Mow down stands of small desert broom plants.

How to Kill Desert Broom

by Marylee Gowans

Desert broom (Baccharis sarothroides), a woody perennial shrub, grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 10. The female plant has attractive yellow flowers with a wispy appearance, but the blooms produced on the male plant are less attractive. This rapidly growing plant has an invasive nature, popping up in undesirable spots and quickly taking over the area. With the proper tools and plan of action, you can kill unwanted desert broom.

Cut the desert broom down to the ground with a brush cutter, saw or lawnmower. The best cutting tool for the job depends on the size of the desert broom and how many there are. For example, a saw works best on larger single plants with a diameter of 1 3/4 inches or more, while a lawnmower will quickly cut down a large group of desert brooms less than 1 foot tall.

Monitor the cut area for new growth, which typically appears a few weeks later. Treat new growth by spraying it with ready-to-use glyphosate herbicide.

Repeat the herbicide treatment as new growth emerges. The University of Arizona recommends spacing the herbicide treatments a month apart.

Items you will need

  • Brush cutter
  • Saw
  • Lawnmower
  • Ready-to-use glyphosate herbicide


  • Pull young desert broom plants that are growing in or around desirable plants out of the ground by gripping the base of the plant and forcefully pulling it from the soil.
  • Wear protective gloves, protective eyewear, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants when working with herbicide.
  • Follow the instructions on the herbicide bottle you are using.


  • Avoid spraying the desert broom with herbicide on a day when the wind is blowing. Wind drifts can carry the herbicide to desirable plants and kill them.
  • Keep children and pets out of the area until the herbicide has dried.

About the Author

Marylee Gowans has written about gardening for both online and print publications. She attended the University of Akron, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. In 2009, she received master gardener certification from the Master Gardeners of Summit County, Ohio.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images