how to get rid of border hedge/jungle

farm_boy(6)May 21, 2012

I'm not sure if this is the best forum, but a weed is a plant that is out of place, right? Well, I need advice on how to (cheaply) get rid of out-of-place plants.

I have a little rental house, and the renters would like to garden in the backyard. But, about 35 years ago, the original owner put in privet hedges on 3 sides of the lot. Well, today the privets are trees that shade the backyard, and they are growing together in a jungly mess with maples, elms, briars, poison ivy, and several other unidentified woody plants.

I'd like to have all these "bushes" taken out so they can garden. If I do it little by little, can I cut everything at ground level, cover it with plastic? cardboard? mulch? and a year from now haul in some soil/compost?

Of course I'd like to try it without covering all the stumps with Agent Orange, if possible.

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I think that your choices are probably Agent Orange and a small backhoe. I have an old privet hedge in my yard; we wanted to get rid of a couple of the bushes, and it took the backhoe to get the roots out. If it's a mess of all kinds of woody plants, I say call somebody with a Bobcat and let them get to work.

If you can isolate the non-privet stuff and put RoundUp on the stumps, you can cut the privet down to about 10 inches, then let it regrow, keeping it trimmed and under control. Just a thought,in case you or your renters want a bit of privacy or property line demarcation.

Either way, it will be a hard and messy job - best of luck with it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:46PM
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Lisanti, you're just giving me bad news that I already know. ;)

No one has any easier shortcuts??

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Update: I may have found a "short-cut"

I called the electric company, and they say that later this summer they will cut to the ground and haul away the bushes in 2 of the 3 sides of the lot (the two sides that are under power lines). I think I convinced them that they have to come out now and then and trim them when they start to touch the power lines anyway, so by taking them all out they may be saving themselves work in the long run.

Now, it's wait and see if they'll really do it.... then I'll have to deal with all the stumps and roots.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 6:54PM
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bruglover(Gulf States)

One fairly easy, but not cheap, way to kill privet and other shrubs is with the trunk-spray method. You will need to get triclopyr that is a high enough percentage to dilute with diesel so that the triclopyr can be about 25% of the resulting solution.

This is brushkiller, but not the same strength that is normally available in the nursery section of your big local discount store. I buy this at a feed store or such for about $89 per gallon. Used judiciously, it kills a lot of privet, though.

Put the triclopyr-diesel solution in a sprayer, or in a bucket. The sprayer can be one of those 1-gallon pump things. The solution has not eaten up the plastic on mine. Don't use the sprayer for ANYTHING but weed/plant killer.

If using a bucket, arm yourself with an old, wide paintbrush. Be careful not to spill the bucket, as you'll cry if $50 of triclopyr runs into the ground and kills something you don't want it to.

Coat the bottom 18 inches or so of the privet trunks, on all sides, with the diesel/triclopyr mixture. Then wait. This is very satisfying. In a few days, you'll see the leaves begin to yellow and drop. The privet is dying!

When it's entirely dead, if you wait long enough, it will start to rot, and you'll be able to break it off at ground level by hand and take it out to the trash or whatever you're going to do with it. If you cut it after it's dead (wait a couple weeks following leaf drop), spray the cut stump with roundup immediately, to make sure it's gone, gone, gone, especially if you see any green below the bark.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 6:45PM
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