Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Homemade Brush Killer

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017
Simple vinegar makes an effective brush killer.
Gewürze image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com

Brush is made up of a variety of annual and perennial shrubs, small plants and grasses. Because the plant life is so varied, it can be difficult to find an appropriate commercial herbicide to treat them. You must either purchase several different herbicides or use a non-selective one that may persist in the soil for quite some time. If you plan to re-plant the area, it may be a good idea to avoid commercial herbicides altogether. Luckily, a combination of vinegar and boiling water makes an effective and inexpensive homemade brush killer that will allow you to plant right after the brush has been cleared.

Use the lopping shears to cut the brush back. By getting rid of some of the foliage, you can get better coverage for the steps that follow.

Pour boiling water all over the area. This will cook and kill the foliage and most of the roots of almost any plant that it touches. The next day, clear off any dead foliage.

Wait one to two weeks to see if anything grows back. If it does, spray it with vinegar that is 15 to 30 percent concentration, or simply pour it into the soil around the plants.

Re-apply the vinegar at two-week intervals as necessary.


Things You Will Need

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Lopping shears

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.