"Sounds like hawthorn, and yup, it's not a lot of fun to work with. They also tend to sucker up into thickets. Your best bet is to cut each stem to the base, then brush the stumps with a stump-killer solution available at garden supply houses and hardware stores. There are brush mowers specifically designed to chop down small woody plants, which is another way of handling this. One supplier is DR Power Equipment (www.drpower.com).
Luke Miller, editor
Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living magazine"