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Best way to kill Elder in a hedge

I put a native hedge in two years ago which has done very well, but I included a few Elder in the mix which I now think was a mistake (the rest of the hedge is made of Hawthorn, Blackthorn and a few others, as well as probably too many dog roses). The Elder have outgrown everything else significantly, and I think on balance it would probably be better to remove the three of them now and let the rest of the hedge fill in. They are small enough in the trunks to chop down easily enough (although already perhaps 9 feet high, despite hard cutting back last winter), but how best to kill in situ? I don't really want to go digging up the roots as there are other plants nearby. I've never used weedkiller before but I would consider it if it is the best way to go. What would be the best procedure? Cut down and paint neat glyphsphate on the stumps, or spray leaves? Would this be a good time of year to do it? I also think I might get rid of one or two of the dog rose. Same sort of procedure?

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  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    Cut it back to the ground and paint the stump with full-strength 'SBK brushwood killer' (there are instructions for killing stumps on the packet) then cover with an upturned pot or brick etc to keep wildlife and pets away from the poison.  If any regrowth appears, cut it off and re-paint the stump.  Glyphosate only works if it is absorbed through the leaves and left for 2 weeks to translocate down to the roots so is completely useless on a stump.  Doing it this way also uses minimal quantities of poison with no risk of spray drifting onto other things.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,483
    Can you let the elders grow into trees? The best practice for wildlife hedges is to have trees included at intervals and elders have a much greater wildlife value as trees. They don't get especially big either.
    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
  • Thanks @BobTheGardener, that looks like just the stuff.
    @wild edges I think I could leave one, perhaps two. How tall do they get? I've seen estimates online from 15 - 30 feet. The very tallest branch of the one I could consider leaving is already at ten feet or so - and that's a year's growth after being cut back to two feet!
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,314
    The best way to treat elder in a wildlife hedge is to cut it back hard every few years ... this keeps the growth relatively young and ensures lots of flowers and fruit for the wildlife. 
    Its a wonderful plant for a wildlife hedge 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,437
    edited October 2019
    I'd get rid of the elder too... they've been in 2 years, can't you grub them out? Then just reset the plants either side and add a new whip to fill the gap.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,483
    Thanks @BobTheGardener, that looks like just the stuff.
    @wild edges I think I could leave one, perhaps two. How tall do they get? I've seen estimates online from 15 - 30 feet. The very tallest branch of the one I could consider leaving is already at ten feet or so - and that's a year's growth after being cut back to two feet!
    Once they get a decent framework you can prune them to the height that suits your garden really. The hollow branches are useful for making bug hotels too so keep the prunings and stack them up somewhere sunny. I leave the odd log on a shelf in the greenhouse and leaf cutter bees always use them. You can just see the leaves stacked in the one below. The log was cut from one that grows out of our hedge.


    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
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