How to Remove a Shrub Stump


Removing a shrub stump is a time consuming and labor intensive process. When done correctly however, you can complete the job in a day and without damage to vehicles or yourself. Many people will attempt to remove a shrub stump by tying the stump to their vehicle and attempting to pull the stump out. This is not a good way because stumps have extensive root systems. The best way to remove a shrub stump is to dig the stump out of the ground.

Step 1

Remove most of the remaining branches that are above 4 feet from the ground with a pruning saw. You want enough vegetation at 4 feet that you can grab to move the stump back and forth.

Step 2

Dig a trench around the stump with a nursery spade. A nursery spade is a narrow flat head type shovel that many landscapers will use for making borders. Begin the trench 2 feet away from the center of the stump.

Step 3

Dig the trench up to 12 inches wide around the stump and deep enough to start seeing the roots.

Step 4

Cut through roots with a landscape bar. A landscape bar is a long bar with a cutting edge on the bottom and a flat portion at the top to hit with a small sledge hammer. Cut roots at both sides of the trench. For thick roots, stick the blade of the landscape bar into the root and hammer the bar through the root with a small sledge hammer.

Step 5

Continue digging from the trench downward toward the bottom of the shrub stump. Remove roots with the landscape bar by lifting the bar and stabbing the bar into the ground through the roots.

Step 6

Begin using the landscape bar to pry the shrub stump out of the ground as you get closer to the base of the stump. Work around the stump with the bar and pry the stump loose.

Step 7

Wiggle the stump by hand by grabbing the stump and rocking it back and forth and side to side. It may not seem like you are making any progress, but you are loosening the compacted soil around the stump and stump roots.

Step 8

Continue the digging and prying process until you reveal the main root or tap root. The tap root will be the largest the roots and the root that all the others feed from. Use the landscape bar and the sledgehammer to cut through the tap root.

Step 9

Ask a friend to assist you to remove the shrub stump from the area and cut the stump for disposal.

Tips and Warnings

  • It is a good idea to wear steel toe boots when using the landscape bar. This will prevent accidentally injuring your foot when stabbing the bar into the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
  • Nursery spade
  • Landscape bar (utility bar )
  • Small sledge hammer
  • Helper


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Keywords: remove shrub stump, dead stump removal, removing shrub stump

About this Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years' writing experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.