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How to Remove Shrubs and Shrub Roots

The best way to remove shrubs, roots and all.

FH09MAR_STUSHR_01-3Family Handyman
A car jack and lever system simplifies the problem of pulling stubborn shrubs and avoids hours of backbreaking digging and chopping.

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Problem: Stubborn shrubs

Jack and lever assembly

Apply tons of pulling force to shrub roots using a jack. Place plywood scraps under the jack and jack stand so they don’t sink into the ground.

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. 4×6 or 6×6 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.

Caution

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

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.

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