Removing a Spirea from Your Yard
No matter how delightful they are, you may find you have to remove spirea shrubs from your yard at some point. Before you finally decide to get rid of one, check it over to make sure there is no sign of fire blight. The following provides some tips to help you remove spirea from your yard.
Cut the Shrub Back
To save making a mess in the yard, make sure you have some good strong bags to collect the shrub as you cut it down. To save time, hire a wood chipper for the day to shred the bush. If that is not possible, cut the shrub down in short lengths that will fit in a strong bin bag. You will finish up with a bag of wood chip mulch or a couple of bags of sticks that can be dried and used as kindling. Start on one stem and cut it back a piece at a time. If you cut off too long a piece it will not go into the bag. Once you start letting pieces lie outside the bag your efforts at keeping the yard tidy will end and you will waste more time at the end of the day picking up the pieces.
If any of your neighbors has ever admired your spirea, you might be able to get them to accept cuttings so they can grow their own. It would certainly be neighborly to offer them the option if the plant is healthy.
Spirea has a healthy and reasonably deep root system, so leave about two feet of the strongest stems above ground. Dig around to find the roots and cut them back. Dig down around the stems to get as much of the root out as possible. You might be able to loosen the roots by heaving the stems backwards and forwards. Try to pull the stems up. If they are too well fixed for you to pull them up, try a little leverage. Thread a pry bar under a shoot and put a rock under the end of it. By lifting the other end of the pry bar you will increase your pulling power.
Cut the Roots
When you can no longer remove the roots, simply hack them to pieces in the ground. If you can trace any horizontal roots, rip them out of the ground. The roots that you don’t remove will die and eventually rot away. Spirea roots are not known for regeneration.
Destroy the Stems
Spirea suffers from a particularly tenacious blight – fire blight. Even if you see no signs of this blight, consider the risk of it developing if you have other spirea in your garden.
Prepare the Site
Now that the site has been broken up in your effort to remove the shrub, you have the ideal opportunity to prepare the site for the plants that you plan to put there. Putting plenty of garden compost into the soil will help to destroy any fire blight spores that might be in the ground.