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Dear Internet: Please help me kill this bush

This fall I followed the Internet’s instructions on how to cut back the giant shrub of ugliness that’s been occupying the strip that divides our front yard from our neighbor’s. Alas, the Internet lied, and the bush has not sprouted new leaves where I cut it back past its thin margin of green. Oops.

nullsideways view of shrub

That’s ok because I hate that [email protected]#[email protected] shrub and would be happy to be rid of it. Unfortunately, as you can see, it consists of sticks that have buried their gnarled fingers deep into the earth.

shrub full on

Dear Internet, how do I get rid of the thing so that I can plant something more humble and subservient?

4 Responses to “Dear Internet: Please help me kill this bush”

  1. Those are horrible. Our recommendation:

    1. Cut down as much as you can; leave about 8-12″ of stump above the ground so you have a handle.

    2. If you can, use a big iron prybar to lever the stump and root ball out of the ground. (Warning: more effective on small shrubs; requires more leverage than you’d think.)

    3. If not: dig into the ground in a circle around the stump to expose the roots, then sever the roots using a hatchet or pruning tool.

    Failing this, call in a landscaper to remove it.

    We performed steps 1-3 on a row of 3′ tall shrubs that originally lined our front walk. It took a long time….

  2. Dave,
    I have a large garden and (this being Norway, the most egalitarian country in the world) cannot afford landscapers. So I simply nominate the family car as an excavator and let it do the job:
    1. Cut down the hedge to a foot or so.
    2. Loosen the soil around the main roots as much as you can.
    3. Tie a rope to the trailer hitch or tow point of your car.
    4. Pull the roots up with the car. May involve (if you are pulling up tree stumps) to drive until the rope it taut and the tree stump leaning over, loosen some more soil, tighten rope again, repeat until stump gives way.

    Works a charm. Assuming your car is a few years old, anyway…

  3. Wow, the bush got worse than it was in person (I actually thought it was not too bad a year ago) and it does encroach on the walk. It kind of looks like Skrillex’s haircut or maybe Gary Oldman in “The Fifth Element”.

    There may be some poison ivy coming out of the walk side, but I can’t be sure at that distance and angle.

    I’d be concerned about using the car (as was E.A. above in his last sentence), but it is a lot of manual labor.

  4. Actually, as long as you use a long rope, it is OK. I’ve take up tree stumps this way.

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