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I decided to start a vegetable garden so I started clearing my backyard after several years of bramble colonising it. I realize some roots go beyond 40cm deep.

Instead of digging further to reach the end of all the roots is there a way to perhaps kill them with some product?

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Triclopyr or Glyphosate come to mind. Both have short soil persistence. Check legality of injecting into roots in your area. Also check label, as these herbicides are often compounded with other herbicides, which may have a long half-life in soil. You do Not want that. I actually drilled holes in my trumpet vine gone crazy, and poured the glyphosate directly in there.

Sans herbicide, a nice dose of potassium nitrate, stump remover, followed by keeping the area damp for a year will encourage fungal decay.

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    It might be worth adding to your answer, that herbicides used for this purpose should be more concentrated than what is typically sold ready-to-use in a spray bottle. For glyphosate, you want least a 20% concentration of active ingredient to effectively kill the roots from a stem injection. – csk Sep 27 at 15:03
  • Glyphosate tends to work best when applied to the leaves, not roots. If you're in the US, I'd go with triclopyr, which you can just brush onto the top of the cut roots - one major root at a time. Alternatively, you can also apply it (via brush) to about 20cm of outside of the exposed root. Works pretty quickly, too. Triclopyr is often sold as "Stump and Brush Killer" at major box stores, and for about 1/3 the price at independent garden centers (same bottle, but a different brand name). If you're in the UK, though, I believe that triclopyr is unavailable. – Jurp Sep 27 at 15:03
  • @csk In some areas that is not on the label, so it's illegal. I didn't want to encourage felonies. IIRC, I used 18% glyphosate on my trumpet vine. – Wayfaring Stranger Sep 27 at 16:39
  • I would agree with Jurp, just wait to see what comes up in spring (something almost certainly will!) and hit the new leaves with glyphosate. You may need to repeat 2 or 3 times. Digging the roots out is a waste of time, if you leave anything at all behind. I have a bramble growing through some tarmac laid over solid concrete. When it appeared I thought "that won't survive long, it's not worth bothering with". It has only managed to grow a runner 6 inches long in two years, but it's not dead yet! – alephzero Sep 27 at 17:55
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Application of weedkiller, among others are one way. However the real method that's environmentally friendly is to simply dig up the root and kill em.

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How much time do you have? Another means, rather than using herbicides or digging them up, is to cut them close to the ground and put a tarp on them. This process is called occultation. It works much better with small weeds rather than ones with large root systems. But the principle is the same: with less exposure to light, the weeds will be weakened, and their growth above ground level will be limited, and their root systems will be weakened.

After performing this process for a long period of time (2-3 weeks at a time, 4-5 times), you can use a tiller to get deep into the root systems and break them apart. If you apply a sheet mulch like cardboard, using potentially 2-3 layers and apply your soil and compost on top of that, it will have three substantial benefits: it will inhibit the growth of the bramble, and it will act as a mulch, retaining moisture. Finally, it will also just break down into your soil and enrich it.

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  • Thanks, but many of them are big roots – drake035 Oct 16 at 12:38

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