How to Control Brush and Undergrowth in Lawns and Wooded Areas

It’s surprising how quickly undergrowth and brush can take over a lawn. One evening everything appears fine, and the next, your lovely outdoor space has turned into an unrecognizable forest. Clearing an overgrown backyard isn’t a one-step action, but a systematic, detailed process that will indeed proffer results. You can either decide to employ herbicides or remove the weeds manually. Nonselective herbicides will eliminate most undergrowth and shrubs, but it is possible to clear your lawn without using these chemicals if you have more than enough time.

Using Herbicides

Forceful and stubborn shrubs and undergrowth are among the most difficult plants to eradicate from overgrown backyards. Some shrubs (and woody weeds) more than often resprout from their roots, so cutting them is just a short-term solution. However, herbicides that contain glyphosate, triclopyr, or fluazifop can destroy these plants. These brush-killing herbicides are applied to already cut stems and foliage, depending on the manufacturers’ instructions.  Round Up is one of the most popular herbicides on the market.  If you are concerned about the health and legal implications of using the popular herbicide, there are plenty of alternatives to Round Up available.

Foliar applications are most effective when leaves are completely open early in fall or towards the end of summer. If you are applying a herbicide to sliced-open stems, cut the stems when the shrubs are actively growing and don’t delay applying the herbicide. You may have to wait several weeks to see results because the chemicals take time to move through the plant and into the roots. Give the chemicals time.

Going the Manual Way

To get rid of undergrowth and brush without using herbicides, you can scatter mulch over your lawn or wooded area after clearing it. Brush growth can be repressed by mulch, which prevents the sun’s rays from getting in. These include bark chips, sawdust and dead leaves. Pebbles, gravel and sand are examples of inorganic mulches, while other inorganic mulches include substances like landscape fabric and other geotextiles, which are synthetic materials. One of the most effective non-chemical approaches to preventing weeds and brush from sprouting again is to cover the areas with a layer of landscape fabric after clearing them to ground level.

When applied thickly, organic mulches can also be effective. When spread over landscape fabric, inorganic mulches are the most effective at controlling short brushes and undergrowth.

Tips To Apply When Eliminating Brushes

It is very necessary you control brushes around your home; otherwise, you might invite small and dangerous animals. Here are some other valuable tips while eliminating brushes and undergrowth:

  • If your lawn or backyard has ornamental shrubs that are unmanageable and overgrown, try cutting them down to heights of about 4 inches above ground level in early spring and let them regrow. Often, shrubs regrow into healthy, normal forms.
  • Before using any herbicide, ensure you cover the plants you want to keep with newspaper or cardboard.
  • When using herbicides, read product labels carefully and make sure to follow the instructions.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, safety goggles, gloves, and a hat when spraying potent brush-killing herbicides. Spray on a tranquil, dry day and store herbicides in a place where children and animals have no access.
  • Always rub the blades of your pruning tools in alcohol before and after pruning brushes to help thwart the spread of diseases and pests.


Taking care of lawns and wooded areas is no slouch’s work. However, the effort is always worth it in the end. You never know, you might need to change cities and sell your house, and a well-pruned lawn is always a solid selling point!