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What is this plant from hell?!

Hello all, I'm new to gardening. I've spent about 30 hours altogether now trying to dig out what I thought was a type of buddleia but after digging out two bush type things and spending hours digging up thousands of roots that remind me of thick dandelion roots, I've now started suspecting a nearby 'tree' might actually be the 'mothership'.  Many bits of root I pick up has new shoots coming out so I'm starting to despair. I tried strong weedkiller and it didn't work. What is this 'tree' in the pictures and can it have babies that sprout up around it from its roots and slowly spread everywhere...
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  • WilderbeastWilderbeast East YorkshirePosts: 1,309
    Elder berry bush, it is indeed a member of the buddleia family. They are a real pain to get rid of, they will sucker from any bit of stump you leave behind 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,352

    The elderberry is important in European folklore ... some say it’s the home of a fairy, some say a witch, some say a spirit ... but you need to ask permission of them before cutting it ... perhaps if you ask it’ll release its grip a bit 😂 

    https://elderberryguru.com/the-elder-mother-in-folklore/
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • amyplumbamyplumb Posts: 14
    Thanks so much for your fast reply. Oh dear. Well atleast I've finally established what needs to be done. What a horrible plant. Time to get out the saw! And more weed killer I guess. If I saw it as low as I can go, drill holes in and pour in strong weed killer, will that go some way to killing it? I can see that its roots extend under walls, fences, grass, paving, so I realise now that I'm never going to be able to dig it out annoyingly....
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,992
    Looks like an Elderberry to me. Mine don't shoot from their roots, but many trees and shrubs will do that if their roots are damaged. I do get self sown seedlings however, and low growing branches can root if they touch the ground.
    On the plus side however, the flowers look pretty and the bees like them, the birds like the berries (and help distribute them!) and you can use them. My mum used to make elderberry wine and we got it even as kids if we had a cold (!) , and last year I made elderberry balsamic vinegar and elderberry syrup. You can make cordial from the flowers too. So not totally hellish. :)
  • amyplumbamyplumb Posts: 14
    Oh, thanks for that. You've made it sound rather lovely. I wish it would just stop spreading everywhere. I want to turf up to it and i can't because theres just hundreds of baby elderberry trees everywhere. I'll have to reconsider maybe ....
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    I wouldn't advise pouring strong weedkiller anywhere as it will kill 'good guys' as well as bad.  Dig the roots out as deep as you can and if you see any regrowth in a few weeks then, using a paint brush, coat the surfaces of all growth with SBK brushwood killer or a glyphosate-based weedkiller and wait for a minimum of 2 weeks before removing dying growth so it can work its way down to the roots.  These days, nearly all available weedkillers work by being absorbed into the leaves, from where it gets carried down to the roots and killing them.  Using weedkiller directly on roots will have no effect other than contaminating the ground.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,352
    😂. There are some lovely ornamental forms 
    https://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/sambucus-nigra-f-porphyrophylla-eva-pbr/classid.2000004449/
    and at least you know it’ll be happy in your soil 😉 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    @Dovefromabove Yes, some are absolutely beautiful (I like the lacy-leaved ones) but this wild form belongs in a hedgerow rather than an average sized garden as I'm sure you'll agree. :)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • amyplumbamyplumb Posts: 14
    Thanks so much for your advice. It absolutely belongs in a hedgerow! I've spent another couple of hours digging out the network of roots and I think I'm beaten on that count.  So any new shooters I apply weedkiller to but will that kill the mothership tree or should I....shudder....try to dig out the main tree? Or would brushing the leaves of the main tree with weedkiller work? I've decided, nice though elderberry plants might be, my back garden is not an appropriate place for it lol! 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,352
    @Dovefromabove Yes, some are absolutely beautiful (I like the lacy-leaved ones) but this wild form belongs in a hedgerow rather than an average sized garden as I'm sure you'll agree. :)
    Oh yes .. I absolutely agree with you @BobTheGardener 👍 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







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