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Mr. Smarty Plants - Removing existing shrubs from Grapevine TX

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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.

 

 

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