How to Kill Hemlocks

Written by tanya khan
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Hemlocks are a group of fast-growing, noxious weeds native to North Africa, Europe and western Asia. The erect annual or biennial herbs grow 2 to 10 feet tall and feature branching stems, 1- to 1 1/2-inch-wide leaves and greyish-brown fruit. Hemlocks are severely toxic to humans and pets, and pose a threat to farmers because they kill livestock when consumed. Adopt a combination of chemical and manual control methods to effectively kill the noxious weeds.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Lawnmower
  • Garbage bag
  • Glyphosate or 2,4-D herbicide
  • Dicamba (optional)
  • Tank or backpack sprayer
  • Diesel oil

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  1. 1

    Irrigate the soil around the hemlock weeds to a depth of 3 to 4 inches so the plant slides out of the soil more easily.

  2. 2

    Wear gardening gloves before handling the hemlock plant. Grasp the leaves of the hemlock as close to the ground as possible. Pull the weed so it slides out of the soil, along with its roots. Clear up dead plant parts, especially if you have children or pets.

  3. 3

    Alternatively, cut the plant close to the ground with gardening shears or mow it as close to the ground as possible when it begins to flower. Examine the ground closely for clippings, and collect these in a garbage bag. Knot the bag firmly, and discard. For effective control, mow the plant every time it grows back.

  4. 4

    Pour 0.68kg. of post-emergence herbicide, such as glyphosate or 2,4-D, in a tank sprayer or backpack sprayer. Measure and add 100 gallons of water to the tank sprayer, along with 907gr of surfactant, such as diesel oil, which helps the herbicide penetrate the foliage and stem of the plant. Alternatively, mix dicamba with 100 gallons of water and pour into the tank sprayer, along with diesel oil.

  5. 5

    Spray the prepared herbicide mix over the undesirable hemlock plant, completely covering its foliage and stems. The plant will begin to wilt in 2 to 4 days. Repeat application over stubborn plants.

  6. 6

    Pull the dead plant out of the soil, along with its roots. The highly poisonous roots of hemlocks are attractive to grazing livestock.

Tips and warnings

  • Adopt a chemical control method that is less labour intensive if the hemlock infestation in your garden or yard is large.
  • A 100-gallon tank sprayer is suitable for 1 acre of land.
  • Pre-emergence herbicides, such as tebuthiuron and chlorsulfuron, provide control of poison hemlocks.

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