How to Control Aggressive Plants in Your Yard

Flowering honeysuckle
Honeysuckle may smell great, but it can take over your yard.

Chemical Control of Aggressive Plants

Chemical control with herbicide sprays, can be a good back-up if digging isn’t working; or if you have an isolated patch that can be sprayed without affecting other plants.

Follow these tips when using chemical herbicides in your yard or garden:

  • Herbicides: There are two main herbicides that seem to work with aggressive plants: glyphosate (Roundup) and triclopyr (Brush-B-Gone).
  • Timing: For best results, spray when plants are actively growing and flowering.
  • Mow First: Some research has shown that sprays work better if you first mow or cut the plant down, wait for it to sprout again, and then spray the sprouts. This can be a great strategy, because if the cutting or mowing works, you can avoid spraying altogether.
  • Avoid Wetlands: Most states require a permit before spraying anything in or near wetlands because of the risk of pollution and harm to amphibians.
  • Apply Carefully: Spray the herbicide directly on the plant’s leaves, being careful not to spray the ground or other plants. Alternatively, you can paint the product on the leaves or, for shrubby plants, cut them down and paint concentrated herbicide on the cut stem.
  • Minimize Waste: To keep track of which plants you’ve treated, add a bit of food coloring or biodegradable fabric dye to the spray mixture.


  1. Danny I have the age old problem, crabgrass.
    I have tried Bayer, Scotts, Jonathan Green and Ortho products. Nothing will slow it down from reseeding and spreading. I would like to say I would pull it all out, but I have 1000’s of plants. Have learned that when I pull some out by the roots, not to shake off the dirt because that scatters seeds. Any suggestions?


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