The 10 Best Brush Killers in 2021: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

The thought of having blackberry bushes in your garden can invoke one of two feelings: excitement for the free berries coming out of your own backyard, or panic at the speed with which this thing infiltrated your whole garden.

This suffocating growth is why people usually opt for brush killers. They can be a final solution to the unwanted weeds in your garden or your lawn. However, the number of choices, chemicals, do’s and don’ts you have to consider while purchasing and using brush killer can be intimidating.

In most cases, people first notice weeds in their yards at a very manageable stage. But between figuring out the best brush killer for their garden, and how and when to use it, people tend to put it off indefinitely. That’s usually when those weeds turn into a serious problem.

If you need something to help you get rid of wild weeds and tough brush around your property, such as vines and stumps and woody and broadleaf plants, we have a list of the 10 best brush killers you can use to help make your lawn look brand new.

Quick Answer: The Top Brush Killers

Preview
Roundup 5007410 Weed Killer
Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide, 32oz -Quart
BioAdvanced 704640B 704640 Brush Killer, 32-Ounce, Concentrate
RM43 43-Percent Glyphosate Plus Weed Preventer Total Vegetation Control, 1-Gallon
BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr, 32 oz
Product
Roundup 5007410 Weed Killer
Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide, 32oz -Quart
BioAdvanced 704640B 704640 Brush Killer, 32-Ounce, Concentrate
RM43 43-Percent Glyphosate Plus Weed Preventer Total Vegetation Control, 1-Gallon
BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr, 32 oz
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6,105 Reviews
1,978 Reviews
1,614 Reviews
4,484 Reviews
357 Reviews
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Preview
Roundup 5007410 Weed Killer
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Roundup 5007410 Weed Killer
Ratings
Reviews
6,105 Reviews
Prime
Price
Preview
Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide, 32oz -Quart
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Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide, 32oz -Quart
Ratings
Reviews
1,978 Reviews
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Price
Preview
BioAdvanced 704640B 704640 Brush Killer, 32-Ounce, Concentrate
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BioAdvanced 704640B 704640 Brush Killer, 32-Ounce, Concentrate
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Reviews
1,614 Reviews
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Price
Preview
RM43 43-Percent Glyphosate Plus Weed Preventer Total Vegetation Control, 1-Gallon
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RM43 43-Percent Glyphosate Plus Weed Preventer Total Vegetation Control, 1-Gallon
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Reviews
4,484 Reviews
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Price
Preview
BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr, 32 oz
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BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr, 32 oz
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Reviews
357 Reviews
Prime
Price

How to Choose Brush Killers: A Buying Guide

In this guide, we’re going to cover all you need to know about weed and brush killers so that you can choose the right product for your yard, from the different types available for domestic use, to the features you can find, as well as safety precautions to keep in mind.

How Do Brush Killers Work?

Brush killers are chemicals that are engineered to cripple the plant’s growth one way or another. Some types stop the roots from growing, while others stop the formation of new cells altogether by hindering the process of photosynthesis till the plant starves.

This is why a general rule for herbicides is to apply them during or right before the target weed’s most active season. 

Types of Brush Killers

Brush killers vary in terms of the type of plants they kill, how long they keep the soil clear of the targeted plants, how they affect the plants, and the form in which they emerge.

Selectivity

Brush killers can either be selective or non-selective.

Non-selective herbicides, also known as total vegetation herbicides, will kill all kinds of plants within a given radius, so they’re an optimal choice for sidewalks and driveways. They usually last between 6 and 12 months and will need to be reapplied periodically.

Unlike selective killers, a non-selective herbicide will kill any plant it comes in contact with. Non-selective brush killers pack potent chemicals and can give you amazing results if used correctly. If not used correctly, however, they can destroy your lawn.

Selective herbicides, on the other hand, will only affect certain types of plants. Some will have the word dicots or broadleaf weeds on their label, which means they kill plants such as poison ivy, dandelions, or any plant that has branched veins in their leaves. 

Monocot herbicides target grassy weeds that have parallel veins and narrow leaves, including crabgrass and bamboo. This type doesn’t affect trees.

Persistence

The persistence of a brush killer is how long it lasts in the soil. Most common chemicals used in brush killers usually kill the plants and break down in the soil, like Glyphosate. When the chemical is broken down in the soil, the effect it has on plants is gone.

Some herbicides are quite persistent, though, meaning they remain in the soil and keep weeds from regrowing for a long time. Usually, they stay effective from six months to a year and can take up to three years to completely break down in the soil.

Before you use a persistent herbicide, it’s important to know that these are chemicals that were formulated to stay in the soil. They’re not great for the environment, and they can contaminate surrounding soil and water. Such chemicals aren’t biodegradable, so just be aware of this when choosing a brush killer.

Systemic vs. Contact

Contact killers are herbicides that only kill whatever they touch directly, meaning they become effective as soon as they’re applied on the leaves. They don’t need to reach the plant’s root. 

Weeds sprayed with a contact herbicide will start showing signs of decay possibly minutes after the application. 

Pay attention to the label on contact brush killers, as most of them are non-selective products, which means they can lay waste to your precious lawn if you choose the wrong product. 

Systemic herbicides, on the other hand, work by going all the way down to the root, where they cripple the plant’s growth and prevent nutrient absorption. This process depends on the spread of the chemical within the plant, and so it usually takes over a week or so to show signs that it’s working and around three more weeks to finish the job.

Ready to Use

Some herbicides will come in a ready-to-use hand spray bottle or a bottle that you can hook to your garden hose. These can be used on the plants without mixing, measuring, or diluting anything. However, they’re usually not very strong and tend to be more expensive than concentrated herbicides.

Liquid Concentrate

Concentrates are the herbicides that you need to mix with water or other herbicides before use. Make sure to use the right concentrate-to-water ratio, as this is essential for both your own safety and the health of your yard.

It is possible to mix concentrates if you have stubborn weeds, but some concentrates will state clearly in the label that it’s prohibited to mix. We urge you not to ignore this; ignoring instructions on herbicide labels can be a federal offense!

Features to Look For

Weed killer labels can be very confusing, from the different ingredients to the different levels of strength. We’ve got you covered, though. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what to look for on a weed killer’s label. 

Ingredients

There are lots and lots of chemicals used in today’s herbicide market, but there are four chemicals that are the most common. They are considered safe to use and can be very effective when used for the right plants and in the right weather conditions.

Triclopyr

Triclopyr is a selective chemical that is usually coupled with 2,4-D to boost potency. This chemical is safe to use on lawns and grassy plants as it only affects dicot or broadleaf plants.

Glyphosate

Glyphosate is the most potent chemical on the market because of how effective and safe it is for the soil. It’s a non-selective contact herbicide. This chemical will kill whatever it touches, including tree stumps and woody plants, vines, grasses. It’s a post-emergence herbicide, which means it’s only absorbed through leaves and affects plants that are above the ground.

This chemical works by destroying an enzyme found only in plants, which is why it has low toxicity on animals and humans. It’s a good choice for yards where pets are usually present, or in a spot where you plan on doing more planting soon.

Fluazifop

Another post-emergence herbicide, Fluazifop affects grassy weeds or monocots only. This is why it’s used with broadleaf crops like soybeans in agriculture and flower beds. It’s a systemic herbicide that will get the weed from leaves to root.

Like most herbicides, it’s not very effective during the weeds’ dormant season and might be completely useless in droughts. When it’s applied in the grassy plant’s growth season, it can start losing color in a matter of days and will be completely dead in just two or three weeks.

In terms of toxicity, Fluazifop isn’t toxic to birds and animals but can be very harmful to marine life, so be careful not to use it too close to natural water bodies.

2,4-D

2,4-D is the most popular broadleaf weed killer out there. It’s a post-emergence herbicide. It functions much like a cancer cell, overstimulating growth till the plant dies. 

2,4-D is a low-toxicity herbicide, but it’s usually mixed with other herbicides to give it a strong punch, so exposure can still be harmful. 

Strength

There are a lot of factors that affect the strength of the herbicide product you choose to go with. 

Depending on the type of weed you’re trying to get rid of and the chemicals you’re using, how and when you apply the brush killer will be the deciding factors on whether or not it works at all.

The best season to spray your weeds is right when they thrive the most. This is because they’ll consume nutrients and water, along with the herbicide, a lot more efficiently.

Water Resistance

Most weed and brush killers are made to degrade in the soil so they wouldn’t contaminate the environment. This means that watering your plants will wash off the weed killer and render it useless. 

Of course, rain can have the same effect, so it’s recommended that you don’t spray if rain is expected in the next day or two. 

That said, many of today’s herbicides are made to become waterproof after being sprayed. You should read the product’s label to learn whether or not it has waterproof characteristics. 

Working Time

How long it takes for you to see the weeds start to decay depends on the type of herbicide you use. Systemic products will do a great job killing your target weeds but they’ll take some time to do it. 

Contact herbicides, on the other hand, can debilitate the plant’s growth in a matter of hours, killing it completely in less than a month.

It can also depend on the type and level of growth the plant is experiencing. Some things like tender vines and grassy weeds can start dying in a couple of days. Woody bushes will take a couple of weeks to start yellowing, and tree stumps can take up to a month. 

Safety Precautions

While many dangerous chemicals require a license to be handled, herbicides that are intended for domestic use can still be quite dangerous if used without following safety instructions. 

Here are a few basic instructions to follow to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of those around you:

Personal Safety

When handling any sort of potent chemical, herbicides, and pesticides especially, make sure to keep your skin completely covered to protect it against irritation or chemical burns.

Pets and Kids

Before you start applying a weed killer in your garden, make sure that all food bowls, toys, and fabrics that belong to your pets or children are out of sight. It also goes without saying that your kids and pets shouldn’t be anywhere near the sprayed area. 

Plants

Of course, the whole point of reading all this information about herbicides is to keep healthy the plants you actually want to grow. So, the best safety tip for that is to simply do your research and understand the effects of the chemicals you’re applying to your plants.

Environment

The impact of herbicides and other gardening chemicals on our environment can be negative, depending on how you use them. 

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, persistent herbicides can be especially harmful since they affect the soil’s non-target organisms. Since they stay active for long, persistent herbicides can also leach into surrounding water bodies.

Luckily, there are some organic chemicals that can work long-term without contaminating the environment by using herbicides like vinegar, salt, or lemon solutions.

The Best Rated Brush Killer Reviews

#1. Roundup Ready-To-Use Poison Ivy Plus Weed Killer

Sale
Roundup 5007410 Weed Killer
6,105 Reviews
Roundup 5007410 Weed Killer
  • Roundup Ready-To-Use Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer combines the power of two tough brush killing ingredients to kill even the toughest weeds and grasses
  • Kills weeds to the root. Guaranteed! (Consumer Guarantee: If for any reason you are not satisfied after using this product, simply send us original proof of purchase and we will refund the purchase...
  • Rainproof in 30 minutes

The Roundup Ready-To-Use Poison Ivy Plus Weed Killer is our number one choice for brush killers for your lawn and garden. It specializes in killing invasive ivies and weeds such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, as well as invasive vines and shrubs like wild blackberry and kudzu, and other tough to control brush. It combines two unique active ingredients, Glyphosate and Triclopyr, in order to kill even the most stubborn weeds and grasses. 

It is rainproof within 30 minutes, and it shows visible results in as little as 24 hours, so you just spray it on and you’re good to go! It can be used anywhere that weeds are invading, and it kills weeds right down to the roots so they won’t come back, guaranteed. Roundup is so sure about the success of their product that they’ll refund you the full product price if you’re not satisfied with its results. 

#2. Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Weed & Brush Herbicide

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Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide, 32oz -Quart
1,978 Reviews
Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide, 32oz -Quart
  • Size: 1 Quart
  • Controls most unwanted trees and brush.
  • Use on rangeland, grass pastures, non-crop areas.

The Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Weed & Brush Herbicide is great at controlling unwanted trees and brush, in addition to perennial broadleaf weeds on any type of grassy areas, such as rangeland, permanent grass pastures, conservation reserve program acres, and fence rows. You can also use it on non-irrigation ditch banks, roadsides, and other non-crop areas. It uses three different active ingredients: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, butoxyethyl ester, and Triclopyr, so it will be effective enough to remove even the most hard-to-kill weeds.

This product comes in a concentrated form, so all you need is 4 to 6 fluid ounces to mix with 3 gallons of water for spot treatment to spray all over the infected area. This means one quart-sized bottle will be able to treat a large amount of space, and it doesn’t go bad so it can be used over multiple years.

#3. BioAdvanced 704640B Brush Killer

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BioAdvanced 704640B 704640 Brush Killer, 32-Ounce, Concentrate
1,614 Reviews
BioAdvanced 704640B 704640 Brush Killer, 32-Ounce, Concentrate
  • Special formula: special penetrating formula, kills even the toughest plants down to the root
  • Brush killer: kills kudzu, poison Ivy, poison oak, blackberry, bramble, and over 70 other types of weeds and brush
  • Results: start seeing visual results in 1- 6 weeks

The BioAdvanced 704640B Brush Killer is another brush and weed killer concentrate that can treat up to 4,000 square feet of lawn or garden with a single 32-ounce bottle. This Brush Killer has a unique penetrating formula that kills even the toughest plants all the way down to the roots. This includes poison ivy, poison oak, wild blackberry, bramble, kuzdu, and 94 types of other listed weeds and brush; plus it kills stumps. 

This BioAdvanced product is rainproof in just 4 hours, meaning you can use it almost anytime you need it during the spring and summer months, and any rain or watering after 4 hours will not hinder the herbicide’s effectiveness. It also starts to show visible results in as little as one week. You can apply it anywhere tough brush grows – if you want it gone, BioAdvanced has the solution. 

#4. RM43 Total Control Weed Preventer

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RM43 43-Percent Glyphosate Plus Weed Preventer Total Vegetation Control, 1-Gallon
4,484 Reviews
RM43 43-Percent Glyphosate Plus Weed Preventer Total Vegetation Control, 1-Gallon
  • Kills weeds and prevents weeds for up to 1 year
  • Treats 17,297 square feet
  • Ideal for fence rows, gravel paths, sidewalks, driveways, parking areas and around farm buildings and barns

The next brush killer on our list is the RM43 Total Control Weed Preventer. This is a total vegetation control herbicide, so it can be used for multiple different reasons. You can use it on bare ground to prevent any and all vegetation for up to one full year, or you can also use it as a spot control of brush, vines, and weeds anywhere that they can pop up – for example, along fence rows, in vacant lots, or around farm buildings and barns. 

One bottle of the Total Control can be applied to up to 4,324 square feet. It is a very powerful herbicide, so it should only be used where vegetation is not wanted or needed for up to a whole year, so you shouldn’t use it on any crop-bearing land. 

#5. BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr

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BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr, 32 oz
357 Reviews
BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr, 32 oz
  • Treats up to 1 Acre
  • For control of woody plants and broadleaf weeds
  • To control resprouting of freshly cut stumps

The BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr is an incredibly powerful Brush Killer that can treat an area of up to an entire acre of land. It can work on up to 60 different woody plants like mesquite, locust, oaks, sweetgum, arrowwood, and wild rose, and additionally can kill 30 tough broadleaf weeds such as Canada thistle and dog fennel. You can also use it to control the resprouting of freshly cut tree stumps. 

Use the BrushTox on many different types of land, like rangeland, permanent grass pastures, fence rows, and ditchbanks. It can also be applied to broadleaf plants as a foliar spray, although it is concentrated so be sure to mix about 4-6 fluid ounces with 3 gallons of water before using it. 

#6. Fertilome Brush and Stump Killer

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VPG Fertilome 32295 32Oz Brush Stump Killer
2,074 Reviews
VPG Fertilome 32295 32Oz Brush Stump Killer
  • Controls unwanted woody plants, vines, and poison ivy around homes, Cabins, buildings, trails, fences, and other non-crop areas
  • Package Weight: 1.043 kilograms
  • Vine control: cut the vine first & treat as directed For Stump treatment.

The Fertilome Brush and Stump Killer uses Triclopyr to help treat any unwanted flora you have in your lawn or garden. It can help stop stumps from resprouting, it can treat unwanted woody plants, it can cut down tough vines, and it takes care of weeds and brush as well. For stump treatment, simply apply the product undiluted in broad strokes with a paintbrush until you completely cover the freshly cut surface. For vine control, simply cut the vine first and then do the same treatment as with a stump.

Use this brush and stump killer along fence rows and trails, and around homes, buildings, and cabins, as well as any non-crop areas you need it for. For foliar spray, use a rate of 8-16 tablespoons per gallon of water, and that small amount will give you 500 square feet of treatment.

#7. Southern Ag Brush & Weed Killer

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Southern Ag 01113 Brush Weed Killer, 1 Quart (32 oz)
335 Reviews
Southern Ag 01113 Brush Weed Killer, 1 Quart (32 oz)
  • This brush control herbicide is easy to use
  • Kills vines and many hard to control plants
  • Prevents sprouting on clean-cut stumps

Next on our list of the 10 best brush killers is the Southern Ag Brush & Weed Killer. Just like the Crossbow Specialty Herbicide above, this is a highly effective concentrated herbicide. It controls and kills tough and stubborn broadleaf weeds, woody plants, and vines, as well as other hard to control plants and many varieties of brush-like Brazilian pepper. It can also help to kill clean-cut stumps and stop them from sprouting up again. 

This herbicide is for use on non-crop areas, like roadsides, rangeland, pastures, and fences, among others. Simply use a concentrate solution of between 4-6 fluid ounces per gallon of water, and that will cover about 500 square feet of treatment. 

#8. Image Brush & Vine Killer 

The Image Brush & Vine Killer kills tough brush and vines completely, meaning stumps and roots won’t regrow after you’re done with them. All you do is wet the brush you want to treat with the spray, and then in as little as one week (usually between one and six weeks), you’ll start to see results like the leaves beginning to wilt. Then, simply cut down the treated brush and dispose of it; it’s that easy! 

This Brush & Vine Killer treats up to 4,000 square feet of tough brush and vines, such as wild blackberry, kudzu, horsetail brush, poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac. You can also replant over the treated area after just one month.

#9. Ortho Max Poison Ivy and Brush Killer

Ortho Max Poison Ivy and Tough Brush Killer Concentrate, 16-Ounce
278 Reviews
Ortho Max Poison Ivy and Tough Brush Killer Concentrate, 16-Ounce
  • Kills over 60 types of tough brush and weeds
  • Kills poison ivy, poison oak, kudzu and wild blackberries
  • Kills the toughest, brushy weeds

The Ortho Max Poison Ivy and Brush Killer is effective at killing over 60 different types of tough brush and weeds, including poison ivy, poison oak, wild blackberry, and kudzu, among others. It is also effective against woody plants like stumps and vines. It is very easy to apply when attached to an Ortho Dial ‘N Spray Hose-End Sprayer or basically any other tank sprayer. 

For best results, mix between 4-6 fluid ounces per gallon of water. It becomes rainproof in only 2 hours, meaning you can use this to treat your lawn or garden basically anytime you need without the worry about it washing away. 

#10. BioAdvanced 704645A Brush Killer Plus

BioAdvanced 704645A Brush Killer Plus, Poison Ivy Killer and Stump Remover, 32-Ounce, Ready-to-Spray
349 Reviews
BioAdvanced 704645A Brush Killer Plus, Poison Ivy Killer and Stump Remover, 32-Ounce, Ready-to-Spray
  • Special formula: special penetrating formula, kills even the toughest plants down to the root
  • Brush killer: kills kudzu, poison Ivy, poison oak, blackberry, bramble, and over 70 other types of weeds and brush
  • Results: start seeing visual results in 1- 6 weeks

The final brush killer on our list is the BioAdvanced 704645A Brush Killer Plus. This is the ready-to-spray version of the BioAdvanced Brush Killer Concentrate mentioned above, and it is just as effective. It has a unique penetrating formula that kills tough plants and brush all the way down to the roots, to ensure that they won’t grow back. 

This easy spray version can spot-treat poison ivy and oak, bramble, kudzu, and wild blackberry, in addition to 94 other types of weeds and brush. It is rainproof only 4 hours after treatment, and you can start to see visible results in 1-6 weeks. 

Conclusion

This post should have all of the information you need to start using a brush killer on the unwanted and harmful weeds and brush in your lawn or garden.

If you’re still a bit unsure about exactly which brush killer to go for, we would again recommend the RoundUp Ready-To-Use Weed Killer because it is so effective against many different types of weeds and will have your garden looking brand new in no time!

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