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5 Methods To Remove Bushes With Deep Roots

How to remove bushes with deep roots

From time to time, you will need to remove old underperforming plants to clear space for your desired new plants. It’s not an easy task because many bushes will remain alive and still regrow, even if you chop it to the ground.

Some bushes have deep roots that help to keep the plant firmly in the ground while providing water and nutrients to support. Removing bushes with deep roots may include several steps.

Things you will need:

  • Sharp pair of pruning shears
  • Round point shovel
  • A good Mattock
  • Hand digging tools
  • Round bladed spade

It’s also good to wear your gloves with long sleeves and your boots.

1) Think Of The Right Time Of The Year

If you are into gardening, indeed, you would be a nature lover. So, if you decide to remove the deep-rooted bushes during fall or winter, then it’s okay. Because those are periods, we can’t see many animal activities such as birds’ nesting, etc. You would not want to disturb the wildlife.

And it will be challenging to dig during extremely dry weather and after heavy rainfall.

2) Cut The Bush

First, you have to cut back the bush until only a bare stump of roots remains. You can discard all plant materials in a waste bin.

Dig a trench around the roots to reveal the deep roots, and you can use a round point shovel here. Remove the soil around it and set it aside. If possible, you can cut through the roots with the shovel, and if you can’t, you can dig around the roots.

Then it will be easy to reveal the root ball and pull it out of the ground. It’s necessary for the complete clearing of the roots, and otherwise, the roots will grow back.

3) Expose The Deep Roots Or The Root Ball

To expose the deep roots, you have to dig a trench around the bush’s remaining part. Digging around a well-established root system would not be easy, and when you are digging, be careful of water and electricity lines that may lie beneath the soil.

4) Try To Pull Out The Root Ball

It would not be ok for you to pull out the root ball alone if it feels very hard. You can get the help of someone, as doing this alone sometimes would hurt your back.

You can use the spade and mattock to cut through the bush’s roots to make it as much as possible to pull it out. You may want to grow something you want in the space, so it would be useful to remove the root head and other remaining roots.

If you shake the soil out of the roots, it will cut back the weight and make the root ball more comfortable to handle.

5) Think Of A Proper Way To Dispose Of The Bush And The Root Ball

Now that you have done all the hard work, so you can get a nice cup of tea and have a small break if you want. Now you have cut away the bush and pulled up the root ball. You can dispose of the plant material in any of your desired methods.

You can try cutting it into small parts and compost it. But if you choose to dig up the plant if it had some disease, you better burn it. Leaving it in your garden could make spreading the disease to your reaming plants too.

Using Your Vehicle To Pull Out The Roots

Sometimes you may feel it’s difficult and time-consuming to dig up an entire root system or cut an entire bush to the ground. Yes, It’s a lot of hard work. Plus, you will think about this twice, especially if you have back problems. But there’s a friendly solution for this.

Removing bushes with deep roots

You can take advantage of your vehicle. Have you ever thought of doing this, or did you think of your vehicle only as a transport method?

Well, you can use it as your gardening companion too. Utilizing a vehicle with a hitch or tow hook system is advisable. But, if you doubt doing this, you can always consult your vehicle manufacturers or just read the instruction manual. A lot of Four-wheel vehicles would do great here.

When using a vehicle to remove the bushes with deep roots, you also have to consider your location, weather, type, etc. And the age of the bush you are trying to pull out. Sometimes, your vehicle may not be powerful enough to do it. So, you have to give some help and preparation before doing this.

For the well-established aged bushes with deep roots, you can consider softening the root system with water. It’s not difficult, as you can turn on the garden hose and allow water to wet around the bush.

You may do this for an hour or more if the soil is too hard. You know that wet and soft soil would make it easier to pull out the root system.

Then you can secure the base of the deep-rooted bush to your vehicle. In this situation, you will need a strong chain or cable. After attaching it, you can slowly pull the vehicle away. As you could see, this would be a nice solution for removing bushes with deep roots.


Removing old, deep, and established roots would be something you should consider doing with more outstanding care and attention. Because you not only removing some old, unwanted bush, but you are preparing a space for your new plants.

As you can see, both of these methods are effective, depending on your situation. You have to think and choose the most effective and suitable way for you.

If you have to remove a small-sized deep-rooted bush, it’s better to dig it up by yourself by doing all the work, and if it’s a big, old, and established, deep-rooted bush, it’s better to use your vehicle for doing this.

If you are in a hurry to establish new plants and have little time for this task, the second method would be fast and convenient. Plus, less messy. Either way, the result would be the same, and you would end up with sufficient space for your new plants.

Happy gardening!