How to Kill Shrubs


Shrubs grow throughout the landscape. Natural shrubs thrive in woodlands and along edges of fields, while gardeners plant cultivated shrubs around their homes. Usually sought-after plants, there may be times you want to kill shrubs in your landscape. If not done correctly, the shrubs will re-sprout and come back in short order. Remove the shrub and block any remaining roots from re-sprouting to guarantee the shrub's demise.

Step 1

Remove all the branches with leaves from the shrub with a pruning saw or pruning shears. Shrubs need photosynthesis to live. By removing all the branches with foliage, you are taking the first step to killing the shrub.

Step 2

Paint a non-selective herbicide that contains the active ingredient glyphosate on the cut ends of the branches.

Step 3

Dig up the stump of the shrub. Dig around the shrub 2 feet from the trunk. Remove soil as necessary and work your shovel down and under the shrub stump. After it's adequately loosened the stump will pull out.

Step 4

Lay down black landscape fabric over the shrub's former location for a few weeks. If there are any living roots left in the ground, the fabric will prevent them from accessing sunlight and they will quickly die out.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear gloves when killing and removing shrubs.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or pruning saw
  • Non-selective herbicide
  • Paint brush
  • Shovel
  • Black landscape fabric
  • Scissors
  • Gloves


  • Ohio State University Extension: Controlling Undesirable Trees, Shrubs, and Vines in Your Woodland
  • Missouri Department of Conversation: Curse of Honeysuckle Bushes
  • University of Saskatchewan: Moving and Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: kill shrubs, non-selective herbicide, dig up stump, black landscape fabric

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.