How to Kill Goldenrod

Rayless goldenrod (Bigelowia nuttallii) is a perennial half-shrub that grows from 2 to 4 feet in height and produces yellow flowers that bloom from August through October.

While you may think of goldenrod as a beneficial herb, it might surprise you to learn that this type of goldenrod is actually considered toxic and is dangerous to livestock. Sometimes known as jimmy weed, rayless goldenrod contains tremetol, a type of alcohol that causes a condition known as "trembles" in horses, cattle, sheep and goats. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, rayless goldenrod grows in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. It can be controlled through the use of herbicides and is best treated during the fall after plants have flowered.

Purchase an herbicide that contains picloram to treat and kill goldenrod. Use a pump-up sprayer or backpack sprayer to treat goldenrod that is scattered throughout the pasture or for the treatment of a small number of plants.

Follow the manufacturer's instruction to properly mix the herbicide to the correct proportion in the pump-up sprayer. As an example, a 1-percent solution of herbicide containing picloram is typically added to a half-tank of water before completing the fill-up of the tank.

Add a spray-marking dye to the herbicide mixture. This dye is typically blue in color and marks the plants that have been sprayed.

Spray each individual goldenrod plant with the herbicide. Wet each plant thoroughly until the goldenrod is saturated, but not to the point where the herbicide drips.

Allow one growing season to pass before mowing the area. Do not disturb the plants or try to remove them during this time.

Things You Will Need

  • Pump-up garden sprayer
  • Backpack sprayer (optional)
  • Herbicide
  • Spray-marking dye


  • A boomless broadcast sprayer may be needed for areas heavily infested with goldenrod. Consult a dealer at your local tractor supply store for information and instructions about the use of herbicides with boomless broadcast sprayers.


  • Avoid spraying when winds are in excess of 10 mph. Strong winds will carry the spray away from the goldenrod and it will not be as effective. It might also kill beneficial plants that you wish to keep.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Casey Kennedy has been writing online content since 2009. She specializes in writing about small business, careers, real estate, and ecommerce. She also enjoys writing about a variety of other subjects, including home improvement, gardening, and pet care. She attended the Academy of Art online, studying interior architecture and design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.