How to Kill Chinese Elm Sprouts

Written by emma watkins
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How to Kill Chinese Elm Sprouts
If you like Chinese elm, grow it as a bonsai tree. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) is an invasive species outside of its native habitats of northern China, Korea and Japan. In the United States, the plant survives in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 to 9. The wind propagates the deciduous 50-foot-tall, 60-foot-wide tree, blowing its winged seeds a distance from where they fall. Before long, Chinese elm seedlings grow into trees with 4-foot-wide trunks. Keep an eye on the ground to catch the sprouts as soon as they pop through the surface.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Hoe
  • Herbicide
  • Weed flamer
  • Boiling water

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  1. 1

    Pull the Chinese elm sprouts by hand or uproot them with a hoe.

  2. 2

    Spray the seedlings' foliage with an herbicide containing the chemical triclopyr or imazapyr. Select a brand and apply the product according to the manufacturer's label.

  3. 3

    Hold a weed flamer over the Chinese elm sprout 8 inches above the surface. The heat breaks the seedling's cells apart, causing irreparable fatal damage. You get the best results with a weed flamer before the sapling develops more than one pair of leaves. Check with your local government to verify there are no restrictions against the use of a weed flamer. The tool could start a fire in very dry areas.

  4. 4

    Drench the sapling and the soil around it in boiling water. Use this method if no other plants that you want to keep are growing in the area. The extremely hot water kills roots indiscriminately.

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