Cutting back large Flax

Several years back we redid out front yard thanks to my BIL’s efforts, suggestions… Part of it, I added 1/2" drip feeders in a grid so any plantings could be linked with the 1/4" barbs… Worked near too well as under the area is adobe soil, so I had to really cut back on the runtimes, days so there was no runoff over the sidewalk. But now the big red flax is way too large, mat have pinched off it’s water source, needs to come out, there are a couple smaller ones I’d like to reduce, but I’m near to wrapping a chain around the big one, pulling it out with my truck! But that would tear up the drip lines, so I haven’t don it yet. I have a blade, like a saw blade attachment for my Husquevarna trimmer, but it’s useless, machete, too, I have a Mutt 4" bladed cutter, it also is foiled…

May have to call in a local landscaper to deal with it, but am open to other ideas…Too close to the house to set it afire, tempting, tho…


Here’s an idea of the size…


Poison? I don’t usually advocate it, but in select situations it can make a lot of sense. Kill the plant, chop off the above ground, leave the rest to rot in the soil (unless you need the space for something else.) But usually you can plant around an older stump and get away with it.

With our drought & water cutbacks, I think my taking has damaged it quite a bit, but it is a monster. Maybe a small saw blade on an angle grinder. I do have that DeWalt 20V jobber, so wouldn’t eat the cord… A better idea of what I’m fighting… It is super tough, fibrous, laughs at the various hedge trimmers, even shears are a PITA, as it is so tough… Never should have planted it! Maybe I can pose it as a challenge to my BIL… This was in 2018, it grew a lot since…

There are several videos around, but with one this size, a bit tedious to do a leaf at a time…

Chainsaw–preferably electric.

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I did try my small Ryobi 8" pole chainsaw, but the fibers get all tangled and I’m afraid it will damage the saw more than the plant…

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Here’s what google found.

Basically, use some cord, rope, duct tape etc to wrap around the leaves, pulling them tightly together (like a sheave of wheat). With the leaves held up, out of the way, this guy used a handsaw at ground level.
He also says he has used a small chainsaw the same way.

Alternatively for pruning a few specific leaves, Google “pruning New Zealand Flax”.

Maybe thats what you’re looking for?


Standard loppers should do the trick on that material. Couple of leaves at a time. Failing that, I’d suggest a machete. Really.

If I was put to the task of taking one out, I would secure a 24" Fiskars Machete (big box stores sell them).

I would work on it at the base in a circular fashion removing the blades and possibly some roots as well. I would not use poison to kill it, a machete works best (for me at least) when the plant is alive.

How long it takes will depend on your ability to do so. Maybe just spend an hour a day until all the blades have been removed, then proceed to work on the roots in the same fashion with an axe.

There are not a lot of options on how to remove it other then how much time, manpower and money you wish to throw at it. Point being, whoever ends up taking it out, they will need to use machete to remove the blades.

Well actually, the fastest and easiest way to remove it would be to rent a 1-Ton Mini Excavator at Home Depot for a day (around $200 - $300) and be done with it.


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Wow! Yes, exactly what I was looking for. In fact I had Googles cutting the Flax, but never saw this fellow… Brilliant! I can see using a couple ratchet straps or Web belts to do the same, only easier to tighten it up! I keep a couple in my truck for tying down lumber loads, also have a lot of heavy duty web belts we used to use on the job, seems several came with me when I retired… Great catch. I’m surprised at how easily he cut through with the handsaws, I have several, would readily donate one to the cause, I don’t think my 16" chainsaw is long enough but it’s an option with it all tied together… Before it would just tear out, clog the saw…

Thank you, when I get to it, I’ll post an after pic!


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If you’re not done yet you could use a “sawzall” to cut it. You can get some long blades and cut it off at ground level.



I’ll second the sawzall suggestion.
There are 12" long pruning blades - I’ve only used the 9" pruning blades, but for this monster, I’d probably buy a 12" pruning blade.

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Pretty sure I have some 9" sawzall blades left from remodel tearouts, but the hardware store is only a few blocks away…

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My wife and I acquired a house in the summer of 1992 on 1.02 acre lot. Come winter and the next spring, we realized we also had acquired some the the largest Kudzu plants. The “trunks” a foot or so above ground level were as large as 2.75 to 3.00 inches in diameter. Cutting this stuff off was not adequate - the stuff just kept growing. But what worked was a fresh cut of the stump top and “painting” the top with Roundup concentrate – the stuff one diluted a lot – may be 50 or 75 to 1. I have no idea if it is possible to get that concentrate today - but the approach with some chemical should be possible.

Ahh, Kuzu! I remember, when staying in Atlanta for company training classes seeing alll the wild Kudzu all over everything, the bane of the South it seems…

I’ve tried to dodge using Roundup as it does get into the groundwater, so have gone as I can to either a propane firestick weed burner or manually chopping, hoeing where I can, Summer, Bring, with everything so dry I can’t use the firesxtick. And this flax if it caught fire would take out the corner of our porch! So I am leaning towards the cutsaw, maybe even uprooting it, but I have buried 14" & 1/2" drip system lines near, maybe under it. I had a bottle of the Round concentrate, took it along with many paint cans to the hazmat waste site a few years ago… But I have to say, Roundup normally enters plants via their leaves, so I’m not sure how painting the truck, even cut ends would work, good it did no matter how!

Kudzu can used to make jelly:

And, it apparently has benefits for treating alcoholism?

This is the first demonstration that a single dose of kudzu extract quickly reduces alcohol consumption in a binge drinking paradigm. These data add to the mounting clinical evidence that kudzu extract may be a safe and effective adjunctive pharmacotherapy for alcohol abuse and dependence.


Be interesting to see if any of the alcohol-addiction treatment facilities start to use it as a part of their regular program(s).