How To Remove A Bush… In the Non-Political Sense

Yucky Shrubs that ned to be removedSo let’s say you have a Bush you need to remove and it’s not a leader of a super power nation…

Those of you looking for information on how to remove the other kind of Bush will need to visit some of the more left wing political blogs and discuss it there.

I have, or I should say had, a few of those non-political bushes that need to be removed. It was a nice day and the battery on the Sawzall was fully charged. I got medieval on a few bushes’ asses today.

I talked about these bushes just a little while ago when I talked about plant euthanasia.

These brushes are inherited landscape from the previous owners. The large purple shrub is actually an ornamental plum tree that has been tortured over the years into this overgrown shrub. I particularly hate this one. It grows an incredible amount every year and I find myself randomly hacking off large amounts several times a year in an attempt to keep it presentable. Far too much work for a shrub in my opinion.

The other, which is draping over the wall, is actually dying. I have never known what it is exactly. It was trained to hang down over the wall and up until late last year was a healthy, happy plant. I had to trim a few errant branches once a year, but other than that, it was no problem. Then suddenly, it went from a very healthy green to a sickly sort of yellow and has just gotten worse with dying branches and lost leaves. I do not love it enough to take the time to figure out what’s wrong. It is time for it to go.

SawzallOne of the best tools you can have for bush removal is a cordless sawzall and a package of cheap saw blades. This can make the whole job, from taking out the branches to removing the stump, a whole lot easier.

Cutting branches off the shrubThe first thing you want to start with is removing branches. With the sawzall, this is a snap.

The stump of the bushOnce you have all of the upper branches cut, it is time to start on the stump. Let’s face it, the branches are the easy part. It’s the stump that most people dread. A stump is like a pitbull that has clamped its jaws down on your arm. They are rather ugly to look at and it is going to take an extraordinary amount of effort to remove them, unless you have a convenient nearby power tool.

Cut out the stumpThis is why you buy the cheap blades for the sawzall. Take a spade or shovel and remove as much of the dirt as you can around the stump. Don’t worry if you don’t get it all cleared out. If you run into a root, apply pressure to the root with the sawzall. Remember, cheap blades, so you don’t need to care if the blade is plunged into the soil to be able to do this. Keep clearing dirt and chopping roots until you get to the taproot. Dig as far down as you can (or care to) and shove that blade right down in there and cut through the dirt and root.

Yes, some of the roots will be left in the soil, but they will break down much faster than the stump would have. For the most part, there roots will not impede your future plantings. If they do, apply the all fixing sawzall to the problem root.

In no time you will have a clear area.

Area cleared of bushesAnd I can hear the resounding hesitant silence. Erm… Hanna, that’s not looking glorious and finished. That area just looks vacant and bear. Are you sure it is an improvement over the shrubs?

Removal of bushes is never meant to instantly improve the look of an area. It is meant to provide a scrubbing of the canvas, so to speak. I have a clean slate that I can now take some of the techniques I have learned over at Whispering Crane and apply them to replanting this area in a more coherent fashion.

Alright, alright, you got me. That whole idea of planning a design is only my fantasy. What will really happen is I will plant whatever plants need a home in there and hope for the best. It has worked for me so far.

16 thoughts on “How To Remove A Bush… In the Non-Political Sense
  1. reader on

    i just wanted to say you prob. shouldnt say things like what you said about pit bulls because of things like that is why people are scared of pits so much, and i own one shes great. but your web page was very helpful thanx


    Jessica Reply:

    I agree about the pit bull comparison i own three and there wonderful,
    but im also battiling with a big shrub and this was helpful!


    Brandon Reply:

    I third that.


    Hanna Reply:

    While pitbulls are no more likely to bite than other dogs, the fact is that pounds per square inch, a pitbull has more crushing power than any other dog. It is what makes them dangerous (when they do bite, as I said, they bite no more often than other dogs). Like it or not, their bite is what they were bred for. Comment in my post stands.

  2. great post! thanks for the help – we will now remove the roots of our non-political bush.


  3. Leigh Anne on

    I am definitly going to buy a Sawzall. The hedgetrimmer and giant scissors were not helping and I am just to afraid to try to start the chain saw that was left in my shed by the previous owners. I see nothing wrong with your pitbull analogy.


  4. Mark A on

    Definitely a huge help Hanna, thank ya. I also approve of the analogy haha


  5. Pingback: To remove a bush… « The Yellow House

  6. Matthew on

    Thank you so much! Helped resolve a similar issue. Previous owner loved to landscape, and I just don’t have time to maintain it all.

    P.S. As for the pit bull person… I was attacked by a ‘friendly’ household pit bull when I was 7. It was 8 years old, and had never done anything like that before. All I did was walk by. They’re hounds from hell.


  7. Fred on

    I think your tip was a great help for me. I am about to tackle putting up a fence that my enthuastiac neighbor trimmed without my permission. Your comparison to a Pit Bull was on point and the people commenting on the errors of your choice failed (as Always in these improvemnet issues) to follow with with the comparison. It is just ashame that people focus on the dumbist things. You was only making a point, and I thank you for that.


  8. Mindy on

    Thank you! I have 3 of these pain in the butts in my backyard that the previous owner totally neglected and they need to be dealt with immediately. I will definitely use your technique.


  9. Great story on removing the shrubbery.
    Also that is a PERFECT comparison with the pitbull. Those little bastages are responsible for nearly 70% of all dog bites! If only we could remove the dog’s and owners as easy as the Bush!


  10. Lynette on

    We just spent a full 13 hours removing 15 yew bushes the previous owners planted in 1969. Napalm? C4? Dynamite? All seem like a more appropriate solution. We can only cut it down to below the soil level, apply root kill once we drill holes in the taproot and hope for the best. I can only hope it doesn’t harm other plants we decide to plant. But you’re right, this is about as good as it gets.


  11. Queenb on

    Well I loved your comments…don’t have a power tool, but at least I know what to start with…unfortunately the bush or stub is right next to the house and the roots have perhaps gone under it? Thanks very much if you are in the UK you could bring your saw and help me!


  12. pitbulls in many senses are not considered a breed in their own right as many breeds can be classed as a pitbull. A pitbull is a dog that has been specifically trained to fight in a pit. Therefore, the assumption that Staffs etc are pitbulls is generally wrong.

    I have an American Bulldog that, by many insurers, is classed in-insurable because of her breed. However, she is the most stupid dog in the world that rolls over after chasing a ball if she doesn’t get it (abit like saying ‘I would have got it but I fell over”)

    However, I like your post & can see the benefits of using this equipment, although, unless you have a straight forward a clear route to the stump I cannot see it being effective. Are there any chemicals you can use to kill off the base?


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