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How to Uproot Shrubs

By S.F. Heron ; Updated September 21, 2017
Pruning shears can be used for easy branch removal.

Rejuvenating your landscape often requires the removal of an old shrub. Maybe that shrub has over grown its space or has suffered damage as a result of insects, weather or disease. Shrub removal is hard work. In many cases, individuals hire professional to remove larger shrubs. If you're game for this big task, you'll need a strong back as well as a basic understanding of how to remove a stubborn bush.

Prune back any long branches using the pruning loppers and pruning saw. Leave a large enough portion of the trunk to allow you to grasp it for removal. Make sure this section also provides enough handholds to muscle the shrub out of the ground if necessary.

Use the shovel to dig around the entire shrub to a depth of about 2 feet. During this digging, you should be bumping into roots. Remove all loose dirt and place it to the side since you need to be able to see the location of the roots.

Chop through smaller roots using the shovel. Use the 10-pound mauler to hack through wider roots. Work your way around the entire shrub to chop as many roots as possible.

Revisit shoveling to expose additional roots and to remove chopped up roots from the hole around the shrub. Uprooting a shrub involves completely removing the plant as well as all the roots. Since plants tend to have rather unpredictable growing patterns, dig as much as necessary until you find the end of each root.

Grab onto the main part of the shrub with your hands. Push forward and back to wiggle the shrub loose. If the shrub won't budge, resume digging and chopping roots until you loosen the plant.

Slip the long-handled shovel under the center roots of the shrub. Wedge the shovel blade under the roots and lean your weight onto the shovel handle. This leverage will often pop the final roots free of the ground to completely uproot the shrub.

Discard the root sections and dig around the remaining hole to check for other roots. Remove as many roots as possible and fill in the hole with loose soil.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning loppers
  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw
  • 10-lb mauler
  • Shovel