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How to Remove Shrubs and Shrub Roots

A car jack and lever system simplifies the problem of pulling stubborn shrubs and avoids hours of backbreaking digging and chopping.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Problem: Stubborn shrubs

If you have shrubs that you want to remove, here’s how to get the roots out without hours of digging and chopping.

Use leverage. Start by digging around the base of the shrub and cutting all the roots you can get at. Then lay scraps of plywood on each side of the shrub. Set a jack stand or concrete blocks on one side and set up your jack on the other. Lay a beam across them and tie the root to the beam with a chain. You’ll apply hundreds of pounds of pulling force, so both the beam and the chain must be strong. Use a 6-ft. 4x6 or 6x6 for the beam and a chain for towing cars. Raise the jack, stopping to cut the roots as they become exposed. If you max out the height of your jack before all the roots are free, add a few blocks to increase the beam height.


Before cutting the roots, reduce tension on the chain to prevent injuries from recoil. Wear eye protection.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Safety glasses

You’ll also need an auto jack, towing chain, jack stand and gloves.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • 4x6 or larger beam, 6-ft. long
    • Plywood scraps
    • 2x4 or larger blocks

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April 01, 8:47 PM [GMT -5]

I did something similar except I used and engine lift. I put 6" x 6" pieces of plywood under the wheels, and then just lifted out the plant. It worked like a charm.

June 25, 4:33 AM [GMT -5]

This method works like a charm. This also works on tree stumps as well. So far I have pulled up the stumps of an orange tree, apple tree, apricot tree, and a cement block for a post using this method. Just use a large (ie: thick) enough cross beam or it will break.

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How to Remove Shrubs and Shrub Roots

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