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Shrub Removal Tips

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Shrub Removal Tips

Postby Bwis53 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:24 pm

I am thinking of removing some ugly shrubs. I read that you should cut down to the stump, rope the roots and have a car pull them out. (Previously, at my old townhouse, the association did the removal, which I did not watch. All I had to do was drag in my new shrubs and center them.) What if for some reason I can't do the car thing? Is digging and cutting the only alternative? I will want to put in replacements.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby donges » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:33 pm

If you wait until spring, it will be much much easier.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:39 pm

I don't recommend the car thing B. Shrub roots can be very extensive and stubborn. If you use a rope it will probably break and if you use a chain, the roots could break and send the chain flying into your car or worse..

Oh, and definitely listen to donges.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:57 pm

Rent a bobcat to pull them out.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby rabble » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:27 pm

How many of them are there? It doesn't take that long to dig one out. I've done it lots of times and they only grew back once. No, twice. One time all I had to do was keep mowing it over and it died, the other time I had to dig out the part I missed.

If you have a line of shrubs the length of your lot line, that would be different.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby msnflyer » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:36 pm

I've used the car method with a tow strap, it's stronger than an ordinary rope and the hooks on each end make it easy to loop it around the shrub. Smooth and slow acceleration will get the best results. A spotter wouldn't hurt as long as they're out of range if anything lets go.

There's a tool similar to a jack that can be used. It has a chain that loops around the trunk and you just pump away until it pulls the rootball out. A to Z probably rents them.

You could use a chain saw. Dig down around the trunk and cut it off below ground level. Farm & Fleet has stump remover you can pour on the remains. Cover the hole and just mow off any random suckers that might sprout.

I have some shrubs that I want to remove this summer and since they're in the back yard will probably have to go the jacking tool route. Probably couldn't get enough traction on the grass to pull them out with the car and don't want to ruin the grass. A Bobcat would be nice but would be overkill for the 6 or so that need to go.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby Bwis53 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:41 pm

I've got three dead yews and one widespread ugly juniper. I suspect the juniper will be the problem.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:10 pm

That does sound like a problem juniper. Be careful, you don't want to end up like the yews. Have you considered a treestraining order?
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby Remember_Me » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:11 pm

C4.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby exegene » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:27 pm

You know, the longer you let the dead trees sit the easier it'll be to dig them out later ... . In fact, if you let it sit long enough the problem takes care of itself!

In case you don't want to use the heavy machinery, just get a shovel and a pick-axe. I say 'just' because removing a stump using hand tools is straightforward and will possibly also cost you slightly less in sweat and elbow grease than you might be imagining. Which isn't to say you will finish over a lunch hour unless your trees are improbably small.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby fennel » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:34 pm

A sturdy shovel has always served me well, even for the famously recalcitrant buckthorn. A hatchet comes in handy when you want to sever lateral root trunks.

What's the problem with the Juniper? They can be beautiful. Perhaps it just needs a little persuasion?
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby snoqueen » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:08 pm

Juniper is a native Wisconsin shrub that provides shelter and berries for songbirds. It hasn't got many pests and lives a long time, and it smells nice. I'd try to find a way to work it in to your planned landscape.

http://wildones.org/land/wibirdpl.html

I agree with exegene about cutting off the dead yews at or below ground level and letting nature take care of the decay process. I've seen people pull them out with a strap as msnflyer says, and suggest if you do that use a beat up pickup with a trailer hitch, go slow, stand back, and have your insurance up to date. Hook both hooks to your hitch and loop the strap around the root, don't put the hook on the root. This is one of those things where there's a lot that can go very wrong.

I've also seen the thing that jacks them up out of the ground like a car jack. It's pretty decent for getting fence posts out of the ground, but IMO both strap and jack solutions are too much trouble for dead shrubbery. My neighbor did a big de-shrubbing cleanup last summer using a sawzall to cut the roots in pieces and free the bottom of the stump. It was slow but reasonably safe.

A landscape company will be glad to take the job, especially if you have a whole fencerow of overgrown stuff. This is why god made bobcats. You will end up replanting a lot of lawn, most likely.

C4? Don't pay any attention to him...

If the yews are dead and not very big, you might be surprised how easy it is to get the whole works out of the ground with a garden fork some day when the soil is soft. I got a couple out that way last summer -- looked like the roots had never grown far beyond the original root ball, which could have been why they died in the first place. Use a long lopper to get rid of as much of the top as possible first. Not for big old ones of course.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby fennel » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:21 pm

Pluck Yew! (And Juniper, too.)
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby Bwis53 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:52 pm

I might be getting some mechanical and friends help with the pull-out. (I'm too cheap to hire a landscaper.) I may want to replace the shrubs, which is why I want to remove the roots. When I did this the first time, I still ran into old roots as I dug for the new shrubs. I've trimmed the juniper back three different times and it's just plain ugly. Each year a little maple tries to grow up through it. I'd prefer it.
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Re: Shrub Removal Tips

Postby Sandi » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:44 pm

In late September (a few years ago) I removed 4 of my six shrubs in front of my house. They looked nice, but took up nearly all of what little yard I had in front. Most of my yard is in back with enough room for a tennis court or two.

Cut them off just above the ground with my chain saw, then drilled 4 to 6 holes in each stump as deep as the drill bit will go. Then filled the holes with weed killer. Because the weed killer destroys the roots right away, the rotting process starts fairly quickly.

By next spring they were rotted enough that the part left above ground broke away easily.
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