. Should take care of that sassafras you showed me yesterday.

    L

  • bogturtle
    17 years ago

    I cannot speak for either of these plants, although I never had a problem with suckering in sassafrass, but I did have a poison ivy plant up a tree 30 feet with a trunk as thick as my wrist. I sprayed every leaf I could reach with roundup and the holdfasts also. It died completely within two weeks. Overspray might be avoided with protective gloves covered with mittins or socks soaked in the stuff and wiped on the leaves. I am going to try this on one mulberry I recently found sprouting.

  • aka_peggy
    17 years ago

    Try injuring the trunk/sucker before painting it with RU or brush killer. I used a hatchet to cut into a good sized stump of a mulberry tree before painting it with RU. It took 3 times before it died. If there's no "stump" you can use a brick or stone and a hammer to splinter the wood. If possible, place the plant against the brick and using the hammer, take out all your frustration;)

    Good luck!

  • winged_mammal
    17 years ago

    Sassafras is a cool plant.

  • agardenstateof_mind
    17 years ago

    I agree, sassafras really is a cool tree. However, living in a somewhat wooded suburban area I've had more spring up than I care to deal with ... they do seed prolifically, grow very rapidly, regrow vigorously from the roots and are quite brittle. A neighbor has several growing in a "natural" area of their yard just beyond our fence and in a mild storm last winter the entire top of one tree broke off and landed near our koi pond/water garden, putting a 4" hole in a rather expensive waterfall unit. I'm just thankful the damage is not in the water flow area and affected neither the pond liner nor fish. Anyway ... it again comes back to "the right plant for the right place."

    Diane

  • cfmuehling
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    Sassafras may be cool, but it's like any other plant. To some it's cool, to others it's a weed. winged mammal, you're welcome to come dig as many as you'd like, as long as you can remove them from the MIDDLE of my coral bells, hosta, epimedium, and other plants I do want. How cool would that be!? Tsk.

    I've been procrastinating because of the heat, but I have purchased the brush killer. I also have my usual supply of Round-Up. I'm going to do the RU on the foliage and the BBG on the stumps. I do look forward to smashing the crap out of the ones I can. They are determined little things! The mulberries grow like poison ivy around me.

    Bogturtle, I hear you on the PI. We were using chain saws on some vines larger than my husband's thighs to sever the trunks. The upper parts kept growing, taking several season to die. The lower parts where I could get the RU died in the same season. I still, 4 years later, deal with roots that awaken and decide to try again. Beware hairy roots! (lol)

    Thanks for the advice, guys!
    Christine

  • cfmuehling
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    Just wanted you to know that in the garden where I can more freely spray, the mulberry and sassafrass are still ahead of the game.

    The garden where they're growing up inside my plants? I am still just breaking them off. It's been too hot to crawl around painting them.

    I'll let you know, though, what happens with I do.
    Thanks!
    Christine

  • sam_md
    17 years ago

    Understanding and appreciation for plants comes in all dimentions. Let me explain why I love Sassafras. It is one of 3 plants which are larval host to Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly. Keep in mind, you must have larvae before you have butterflies. There should be A Sassafras planted in every butterfly garden. The timing of the fruits and the lipid content is perfect for the neo-tropical migrants which pass through the area within the next couple of weeks. This same migration has occured for countless centuries.
    My experience is that Sassafras doesn't run unless the main tree has been cut. Once cut it will sucker and run.
    White Mulberry is an Asian introduction which should be eliminated at all cost. Find the source of the main trees nearby and have them removed.
    Irvine Nature Center in Baltimore County is sponsoring a Seminar and Native Plant Sale on Saturday, August 19. There will be Sassafras and the native Red Mulberry for sale. The Red Mulberry is especially choice and hard to find, never weedy. The most desirable plants sell out within a couple of hours of the sale's opening. They are sold by vendors who propagated and grew them. You won't find such plants at Lowe's or Home Depot.
    The Mid-Atlantic Gardening Forum is at its best when it is taking the best from the gardening world as well as the natural world. How do we want to be cast, as superficial gardeners only interested in the "Pretty" or as gardeners of substance, purpose and a sense of place?
    Sam

    Here is a link that might be useful: Irvine Nature Center

  • cynthia_gw
    17 years ago

    The best way to kill Sassafras is to transplant it. A few years ago someone actually wanted these. Of 6 transplants I dug, only one survived. I like Sassafras (sp), but too many suckers (and too many s's). I mow them where I can and save the grueling painting of hundreds of stems for itchy stuff like PI.

  • gardener_sandy
    17 years ago

    If you're going to use Roundup or any other glyphosate product, it's best to let the plant regrow some and spray or paint it on the leaves. This is the method of transmission that is most effective, transferring the herbicide from the leaves down to the roots. Spraying or painting the cut "stump" doesn't work as well.

    Sandy

  • cfmuehling
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    Well, an update and to address a few things I didn't get back on earlier. :)

    Many years ago there might have been parent trees for these suckers. That was long ago.

    Bogturtle? You only think that poison ivy is gone. Just wait until you see what comes up from ALL the roots next spring. Been there, done it. You've gotta don a space suit and pull out as many of those long, spidering, hairy roots as you can, and you'll still get ivy. Don't give up, though.

    As far as butterflies go? There are 3.5 more acres of my property upon which they can make their coccons. I have so many butterfly-encouraging plants my yard almost wiggles it's so alive. I'm not concerned about killing some spindly, aggressive suckers that came from some parent plant someone must have hacked down years go. Wanting "pretty" and wanting all my chosen plants to have a fighting chance? I find myself somewhat resentful of the blackmail-ish question, given that only LynnT has seen my land to comment upon that by which I "want to be known." That said, again, there are enough of these trees squishing everything else out to satisfy all the deer and butterflies and bugs and bees in the area.

    Ok. Update:
    First, I tried the Round-up. Round-up is always my friend. It's helped me clear 3 acres of poison ivy so thick the vines look like weeping trees. Vines so thick we couldn't see the roof of the house we bought. Vines that taught me what poison ivy is. Round-up killed the foliage and ...

    My newest best friend, Ortho Brush-b-gone killed the remaining, visable woody stems. This also took care of the final gasps of all that darned briar rose.

    So, after the Round-Up had taken care of the foliage but where a few of the stems remained green? I snipped them, creating an open wound. I put the BBB into that nice wound. Believe it or not, by the next week, they were blackened and shrivled.

    The underground stumps seem to still be trying to put out new growth. What I've done is to pull the new growth out, which comes out with a long, tap-rootish thing. Now, down into the hole from where it's coming? I carefully pour a dribble of the BBB into it.

    We'll see if they continue to come back, but I am greatly encouraged. I am going to have to figure out what to do with these darned things that are coming up through my heuchera, tiarella, epimedium, etc.

    And, now to deal with all these crappy junk cherry trees native to us here in Maryland. They reseed all the heck over the place and are a weeding day of their own. The we have those darned onions....

    Stop me.
    Thanks all, though, for the advice! I am hopeful in my limited success.

    Christine

  • lonegreyrabbit
    15 years ago

    it's been a long time since anyone posted here, but since i left chicago 2 years ago, i'm not bothered by mulberries or alanthus...tree of heaven? it's the sassafras...they are invasive here in disturbed areas...runners and those pretty seeds.

    when i worked with a prairie restoration group, we girdled outside layers from trees and painted them with something that was not a poison, but i believe it overstimulated the growth hormones of the tree and killed them that way...wish i knew what it was...i don't like using poison even judiciously as it could hurt any creature that might feed on the tree.

    i know i will never get rid of sassafras, but would like to control it somewhat so that i don't end up with a sassafras forest.

    and i tried making sassafras tea, but it doesn't taste like what i remember. the young buds are what are used as a thickener for gumbo...i'm trying to make lemonade out of lemons...oh, and i want to try that with sumac this year.

  • eibren
    15 years ago

    I wonder if there are different strains of Sassafras trees?

    Years ago, when I lived in Massachusetts, there was one little, well-proportioned Sassafras tree growing in the yard of a good friend of mine. It was only about fifteen feet tall, and according to my friend's parents was quite old.

    Apparently, further South, they become monsters!

    I've always wanted one, but always thought of them as being a rather cute, little, easily-managed tree.

  • lonegreyrabbit
    15 years ago

    oh if only they were cute and manageable...especially the manageable part!...actually not an unattractive looking tree. i found someone who sells fire wood who will cut down many of my larger ones...for free!, so i really need to find something that will get those nasty little suckers. the guy who will be doing it suggested some rather lethal and not good for the environment methods of killing suckers. if i try to keep cutting suckers, will that weaken their strength? this guy claimed there are differebt kinds of sassafras and the kind i've got is not the tea kind...too bad

  • gemini_jim
    15 years ago

    "if i try to keep cutting suckers, will that weaken their strength?"

    That depends on how extensive the whole plant is, and how much of it you are cutting back. If you keep cutting every sucker that is attached to a single root system, eventually it will weaken and die (could take years though). But if there are some that aren't being cut the root system will still get food and you'll never kill it. At best you'll slow it's growth, but unless it catches a disease or something it will always come back.

  • diana_lynn
    15 years ago

    Lone Grey Rabbit,

    I'm no expert, and absolutely do not mean to contradict anyone (Gemini), but cutting off all the suckers repeatedly never worked for me (I have one bush I've been trying to kill off for five years now).

    After years of experimenting with endless mulberry saplings, I found this method to work best for me:

    I leave the branches on and try to dig up the root (and get ALL of it). If I can't, I spray the leaves until the branch dies (may take repeated applications). The leaves seem to transmit the poison to the root much more quickly than the stump can. After the branch looks good and dead, then I follow the branch down to what looks like living wood (may be under the ground) and chop it off there, smashing the top cut end (like you'd smash a woody-stemmed cut flower before putting it in water). I then paint that with poison(or bend it over and dip it into the stuff). If the stump is large enough (god forbid!), I'll drill a few holes in it and trickle the poison in. If I've dug down to the root while trying to dig it out, I nick it or drill it and apply poison at the same time as I apply poison to the leaves. I repeat this as often as seems necessary and cross my fingers that I've killed the thing.

    Oh, boy. I sound like I'm all for poison. I HATE the stuff! HATE that I'm talking like this. Those drat mulberries!

    Diana Lynn

  • stonecrop_81
    12 years ago

    re: Sassafras Tea...thought I read somewhere sassafras has been deemed carcinogenic for teas and oils. I've had sumac"ade" at Plimoth Plantation though and that's good, no clue as to how the Native Americans made it.

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