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

Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
April 14, 2013 - Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
view the full question and answer

Dwarf Yaupon Holly Cultivar Heights
September 18, 2014 - What is the largest of the dwarf yaupons?
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
April 19, 2014 - Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'),...
view the full question and answer

Plants to put beside driveway
June 24, 2008 - I have a 100 foot dying grassy side to my driveway. It is about 5 foot wide. What could I plant that would not look like soldiers but be at least 4 foot high and I could use mulch or needles to beauti...
view the full question and answer

Dead or Dormant Chile Pequins in Corpus Christi
November 12, 2010 - We have 4 chile pequin and 5 chiltepin plants growing our yard. All were thriving beautifully until we took a 12-day vacation in late July. There was little rain during that time but overall this y...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center