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Removing Shrubs and Bushes
What could be better than spending a Sunday morning out in your yard sweating bullets under the hot sun as you try to dislodge a monstrously overgrown bush from your lawn? Probably just about anything would be better, but if you’re a homeowner, yard work is one of those “joys” that comes with the territory. In fact, the average American spends about 150 hours each year slaving away over their lawn. That’s nearly a solid week’s worth of yard work—probably more time than some people spend vacationing.
Sure you could pay someone to remove overgrown shrubs or bushes from your yard, but I’d rather have to dig through the soil than through my pockets. Plus, although yard work isn’t always the most fun activity to engage in, it does give you a sense of accomplishment, and in all actuality, it’s not as daunting as it might seem.
If you want to know how to remove a shrub or bush from your yard, follow the steps below. While you can do it by yourself, it’s much easier (not to mention faster) if you have one or two other people helping you.
What You'll Need
- Round point garden shovel
- Small garden trowel
- Cordless reciprocating saw
- Pigskin or latex coated garden gloves
- Water—for drinking
How to Remove a Shrub or Bush From Your Yard
Take a nice big drink of water, slide your gloves on, wipe your brow with your forearm, let out a sigh, and get down to business.
Step 1: "De-branch" the Plant
Use your reciprocating saw to cut away the branches of the plant. While it may be tempting to go right for the base of the plant, it’s better to start with the outer layers and work your way in—especially if your bush is anything like the tangled mass of foliage that had overtaken the side of our house. Believe me, trying to hack a large chunk of the bush away will only leave you yanking and straining to pry it free from the twisted web of branches.
Continue cutting away at the bush until you have just a few inches of stems poking through the ground. Be sure to keep a large garbage pail nearby so you can bag the branches as you cut them.
Step 2: "De-root" the Plant
Using your garden shovel, begin digging up the soil around the remaining plant stump. Continue digging until you expose the roots of the plant. Use your trowel to clear away as much soil as you can from each root branch. Depending on the thickness of the root, use either your handsaw or the reciprocating saw to slice through it. Continue doing this all the way around the plant stump until you think you’ve sliced through all the root branches.
Step 3: Remove the Stump
Dig your garden shovel underneath the plant stump and push down on the handle to pry the stump loose from the dirt. If you have someone with you, they can grab hold of the stems on top of the stump to help pull it out. You may find that you didn’t quite get to all the root branches—in that case, remove your shovel, let the stump fall back into place, and then cut away at the remaining roots before trying to pry it loose again. Once you’ve freed the stump from the ground, shovel the soil back into the hole.
Step 4: Recycle the Branches and Stump
Check out your township’s website for their recycling rules. If you’re lucky, the trash collectors will pick it up. Ours only take small, neatly tied bundles of branches, so we just hauled our four bags to the recycling center and dumped everything there.
Step 5: Pat Yourself on the Back and Relax!
Take credit for a job well done.
Questions & Answers
Question: What do I do if I want to replant a bush to a different location?
Answer: If you want to move the plant to a new location, you don't need to de-branch it. Dig around the root, trying to keep it intact as much as possible. If the roots are too long, it might not be possible to move it. You'll find this out as you start digging - if the roots just seem to go on and on and on, it's best to leave it in place. If, however, you feel you can wiggle the plant out of the ground, keep digging and shifting the plant back and forth to break it loose from the ground. Dig the area where you want to replant - enough so the roots will be completely covered again (probably at least 2 to 4 inches). Place the plant into the hole, replace the soil to cover the root, and water it.
© 2012 GiblinGirl
kevin on March 27, 2013:
don't forget to call diggers hot line its free. its an extra step but it could save your butt in the end.
wetnosedogs from Alabama on October 07, 2012:
Great work. I will have to remember these steps. I have some bush growing, can't remember what it's called. But it is supposed to bloom and the years I've had it, it hasn't. So I tried shoveling and yanking it out, but you know that didn't work. I really need to try it your way. Thanks for the tips.
GiblinGirl (author) from New Jersey on August 31, 2012:
Thanks SilverFish - glad I could provide some useful info :)
Silver Fish from Edinburgh Scotland on August 31, 2012:
Thanks for this informative hub, I have a lttle shrub just like this I am trying to uproot at the moment so this inforamtion has been very timely for me! Up and shared.