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How to Remove Evergreen Shrubs

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017
Evergreen shrub
shrub-euonymus image by Jeffrey Zalesny from Fotolia.com

Although evergreen shrubs enhance the appearance of a garden, sometimes homeowners opt to remove them. This may be because the shrubs are old or diseased, block sunlight from reaching smaller plants nearby or take up space for a wall or to plant something else. Tying the shrub to your vehicle and pulling it is not advisable, as it could damage your brake lines. Whatever the reason for removal, a homeowner can remove these shrubs from his or her lawn without hired help.

Cut the shrubs down to 3- or 4-feet in height with a sharp pair of pruning scissors, removing smaller branches and leaving larger ones intact. These larger branches will serve as leverage handles when pulling the tree out of the soil. Trim off foliage around smaller-sized shrubs the same way, but leave enough trunk length so you can easily hold it as you pull the shrub out.

Dig a trench around the shrub with a spade. Make the trench deep enough to expose the maximum amount of roots, so it becomes easier to sever them and remove the shrub. Keep in mind that evergreens have deep taproots and horizontal feeder roots.

Sever the roots from the root ball, using a mattock for small ones and a hatchet for tenacious ones. Stab a landscape bar at an angle into the ground, and wiggle it as you pull it back up. Do this all around the shrub to break deeply embedded roots and free the root ball.

Hold the trunk of the shrub firmly and rock it back and forth to reveal deeply hidden roots. Sever these with a hatchet to clear the root ball of as many roots as possible.

Pull the long branches that you left intact and wiggle the shrub back and forth to release it from the ground. It will break free easily if all the roots have been severed. Straighten your back and pull with your legs to avoid straining your back. Repeat this procedure to remove all the evergreen shrubs.


Things You Will Need

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Pruning scissors
  • Spade
  • Mattock
  • Hatchet
  • Landscape bar


  • Wear gloves and safety glasses to prevent injury.
  • If you have a long row of closely planted evergreen shrubs, dig a trench around them as a whole, then dig crossing lines to group two or three together.
  • You can also douse the trench with water after digging it so that more roots are exposed as it drains.


  • Do not attempt to pull the shrub after severing only a few visible roots. Removing a shrub is a labor-intensive task and you could cause serious injury if you are not cautious.

About the Author


Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.