The hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) is a huge deciduous shade tree that can grow 70 feet tall and 50 feet wide when fully grown. Birds and other wildlife enjoy the fruit it produces. Hackberry trees, which grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, are widely planted along city roadways and grow wild in woodlands.
They have a wide rate of growth and can withstand a variety of poor growing circumstances. They shed seeds from October to January, germinating quickly, causing hackberry trees to spring up in gardens, landscapes, and other managed places. As a result, some individuals consider hackberry trees invasive and prefer to get rid of them entirely.
In our guide, you can learn much about the Hackberry tree root system and how it can be hard to deal with. By the end, you’ll know how to kill hackberry trees and what to do with the timber you have laying in your yard from your hackberry bush.
Will Remedy Kill Hackberry Trees?
Remedy Ultra Herbicide is a post-emergent herbicide that reduces woody plants and broadleaf weeds on rangelands and pastures. The remedy contains triclopyr, which can be used to control over 35 different species of brush weeds.
Birds and other wildlife enjoy the fruit produced by the hackberry. Hackberry trees, which grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, are widely planted along city roadways and found growing wild in woodlands. They have a wide rate of growth and can withstand a variety of poor growing circumstances. (Learn How to Get Rid Of Fungus on Tree Stump)
Here are some steps on how to deal with your Hackberry using Remedy.
Smaller Hackberry Bushes
- With pruning shears, cut straight across the trunk in one smooth stroke, approximately one inch above the ground, to remove involuntary hackberry trees. A pruning saw may be required to cut down hackberry trees more than half an inch in diameter.
- Apply the herbicide to the tops of the hackberry stumps by dipping a small paint brush into the glyphosate and swiping the paintbrush over the severed top piece of the stump, generously coating it.
- Allowing the herbicide to come into touch with nearby plants is not recommended because it is non-selective and may harm them. Follow all of the instructions on the container’s labeling.
- After the hackberry stumps have turned brown and perished, dig them out by placing a shovel in the ground at the base of the stump and making circular plunges around the stump to remove as much of the roots from the stump as possible, thus killing the roots and the tree.
Larger Hackberry Trees
- With a chainsaw, cut larger hackberry trees as close to the ground as possible. Be sure to cut a V where you want the tree to fall. Make a back-cut on the opposite side of the notch, straight across the trunk from one side to the other. Once the hackberry tree falls, get out of the way.
- Using a power drill and a quarter-inch bit, drill 1-inch-deep holes in the top of the cut hackberry trunk. Begin at the trunk’s center and proceed to the outer edge, drilling the holes approximately one inch apart. Put liquid herbicide in each hole until it reaches just below the top of the hole; the solution will soak into the wood and eventually kill the hackberry tree root system.
How Deep are Hackberry Tree Roots?
Hackberry is a deep-rooting species, with roots reaching depths of 10 to 20 feet. The roots only reach 4.5 feet in North Dakota and possibly the same in Texas.
You can use another solution besides the Remedy in the first method to kill the roots. However, it would help if you used a herbicide as a last resort in this instance.
- Cut as many growing shoots as possible as close to the ground.
- Cut the shoots into groups of six or eight if there is a lot.
- Within five minutes of cutting, paint the cambium layer or, if possible, all the shoot if it’s under 0.5 inches in diameter.
- You can use Roundup concentrated herbicide and a small brush. You’ll find this works as, under the cambium layer, there is a ring of cells that has the job of transporting nutrients into the stem and roots and water from the roots to the leaves.
- If the herbicide is not applied within a few minutes of breaking the cambium, the plant will not absorb it, thus killing it.
- After that, cut and treat a new bunch of shoots and repeat until all the shoots have been treated. Simply girdle the trunk and apply herbicide through the cut opening if the saplings are large enough to be small trees.
Several garden centers and hardware stores sell Roundup concentrate. Even though roundup only lasts a few days in nature, it is toxic to some animals during that time. That’s why, rather than spraying it on in a large area, use a small brush to paint it on carefully. Also, avoid using it within a few feet of a stream or pond because rain could wash it into the water and destroy aquatic organisms. (Read Weather Conditions For Spraying Roundup)
Is a Hackberry Tree a Good Tree?
The hackberry tree has some excellent qualities and will serve this purpose well, but it has a few drawbacks. It’s also a hardy tree that doesn’t break easily. Small galls frequently disfigure hackberry leaves.
The resilient hackberry tree, hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 9, can withstand a way of what nature throws at it.
It is resilient and versatile, tolerating various soils and urban pollution while scoffing at the wind. However, the disease can damage the soft-wooded, rugged-barked tree, causing limbs to fall during storms. When it happens, the wood in your fireplace or woodstove performs brilliantly. (Learn How To Propagate Virginia Creeper)
Hackberry tree for firewood is among the best uses once you have killed a tree in your garden.
Good firewood must feature several qualities for your fires to burn successfully. Hackberry impresses from the start with its easy-to-split character. The solid nature of the wood helps keep sparks and smoke to a minimum. The mild, pleasant scent also enhances the burn.
For the all-important heat aspect, Hackberry will not leave. Hackberry logs provide more heat than most soft-wooded trees, although lacking the BTUs of top hardwoods. The evidence is in the coals, which keep wood burners lit even on the coldest nights.
The difference between a sputtering fire and a good flame is drying firewood. Hackberry’s high water content needs proper preparation to get the fire you want. Allow your hackberry wood to mature for a year to eliminate moisture. Dried hackberry logs burn more efficiently than freshly cut or green unseasoned wood.
Are Hackberry Trees Bad?
People plant this shade tree when there isn’t anything else to grow. Drought, heat, poor soil, air pollution, and wind are all factors.
The silvery-gray bark of the hackberry is covered in warty ridges, making it easy to recognize. Birds are attracted to the small, hackberry blue-black fruits, which distribute seedlings over the area. The sticky honeydew produced by woolly aphids that feed on the leaves is the worst part about hackberry. Sooty mold grows on the honeydew, blackening everything beneath the tree. It’s time to whittle it down.
These trees are prized for their rapid growth and ability to withstand strong winds, heat, and arid conditions. Hackberry trees yield small fruits that attract wildlife, but they can be a nuisance when they fall and the seeds sprout on grass.
It would help if you treated the hackberry sprouts mechanically rather than chemically unless you are certain that they are entirely self-contained seedlings rather than sprouts growing from the roots of a larger plant.
If workable, pull small seedlings by hand.
To avoid leaving a small, rigid stem above ground, cut the sprout 2 to 3 inches below the soil surface. If you’re sure the sprout came from a seed and not the roots of a desirable hackberry plant nearby, you can use a herbicide to treat it. Sever the sprout with a flat, clean cut just above the soil surface in this scenario.
Brush a nonselective herbicide like glyphosate into the sprout stump’s recently cut surface, thoroughly coating the cut surface but not so much that it runs off onto the surrounding lawn.
Check the grass area for new hackberry seedlings or sprouts regularly, and take or cut them off below the soil surface as soon as you see them.