We know that David Hasselhoff would pay a contractor to remove a shrub or bush from his yard but the rest of us usually take care of something like this ourselves.
There’s two common ways to remove a shrub or bush but you won’t be happy with the results from these methods. One, dig the entire root system up with a shovel and try to pull out the shrub or bush out. This is back breaking work and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to dig around and through a well established root system. Two, use a saw to cut the trunk of the shrub or bush at ground level. If you’re planning to replant in the area this approach will only cause more work and/or inhibit the growth of new plants.
So what should you do? Take advantage of the most powerful tool you already own, your vehicle. It is advisable to utilize a vehicle with an established hitch or tow hook system. Consult your vehicle manual if necessary. Four wheel drive or all wheel drive vehicles work best.
Now there’s still some work ahead of you even when using a vehicle to remove a shrub or bush. Depending on your location, weather, time of year, and age and type of shrub or bush your vehicle may not be powerful enough to simply pull it from the ground. My truck has been unable to pull a shrub or bush from the ground without a little help and preparation.
For those well established shrubs or bushes the first thing you can do is soften the root system with water. Turn on the garden hose and allow water to trickle into the soil around the shrub or bush. Again depending on your situation you may have to do this for an hour or more. The wetter and softer the soil the easier it’ll be to extract the root system. Depending on your terrain you can use a shovel to dig the top layer of soil to properly direct the water where you want it to go.
So after the soil is saturated it’s time to secure the base of the shrub or bush to your vehicle. Your common cotton clothesline or nylon home improvement rope isn’t going to do the trick. You need strapping, chains, or a cable capable of towing another vehicle. There will be tremendous force required to pull the shrub or bush from the ground. I use a tow strap with a 20,000 pound capacity. This is something I keep in my truck anyway for pulling vehicle from the ditch in Winter. I also use a steel D-ring to secure the tow strap to my truck.
What you want to do is feed the strap, cable or chain around the base of the shrub or bush. I use a 20 foot strap so both ends of my strap can be secured in the D-ring to my tow hook on the truck. The higher up on the shrub or bush you can get the strap the more force you’ll have to pull the plant out, but you also risk the strap pulling through the shrub or bush branches and falling off. I always start with the strap at the very base of the shrub or bush.
Now you pull your vehicle away slowly taking up the slack in the tow strap, chain, or cable. When the slack is gone you can start to slowly apply the gas and attempt to pull the shrub or bush from the ground. Every situation is different. It may pull right from the ground or your tires may begin to slip because the root system is still holding. If the shrub or bush is being stubborn you can gently rock back and forth giving small pulls and then letting off. What you want to do here is loosen the root system slowly. You may also want the water running while you’re doing this. As the root system shifts water will flow down deeper and help saturate the soil.
At this point experience and judgment have to come in. You certainly don’t want to damage your vehicle. I’ve had shrubs and bushes pull from the ground with slow steady pulls and I’ve also had some only pull free with a strong jolt. If you aren’t having any luck you may want to get out the shovel and dig a few shallow holes around the shrub or bush. It’s likely you’ll hit the root system quickly. If necessary you can saw a couple of the larger roots to give you a better chance at removal.
When it finally pulls free you’ll show a sign of relief and accomplishment. Now you’re likely left with a fairly large plant with a large ball of dirt attached. This will be impossible to lift depending on shrub or bush size. So use your vehicle to drag the shrub or bush to where it can be discarded, dismantled, or perhaps replanted.
The weight of the shrub or bush is largely due to the soil ball intact with the roots. An easy solution to remove the dirt and hence lightening the shrub or bush is to hit the soil with a garden hose or even a power washer. If you hit the soil with some water pressure the dirt will simply wash right away. You’ll be left with only the shrub or bush which can be cut up, burned, or moved to curb for disposal.
Congratulations. You removed your shrub or bush, had a little fun doing it, and didn’t have to expend unnecessary energy. The trick is using the tools already available to do the work for you.
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- With the cooler and less humid weather, I chose this weekend to dig out an old lilac…
- Removing Oleander Bushes – How To Get Rid Of Oleanders
- Oleander Root System
- How to Get Rid of Oleanders
- How to Remove Bushes From Your Yard
With the cooler and less humid weather, I chose this weekend to dig out an old lilac…
With the cooler and less humid weather, I chose this weekend to dig out an old lilac bush that just hasn’t been producing blossoms. This kind of gardening project does not have to be a daunting one. With the right tools and technique, it actually is quite easy. So let’s begin.
: Safety first, always. Wear eye protection and gloves. Drink fluids while working. Early morning when temperatures are cooler is the best time of day to do this work.
: Begin by removing the foliage and upper branches
using sharp garden tools. Trim down to a level of 4-5 feet.
: Use a long-handled shovel to dig around the root ball
about a foot away from the roots. As you come across lateral roots, use the pruning clipper or shears to cut the root as close to the root ball as possible and then again as far away as possible to a length of 8″ or more. Keep digging until you have good clearance all round.
: Next, using a sharp-edged tool like the hand weeder, scrape the soil underneath the root ball
and scoop out of the hole with the trowel or your hands. When encountering large roots, again use the long-handled clippers to remove a long piece of root. Dig underneath about 50%-60% around the root ball. For trees, you’ll have to get in far enough to get the tap root
You may be able to loosen the entire root ball
now. Stand with the hole underneath the root ball facing you. Grab hold of the trunk(s) and gently
pull towards you; you don’t want to strain your back, so do this with safety in mind. If all the thick roots have been clipped, the other roots should pull away. If you encounter resistance, continue to dig deeper and remove more dirt from underneath; then try again. (In this instance, the hole was about three feet across and 1 to 1 1/2 feet deep.)
Step 6: Once freed, use the hand weeder again to loosen as much soil from the dirt ball as possible; this will provide soil to back fill the hole and make the stump lighter to move. Additional trunk branches can be sawed off to reduce weight also. Drag stump to curb for disposal.
Step 7: Back fill the hole with dirt using the long-handled shovel and garden rake. Tap down soil by stepping on it or using a pounding motion with the garden rake. Level off as much as possible. You may need to add some top soil to completely fill the depression.
Step 8:Clean up area of waste. Edge the garden (if necessary) with the blunt-edged shovel. Rake the lawn. Dispose of debris. Return tools.
Step 9: To finish off the area, I just moved some things around from the garden to fill the void. A small birdbath, some decorative stones, and a few transplanted perennials did the trick.
This project took about two hours, start to finish, including stops to take some pictures and clean up. I didn’t rush, just enjoyed being outside.
Final gardening tip: Count your hand tools as you take them out to do any yard work. The little ones are easy to get lost in the flurry of weeding, trimming, and planting. Sometimes it’s just easiest to say the number out loud. It helps at clean up time ensure that you’ve brought them all back in.
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Removing Oleander Bushes – How To Get Rid Of Oleanders
Oleander produces attractive flowers and fuss-free foliage but sometimes it is simply too tenacious and becomes invasive or even poses a danger to your children or pets with its toxic foliage. Removing oleander bushes is easier said than done, however, as they develop a huge root system, numerous vigorous suckers and entrench themselves firmly in their garden home.
Speedy growth and constant grooming are other reasons for getting rid of oleander plants but the chore isn’t for the faint of heart. Read on for some tips on how to get rid of oleanders with success.
Oleander Root System
While many of us may know oleander as an attractive ornamental bush, there are a few of us that curse the day we started growing the vigorous plants. Oleander can take over an area, and their poisonous nature makes them dangerous with young children and pets around the home environment.
Often, removing oleander bushes is the only safe decision when young people and animals can be potentially affected. However, oleander has the potential to return through left behind roots or suckers. Permanent removal of oleander often requires chemical intervention or professional gardening tools.
Oleander bushes form extensive root systems after they have matured and become established. The oleander root system is tough and can grow amongst rocks and other obstacles, making them perfect foundation plants or specimens along the drive. However, once the root system is entrenched in any underground objects, it may take even more than a crowbar to remove them.
Gardeners have reported using trucks to pull out stubborn stumps and roots, as well as chemical attacks to simply kill roots. Bleach, glyphosate and other herbicides are often cited as useful, but it is important to consider what these substances do to the soil and water table.
Getting rid of the entire oleander root system and any suckers can also be done with brute force and some specialized tools.
How to Get Rid of Oleanders
Getting rid of oleander plants without using chemicals takes dedication and perseverance. You will need to dig around and under the entire bush. Oftentimes, it is easier if you simply cut back all the limbs and stems so you can get a good grip on the stump and root system.
Vigorous roots may be too entrenched to simply dig out, so you should have on hand a pry bar, root saw and an extra set of hands. There are even stories of truck bumpers being pulled off in attempt to remove the stump and roots of an oleander. If you fail to get all the roots, new shoots will occasionally appear, but these are easy to deal with by vigilant cutting. Slow and steady wins the race, and patience will pay off with consistent shoot removal that will eventually sap the strength of the roots.
Suppose you have done the slow, patient removal method and your oleander still sends out shoots that are becoming small trees before you can cut them down. Enter the word frustrated. Frustrated people do interesting things. Some of the ideas bantered about for oleander bush removal include:
- painting the cut ends with brush killer
- pouring bleach onto the root zone
- using fire to burn the roots
Each suggestion is potentially worse than the last, as far as potential side effects go. You can hire a tree removal service to grind the stump, which is costly, but effective and safe. If you wish to use chemicals, get a good stump remover and apply it directly into holes drilled into the stump. Drill 4 holes and apply 4 to 6 ounces of the stump remover product. It can take 6 weeks or more for the stump to begin to disintegrate. This method of getting rid of oleander plants is toxic, but when properly applied, it is targeted and should cause no harm to neighboring shrubs and plants.
Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.
How to Remove Bushes From Your Yard
Sometimes bushes can die or moving homes can saddle a new owner with someone else’s bad landscaping choices and being able to clear old shrubs is a necessity. Removing bushes from your yard requires more brute force than strategy, but a little planning can make the task less arduous and messy. Follow these steps and take some of the pain out of this job.
Step 1 – Prepare
Make sure that none of your bushes are protected species. If they are, they will need to be removed with a lot more care and transferred to an approved site rather than being uprooted and tossed out. Others need to be checked for any nests. A bush with a birds’ nest should not be removed until the hatchlings have left.
Also be sure to check where all of your utility lines are buried. You need to know the precise location of any that pass near or under any of the bushes.
You are going to produce a lot of chopped up vegetation, so be prepared to pack it away in bags and containers. If there is enough material in the bushes, it might be worth hiring a chipper for a day to make the mess more manageable.
Step 2 – Develop a Plan of Attack
It is best to perform all of these actions on each bush you remove, so if you want to remove one bush at a time, decide on the order before you begin so you can know where your starting/stopping point is at any given time. If you have rented a wood chipper, you will want to thin the bushes in one day to save the hire charge.
Step 3 – Reduce the Bushes
With secateurs (pruning shears) and branch pruners or a cordless reciprocating saw, cut the branches of the bush back. Instead of creating an unmanageable pile, cut the branches into sections that will fit into the bags or easily go through the wood chipper.
As you cut the bush back, work towards a single stump. Leave the stump prominent so that it can be located later.
Step 4 – Remove the Stump
Depending upon the type of bush you have removed, the stump will connect with a root system that lies just below the surface of the soil or deeper. Look all around each stump to see if you can locate roots that are just beneath the surface. If there are none, or those that you find are not creating a problem, return to the stump.
Roots that lie too near the surface can often be pulled up by hand once you cut them. Tear the roots out as much as you can, and cut them if they go down into the ground again. Fill the root channel that you have created as you go.
Dig around the stump to expose it to as great a depth as possible, and cut off any side roots. Cut the stump itself at least six inches below the yard surface.
Step 5 – Clean Up
Once you’ve finished the previous step, the stump and roots can be left to decompose in the normal way. As long as there is no surface intrusion, they will not be a problem.
After removing the bushes, you will be left with a few filled-in holes, several bags of cuttings or wood chippings to dispose of, and lots of wide open space.