Method to Kill Sanseveria (Mother-In-Law Tongue)
I've got this horrible plant growing everywhere in my yard and I want to eradicate it completely. I've check on the internet but have not found a surefire way to kill it yet beyond getting a front end loader and removing the dirt from the whole area.
Does anyone have a method, chemical or not, to kill this nasty plant???
Would you believe some people actully pay for them as an exotic?
That was the second of my two thoughts: (1) having a backhoe come in and scrape out the top 6" plus of dirt along with them; and (b) stick 'em on craigslist and sell them in pots as captive ornamentals which (c) may offset the cost of the backhoe! Look out for people in your area doing building as you can often nab a backhoe driver on his way home from a job and he'll be happy to pick up a few extra dollars - got a nice portion of one of my nasty spots cleaned out in half an hour a few years back doing exactly that.
On NPR last month (April 26, 2014), the weekly radio show "You Bet Your Garden" from WHYY in Philadelphia just happened to answer that question.
Sandra, from Island of Culebra, near Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands has a sansevieria problem. In colder parts of the US sansevieria is known as a reliable houseplant, but in tropical climates it thrives outdoors. Sandra calls Mike for advice on controlling two large plants that are taking over her courtyard. Mike suggests two options: Sandra can cut down the plant and trim back new growth regularly to starve the roots or solarize the soil [explained at http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=565] and bake the roots. Mike says: “I would imagine where you are in the tropics that you could solarize a level piece of ground in two months. What you would do is literally mow the plants down … and then you would soak the soil and you would pull clear plastic over the top of it during the hottest part of the year.”
For more ideas, including digging and chemicals: https://www.google.com/search?q=sansevieria+control
As I have researched this extensively, I've found it more helpful to search for methods to kill agave as sanseveria is in the same extended family. In Australia where agave is considered a nuisance weed, they recommend a triclorpyr and picloram herbicide like Dow Access at a rate of 1L per 60L of diesel. The diesel is used as a means to keep the triclorpyr and picloram residue in contact with the leaves longer. Dow's Access product isn't available in the US but there are other brands of triclorpyr and picloram available. I'm going to try this as I don't have the patience to dig this ugly menace up only to have it grow back again.
Dow AgroScience has a product called Tordon that is applied to freshly cut Tan Tan stumps. It is the only really effective herbicide that I've found to eradicate TanTan and other similar super hardy trees and is really effective. I get it from Amazon and ship it to Paradise Freight.
How big of an area are you trying to get rid of? 2 guys with the right tools should be able to make a pretty good dent in it in 8 hrs. If some start coming back,....get them before they spread. My thought is that even if you killed it you would have all that debris rotting in your yard. Those are very fibrous and take a long time to rot!! I had a guy dig some out of my yard with success and I was impressed with the amount that got removed in one day... Have a dumpster at the site to maximize production.
Dow Tordon is the only effective way to kill Tan Tan. You can get it RTU quarts on Amazon. You apply it to the stump and any other off shoots immediately after the cut and that plant is dead.
And like so many similar products, to heck with the environment. Even Dow documents its ecological unfriendliness. Oh well. "Working the land" is becoming archaic.
I have used Tordon for tan tan and it works. I've learned a few tricks along the way.
I bought it at Garden Spot but I think Gallows Bay carries it.
Tordon is expensive. About $35 qt.
Wear protective gloves.
To minimize waste, put some in a small bottle that has a dropper.
Only apply a drop or 2.
You don't have to cut at the ground. A foot or two stump is fine. It will still do the trick and you're not hunting for the cut in the grass or other plants.
Doesn't seem to affect surrounding plants.
"Working the land" is great, but Tan Tan are impossible to kill unless you can dig up the entire root, or shade it out with a bigger tree. They need lots of sun.
Mother in Law Tongue,....I would try the black plastic approach.