How to Kill Scrub Oaks


Scrub oaks are considered a poisonous plant in pastures for grazing animals. Although wild animals such as squirrels and deer love them, scrub oaks contain a substance called oak tannins which are considered toxic for livestock when ingested. The buds, leaves and acorns are the most toxic parts of the plant, and for successful use of pastureland, all scrub oaks must be removed before livestock are allowed to graze in the pasture.

Chemical Removal

Step 1

Fill a garden sprayer or equivalent with water and a 50 percent mix of 2,4-D herbicide (chemical name 2,4-dichloro). This can be found at any farmers supply store.

Step 2

Locate the scrub oaks to be cleared.

Step 3

Spray the scrub oaks heavily with the mixture in your sprayer. Be careful to limit the spray to the scrub oaks, because any other plant sprayed will die if sprayed with 2,4-D. Scrub oaks are hardy, and may require three applications of herbicide until they are finally eradicated.

Manual Removal

Step 1

Put on a pair of thick leather gloves for protection.

Step 2

Locate the scrub oak on your property.

Step 3

Pull up any scrub oaks or use a shovel to dig the plants out manually, making sure to get as much of the root system as possible. The best time to do this is when the plants are young and developing in the spring. No chemicals are involved in this process, and for organic farming, this is the only method to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden sprayer
  • 2,4-D herbicide
  • Shovel
  • Gloves


  • U.S. Forest Service: Brushkiller to Control Scrub Oak Sprouts
  • Waste of the West: Mechanical and Chemical Controlof Plants

Who Can Help

  • WSSA: Herbicide Names
  • Paca Blogger: Poisonous Plants: Scrub Oak (Quercus Gambelii)
Keywords: scrub oaks, oak tannins, toxic parts, 2,4-D herbicide, root system, chained clear

About this Author

Dale Y the Maintenance Guy, has been involved with do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance, property management and worked as a consultant with home and industries, while running a successful home repair business for more than 25 years. His written work has appeared in the "Lacrosse Tribune," "Women's Day," "New Home Journal," and on many DIY websites across the Internet.