En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 24, 2012

From: Grapevine, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Removing existing shrubs from Grapevine TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We just bought a house and we have some shrubs and hedges we want to remove. What is the best way to remove them so that they don't grow back? We have some holly hedges, a very large cedar or juniper shrub, some boxwood, and some red tip photinias. We want to replace all of these shrubs/hedges with native plants and wildflowers, but we're not sure how to approach removing these, because some of these are very large. Should we cut down with a saw and then dig out the roots with shovels? Or after cutting down should we use some kind of weed killer or herbicide on the roots? We do want to replace with plants so we don't have to use much chemicals in the area if we don't have to, but we're not sure what the easiest way to do it would be. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Bummer. That is a hard job, but we salute your determination to get out the undesirable plants and go to natives.

First, a UTube video on removing a large shrub

University of Minnesota Removing Trees and Shrubs

HGTV Removing Unwanted Shrubs and Vines

Getting as much root out as possible will help, of course. Or you could use a broad-spectrum herbicide and, with a disposabl sponge brush, paint the cut end of a root (still in the ground) with the herbicide. This needs to be done within 5 minutes of the cut, so you may have to recut a root that was left in the ground while you got the shrub itself out of the ground. This will permit the herbicide to penetrate down into the still-living root and cause it to die. It should still be removed completely as soon as possible.

Also, we're not sure any of these articles mentioned it, but we think that trimming off the upper branches severely before you begin to dig will help lighten the load, and keep those upper branches from poking you in the face as you dig.

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Mountain laurel planting over Frederickburg limestone
March 22, 2012 - We have rocky limestone shelves on our property. We want to plant a mountain laurel. Are the roots strong enough to break through the limestone or should we try to find another location? The limestone...
view the full question and answer

Possumhaw losing leaves in Liberty Hill, TX.
July 11, 2011 - I have two female possumhaw trees and one of them is losing its leaves. I planted both of them in February and they were doing very well, getting green and full. What's happening?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
August 20, 2013 - Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over...
view the full question and answer

Will Pavonia lasiopetala grow in Oklahoma from Kerrville Tx
June 23, 2012 - How successfully could I grow Pavonia lasiopetala in central Oklahoma? My research shows that it is not native to Oklahoma.
view the full question and answer

BEST SPACING AND EXPECTED HEIGHT FOR ACEROLA (BARBADOS CHERRY) IN COLLEGE STATION, TX
October 09, 2010 - What is the best spacing for Malpighia glabra plants and how tall will they grow in College Station, TX?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center