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How to Kill Bushes

A number of reasons necessitate the removal of unwanted bushes and shrubs from your landscape. Sometimes the shrubs are damaged beyond repair, outgrow their allocated space or start to inflict structural damage. Though unwanted shrubs may be cut to a stump, there is always the chance of re-sprouting and regrowth. The best way to kill unwanted bushes is to use a recommended herbicide, advises the Ohio State University Extension.

Apply products containing glyphosate to effectively kill bushes. The recommended time to use glyphosate is during August and September.

Spray herbicide on the foliage, a method referred to as foliar treatment. The chemical is then translocated through the plant and into the roots. Foliar treatment is the usual method of herbicide application on shrubs as tall as 15 feet.

Treat the plant evenly from all sides and make sure that you cover all the leaves. Do not drench the plant to the point of runoff. Avoid use on particularly warm days, and do not use on plants that are drought stressed.

Avoid the use of herbicide on windy days, as this increases chances of drift to non-target areas. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that will harm any plant with which it comes into contact.

Remove smaller dead bushes by digging out by the roots roots and disposing. Cut the larger shrubs down to a stump and remove the stump by either grinding with a portable grinder or pulling out. Grinding is preferred to pulling in urban landscapes, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

Leave 1 to 2 feet of stump when cutting shrubs. Wrap the stump with a chain and pull it out by attaching chain to truck or tractor.


Other herbicide options for killing shrubs include triclopyr, dicamba or picloram during early summer and imazapyr between June and September. All chemicals are sold under different trade names.

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