Large Shrub Removal


Shrub removal often involves a serious assessment of the landscape. Severe winter snow and ice damage may necessitate shrub removal. Creating an updated landscape design minus the old shrub may require shrub removal. Removing a large shrub requires physical strength and perseverance. Large shrubs throw roots in many directions and often shoot taproots straight down into the ground. A planned approach will assist you in removing the large shrub from your landscape.

Step 1

Mark the dripline of the shrub using a can of spray paint or by digging a quick trench with a shovel. The area marks the potential extension of roots and denotes a good place to start digging for root removal.

Step 2

Trim back exterior branches using pruning clippers for branches up to 1/2 inch in diameter. Use pruning loppers for larger branches up to 2 inches in size. Reserve the pruning saw for the larger trunk areas of the shrub.

Step 3

Work from the outside of the shrub inward to remove manageable sections of the plant. For dense shrubs, wrap a length of twine around a number of branches. Bind and tie it tightly. Make a single cut with the pruning saw and the brush will be ready for disposal.

Step 4

Reduce the foliage to a manageable level and retain the center trunk of the shrub to a height of 3 feet. You may need to have a handle for leverage when pulling the bulk of the shrub from the soil.

Step 5

Dig around the dripline marking or trench and remove the soil. Place the soil out of the immediate area to allow plenty of working space. Continue removing soil from around the base of the shrub until the roots are exposed.

Step 6

Use a hatchet or mauler to break through each visible root. Check if you can wiggle the center trunk of the shrub. If not, continue digging to expose roots that might be hidden in the soil.

Step 7

Rock the trunk forward and backward to loosen it from the soil. Lift the center trunk free when all roots have been cut. Use a hoe to dig through the loose soil in the center of the planting site. Locate any remaining roots and dig them free of the soil if possible. Dig up and remove any cut roots from the location.

Step 8

Fill in the area with soil to bring the surface even with the surrounding grade.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Twine
  • Pruning clippers
  • Pruning loppers
  • Pruning saw
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • 10 lb. mauler
  • Axe


  • University of Minnesota: Removing Trees and Shrubs
  • Horticulture: Shrub Removal
Keywords: shrub removal, large shrub removal, removing large shrubs

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.