I have mature hedging all round my garden, the hedging consisting of dozens of different plant species, but mostly blackthorn, holly, laurel (I think) and box (?).

Annually the foot of the hedge gets into a royal mess of nettles and brambles and some other tedious weeds. In previous years I've tried hand weeding but it's not all that successful. In the densest parts of the hedge the weeds can at best be decapitated (can't reach the roots), which is next to useless.

I want to tackle the weeds more aggressively. I'd like to blitz the foot of the hedge with weedkiller but obviously I don't want to harm the hedge.

Is that possible?

If recommending actual brands, UK brands please. I have in mind something like the broad-leaf herbicide which I currently use on pasture. Kills docks, nettles etc and leaves grass alone.

  • 2
    I have a brand of weed killer that will not only kill your weeds, but it will fertilize your hedge... Mulch! /me broken record. Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 1:18
  • How important is it for the hedge to look 'tidy'? You could use all this growth to your advantage by collecting fruit from the brambles, incorporating young nettle shoots into cooking (e.g. pasta or home-brew beer - I've tried both and they're good), and investigating the edibility of the other 'weeds'. Perhaps just control the overall growth of the bramble and nettle and look at the whole thing as something useful rather than a problem? Another thing you could do is plant some self-seeding hedgerow flowers at the base to make it look like an intentional yet natural tangle of plants.
    – Shanna
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 12:09
  • @shanna it sounds like the hedge is already a hodge lodge of different tree types, so your idea could work well?
    – winwaed
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 13:28
  • the hedge doesn't need to look immaculate but the nettles and brambles outperform the hedge growth many times over and they quickly extend outwards away from the hedge. I'm fed up with kids being stung and bramble runners grabbing me while i'm mowing. I'd rather eradicate those pests from the hedge. Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


I think your only option is physical removal or very careful spot treatment. Trees, brambles, and nettles are all going to be susceptible to the same kinds of weedkillers; although the trees are probably (but not necessarily) more resistant. A tree is typically larger so X amount of poison, proportion wise, is less damaging. Of course that is a big generalisation and some trees are going to be more sensitive than others.

Get the nettles before they flower or seed. They have big leaves, so I would think spot treatment of individual plants or patches should be fairly easy.

The bramble will be more difficult. If you are lucky, then spot treatment on the leaves will affect the whole plant. If not, you may have to cut it at ground level and paint a "brush-b-gon" type herbicide on the 'stump' (yes I know, a US brand, but it is a woody plant herbicide - eg. trees and shrubs)

I have a similar problem with ivy. Despite spot treatment on the ivy, I managed to kill a small elm tree/sapling. Strangely, the cacti in the area survived just fine!

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