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In our backyard there is a bush growing up the side of a wall, using a drain pipe to crawl up.

Its trunk has grown to be relatively thick (~ 10 cm) and it is now causing the concrete to split on the floor. I'd like to remove it altogether. What's the best way to 'kill' it and prevent any more growth from the roots?

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I'm not an arborist but my approach would be to cut it back as far as a possible, then to saw the trunk close to the ground. Paint a brush-b-gon (woody plant) type weed killer on the freshly cut surface. If the weed killer does not work and it starts sprouting, I have successfully killed tree stumps by drilling holes in the top and then pouring a copper sulfate/sulphate (CuSO4) solution in. CuSO4 is sold here in the US as a root killer (pour crystals in your drain, and it keeps tree roots in check without killing the tree); in the UK we used it in High School a lot as it was a very visible (bright blue) and relatively benign salt.

Once dead, the roots will slowly decompose on their own. A tree stumper could be hired, but a 10cm trunk seems a bit small for such an investment and getting under the concrete would be impossible without lifting the concrete.

  • Addition: If new shoots start appearing after doing the above, simply going out there once a week (or two) & cutting them to the ground is easy & effective ie "Generally" after going out there a few times & cutting the new shoots to the ground, is enough to weaken the plant sufficiently that it gives up & dies... – Mike Perry Jul 24 '11 at 22:08
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    Just be aware that copper sulfate is very toxic to fish, other aquatic life, and frogs. Don't pour it down the drain or otherwise apply it if there's any chance it will get into the water supply! – bstpierre Jul 25 '11 at 14:27
  • +1 bstpierre - but they still sell it here in Texas for drain treatments! Cu can be nasty for trees which is why it works in my treatment above, and doesn't move beyond the trunk/roots - unlike the 'recommended treatment'! – winwaed Jul 25 '11 at 14:31

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