Any chemical-free ways to kill shrubs?

I’m trying to kill a bunch of shrubs on the shore of a lake but I can’t use any chemicals–natural or otherwise. Pulling them out would be difficult because of the terrain. I’ve tried cutting them down, but they just sprout back from the stump.

So I’m looking for ways to encourage them to die. Would it work to cut the shrub down and then cover the stump area with a black landscape cloth, thus blocking any light from reaching it? Or perhaps scraping the bark off the branches to encourage infection? Or will the shrubs eventually die if I keep cutting it down?

If you keep on attacking the top growth diligently and frequently, eventually the roots will exhaust their food reserves and die.

With trees, you can debark a strip a couple of inches wide, encircling the trunk, and that will eventually kill the tree since moisture/food is carried that way. Don’t know if it would work with shrubs, but it might be worth a try. If you got low enough to debark the main trunk before it branches out it’d likley be a lot easier than whacking away at them again and again.

Most shrubs can rebound because there is a great deal of energy stored up in the roots. The roots can resprout and the shrub can come back even stronger. They can even bust thru landscaping fabric. If you want to blanket the roots, go heavy plastic.

Compounding matters are some long and complicated root structures. Shrubs and bushes are inherently hardy, and pulling up the roots might be the only viable answer…if you can even get them.

I’ve got 50 bucks on the shrubs winning.

I don’t know about shrubs, but I do know that you can kill weeds by applying boiling water to the roots. Pepper Mill claims that you can get the same results from vinegar.

So you might try cutting off as much as you can and pouring a lot of boiling water on what’s left. (Or maybe vinegar. Or better still, boiling vinegar)

Well, what kind of shrubs are they, what species? Different species have different abilities to come back (“fight back” :smiley: ). I’ve got a flowering quince bush in my backyard that, 20 years after (I thought) being rooted out with a shovel, still keeps sending up stems. OTOH, to get rid of an althea bush (hibiscus syriacus), all you have to do is give it a cross look and one pop with the shovel and, hey, it’s gone, outta there…

That’s your solution, right there: keep all chemicals away from it, especially the naturally-occurring carbon dioxide and dihydrogen monoxide. Seriously, whoever said “no chemicals, even natural ones” isn’t being specific enough. Go ahead and get a big can of Morton’s Salt, sprinkle it liberally on the ground about 1cm thick, and then put some mulch over the salt so nobody gets suspicious. Water the plant aggressively once and then let it sit.

Once dead, it should be easy to chop off above the roots. If you want the whole root system, you may have to resort to fire, explosives, or large trucks.

Even where chemicals are an issue, glyphosate weedkiller (roundup) is available as a gel or paste that can be carefully painted onto the leaves/sprouts of the plant; it will enter the roots and kill them without causing contamination of the surrounding area.

The next time the kids are around ask who wants to have a wiener roast.
Build your fire on the stump of the freshly cut off shrub.
Be careful what you do with the cuttings. I have a whole bunch of shrubs,looks just like what grows along the front of the house, down by the creek. My guess is the previous renter trimmed the hedge and hauled the cuttings down by the creek where they happily grow today.
Do you have freezing temperatures where you live? Try the burning in winter and you will have smaller plants to contend with in the spring.
To keep the root system stressed to the max let the plants get a foot or so high and then do your boiling water,cutting or fire.
Just keep at it.