How to Remove Lilac Bushes


Syringa Vulgaris, also known as lilac, is a small tree that features fragrant and showy blooms. It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and full sun. Removing lilac bushes may be necessary for homeowners trying to reclaim space or for gardeners resurrecting a plant struggling against poor growing conditions.

Ready, Set, Dig

Step 1

Dig a circular trench approximately 2 to 3 feet around the base of the lilac bush. If you encounter roots from the bush when digging, you have not gone far enough away from the base of the tree.

Step 2

Wedge the shovel into the dirt under the root system.

Step 3

Use the shovel as a lever and pry up the lilac roots. Continue to wedge and pry the root ball from the soil until you have gone all the way around the shrub.

Step 4

With a gloved hand, grasp the bush at the base end of the lilac trunk and pull the tree and intact root ball out of the dirt. If you plan on transplanting the shrub, water the roots and wrap with burlap until time to replant.

Step 5

Sift through the soil and remove any root remnants that may be present in the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Gloves


  • "Great Plant Guide"; Jill Hamilton; 2004
Keywords: transplanting lilac, removing small trees, lilac removal

About this Author

Leah Deitz has been writing alternative health and environmental-related articles for five years. She began her writing career at a small newspaper covering city politics but turned to environmental concerns after beginning her freelance career. When she is not exploring the trails and outdoors of the East Coast, Deitz writes for a number of websites including, and Associated Content.