How to Kill, Clear and Control Bramble (Blackberry bush)

Bramble nice to eat the blackberries but gardeners nightmare
Bramble nice to eat the blackberries but gardeners nightmare

What is Bramble? (Blackberry bush)

Brambles commonly known as the blackberry bush is the thorny bush that produces the berries used in apple and blackberry pie and jam, but are a real problem, especially in gardens that have been neglected, growing through shrubs, under hedges, between the cracks in broken concrete and brickwork.

The speed bramble grows, combined with the painful thorns, mean gardens quickly become no go areas if it's not controlled.

Bramble shoots grow up to 8ft long, when the ends of the shoots touch soil they root and send out more shoots quickly forming a dense thorny blackberry bush.

A single bramble shoot can soon become a Blackberry bush jungle and difficult to eradicate once established.

If your garden is clear of Bramble, keep it clear by pulling or digging out young seedlings as soon as they appear, saves a lot of hard work later.  

BUT you wouldn't be reading this if your garden was clear, so lets get started, there isn't a easy way, and there isn't a new miracle shortcut but it can be done. 


Scroll on down for how I clear Bramble.

Two sure ways to kill bramble (Blackberry bush)

The two methods I use to clear brambles.

  1. Using a systematic weed killer that kills the whole bush including the roots, especially useful when the bramble is growing up through cracks in concrete and brickwork.
  2. Digging out the bramble roots. This method works for small areas, closely planted borders and for organic gardeners.

1 Cutting the blackberry bush back and treating with Weed-killer to kill the root.


Depending on the herbicide you plan to use it should be applied in the growing season, from spring until autumn, the best and cheapest chemical weed-killer for treating bramble is glyphosate, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. 

As I have described below, cut back all stems and runners to about 6 inches of the root, and clear it away and bag it to rot down or if you are clearing a large area of bramble burn it on site.

Then apply a suitable Glyphosate based weed-killer to the freshly-cut ends of the stems, thoroughly wetting them to ground level.   

Glyposate based weed- killers are systemic, being taken down to the roots, killing the whole plant including the root system and is deactivated by contact with the soil. 

If you have scruffy neighbours You will almost certainly have to repeat this process and at the very least keep an eye out for new growth and pull them up as soon as you see them. 


2 Cutting the bramble bush back to get at and dig out the roots.  


First cut back the Bramble stems to about 6" high, this makes it easier to get to the roots. A Strimmers will save time but you will need a sharp saw for thicker stems.  


Next dig out the bramble stump and the roots. It is really important to remove all of the root system, brambles will regenerate from well below soil level.  Realistically its almost impossible to remove every bit of root, so you will need to keep an eye out for new growth and pull it up . Bramble will continue to produce new growth for ages and grows fast.

Correct Disposal of thorny bramble growth and roots is key, leaving it in a pile in a corner of the garden will just create another Bramble bush problem, because it sends out new roots wherever it touches soil. If it is just a bush or two, cut it into small pieces and rot it down in a plastic bin bag. When I'm clearing a large area I use a shredder and bag it to rot down, or preferably burn it.

Which method works best to get rid of bramble bushes, Organic cutting and digging the root out, or cutting and killing the root with weed-killer ?

Bramble control methods depend on what sort of Blackberry bush problem you have; if you have brambles growing through shrubs and/or perennials then a herbicidal strategy may be difficult, so the only option is to dig out the bramble root. This could mean lifting your garden plants to get at, and dig out the bramble roots and then replanting the plants.

If you work and have limited time for the garden, a large area of bramble could take months to clear doing it the organic way without using weed-killer, whilst the weedkiller method could be carried out over a weekend.


If you have a large garden taken over by brambles and not in to much of a rush, try clearing one section at a time by covering the area with a heavy grade weed suppressing membrane. This won't kill off the roots but it will make digging up the roots a lot easier.

Clearing brambles Organically without using chemicals

Want a truly organic way to kill Brambles?

Just enjoy the blackberries you could be harvesting and make lots of jam and apple and blackberry pies.

Keep or borrow a few goats they'll clear a bramble patch faster than anything with out using weed-killer.


Using Machinery to clear Bramble. 

Rotavators won't touch thick blackberry roots and will just bounce of the top especially on clay or dry soil, If you can get a mini-digger into your garden, cost about £180 for a weekends hire, it will save so much time and hard labour clearing and digging out the whole plant including the roots. 


If your neighbour neglects the garden, It is almost impossible to stop bramble creeping over, under and through neighbouring fences and walls growing into blackberry bushes. You could send them a link to this page or try asking them to control it, but its probably easier to check now and again and pull or dig up the seedling (make sure to pull up the whole root) yourself before it takes hold and becomes a problem.  

The cheapest and best weedkiller for bramble

This is the best and cheapest weed-killer to kill bramble and is the blackberry bush killer I use.


Quickest method of clearing a large area of bramble,
I would advice using this concentrated

(Strength 360g/l weedkiller, rather than the sprays, it is a lot cheaper.

More information on my page shop for weedkiller

Always check Strength actually is 360g/l when buying concentrated Glyphosate weed-killer from other sources

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