Stem scraping

Stem scraping is suitable for treating unwanted small shrubs and vines with thin and relatively soft bark issue, which are actively growing and not stressed.

This video was sourced from Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare

Before you start, make sure:

  • you have the right safety equipment
  • the weather conditions are good, that is, a sunny day
  • all pets and children are safely away from the treatment area
  • you have read and heeded all herbicide labels and equipment manuals

The equipment you will need is:

  • hat, safety eyewear, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, covered footwear
  • chemical resistant gloves, face shield, mask, impervious apron
  • herbicide, knife or chisel, a measuring container, small paint brush, sealable container

Now you are ready to start your stem scraping treatment.

Herbicide mixing

Estimate the amount of mixture you will need - be conservative. It's easier to mix up more herbicide than it is to dispose of excess mixture.

Measure out the required amount of herbicide and add it to the container. The quantities are available on the APVMA off label permit. Seal all containers and agitate the mixture with a paint brush.


Using a knife or chisel, scrape away ten centimetres of the bark on one side of the vine to expose the sap wood. Be careful not to cut through the vine.

Removing a small portion of the bark allows the herbicide to penetrate into the plant's sap wood, travelling through the plant and effectively destroying it.

Apply herbicide

To ensure success of this method, immediately apply the herbicide mixture with a paint brush to the scraped surface on the stem. If left too long the plant can seal itself off preventing the herbicide from working.

For large shrubs and vines several scrapes may be required. Scrapes should be placed approximately 7.5 centimetres apart completely circling around the stem.

Ensure the treated area is not disturbed for 24 hours to allow herbicide uptake.

Clean up

Step one
Any left over mixture must be disposed of in a pit that has been prepared with lime or wood ash. The pit must be situated at least 50 metres away from water courses.

Dig a hole. The size of the hole depends on the amount of herbicide left over and the equipment rinsings but must be a minimum of 15 centimeters deep.

Place some lime into the hole and mix with the soil. then cover the bottom of the hole with one centimetre of lime.

Step two
All equipment and empty containers should be triple rinsed to remove all traces of herbicide.

Pour any left over herbicide and all rinsing from equipment into the hole. Cover the hole with at least 15 centimetres of soil. Finally, cover the area to prevent children and pets gaining access.

All herbicides and other hazardous materials should be stored in their original containers out of the reach of children and pets.

More information

For more information send an email to the Invasive species team.