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It took five years and me losing all moral standards to handle them but I have figured out a way finally. After years of using every product I could and cutting them back or digging them out just for them to come back threefold, I hit a wall and handled it. And frankly it was pretty cheap considering the hundreds I have spent on every brush killer ace had available.
You will need the following minimum:
-Rubber dish gloves (Dollar store)
-Disposable latex/vinyl gloves. ($6 Amazon)
-Cotton balls (Dollar store)
-Small rubber bands (Dollar store)
-Sharp branch pruners ($5-40 depending)
-Muriatic acid ($10 Walmart)
-Spray bottle (dollar store)
Things to consider spending more for:
-Spray bottle or sprayer rated for acid
The process is simple. Soak the leaves by spraying the muriatic acid over them. Protect yourself with rubber gloves. I did not use a mask or eye protection but you probably should particularly if you have any wind. Be weary of overspray particularly on concrete or metal as this acid is used to etch concrete and will erode metal. It may also kill other vegetation but surprisingly it did not seem to harm my grass or lilac bushes at all. It did leave a notably discolored mark on my cement foundation tho. You can use a cheap spray bottle if you’re just doing a small patch but it will ruin most bottles and pump sprayers quickly. You can get one rated for the chemical for about $8 for a small spray bottle up to $90 for a pump sprayer. Even if you get a good sprayer I recommend rinsing it with warm soapy water after and never waving the chemical set in it. After a good spray let it work for two or three days. Keep the kids and pets away for a couple hours after spraying to be safe. The leaves will start to brown pretty quickly. After a few days cut back the branches that have browning leaves to about 2 inches off the ground. Use the disposable gloves by cutting off the fingers and putting cotton balls in them. You can soak the cotton balls first in the acid or use a syringe to soak it after. Either way, wear gloves and protect yourself. Then place the cut off tip over the trimmed back stem and rubber band it in place. Clean up all leaves and stem immediately and place them in tubs as to not remain on the ground (This might be overly cautious but it’s how I handled it). Leave any branches or bunches that are still green and spray them again with the acid. (It took me about four rounds of this process to get the overgrowth 95% contained but you can expect great results within a month if you stay on top of it)
Once you have managed to kill off the good most of it, you can then dig out the stems a couple inches to the root and cut them there. At that point if the root is less then an inch, I just pour a bit more acid over it before burying it again, if it’s over an inch I use a drill bit to bore into the middle as deep as I can then pour some acid.
At this point they should be dead enough they won’t be reappearing much, but this resilient little pest won’t go quietly and you will still want to monitor for new growth and spray it as quickly as you see it.
I went through this process last spring and I was still finding new sprouts through the summer but so far this year I have only saw one pop up and it was in a particular heavy area of overgrowth originally.
I hope this helps someone because I know I was pretty overwhelmed for awhile. Just remember to work slowly and carefully with the acid. It won’t eat your skin off immediately but it can cause irritation pretty quick and is super dangerous to inhale or get in your eyes.