Little trees sprouting all over my yard - Knowledgebase Question

Minneapolis, Mi
Question by heatherolson4
April 22, 2010
We bought a house in Oct. Besides the overwhelming amount of Creeping Charlie, I've noticed that there are little trees sprouting up all over. I can't pull them up. The stubs are about an inch or two tall and I'm assuming the roots go down quite far. Can you let me know what I can do to get rid of both of my unwanted plant life? Can I zap the trees with a pesticide or do I dig them up?

Answer from NGA
April 22, 2010


Sounds like you have your work cut out for you this spring and summer! The little trees might be sprouting from seeds of a nearby tree that have fallen onto the ground or they may be suckers coming from underground tree roots. If a tree was cut down, the roots are trying to save themselves by sprouting everywhere. If the parent tree is still alive somewhere on your property you won't want to use an herbicide to control the suckers. It could travel back to the tree and eventually kill it. So, your challenge is to find out if the suckers are growing from the roots of a live tree or if they are growing from roots left in the ground from a tree that was cut down. Your choices are to keep cutting them down if they are somehow attached to a live tree, or cut each one down and immediately paint the stub with a vegetation killer such as Round Up. This is a contact killer and will damage anything else it touches so use a paint brush to apply it to the stubs. This will kill off both seedlings and suckers.

Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) can be a real pest. Many gardeners have had good luck eradicating the plant by mixing 10 ounces 20-Mule Team Borax in 2-1/2 gallons of water and applying the mixture to the weeds. The boron doesn't affect turfgrass, but overwhelms the roots of Creeping Charlie. Cool weather reduces its effectiveness so apply when the weather is warm. The University of Minnesota and Iowa State University have tested this recipe and report good results. Hope it works for you, too. If you'd rather use a chemical, use a postemergence broadleaf weed killer containing dicamba. This is often found mixed with other weed killers. (Examples include Trimec, Three Way Lawn Weed Killer, etc.) Products containing triclopyr or 2,4-DP may also provide decent control. A second application later in the season according to label direction can provide additional control.

Best wishes with your new landscape!

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