I have just discovered I have some Deadly Nightshade plants growing on my property, and I'm not sure of the best way to deal with them. The plants seem pretty well established - they must be about 2 meters high.

My thinking is along the following:

  1. First pick off the berries and dispose of these (i.e. throw them in my tip - I have kids and would prefer these are not around)

  2. Next spray the plants with glyphosate on a sunny morning and leave for a few weeks.

  3. Cut the top half of the plants and burn (or chop into logs and put into tip. Attempt to pull the bottom half of the plants out and burn, along with the roots. If the plants won't come out at roots, cut them off at ground level.

Is this a practical solution - are there better ideas?

  • 2
    I have always known nightshade (tomato potato family) to be a tender perennial. Not a tree. The best thing to do would be to pull it out BEFORE those berries turn to seed. Then rake debris up and install minimum 2 " decomposed organic matter on top of area... and 2" minimum thickness will severely weaken any plant. Go thicker but you'd have to be careful about smothering roots of other shrubs and trees. PLEASE SEND A PICTURE OR TWO of this plant!! Thanks, this is interesting. Definitely the less handling the better, but trees?
    – stormy
    May 19, 2016 at 8:04
  • 2
    and please do not spray with glyphosate. huge problem with drift of spray! Gotta see this plant first to make sure we are talking nightshade to nightshade, yes?
    – stormy
    May 19, 2016 at 8:06
  • 1
    @davidgo - let's not confuse glyphosate with Roundup - the latter is far more pernicious... but just check whether this 'tree' that you think is nightshade (it won't be if its a tree) doesn't have growth from nightshade climbing up into the branches,making it look as if its a tree)
    – Bamboo
    May 19, 2016 at 12:05
  • 1
    @bamboo - From what I can gather Glyphosate is the generic for Roundup - I know that various brands add various tweeks to it - like surfactants etc, but the basic product IS the generic of roundup. Wikipedia says [Glyphosate] Monsanto brought it to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup - and there are a lot of similar sources. Why do you think Roundup is more pernicious ?
    – davidgo
    May 20, 2016 at 8:57
  • 1
    @davidgo - don't know if you've seen this, its worth a read pan-uk.org/pestnews/Actives/glyphosa.htm. You may also be interested in this, re glyphosate residues in bread and some cereals, though its about glyphosate generally rather than Roundup specifically anhinternational.org/2015/07/01/…
    – Bamboo
    May 20, 2016 at 11:14

3 Answers 3


Where I live in USDA zone 4 deadly nightshade is weakly climbing vine up to six feet or 2 M. There are patches around the neighbourhood.

It can be eradicated over a few years by hand pulling. If the roots put up a fight a sharp spade will do the job. Dispose of the material by bagging to the garbage.

Follow up every spring to remove seedlings.

  • Up vote: but I would add that if the quantity is large enough then it would probobly be safer for you to use an herbicide like glyphosate and use gloves! Also, be sure to make as many of your neighbors and those who live in close proximity to you aware of the fact that you found Nightshade growing naturally on your property.
    – Rob
    Mar 12, 2019 at 20:58

Personally I would pick up the plant and dispose it as garbage.

Between nightshade and glyphosate, what is the most dangerous? I think the second one.

Additionally I would not burn such plant. I think it could release in the air the active drugs.

  • 4
    Deadly Nightshade is, without a doubt more dangerous then glyphosate - it kills - yes, kills, far more people then Glyphosate. While glyphosate may or may not have significant negative affects if applied as directed depending on who you ask, by any reasonable measure its safer for animals and plants it does not directly touch.
    – davidgo
    May 19, 2016 at 8:18
  • [Citation needed] ;-) I don't remember to have seen men dying from this and other common plants. BTW it is not so dangerous as many other wild (and many garden) plants. In any case I would for sure not use glyphosate for weeks, near kids. A regular use could make the impression to kids that it is not dangerous, so if you forgot to lock it, they could do stupid things with it. May 19, 2016 at 8:48
  • According to slate.com/blogs/wild_things/2014/08/18/… it was used with deadly effect as a poison which killed an army of Danes. According to thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/atropa_belladonna.htm this plant has caused more serious then other plants (but no one in Switzerland died from it over the course of the study).
    – davidgo
    May 20, 2016 at 9:04
  • Is one of you thinking of black nightshade instead of deadly nightshade? Jul 25, 2018 at 4:52

As others have pointed out, it is important to identify which "deadly nightshade" is the issue here. At least two plants are known by this name, the low growing vining Solanum dulcamara, an innocent little weed that causes panic among some people and the more troubling Atropa belladonna. The first one has the unfortunate property that the berries look like red and green jelly beans when maturing and parents have visions of kids seeing them as edible and randomly picking them and being poisoned. These concerns are not well founded, but it is natural for parents to exaggerate slight probabilities where their kids are concerned.

If the plant in question here is bushy (sounds like it might be) then it is likely A. belladonna, in which case the berries are poisonous and care is needed. These purple berries are not as attractive so present less of an issue. One solution, since this is not an invasive species, is to leave the plants as is as curiosities and take the time to show visitors and children carefully that the plants and berries should not be touched. The children can pass on the message to others.

Kids learn this kind of thing very fast. I recall as kids we had ready access to yew berries, which have a very poisonous seed surrounded by an edible fleshy layer. I don't recall any discussion about eradicating yew trees due to the poisonous seed, even though the berries are attractive.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.