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How to Remove the Roots of a Bird of Paradise Plant

By J.D. Chi ; Updated September 21, 2017

These large, tropical plants have showy flowers in orange or white and large leaves that unfurl during growth. Prevalent in the south, Birds of Paradise have large root systems that require several steps to remove. Since the plant can grow back from the roots, it is important to remove the entire root system.

The Process

Cut the plant back to the ground using a chainsaw or pruners. Keep the chainsaw dry and free of debris because the leaf stems are succulent and could interfere with the proper operation and effectiveness of the chainsaw.

Dig around with a pointed spade to expose the root system, which in addition to being wide may be more than 1 foot deep. Remove as much dirt as possible above and around the root system.

Beginning at the top, cut and scrape away chunks of the root system using the spade. The key part of the root is the crown, which usually is found at the end of the root system. Remove the crown with the spade if it can be located. This will kill the plant.

Pour weed and root killer onto the remainder of the root and cover it with a tarp or piece of wood to block out sunlight. Remove the tarp after about two weeks and the root should have begun to decay, making it easier to remove.


Things You Will Need

  • Pointed spade
  • Work gloves
  • Chainsaw
  • Pruning shears
  • Weed or root killer
  • Tarp


  • Pare down the plant as much as possible before beginning the process of root removal.


  • Bird of Paradise roots cannot be dug out of the ground, so be patient during this process.

About the Author


J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.