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Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Posted by graficaamy 6 lower NY (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 23, 09 at 16:29

I have an area about 50 x 100 feet that once had several large sassafras trees, and now has a huge number of their offspring. I am trying to create a woodland-ish garden with the anchor of a large maple tree, shrubs, eventually perennials, etc, so I am tryign to gradually clear out sassafras and nasty rose-like briar patch and put in what I want. But we can't seem to eliminate the sassafras. The most difficult ones are sprouting from underground sections of old root system. It's impossible to dig them up, and it seems that the more we try, the more saplings pop up the next year.

Anyone have any advice? I really want to stay organic, however I'm just about to give up and put on some herbicide. I've read somewhere about painting Round Up directly on newly cut stems. Or some hope that repeated backbreaking digging will eventually get rid of them? Please help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

You can walk around with a pair of pruners and cut off every sprout you see. Eventually, those roots should run out of the energy necessary to resprout.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

They are really too vigorous I think. The other day we dug down about 15 inches to the "root culprit" of several above-ground saplings, and there was a buried 10-inch diameter stump down there. We tried furiously chopping it to bits with our pickaxe and shovers, and the thing actually sprayed out juicy sap -- FULL of energy to send up new babies. More like ghosts of sassafras past to haunt us!


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Round-up works much better sprayed or painted on the leaves, the way the instructions say. It won't do much at all put on the cut stems. Leaves have 1000 times the surface area of cut stems. They will all die if you treat them or cut them several times.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

It won't do much at all put on the cut stems.

Actually if you put brush killer ("Round up" makes this form as well, Brush B Gon is another brand) on freshly cut woody plant stems (where it can get into the living layer just underneath the bark), it can be very effective. And some people swear that regular Round up applied at a stronger rate works fine too. The key is to have it come into contact with the living layer.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Could just make tea? Sorry,trying to add a light side to the problem.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 26, 09 at 16:45

"Round-up ... won't do much at all put on the cut stems."

Don't tell my undesirable trees that. They've been dying right away often with just a single dose. Apparently, no one told them they weren't supposed to.


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Re: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 26, 09 at 16:57

P.S.

The key is to apply it to the freshly cut cambium. This is the same layer that the Round-up would have to be transported through if it were applied to the leaves. Applying it to the freshly cut cambium is just short-circuiting it directly to that spot, so it's actually more effective than if it were applied to the leaves.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

ESH GA, and Brandon7 -- that's what I thought I had read about. Since I have regular Round Up already, I'll use it at a strong concentration (what do you suggest?). What about timing? Since I'm applying directly to new cut stem, do I need to have active leaf growth already?

[I like herbal tea, but this is ridiculous!]


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

I thought it was 1 and a half times as strong, perhaps brandon knows better. You could check the label - they might have the recommended amount there.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

  • Posted by jpal MA 6 (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 2, 09 at 0:42

You should apply herbicides according to the label.

The goal with herbicides, particularly in this type of useage, is to get it translocated (moved) down deep into the root system. If you use too strong of a mixture you can prematurely kill off plant tissue and short circuit the plumbing system which is moving the herbicide through the roots.

Patience is a virtue when using herbicides, as with other matters in life.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 3, 09 at 16:21

When I'm using the 18% stuff (off the top of my head, I think that's what the "regular" stuff is), I often apply it undiluted to the stumps. The way roundup works, it won't "prematurely kill off plant tissue....".


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings ... P.S.

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 3, 09 at 16:27

I just went out and looked at a Roundup label. As Esh_ga guessed, it does have application rates for stumps. It says to immediately apply to fresh cuts and to use it undiluted. And, BTW, it is the 18% concentration (what I refer to as "regular" Roundup).


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Thanks brandon7 -- I should have figured that out myself -- to check the label! It's going to be painstaking work, since the worst of my sassafras situation are the small saplings (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter) that grow up in bunches of a dozen or so around the long-buried, still-vigorous root systems and old trunks. I'll try to gather my patience and do a little at a time. Thanks all.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Do you have any idea how many people would love to own those seedlings, including me? You could dig them and sell them. Using Roundup is not an option. You may kill more than sassafras. The seedlings may not be that at all, but actually root starts from the main tree. Using Roundup near a tree does more damage to that tree than you will immediately realize.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

I am glad u said that master cause I was thinking the same thing sassafras is a native here in my area. Isnt that what this forum is for is to preserve native not destroy it. Since your cutting your tree down anyways lol mind trading some of your cuttings. Oh and the tea comment gotta love it.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, May 21, 09 at 12:03

"Do you have any idea how many people would love to own those seedlings, including me? You could dig them and sell them."

You might want to do a google search on transplanting sassafras. They are not known to be easy to transplant. Digging them for sale wouldn't make much sense at all.

"Using Roundup is not an option. You may kill more than sassafras."

Really? How do you figure?


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

"Using Roundup is not an option. You may kill more than sassafras."

Really? How do you figure?

Because Roundup is a noxious product from an equally noxious company (Monsanto) which is trying to copyright ownership of our plants (and our ability to heal ourselves) from out of our garden and into their labs. Does any company produce a product that can be brushed onto Roundup to make it disappear?

Funny how what one considers a weed leads to politics. But, that said, I run an independent cafe and we have many many groups come to meet, and I have to say that the local garden club is BY FAR the most political group out there.

BTW, I'd love to have sassafras growing in my garden. I can't find plants or seeds for sale in all of North America! Apparently sassafras oil is a "precurser" in the making of ecstasy. I don't care myself. I'm just trying to get my garden back to it's native state.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Sassafras wasn't too hard to find - see link.

Beautiful trees. I love their mitten leaves and fall color.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Forest Farm - Sassafras


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Wholly, Missouri Wildflowers Nursery has sassafrass trees for sale.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sassafrass trees


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Since this thread was recently bumped up, I'll add...

Whether Monsanto is an "evil" company that is trying to take over the universe, or not, is probably outside the scope of this thread, so I won't address that theory.

But, the fear that many have about RoundUp translocating to other plants or somehow magically hurting nearby plants is mostly unfounded. Glyphosate (the generic name for the chemical in most RoundUp products) will only translocate to other plants in very rare situation (like when same-species individuals have formed root-grafts with the targeted plant). Glyphosate (at least if we're speaking about small individual uses, maybe not its vast-scale use in agriculture) is one of the safest chemicals we use in our yards. It's actually much safer than many of the so called "organic" products. As long as proper precautions are used to prevent overspray (onto non-target plants) or wind-drift, it's pretty safe. And, BTW, when applied directly to freshly cut stumps, as described above, even these potential problems would not be relevant. Optimal results are obtained when used in late summer / early fall before leaf-drop, on most woody plants. Glyphosate/RoundUp, used as a freshly-cut stump killer works wonderfully and safely.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Sassafras is one of a handful of great trees that for whatever reason are not commonly available in nurseries. I love their fall color and leaf shapes.
They can be easy to transplant if you find a SEEDLING. The problem is there's a good chance its a root sucker and that would not survive being transplanted- not enough roots.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Finding seedlings around here isn't the problem, transplanting them can be. I've never seen any source that lists sassafras transplantation as "easy". Nurseries don't often sell this plant because it is relatively difficult (not impossible) to transplant.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Seedlings are actually easy to transplant if you can locate one that's not a root sucker. I've been successful the few times I've tried.

They're not available in the nursery industry for a few reasons, not because they're difficult to plant. Anything grown in a pot would be easy to plant.

They may not be easy to propagate in large numbers. Also they probably don't grow fast enough and have irregular shapes when young, so that's probably why they're not widely available. Some native plant nurseries carry them.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Re: the Tea comment and sassafras trees----Did some research when a sassafras tree was overtaking my dads house and no matter what my husband did he couldn't keep that thing under control. It was overtaking power lines and shingles. He would trim/remove large and small branches--they would sprout off bunches of new ones and grow quickly the same or the next year. And those limbs were wicked heavy too. Ironically now that we've bought an income property, we've found that it, and the adjoining neighbors property is "infested" with sassafras trees!!!Interesting how things work out.
Anyway, found that SASSAFRAS TEA IS HEPATOTOXIC, ie. it causes LIVER DAMAGE. Suggest no one makes sassafras tea. Cirrhosis and liver cancer is no picnic.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

I'm not so sure that Sassafras is your entire problem. It's very evident that the shady/semi-shady spot you're trying to clear is at the 'woodland meadow' stage. this is when dense undergrowth occurs, with the lack of a solid shade canopy. You may win the battle with round up and (as some pointed out)also sicken or lose the desired sassafras specimens. But after the round up, briars, native wildflowers and weeds will be a consistent, and never-ending battle. Not sure how much energy you have for this year after year. If you be patient, as one stated, after several years these trees and briars will duke it out, and MANY will lose (choked-out), resulting in your desired canopy cover absent of thick undergrowth. Sometimes it's actually more rewarding to just put a split-rail cedar or ash fence with a simple foot trail and bird feeder! I'm a bee keeper and and very apprehensive to all the simple chemical answers. Curious what varieties you wish to introduce.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

If the redbay ambrosia beetle (along with laurel wilt) makes its way northward there won't be any sassafras to worry about.


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

If by chance anyone is still speaking here one solution I would suggest is to drill holes in the stump itself and fill these holes with plain cheap brand tablesalt. Do this repeatedly for several months the salt will kill the roots. Drill as many holes as you can as large as you can. Round up may be an option .James in Florida


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

Good post jamesmaloy. I had heard about this type of treatment as well.
My question to you - or anyone else to chime in -
do you think the round-up on the shoots + the salty stump would help progress it faster ??? I also bought some stump killer but still have the reciept. Lots more kosher salt to spare !!!
Also, as others had mentioned applying the "brush killer"...if I weed wacked the shoots and applied quickly to the bruised stems ... is that a viable option ???


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RE: Too many Sassafras seedlings -- HELP -- I'm losing the battle

graficaamy:
I have an area about 50 x 100 feet that once had several large sassafras trees, and now has a huge number of their offspring.

I can understand getting tired of dancing around with a pest and bringing out the chemicals. morally it is a lesser position, but sometimes one just gets tired. I like esh_ga 's pruner suggestion if you've the strength and patience. For pruner you could also substitute weed whacker or propane torch, whatever makes it easiest for you. The difficulty is of course that the tree may be more patient than you are. Trees don't do anything quickly, not even die.


jpal
Patience is a virtue when using herbicides, as with other matters in life.

-Just ask any Sassafrass


graficaamy :
It's going to be painstaking work, since the worst of my sassafras situation are the small saplings (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter) that grow up in bunches of a dozen or so around the long-buried, still-vigorous root systems and old trunks. I'll try to gather my patience and do a little at a time.

I think if you go the Roundup route you should try and do a lot at a time, so as to get a sufficiently large dose into the roots. You don't just want to wound it, you want it dead.


masterstreamer :
Using Roundup is not an option. You may kill more than sassafras. The seedlings may not be that at all, but actually root starts from the main tree. Using Roundup near a tree does more damage to that tree than you will immediately realize.

Roundup will kill 'most anything it gets on, that's what it's for. Are you suggesting it will damage things it was not sprayed directly on? How so?


wholly:
Roundup is a noxious product from an equally noxious company (Monsanto) which is trying to copyright ownership of our plants (and our ability to heal ourselves) from out of our garden and into their labs.

You have touched upon the heart of my concerns about Roundup. Based on what I know, it is the safest product out there. However everything I know comes from the manufacturer, and thoroughly slash & burn any serious critics.

wholly:
Does any company produce a product that can be brushed onto Roundup to make it disappear?

They claim it breaks down safely in the soil. Of course if it doesn't, how would we know?

wholly :
Apparently sassafras oil is a "precurser" in the making of ecstasy.

So THAT'S why they're such nice trees


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