From the Forums: A No Messing Around Way to Get Rid of Invasive Plants

Posted by: on June 15th, 2012 | 15 Comments
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A drawing of a Home Depot associate considering a giant invasive plant

 

Getting rid of an unwanted plant can be a real headache, especially if it’s an invasive species that’s put down some deep roots. The invasive bush or vine can turn into a monster seemingly over night and really mess up your lawn or garden. This was a topic that came up recently on our Community Forums, and that’s where we learned two similar ways to get rid of your invasive plants– one simple, but slow, the other a bit more elaborate, but swift and decisive.

This was all prompted by Apron Blog reader Lana, who had a problem with honeysuckle. She said that the bushes were trying to take over her backyard, and she wasn’t sure how to get rid of it.

One way to handle this–simple, but slow– is to follow the vine back to its starting point and cut the stem off there. Then pour herbicide into the fresh cut, being very careful not to spill any on other plants around it. You’ll have to do the cut and pour thing several times, possibly even over more than one growing season, before you’ve eradicated the honeysuckle or other invasive plant. But you’ll eventually prevail against the pesky plant that’s taking over your garden.

But Forums associate CoachDave described a way to get the job done once and for all in one go. It’s a little more complicated than what we just described, but this works in a few days, and it doesn’t harm the surrounding plants.

Here’s the no messing around method of getting rid of  invasive plants, with Dave’s own illustrations:

First decide if you really want it gone, or if just an aggressive pruning might be what you need. Assuming you’re ready for battle, start by cutting off all but the single largest branch that will fit in a used water bottle.

Make a 50/50 mixture of water and Roundup, or any weed killer that contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and put this in the old water bottle. Be careful not to get Roundup on your skin, and wash your hands thoroughly after you’re done. Also clearly label the water bottle “POISON”.

Dig a little hole for the bottle to rest in so it doesn’t fall over and spill the mixture. Put the stem of the honeysuckle into the mixture. The plant will absorb the Roundup all the way down to the roots. After about two weeks you can dig it up, and dispose of the bottle.

This is a method that has worked for other invasive plants as well.

 

See? Simple, targeted and effective. Check out the Garden Center page on homedepot.com for all your lawn and garden needs.

We have more advice from our experts.  Visit the Forums for DIY tips and tricks from our store associates. From the Forums Friday is our weekly column highlighting expert advice and the best of The Home Depot’s Community Forums. 

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  1. debra haines says:

    1 cup crossbow
    1 gallon kerosene in a sprayer (3 gallon)
    fill the rest of the way with water.
    Kills blackberry. poison oak and English ivy + everything it comes in contact with.
    wear rubber gloves and boots. Like all poison, it is absorbed through your skin and into your blood stream. Be extra careful around wells and drinking water.
    Got the info from a logger and it works. Do this when it is not raining for better results

  2. Susan Tomsen says:

    We dug up our 12-yr-old wisteria. We dug down 2-3 feet and cut off all limbs and removed what we could of the stump. We put holes in the stump and put bleach on it. When shoots started appearing in the lawn, we dug down again, cut more out and put bleach on the stump.

    Still, year after year, the wisteria continues sending up shoots in 8 different places in the lawn and the flower bed. We have dug down and found only little woody shoots (no stump) and we have submerged the shoots in Round-Up, vinegar, IMAGE® Brush and Vine Killer and Clorox bleach – and nothing kills it.

    Do you know any way to kill this hideously aggressive and indestructible vine?

  3. Stephanie says:

    These tips are very helpful. Will the stem in a bottle work on english ivy? We have it creeping all around the edges of our property from a town easment behind our house. The ivy has run amuk on the easment and is now enchroching on our property. Does the stem have to be a main branch or can it be just a good size stem?

  4. Elly says:

    This is a good tip, but why is Home Depot still selling invasive plants? Out of the 6 types of plants I just bought last week, it turns out two are invasive here in my state. I’m planning to dig them back up and return them this weekend, but why not just not sell them?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Elly.

      You make a very valid point. But Home Depot sells the plants that customers seem to want. And it is possible to plant some invasive species and not have any trouble, so the option is available. But you’re right… it’s important to consider carefully is such species are right for your garden, and if you’re willing to do what it takes to keep them under control.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  5. Wow! This is so awesome. I will try this today! I have a honeysuckle plant that I cut all the way to the end because it was out of control. Now I have it back again! This is a great solution to remove the plant from that area at my house.

    Thanks!!!!!!

    • Craig Allen says:

      Thanks for the enthusiastic response, Alicia.

      Let us know how it works for you and your unwanted honeysuckle.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  6. Michael Perando says:

    I REALLY liked the article on getting rid of invasive plants.I have tried everything in the past, and nothing seemed to work.Makes more sense than constantly pulling or cutting or digging. Thanks for the tip.

  7. Cindy says:

    I have been having what seems like a lifelong battle with Ailanthus. I may give this method a try. Thanks for the post!

  8. phil says:

    I love the drawings. Are you the illustrator as well as the writer?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Phil. I love the drawings, too. I wish I could draw like that. They were drawn by CoachDave, the Home Depot associate who came up with that method of getting rid of invasive plants. He’s pretty talented, eh?

      -Craig, from the Apron Blog

    • phil says:

      Yeah, CoachDave must be a talented guy. BTW, I’m going to try his suggestion this weekend on my english ivy. That stuff is taking over my back yard. I cut it out of the trees already but it’s getting into my azaleas and I can’t put up with that.

  9. Deanna Plauche says:

    You can also use a sponge paint brush and concentrated round up to paint the leaves of any invasive plant you want to get rid of. This works well as you only get the plant you want to get rid of and not any that may be closely located to the invasive plant. Do this on a hot day and within a few hours the leaves of the plant are shriveled up. It kills the plant down to the root as well and you don’t have to worry about any bottles being picked up by kids and/or animals.