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How to Get Rid of Briar Patches

bramble berry image by Robert Kelly from

A briar patch is a thorny, tangled patch of vines. Generally they are "sticker vines" like blackberries, but they can also include any other vine or plant that has gotten mixed in with the tangle. These types of vines can be difficult to kill without also killing the desirable plants around or underneath them. However, with the proper combination of methods, you can get rid of briar patches without sacrificing the rest of your plants.

Protect yourself. Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and garden gloves.

Cut the vines back to the roots. This will not kill them entirely in most cases, but it will slow their growth down because they will not have the benefit of their leaves. Remove all the plant debris from the area.

Plant the area with competitive plants. If you are trying to create a lawn out of brambles, for example, then seeding that area will help control your briar patch because the grass will compete with the briars.

Mow the area regularly. Keeping your briar vines short will eventually kill them. Do not mow any more often than your new grass can handle, however.

Target stubborn vines with vinegar. If you have some vines that just will not quit, then spot treat them with vinegar. Be sure to hit only the vine when you are spraying, since vinegar will also kill your grass.


If you are clearing an area to use as a garden, then once you have cut the vines back to the ground, cover the area with a tarp. This will starve the briar patch and leave you with a bare area for your garden. Some people use goats to control briar patches if the patches are primarily blackberries. Goats appear to prefer blackberries to other vegetation, but will not restrict their diet if blackberries are not available in abundance.

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