Gardening is a relaxing and peaceful hobby until you have to deal with brush encroaching your garden—they will consume all the nutrients and stop your plants from growing quickly. They can also grow around the fences, ruin your driveway, and prove extremely frustrating to deal with.
Brush can indeed take up a large space in your yard if not controlled. And some of them are so stubborn that no matter how much you cut them off mechanically, they keep growing back in no time. If you are tired of having your efforts wasted due to brush, it’s time to use a brush killer.
These chemical agents can kill all sorts of brush and prevent them from regrowing in quick time. Brush killers can indeed be your much-needed solution but only if you buy the right one. The incorrect choice might not work on the plant you want to clear out. It may even damage your desirable plants. To help you make the right choice, here is a review of the best brush killers you can buy.
Whether you need to take down Kudzu or broadleaf weeds in a yard or around the gravel walkways, you’ll find a suitable brush killer in this list. We have further answered various questions regarding the usage of brush killers in our comprehensive guide.
Top 10 Best Brush Killers
1. RM43 43-Percent Glyphosate Plus Weed Preventer
- Kills weeds and prevents weeds for up to 1 year
RM43 glyphosate is one of the most powerful brush killers available in the market and none of its effects is better than its ability to prevent the weeds from growing up to 1 year. But you should only spray it in places where no vegetation is needed. You shouldn’t spray this on an area where you might want to replant within one year.
It’s kind of a long-term solution to your long-term problem of pesky weeds and other brush. Some of the areas where people prefer to apply this product are driveways, entryways, paths, fences, rows, parking areas, barns, and buildings. It’s not a good idea to grow plants in these areas after using this product.
This is a versatile brush and weed cleaner and you can use it for complete vegetation control as well as spot control of a few brush and vines. Glyphosate and imazapyr in the formula combine to act on the roots of the brush to prevent their growth. You will be able to notice the results within a week.
The good thing is that you can move around the area once the solution has dried. If you are planning to do spot treatments, this one will last quite long because of its ability to make 5 gallons of spray solution.
The herbicide is non-selective and can kill all plants, so be careful while spraying it or applying it. Cover the desirable plants and use the solution carefully around them. It isn’t a great idea to use it in areas with a lot of wind where it might affect other plants.
-Powerful 43% solution
-Kills all kinds of vegetation without discrimination
-Can make up to 5 gallons of solution
-Shows results under a week
-It’s not suitable if you want to replant in the area within the year
2. Compare-N-Save 016869 Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer
Despite being an extremely budget-friendly option, this Compare-N-Save weed killer is suitable for large areas. This one can cover up to 25,000 square feet of area in one container making it suitable for farms and large yards. It is easily 3 times cheaper than other brush killers and yet covers 4 times more area.
A 1-gallon container of the killer can make up to 85 gallons of the weed-killing solution if you adhere to the guidelines given behind the pack. The best places to use it are around the fences, the driveway, the flower beds, as well as the vegetable gardens.
The product promises to deliver quick results within 2 to 4 weeks although the 41 percent solution might take up to 1 week to display complete results. The solution becomes rainproof in a couple of hours of application. It’s advisable to cover the area if rain is about to pour after you apply.
The solution can be harmful to good quality grass and hence you should avoid spraying it around the lawn. The solution is adept at killing weeds straight from the roots and a container can last you for years as testified by several reviewers.
-Rainproof in just 2 hours
-Covers up to 25,000 square feet area
-1 gallon makes 85 gallons of solution
-Shows results in 2 to 4 days
-You can’t use it on lawns as it’s harmful to grass
3. Roundup Concentrate Poison Ivy Plus
- Roundup Concentrate Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer combines the power of two tough brush killing...
Roundup is one of the oldest and most popular names among brush killers. One of the major reasons behind its popularity is its specialization in killing poison ivy among other brush—it is one of the most common weeds and can be a pain in the ass for most gardeners.
Apart from ivy, Roundup concentrate can also kill a variety of undesirable shrubs and invasive vines namely poison oak, honeysuckle, sumac, briars, kudzu, and wild blackberry among others.
It comes in concentrated form and you have to dilute it as per directions given on the back. After that, you can put it in a spray bottle and use it accordingly. You will also be able to find pre-dilute bottles with spraying wands and sprayers of the same brand.
It’s particularly useful if you live in rain-prone areas since this cleaner becomes rainproof just half an hour after you apply it. Roundup also shows results pretty quickly and in several cases, you will start noticing the weeds diminishing within a day.
The herbicide attacks their internal circulation and makes them incapable of growing back. You shouldn’t spray it on a windy day as, like most other herbicides, this one too impacts plants indiscriminately.
-Specialises in killing poison ivy
-Starts working within a day
-Becomes rainproof in 30 minutes
-Its ready-to-use diluted version is available in stores
-You might require multiple applications in some cases as it isn’t the most powerful killer
4. Southern Ag CROSSBOW32 Weed & Brush Killer
This weed and brush killer is an inexpensive offering from another well-known brand, Southern Ag. Instead of glyphosate, it contains other active ingredients 2,4-dichloro phenoxy acetic acid, butoxy ethyl ester, Triclopyr. These are pretty strong ingredients capable of most plants that come their way.
The product is adept at killing perennial and annual vines and brush with creeping charlie, poison ivy, and wild blackberries among its popular targets. The powerful killer can even kill trees if you wish to do so, all you have to do is apply the solution to the stump. That comes in useful when cutting bamboo shoots.
Another unique quality of this product is that its ingredients don’t harm the grass if used sensibly. Hence it’s suitable for your yard as well as the lawn. The powerful killer wilts some plants overnight while more reluctant plants may take over a week to deteriorate.
-Kills broadleaf weeds, brush, and vines
-Uses active ingredients that don’t harm grass
-It requires multiple applications in some weeds like blackberry bushes
5. Ortho GroundClear Poison Ivy & Tough Brush Killer – Ready to Use with Comfort Wand
- Enjoy your yard more with Ortho GroundClear Poison Ivy & Tough Brush Killer; kills over 60 types of...
If you are looking for a selective herbicide that doesn’t harm your flowering plants, Ortho Groundclear is the choice for you. It kills over 60 unwanted vines, weeds, and stubborn brush but leaves some plants too.
Its key active ingredient is Triclopyr, which acts on the roots and prevents the plant from growing back only for 6 to 8 weeks. This is the kind of weed killer you would want if you need to replant at the location after some time. Some users do report longer durations but that depends on the number of applications.
It’s pretty convenient to use as it comes with a wand that allows you to reach difficult areas to do spot treatments. You can also buy its ready-to-spray battery-powered version which makes it even easier.
-Battery-powered sprayer makes spraying in large yards easier
-Comes with a wand for easier spot treatment
-Ready-to-use version also available
-You can replant after 6-8 weeks
-It can harm your favorite plants if you don’t cover them properly
-Results may take longer and might need a few reapplications
6. BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr
- Treats up to 1 Acre
BrushTox brush killer will last for years and is suitable for larger yards. You can make a solution that can treat up to a massive 1 acre of land using this small 32oz bottle of liquid. This brush killer is perfect for cleaning out woody plants like a wild rose, aspen, sweetgum, and alder. Apart from that, BrushTox liquid can also kill broadleaf weeds quite easily.
The brush killer doesn’t cause damage to grass and hence you can use it near your lawn and turf. The reason why it doesn’t damage grass and is suitable to use in yards, unlike several other killers, is because it contains an active ingredient is Triclopyr.
But it can kill shrubs around if you aren’t careful in its application. You should also wear protective clothing while using it to avoid risks of irritation. This herbicide, just like others in this list, will dry within 2 hours and it’s ideal to apply it on a dry day.
-Can treat up to an acre of land in a bottle
-Suitable to treat woody plants
-Kills trees and vines too
-Suitable to use around the grass
-You need to wear protective clothing to protect yourself from its harmful fumes
7. Monterey Brush and Vine Killer Stump and Tree Sprouting Herbicide Control Concentrate
- Monterey Fruit Tree Plus for Control of Insects, Diseases & Mites Conc 1pt Fruit Tree Spray Plus is...
Monterey is another vine killer and herbicide that specializes in controlling woody plants. It’s suitable to use around non-crop areas like fences, buildings, driveways, parking lots, walkways, etc.
The powerful killer can also get rid of stumps but for that, you would need to pour the concentrate directly on the affected area. It’s another Triclopyr-based product that doesn’t affect the grass.
It won’t be as powerful as the glyphosate weed killers but does its job nonetheless. It will typically start working a few days after the first application and requires a second application in some woody plants.
It doesn’t get rainproof quickly like several other weed killers on the list. You would be better off applying this weed killer when the weather is dry with no chance of rain. The company states that rain within 24 hours of application can reduce the impact.
You shouldn’t use it inside your residence as Triclopyr might exude harmful fumes. You should also avoid spraying it on crop plants and other desirable plants. It’s also important to refrain from entering the area until the spray has dried. Keep your kids and pets away from the plants until the product dries.
-Excellent for controlling woody plants, stumps, vines, and broadleaf weeds
-Doesn’t affect grass
-Rain under 24 hours can affect the results
8. Bonide (BND331) – Poison Ivy and Brush Killer BK-32 Concentrate (32 oz.)
- BRUSH AND WEED KILLER - Kills a variety of brush, woody weeds, and vines such as poison ivy, poison...
Here’s another versatile herbicide that can kill over a whopping 240 types of weeds and woody plants including clover, poison ivy, poison oak, dandelion, thistle, chickweed, wild blackberries, and kudzu.
It is safe to apply this brush killer on grass turfs including fescue, bahiagrass, bentgrass, zoysia, ryegrass, and bermudagrass. But it will harm woody and broadleaf plants. So you should be very careful in its application.
It can also kill stumps if you apply it directly—apply it to the cut end of the tree using a paintbrush and herbicide to kill the tree in a short time. The tree won’t grow back as the product attacks the roots.
The Triclopyr in this herbicide exudes toxic and harmful fumes which can cause skin irritation. Hence it is necessary to wear protective clothing before spraying it around the yard. You should also keep your pets and kids away while you spot treat the weeds.
-Safe to use on most types of grass
-It is easy to mix and use in a hose sprayer
-Kills a large variety of plants including over 240 types of broadleaf weeds, vines, woody plants, and more
-Kills trees in one application
-Exudes toxic fumes so you must wear protective gear while using it
9. BioAdvanced 704655A Brush Killer Plus, Poison Ivy Killer, and Stump Remover
- Special formula: special penetrating formula, kills even the toughest plants down to the root
BioAdvanced brush killer is one of the most inexpensive brush killers you would find around. It is a ready-to-use product saving you the hassle of diluting the mixture. It also eliminates the risk of you mixing too much or too little—the company has already done that for you.
This inexpensive herbicide also comes with a wand and a grip-controlled trigger. Its quality is a bit flimsy but it does the job well—you’d definitely get your money’s worth.
It is because of the Triclopyr content though that it still manages to kill over 70 types of common plants including brambles, blackberry, kudzu, poison ivy, and poison oak.
You would need to put an obstacle like cardboard or a plastic shield to protect other plants from getting ruined. You should keep this one away from edible crops and other gardening plants that you love. This herbicide also won’t let you replant for a long time, so you should avoid using this if you want to replant a particular area shortly.
-It kills plants right down to the roots
-It comes in a ready-to-use solution
-Comes with a spraying wand
-The quality of the spray wand is mediocre
10. Gordon’s For Large Property Brush Killer Liquid Concentrate
- Concentrated formulation developed specifically for larger properties
Gordon’s liquid is a little expensive but this effective brush and weed killer can be used to make up to 64 gallons of spray solution. The concentrate is ideal for spot treatments along fences, trails, and property lines around your building.
It can kill a wide variety of brush including mesquite, kudzu, multiflora rose as well as wild blackberry. Weeds like poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak, and thistle cannot escape its wrath.
The concentrate is ideal to use for larger properties like a farm or a large yard as it can make a massive amount of liquid in just a gallon tank. The formula is the typical 2,4-D amine, Triclopyr amine, and dicamba, and protective gear is essential while using it.
While it works well for spot treatment, you can also use it in the broadcast treatment of broadleaf weeds. The herbicide enters the plants through their stems, leaves, and cut surfaces and steadily enters their vascular systems. From there on, it robs the plant of nutrients and kills it within 1 to 3 weeks. You should use a small sprayer with a wand for spot treatments.
-Suitable for large yards
-Ideal for spot treatment
-Kills a variety of weeds as well as brush
-It becomes rainproof within 6 hours of application
-Need to manually dilute it
-Protective gear needed to avoid toxic fumes
What is a Brush killer and Why Do You Need One?
Before understanding the meaning of a brush killer, you must be clear on the concept of the brush. There’s a common misconception about the word ‘brush’ found in gardens. People usually describe ‘brush’ as the various combinations of trees, shrubs, and vines growing on a particular grassland.
Although, the connotations of the word are usually negative, ‘brush’ doesn’t include all types of shrubs and vines but particular trees and shrubs that are undesirable to the planned use of a particular area. In that way, the ‘brush’ is termed as any plant that doesn’t fulfill the objective of a given part of the land.
A cattleman would term everything other than cattle grass to be a brush. All shrubs and trees would be brush for someone who is looking to create an open prairie. Similarly, if a rancher is looking to maximize habitat for deers, the shrubs and trees won’t be considered as brush.
Brush typically includes poison ivy, broadleaf weeds, wild blackberries, and other such plants that are stealing the nutrients from your edible crops or flowering plants.
Brush killers can help you get rid of these plants without much effort and without destroying your desirable plants. Brush interferes with the growth of other plants and steals the valuable water causing soil erosion.
Brush killers are effective herbicides that prevent the growth of these plants for a significant amount of time by attacking their roots. These products often contain chemicals like Triclopyr and glyphosate which indiscriminately kill most plants and stop them from growing.
The chemicals in brush killers are considered bad for all living beings including human beings. You would hence have to cover your desirable plants as well as protect your kids and pets from these strong chemicals.
Different Types of Brush Killers. What type of brush killer should I get?
While there are typically two types of brush killers namely concentrated and ready to use, you can also divide the variety based on several factors. Here are a few factors on which you can divide brush killers:
Some brush killers are pretty selective in terms of the plants they kill while others are indiscriminate in their way of operation. The nonselective ones will kill all kinds of plants and hence you should protect your desirable plants from them.
Selective killers kill only a few types of plants. That can be a drawback as some brush killers only kill woody plants and leave broadleaf weeds and vines alone. Such brush killers won’t damage your favorite plants and are suitable to use in gardens.
Nonselective brush killers are the right option if you are looking for a brush killer to remove all the vegetation from an area like a driveway, around the fence or so.
2. Prevention of Regrowth
The chemicals of the brush killers remain in the soil for a short interval of time and prevent regrowth and any sort of replantation in the soil. This duration can be as long as a year and as short as 6 weeks.
If you prefer to keep the area clean for long you should use a brush killer with a long-lasting effect. But if you want to replant another plant after a short time, it’s better to avoid products that prevent regrowth for long.
3. Systemic or Contact
Most of the brush killers you would find in the market as well as in this list are systemic killers. They follow a process where they are first absorbed by the plant. The chemical then reaches the circulatory system from where it reaches the core parts including the roots and ends up killing them.
Since these chemicals kill the brush from the roots, the plant doesn’t regrow. The process is fairly long sometimes taking up multiple applications and weeks to kill some stubborn brush.
But contact herbicides instantly act upon the area they are applied upon. They kill almost immediately and deliver the results quickly but the plant will regrow since contact herbicides can’t reach the roots. You can use concentrated vinegar as an alternative if you’re looking for this kind of brush killer.
Using a rainproof brush killer ensures that your brush killer doesn’t get washed away with rain. Typically you should apply brush killers on a dry day but rain can be pretty unpredictable in some regions.
Different products become rainproof in different durations. Some brush killers become rainproof in just about 30 minutes while others can take up to 24 hours to become rainproof. If it doesn’t rain, it won’t matter but having a rainproof killer would give you the added advantage.
5. Concentrated or Ready-to-Use
You can find concentrated as well as ready to use brush killers in the market. The concentrated ones are cheaper but you need to dilute them yourself. You should be careful of the amount of solution you put in water to ensure maximum results, and you can vary the concentration based on the plants you’re trying to kill.
Ready-to-use products on the other hand are easy and quick to use. They come with a spray wand that helps you reach difficult to reach areas. You just buy these and instantly start spraying making them a time-saving solution.
Things to look for in a Brush Killer: Buying Guide
Brush killers aren’t simple chemicals that you can use daily. You need to keep a few things in mind before purchasing the right one:
Choosing the type of brush killer is essential to make the best use of it in your lawn. Selecting a selective brush killer or a systemic one is a major decision. If you want to clear the whole vegetation around an area, it’s best to buy a systemic killer.
Such a brush killer isn’t ideal for use in yards and gardens since these regions are full of grass and systemic killers can kill the plants you’re growing too. Selective brush killers are much better at handling the areas around yards and gardens.
A typical misconception among people about brush killers is that a stronger brush killer is better. Instead, it depends on your purpose. A strong brush killer might prevent any kind of vegetation to grow around the area you’ve applied it to.
Its effects may be long-lasting and your pets and children might get harmed due to it. Strong brush killers often exude toxic fumes which may cause skin irritation to you.
Hence, your brush killer should be just strong enough to do the job. Don’t go for extra powerful brush killers which may be harmful to the surroundings.
Concentrated brush killers need to be diluted in a separate container in a specified quantity and then poured into a spray bottle. That might sound like a simple task but it can be quite time-consuming.
Ready-to-use brush killers are much more convenient. You should go for these unless you need brush killers of different strengths, and this is where concentrated brush killers come in.
Since you need to water your lawn or yard regularly, your brush killer should resist moisture. The area needs to retain the brush killer for some duration for it to reach the roots and complete the action.
Most of the brush killers that we have listed would become water-resistance in a few hours. Some may take 24 hours while others would take just 30 minutes. Some of these brush killers would stay in the soil for a few days while others may need reapplication.
It’s essential to check out reviews and find the relevant information about water resistance on the label to ensure the brush killer doesn’t vanish while you water your plants.
Brush killers contain chemicals that are not only harmful to plants but also other living beings and the environment. Make sure that you’re buying an environmentally safe killer. Look for a selective brush killer that won’t harm the environment in general. Otherwise, you must keep your protective gear on while you apply the product.
5 Benefits of Using a Brush Killer
Using a brush killer on your plant would cost you some time, effort, and money, and hence the one you purchase should be worth it. Here are 5 immediate and long term benefits of brush killers:
1. Use of brush killers before planting the crop will ensure the crop grows and germinates in a weed-free environment. The reduced competition in the tender stage would allow the crop to be healthier and stronger. This isn’t possible through other methods of weed control.
2. Brush killers can reach every broadleaf weed, vine, and other undesirable plants even in narrowly spaced crops. That isn’t possible when you mechanically cut off these plants.
3. Selective brush killers prevent undesirable plants from growing again in that area for a considerable duration. That will allow enough time for the competing desirable plant to grow and thrive.
4. You can remove unwanted plants around the railings, fences, and parking lot using brush killers. It’s a long-term solution for your long-standing issues. Weeds typically grow back very soon and only chemical treatment can prevent that.
5. You can even kill deep-rooted brushes using these products. That is impossible through mechanical methods. Similarly, you can kill stumps using brush killers. Any mechanical method would be unsuccessful in doing so.
When Is The Best Time To Spray Brush Killer?
Applying the brush killer at the right time is as important as choosing the right product. You should apply the killer only when the weed is actively growing. When the leaves are mature, the process will become faster as the chemicals can travel from the leaves to the roots.
You should also avoid using brush killers when rain is forecasted in the area. Check how long the product needs to remain dry before it becomes rainproof and apply it accordingly. The ingredients need time to penetrate the roots and rain would reduce its effectiveness.
Also, avoid applying the product on a windy day. The wind can take the product away from the plant and transfer it to other parts of your yard. If it lands on healthy and desirable plants, it may kill them.
Difference Between a Weed Killer and a Brush Killer?
A weed killer is a substance used to kill weeds exclusively while a brush killer can effectively kill any plant—these two terms cannot be used interchangeably.
Weeds are typically unwanted plants that are invasive and slow the growth of other plants around. Brush includes any plant that may be undesirable to you because of its location, invasive properties, and so on. A brush killer or a herbicide can hence kill any undesirable or desirable plant you want while a weed killer only kills weeds.
Do Brush Killers Kill Grass or Trees?
Yes, some brush killers do kill grasses. If you have grass around the region you’re applying them to, you should select the selective brush killers that don’t harm the grass as we have discussed in the review section. Some concentrated systemic killers can kill the trees if you spray the concentrate directly on its stem and roots.
If you want to just kill the weeds present around a tree, you should use it in the diluted form. You should also cover the bottom of the tree to prevent the roots from getting exposed to the chemicals in this case.
Are Brush Killers Safe For Pets and Children?
No, brush killers contain toxic and harsh chemicals like Triclopyr and Glyphosate which can be dangerous if your kids and pets come in contact with them. You should keep your pets and children away especially when you’re using brush killers containing Triclopyr.
Always allow the product to seep into the roots before letting your children and pets play around. You should also store these products far from the reach of your children. Also, don’t forget to wear protective gear when using products that contain harsh chemicals.
How Many Times Do You Have To Apply the Brush Killer?
Usually, one application is enough to kill weeds and brush in an area and prevent them from regrowing for at least 4 months. But stubborn brush may need a reapplication. Wait until the time as specified on the label, you should typically start seeing results within 3-5 days. Don’t overapply as it can be hazardous for your garden.
How To Use a Brush Killer? A Few Tips
1. Use Protection
Brush-killing herbicides contain poisonous chemicals that can prove detrimental to your health. Always use full-body gear to ensure you stay protected from spills. Wear a mask to ensure the chemical doesn’t enter your eyes, mouth, and nose apart from the skin.
2. Protect the Desirable Plants
Most brush killers will non-selectively kill most plants and hence you should try to cover your desirable plants around the area of application. Use a plastic sheet or board to protect the desirable plant’s leaves and roots from the spray.
3. Use the Chemical in the Right Manner
Always read the instructions carefully before applying the chemical agent. Use water according to the mentioned dilution ratio and use a spray container. Spray the solution evenly for best results.
The world of brush killers might not seem as simple as you’d have thought before but you have a clear picture at hand now. Knowing all the decisive factors, you can now make a better purchase decision ideal for your purpose.
Our top pick is the RM-43 Glyphosate because of how quickly it can clear an area. It can also prevent any regrowth for up to a year and hence is an ideal killer for use around the driveway and building.
Southern Ag is a good option for use around grasses. Buying concentrated brush killers will give you a lot of freedom to use them for various purposes by varying the concentration. If you are looking for quick removal of brush, choose the ready-to-use ones.