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How to Remove Shrub Roots

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Digging up roots is the best method of removing them.
Root image by D'or from Fotolia.com

After you cut down a shrub, you may still have to contend with its roots. Some shrub roots can send up new plants, called suckers, as a way of continuing the plant's existence. If you don’t remove these suckers, they will grow into a new shrub. Additionally, the shrub roots may interfere with underground utility lines and prevent new plants from growing. The only way to get rid of shrub roots for good is to dig them out of the ground. This process is called grubbing.

Trace the path of the root by following suckers and seedlings back into the soil.

Dig up the soil around stumps, seedlings and suckers with a grubbing hoe or shovel to release as many roots as possible from the ground.

Grasp the root firmly with both hands and pull the root out of the ground.

Cut large sections of the root away using branch loppers or a root saw.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Grubbing hoe
  • Branch loppers
  • Root saw


  • Always wear work gloves when digging roots from the ground. Gloves will prevent blistering and keep your hands safe from injury.
  • Moisten the ground with a garden hose before removing roots. This will loosen the soil and make root removal easier.
  • You can treat suckers with a systemic herbicide to kill both the new plant and its roots. Once the new plant has died and become brown, you can dig it and the roots out.

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.