Need Help Removing Thorn Bushes

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by johnd19, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. johnd19

    johnd19 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Hey guys. I need to remove for a customer approximately 500 square feet of nasty thorn bushes. The customer simply wants me to cut them down to ground level and then spray a weed killer on the exposed stems to kill the residual root ball on each plant.

    My questions:
    1. is this how you would do the job? i'm using a weed wacker with the circular saw blade attachment to cut the bushes down.
    2. what weed killer works on the exposed stems of the root ball to kill them? Note: i can't terminate the soil, i have to be able to replant new vegetation in the spring (5 months).
    3. Any other suggestions are much appreciated!

    Lastly, do you guys know any good websites that help an inexperienced horticulturalist as myself correctly identify the species and common names of plants and trees? For example, i don't know what to call these thorn bushes, other than "thorn bushes." I'm sure it woulld be more helpful to select the right weed killer if I knew the species.

    Thanks for your advice, and great website for a beginner landscaper.

  2. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,316

    The thorn bushes you are refering to are probably Barberry bushes. I have never tried to remove any, I just know that they are a pain to trim every year!

    A website I have found helpful in the past is

    Another good way to learn about plants is to visit Home Depot or Lowes, and become familiar with the common plants that both stores sell.
  3. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,102

    If they have a trunk holding them into the ground, use a pole pruner or chain saw to cut the bush off of the trunk close to the ground and then use your spade shovel and an axe to chop out the root ball.

    It is the easiest way possible, don't mess with the vegitation on the plant unless you have to! Leave it in tact and pull the whole thing into your trailer for the dump. I just did 15 Illex Shillings (sp) hollies last week that were about 15 years old in about 3 hours and then about 20 GIANT philodendron elephant ears roots and all in about 5 hours. I used my pole pruner but a chain saw would have been ok. The pruner was great for reaching into small places!

    I also did a huge Bougainvillea about 3 weeks ago that had overtaken an entire side of a house, those suckers have thorns like crazy! I didn't have to take out the stumps because they want the plant to come back and I am now servicing the house so it wont be taking over like that again.

    Good Luck,
  4. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,197

    Why not attach a photographs. Sometimes even the seasoned pro runs across an unfamiliar something.
  5. pasture & tree

    pasture & tree LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I just joined this organization this afternoon, but I do have an old fashion method of removing nasty bushes and shrubs, assuming that you do not have an excavator-type of machine or a front-end loader. I suggest trying to pull the whole thorn bush at one time by, first, tying a very strong rope (or chain) several times around its base in the form of half-hitches, and then the other end to the bumper of your truck. However, it will not come out if you pull directly perpendicularly to the vertical plane of the bush itself. Instead, put a strong 2"x brace at 45 degree angle between the chain (as close to the bush as possible) and the ground. The length of the brace, when positioned at 45 degrees should equal the height of your bumper. When tension is taken on the chain, the brace transfers the horizontal pull to a nearly vertical pull - parallel to the vertical plane of the bush itself: its weakest exposure. When I was young, desperate, and poor, I even used my Gravely walk-behind and/or my VW bug. Good luck, John.
  6. silverscapes

    silverscapes LawnSite Member
    from de
    Posts: 88

    multi floral rose bushes i think is what they are called you can't spray anything on them til spring rip them out them root ball and all level and just seed put a little fert and lime you be good:usflag: to go
  7. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 724

    I've never dealt with Barberries before but I'll second Tama's recommendation to cut low and keep everything in tact. If the stems are large diameter then you may need go with a Big Bite or a pole saw or a chainsaw if you can get close to the stems. A pair of welding gloves work good for handling nasty thorns too.

    Pasture - That's a great idea. With that vertical pull, if you ever need to tie onto something slippery a Valdotain Hitch works extremely well for a parallel pull on a round object i.e. trunk, branches, steel rods, etc. Very easy to tie and no possibility of the knot jamming. You just need a second piece of rope to it is the only drawback but the more friction you need the more wraps you make.

    Here is a link for an easy to use stump killer.
  8. garydale

    garydale LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 813

    I would go with a chain hooked to bumper or loader.

    Get it overwith, then worry about disposal of plant material.

    Your labor is the big expense and spraying will require too much followup.IMO

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