How to Kill a Mulberry Tree Once and For All

Learn how to kill mulberry trees so your yard can be nuisance-free. Mulberry fruits taste sweet, but their aggressive roots can wreak havoc in your garden. White mulberry trees are even considered as one of the worst trees you should watch out in your backyard.

With its sweet fruits and large shadow, you might have been happy to spot a mulberry tree in your yard first. But it doesn’t take long to get out of control. People tip over its surface roots and it spreads like fire with numerous saplings. Cutting it off is just like a Band-Aid as it can quickly grow back.

Mulberry trees survive vigorously so the one and only way to get rid of it entirely is to kill its roots. Prepare things we list below and solve this problem once and for all without paying a stump removal service or renting bulky machinery.

Source: Tree Pictures Online

What to Prepare?

  1. Gloves: As herbicides can cause deleterious effects on organisms and human health, you should always wear gloves. Also, gloves help protect your hands from sunburn, allergies, and injuries while handling sharp tools. Besides, mulberries are known to stain fingertips.
  2. Safety Glasses: Eye injuries happen more often than you think. There are up to 2.5 million cases occurring each year in the USA alone according to Federal Occupational Health. Hence, stick with your protection goggles.
  3. Breathing Protection: Although herbicide presents no significant danger when ingested or inhaled in small quantities, you should still wear a respirator to avoid herbicide dust, or particles.
  4. Herbicides: Herbicides are used to control unwanted plants such as weeds, invasive species, or agricultural pests. As one of the most commonly used herbicides in the USA, RoundUp can be easily found in gardening stores. If you don’t want to kill desirable vegetation, you should choose selective herbicide instead.
  5. Shovel: Use shovel for digging out saplings and cutting the roots.
  6. Chainsaw: Use to cut big roots. Ask for help from a professional if you are not familiar with it.
  7. Drill: Use for trees with large stumps. Some white mulberries grow well over 30 feet tall and white.
  8. Watering Can: Use the can to mix water with the herbicide.
  9. Paintbrush: Use the brush for herbicide application.

How to Kill Its Roots?

Step 1: Put on your gloves, glasses, and respirator to protect yourself from any potential risks.

Step 2: Use the shovel to dig out saplings and the entire root system. Don’t leave behind some parts as the stubborn mulberries might grow back in no time. For a big tree, the best time to kill is from May to September, when it grows foliage.

If the roots are too difficult to cut off, make large gashes instead. To cut the entire tree down, use a chainsaw to prepare for an herbicide application on the stump.

Step 3: Mix herbicide with water strictly following the instructions on the product label.

Step 4: Soak the paintbrush with the herbicide mixture then apply the solution directly on the cut roots. The roots will absorb the chemical, killing its cells in the process.

If the stump is huge or has been previously cut, drilling holes to put herbicides into will be more effective. The holes should be close to the stump’s edges about ¾-inch deep.

Step 5: Kill any new growths. Mulberry trees can easily grow back if the stump survives the herbicide application and growths are left untreated. Eventually, the roots will lose energy and the stump will die off.

Step 6: Create a naked circle by peeling off the skin around the stump to prevent nutrients and water from going up the upper parts of the tree. Cut into that circle until it is almost wet.

Step 7: Cut off the oxygen supply by simply covering the stump with soil and dry leaves.

Source: The University of Arizona

Safety Tips

  • Keep yourself protected throughout the process with gloves, goggles, and respirators to avoid injuries and health risks from the sharp tools and chemicals.
  • In case you are not sure if killing the tree yourself is safe, seek help from a tree surgeon.
  • Wear shoes made of chemical resistant materials or simply use plastic bags to cover your shoes.
  • Don’t let people and animals get close during herbicide application and until the herbicide has dried.
  • Don’t do the herbicide application when you are not feeling well. Avoid eating and smoking as you might swallow some of the chemicals from your hands.
  • Should any spills occur on yourself or clothing, get undressed quickly and wash it off with warm water.
  • Put the remaining herbicide up and away and out of sight where your children and pets can’t reach to avoid accidents. Don’t reuse its container or transfer it to other containers without the label intact.

Source: The Conversation

Warning

Herbicide can be extremely dangerous to humans, animals, and the environment. Therefore, make sure you read the herbicide product label carefully and completely to avoid unintended damage.

The chainsaw is dangerous when mishandled. We strongly recommend you not using it if you are inexperienced.

Conclusions

A mulberry tree might be a pleasant friend at first but can quickly turn into a foe you need to get rid of. The tree is extremely messy, insect-prone, wide-spreading with aggressive shallow roots.

Killing it off is not an easy task as the tree keeps growing back if it has enough energy in the root system. To get rid of it completely, we need to cut the stump down, as close to ground level as possible, and apply herbicide.

Follow the steps we list above as well as safety tips and warnings to make sure the process is safe and efficient.

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Jill Sandy

Jill Sandy

Jill is a sustainable focus gardener. She loves decorating her home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques she develops herself. You can reach her at jill@constantdelights.org

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh is our Head of Medical Review. He is a research physician at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. After accomplishing the program of level 1 sub-specialty in Pediatrics, he was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for his Master’s degree of Public Health in the University of Edinburgh in 2019

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