Bramble bushes can be a real nuisance in the garden. They are hard to remove and tend to take over quickly. If you’re looking for ways to get rid of brambles for good, you’re in luck.
In this blog post, I will discuss several methods that you can use to get rid and kill off brambles . I will also discuss how to get rid of brambles with weed killer, if necessary.
As a professional gardener, I have had to deal with many outbreaks of bramble bushes. I know from personal experience just how daunting it can be when looking at a tangled mess of sharp, thorny bramble stems. The best blackberry bush is the one growing on common land where you can pick the tasty blackberry fruits, not the colony taking root in your treasured garden.
So, fear not and keep reading for the best methods to deal with the bramble plant.
Lets Start with the Tools needed for effective removal of brambles
Having the right tools makes the process a dam sight easier when killing & removing brambles.
Leather gauntlets are essential to protect your hands and forearms.
A heavy duty mattock / spade / garden fork to removing the roots if using the organic method. In my experience a decent mattock will pay for itself if you have a heavy, clayish soil.
How to get rid of brambles the organic method ( without using a chemical weed killer)
As someone who doesn’t like to use chemicals in the garden, this is my preferred method for getting rid of brambles.
When killing brambles the natural way you will be removing the entire plant, roots and all!
Step 1 .
If the brambles are growing amongst other garden plants, to keep them from getting damaged it’s a good idea to dig these up for replanting once the clearance work is completed.
Cut back the bramble canes down to approx 15cm from ground level using secateurs, loppers, or a brush cutter. This will make the job of removing the bramble roots easier when there is a clearer space to work on.
On tall canes I find it easier to gradually reduce the height, pulling out the stems and bramble debris as I work. Working in this way also makes bagging up the green waste much easier (if you’re not burning the bramble vines).
Blackberry bushes (brambles) spread via lateral roots which can be up to 45cm deep and can sprout a new plant with the smallest piece of root left behind. With this in mind, to successfully remove them reappearing it is important to remove all the roots, not just the visible bramble stump.
For this, you will need either a mattock, heavy-duty garden fork or border spade.
Start by excavating around the stump, following the root system in all directions, pulling up as you go. Remember, brambles can regenerate from the smallest of roots so it is really important to gently ease the roots from the ground.
Loosen up the soil if the roots are not coming away easily. You do not want the root to break as blackberry bushes can regrow from the smallest bit of root left behind.
That is all there is to kill brambles naturally. Hard work but very satisfying when you have not had to resort to weed killer.
Using Systemic Weed Killers
There is no doubt the organic method to clear brambles requires a lot more effort, this might not be suitable through the sheer volume of the brambles growing or your level of fitness.
How do systemic weed killers work?
A systemic weed killer is effective for killing brambles as the chemical is absorbed by the plant, this then travels through to the roots where it will work to kill the entire bramble plant.
When using this method, it is important to follow the instructions on the weed killer packaging carefully. You will also need to be patient as it can take up to two weeks for the brambles to die off and occasionally need a reapplication.
Two recommended systemic weed killers for brambles are either glysophate or triclopyr based.
The main difference between these two types of weed killer is that Glysophate is non-selective. Non-selective weed killers kill all plants it makes contact with, whereas triclopyr is slightly less forgiving and only attacks broadleaved plants, leaving most (but not all) grasses to live another day.
When using any type of weed killer always take care and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Best Weed Killers for Brambles
Roundup Tree Stump & Root Killer (glysophate based)
Using Roundup for brambles requires you to mix the product with water and pour / paint it onto the freshly cut bramble canes .
Doing this will kill brambles by translocating the herbicide (glyphosate) through to the roots where it will prevent new growth from appearing.
Vitax SBK Brushwood Killer (triclopyr based)
SBK brushwood killer can be applied by either a watering can over the cut stem or root or by spraying the leaves.
The best time of year to use either of these weed killer products is when the brambles are actively growing, between Spring & Autumn.
As with any weed killers, please be aware that they will also kill other plants. So, if brambles are growing close to desirable plants in your garden, you will need to either shield them or remove them.
Bear in mind when using weed killer it may be necessary to apply 2 or 3 applications over a period of time for them to be successful.
Does homemade weed killer kill brambles?
If any of these mystical concoctions stated across the internet actually worked on brambles and tough weeds there would most likely be a run on white vinegar, dishwasher salt and all those other wonderful household chemicals people claim to work.
The unfortunate truth is they do not. Sure, they will give the appearance of killing the bramble by turning the leaves brown but this does NOT kill the roots of the brambles. And the roots are the real problem here.
Removal of the Bramble Waste
So, you’ve done the hard work, now it is time to get rid of all that bramble waste.
The good news is brambles are classified as green waste and can therefore be added to your council compost bin or taken to your local recycling centre.
If you have a large amount of bramble waste, it might be worth hiring a skip for the day or creating a burn pile.
If burning brambles you will want to wait until all the brambles have turned brown and died. Burning fresh wood creates a lot of smoke, this is a problem if living in a built up area.
Just be sure to dispose of the brambles properly, as you don’t want them growing back!
Brambles are a common weed found in yards and gardens. They can be removed with organic or weed killer methods.
- The organic method is muscle power and time. Chemical methods involve the usage of a weed killer that has glyphosate or tricylopyr as its active ingredient
- Brambles should be treated when they are small for the easiest removal.
How to stop brambles returning
An outbreak of brambles in your garden does not mean you are a bad gardener.
The seed from these garden mercenaries is kindly dropped off in bird, fox and mammal poop. Brambles can also come from your neighbours property with their root systems easily travelling under the fencing.
Keeping on top of early growth is the best way to stop these weeds colonising by using either of the methods outlines above. Alternately, consider installing a heavy duty weed membrane over weeded areas. This is especially useful if you are going to leave planting up the area for while.
Brambles are a total nightmare but early intervention is best to resolve this problem weed for good.
Choose to either eliminate then by natural means or (my last resort) the chemical approach. Whichever method you choose spend your time, a slap dash approach will be sure to fail.
I hope this guide has been useful in explaining the methods. Now go get em!