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Mr. Smarty Plants - Removing and replacing juniper bushes

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Friday - June 20, 2008

From: Spartanburg , SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Removing and replacing juniper bushes
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi! I'm pulling up juniper bushes. (just don't like it) I'm getting down to the roots now on one side and I'm having a hard time getting them up. Any recommendations. They are near my driveway and sidewalk so I don't think I can pull them up. Also, what should I plant in its place that won't require much watering and is an evergreen? Something low to the ground..not huge bushes since we have those all around the house. I thought we could use a variety and then some color in some areas for as long as we can. Basically, I need a low maintence flower bed area that will attract some interest under a crate myrtle and something other than the green bushes that are everywhere else. And of course I need to know how to get that juniper up! Sorry that was more than one question but I think you can handle it! Thanks!!

ANSWER:

Digging them up is probably the best option, or perhaps digging them a bit and then pulling might work. I can't really be sure since I don't know how large they are. If they are really large, you could use an axe or heavy duty loppers to cut them off below ground, but then you are faced with them possibly regrowing from the roots and/or those roots getting in the way of planting new shrubs. You could try to find an herbicide that you could paint on the cut top of the roots to be sure they die and not resprout, but then you would be faced with not only the remaining roots in the way of planting new shrubs, but also possible residual herbicide that would affect your new plants. So, my advice is to dig and chop to get as much of the roots out of the ground as possible. If they resprout from any remaining roots, you can dig and cut them off as they occur.

Here are a few subshrubs that come close to your requirements, all are evergreen but most require moist soil:

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is the most compatible with your requirements. It tolerates great variability in soil moisture and sun or shade. There are dwarf cultivars available.

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) requires moist or dry soil and shade (<2 hours sunlight a day) or part shade (2 to 6 per day).

Chrysogonum virginianum (green and gold) needs moist soil and part shade. There is a variety, C. virginianum var. australe that will grow in sun.

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry) grows in moist and dry soil in shade or part shade.

Chimaphila maculata (striped prince's pine) grows in dry shade.

You can also see a variety of deciduous subshrubs for your area by doing a Combination Search in our Native Plant Database by choosing 'South Carolina' from the Select State or Province option and 'Subshrub' under Habit (general appearance). There are also other characteristics you can choose to limit your search results.


Morella cerifera

Mitchella repens

Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe

Gaultheria procumbens

Chimaphila maculata

 

 

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