How to Remove Shrubs How to Remove Shrubs

What You'll Need
Shovel
Garden shears
Chain
Pickup truck
Rake

Removing shrubs is a simple process, but the larger the shrubs are, the harder it becomes. Unless you have a pickup truck. It's important to note that this technique only applies to shrubs you intend to discard. If you would like to transplant the shrub, consult the tutorials on this website that cover transplanting.

Step 1 – Prepare the Area

Careful planning is required for you to be able to remove the shrub with the least amount of damage being done to the rest of the area. Shrubs that are well established have root structures that go way down. Digging is too labor intensive in that case, so you need to yank the shrub out. Plan the route of the truck and plan the placement of the chain. If you need to, cut away some of the branches so that the chain can get a secure purchase around the entire shrub.

Step 2 – Set Chain around the Shrub

Wrap the chain around the bottom of the shrub, but not so low that it is touching the ground. Ideally, the chain will start close to the ground at the back of the shrub and then slowly come to the level of the back of the truck where the chain will be hitched. This gives the maximum amount of torque for pulling the shrub out of the ground.

Step 3 – Hitch the Chain to the Truck

Now that you have the chain wrapped around the shrub, attach the other end to the back of the truck. The fit should be snug.

Step 4 – Free Roots

Before you start driving the truck, dig around the back area of the shrub relative to the position of the truck. This should also be the area where the chain is lowest to the ground, if you followed step 2 properly. Dig to free the roots at the back and then chop those roots and remove them as much as you possibly can.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor Kathy Bosin adds, "Dig a trench around the shrub, and cut as many roots as possible to make the task quicker and easier on your vehicle."

Step 5 – Drive

Move the truck forward and pay close attention to what happens to the shrub. If it starts to pull out of the ground, continue moving the truck until it comes out. If it does not start to come out of the ground, you need to repeat step 3 and try again. Keep doing this until you get the shrub pulled out of the ground by moving the truck slowly forward.

Step 6 – Repair the Area

Pulling the shrub out should have created a gaping hole in the ground. Use the shovel and rake to fill the hole in, flattening out the soil in the area as much as possible.

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