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Pretty red berries cause trouble

By Gregg Eyestone

Plants are nice but sometimes they don’t play nice.

Several are more prolific than others. Cedar, Siberian elm, ornamental pear, buckthorn, Amur Honeysuckle and hackberry come to mind.

These woody trees and shrubs can crowd out other plans and not share space.

Amur Honeysuckle is the shrub that has pretty red berries that turns black over time.

The leaves come out early in the spring and are still green even now. Their seeds are viable and produce sizable plants in just a year or two.

Buckthorn has clusters of nearly black fruits. There are no thorns on this tall, dense shrub. This and the other plants are good for wildlife habitat. However, other plants will too and are preferred over these prolific growers.

There are two practical methods of keeping them all playing nice. When it is possible, I use my shovel and dig them out. A young Amur honeysuckle comes out fairly easily. The bigger these get the more labor it takes to dig them out. I suggest beginning with a shovel that has a sharp edge. A quicker method is to cut these unwanted stems off at the ground.

This will likely take care of the cedar, but the others will probably send up new stems if left untreated.

There are a few herbicides that will keep them from growing.

I like to use a product that has at least 18 percent active ingredient of glyphosate. Read the product label for the percent active and whether it is labeled for a cut stump treatment. Products containing the active ingredient picloram or triclopyr may be labeled for this type of plant management on some of these plants.

Read and follow label directions when using these products. Generally, the application needs to be applied within five minutes of cutting off the stem.

Cut the stem again if it has been longer to insure the chemical gets into the remaining plant. Some plants play nicer than others.

There may be times when the gardener has to step in when a bully is taking over.

Gregg may be contacted by calling 785-537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail:

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