Need help with sticker bushes and wild raspberries

I cleared some woods to make room for more fruit and nut trees, but am now overrun with wild raspberries and sticker bushes. First removal attempt was to burn all of the land. That just seemed to fertilize everything. Tried some spraying but that had no effect. These things took over in one year and now own the land. I’m out of ideas and worried they are going to spread more. Any advice?

The raspberries are fair to good tasting, but they have jumbo seeds and I’m worried they will infect my improved raspberries. Almost forgot. Today saw some wild blackberries too. Too bad they are not worth anything.


Spraying in spring when plants are actively growing usually does the job. Use herbicide rated for brush. Do not cut the plants after spraying, they have to pass the chemical to the roots. Do at least 2-3 spraying with an interval up to a week after you see what is wilted already. You may also need to continue spraying or at least frequently mow side of the area as new roots will try to get to the opening from the woods. You can remove remains of the plants in the fall. Also keep in mind, all the raspberry seeds in the soil will try to germinate next spring or may be even over summer. So you will need either more spraying or some weed barrier in place for at least couple years. It is a job that requires constant attention, not “one and done”, but it is sure possible. After your fight is successful, you need to plant some ground cover, like
clover, they will be fine for your future orchard, but also stop other things from repopulating the vacant area(the nature doesn’t tolerate emptiness). Good luck!


Foliar spraying in spring/summer with recommended label rates of Crossbow or Triclopyr will work.


I agree that spray is probably your fastest option. If you’re willing to stick with it and have the know-how, annual burns in early spring may promote grasses over the Rubus, but it’s not a guarantee. The initial burn definitely helped them, but it’s the frequency that matters.

***Disclaimer–I’m basing this on being around lots of fire-based grassland management when I lived in Kansas, not from actual personal experience with burning out wild raspberries.

You are right. Some kind of tall grass also moved in after the burn. The sticker bushes when burned are like they are made of gasoline. Highly flammable. Burning was hard to control, so most likely going to avoid it. It was the funnest option though.

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Looks like spray is the only other option anyone has. Guess I will try to fight my way cutting it all down then broadcast a spray. Seems to work better after reducing the size. Going to need a lot of it.

Can anyone recommend a spray that would be effective. The standard Home Depot stuff did nothing last time.

Is crossbow and triclopyr the brand names? Where are they found?

Triclopyr is the chemical. Many products conatin it. This may be the best source if you need quantities for a large area:

Thanks. And they are all concentrates. Have you bought from them before? Always sketchy about buying from unknown websites.

Crossbow is a chemical brand name, it is a mix of 2-4D and Triclopyr. It is cheaper than straight Triclopyr and in my experience just as effective.

I buy Crossbow off of Amazon or wherever I can get it cheapest. I always do a Google search before buying. If you have a local co-op it may be cheaper to buy it there.

also…I would not cut the brambles then spray. I’d spray the brambles when they’re fully leafed out and actively growing.


I’ve bought pesticides from them, but not herbicides. I’m not big on using pesticides and herbicides, but I like to make sure I’m using the right stuff when I do. They specialize in selling pro-grade stuff that doesn’t require a license in retail quanitities. Prices are good, and they have a lot of helpful guides.

I’m guessing that you have used them before. Did everything go down in one spray or did it take several? Also, I’m curious why you recommend not cutting them. Doesn’t the wound give the spray an easier path inside? For sure easier not cutting them.

I have used a lot of both Crossbow and Triclopyr. Just this winter I went through most of a gallon of Crossbow and several gallons of diesel while basal spraying invasive glossy and European buckthorn.

You can cut the brambles, but it is very easy to miss some of the stumps with herbicide. Miss one per bunch and you’ve wasted your time and chemical. If you use a foliar spray, your odds of hitting the entire group/bunch of brambles is better.

I have killed a lot of brambles and prickly ash using foliar sprays. I have used basal application of Crossbow or Triclopyr and diesel to control acres (literally) of buckthorn.

Doing a few Google searches and reading up on “best” methods of herbicide control on raspberry/blackberry/brambles would likely be worth your time.

edit…one example of a good article dealing with wild blackberry control. However, I personally have had zero luck using glyphosate to control wild blackberry or raspberry…so I’d skip the part on glyphosate (others may have different experiences). Wild Blackberries Management Guidelines--UC IPM

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Thanks. Sounds like good advice. It’s the sticker bushes that are the most problem. Will it work on them as well? The raspberries and blackberries at least have something to offer. I was considering diesel but, did not want to mention because some people would not approve. Are you mixing 50/50 with the spray?

You need to do a bit of preliminary reading on using Crossbow or Triclopyr I think. There is a version of Triclopyr that uses water and a version that uses diesel (or some other type of oil, I always use diesel). I believe Triclopyr 3a is for mixing with water, and Triclopyr 4 is for diesel/oil…BUT ALWAYS read the label (always, always, always).

First off, I think you should positively identify your “sticker” bushes. Are they green briers? Are they wild rose? A positive ID will help to know how/when best to control them.

Mixing rates are on the label of any chemical you buy. The label is the law. The rate of Crossbow I use for basal spraying will be quite different than the rate used for foliar applications. FWIW…I use 5.5 oz. of Crossbow per gallon of diesel on buckthorn. It is very effective. A single application takes care of 95%+ of what I’ve sprayed.

Labels of any chemical are readily available on the interwebs. For example, here’s a label for Triclopyr 3a.

Label application rates can require some math work on our end when adjusting to small quantity application levels.

edit…please see my correction on my application rate.

Great info!!! I went cheap the last time and wasted money. This time I am going with the Triclopyr 4 mixed with diesel. Even sounds deadly to sticker bushes. Since I have never seen any flowers I’m guessing they are plain stickers. The bases of some are six inches and some of the hardest wood you will ever come across. Dulled my chainsaw pretty quick.

No chance your sticker bushes are honey locust? Honey Locust Tree Thorns - Bing images

No. Just giant ten foot wide bushes. They tip root and spread pretty quickly. This was a forest and everything has been growing since before I moved here. After I cleared the trees the items that were in shade now flourish and are becoming a serious problem.

Do you have any pictures? There are loads of thorny “sticker” bushes out there. Also, what part of the country are you in? That could help narrow it down.

Okay, my last guess as to what your sticker bushes may be.

Good luck controlling them, whatever they may be