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Pulling out some bushes from my front and back yard, what's the best way?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have about 15 good size bushes in my front and back yard that the wife wants gone by next weekend. I'd say about 3ft all around size. I've asked around a little and the best way i've been told is to hook a comealong up to my jeep and crank them out of there, while chopping at the roots and loosen them up.

Has anyone done this before? And what have you found to work well?

Thanks Again!
post #2 of 27
i just ripped out every bush, shrub, tree, and vine in my backyard. my suggestion is to leave the trunk as high as possible, and use it as a lever to push the offender over.

now, if the bushes are only 3 feet around, then the root ball should be fairly small, so you could probably dig them out with little or no problems. you could also just hook up your come-along to them, and power them out. that's probably the easiest way, although i don't think that digging them out would be too hard either.

wear gloves and eye protection so that you don't leave your eyeball hanging on a sharp branch.
post #3 of 27
that size should have a small root ball. famous last words

I've dug bushes out that small and cut them off at the stump and then dug out a foot or so around the roots and if I cam along a big root - cut it. It was relatively easy. But I was not going to be replanting in that area so the left over roots were not a problem.

I did use a truck once to get out a large root ball (I spent all morning digging, cutting, cursing, swearing, the whole bit). Had my dad come by with his big truck that sounds like a boat when its running . We tied it to the bumper revved the engine and the tires spun in place. Finally the root gave way and I dragged it clear down the street before I could slow his truck down It left a nice trail of dirt and crud clear down the street. This was just after I moved in and my neighbors must have thought look what an idiot just moved in!
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by gvj
This was just after I moved in and my neighbors must have thought look what an idiot just moved in!
They still think it.
post #5 of 27
Why do I picture Mr. Mom trying to move a shed?


post #6 of 27
Some advise given to me when trying to kill yellow jackets may also be applied here-----

A gallon of gas and a match is all you need.
post #7 of 27
1) If these are ornamentals, they may have some value to other folks trying to do landscaping. What species/varieties are they? If they are desireable and appropriate to your area/climate, you may be able to advertise these in your local paper and get someone to remove them for free. I did this with some arborvitae (northern white cedar) one time. Also have sold white spruce and blue spruce as "dig-your-own" trees. Just make sure that they take a big enough root ball (outside of the drip line) 2) To dig up, go outside of the drip line about one foot, dig down and cut the roots, put a chain on the bushes and rip out with a good 4wd or a tractor. If using a tractor or ATV to pull them out, make sure the tractor does not "come over" on you. If not hooked properly (i.e. a low towing point) they can come over backwards in a flash.
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by beinncsoon
I have about 15 good size bushes in my front and back yard that the wife wants gone by next weekend. I'd say about 3ft all around size. I've asked around a little and the best way i've been told is to hook a comealong up to my jeep and crank them out of there, while chopping at the roots and loosen them up.

Has anyone done this before? And what have you found to work well?

Thanks Again!


Here's an alaska trick we used on some of the homesteads and stuff for you - probably not cost effective for what you're doing, but file it away for the future. First, find somewhere that sells lumberjack/sawmill supplies. Buy a tool called a peevee. Its a real stout handle like a shovel with a spear point on the end, and a hinged hook that comes out the side 18" or so from the spear point. It is used to roll logs over easy.

Disconnect the hook part of the peevee. That yields a very very large fish hook. Connect said hook to a logging chain and connect to a stout pulling vehicle, comealong, winch, etc. Now you have a hook that can pull things..

Dig a hole on the side of your tree opposite the direction that you are going to pull from, and insert the hook under the tree. the idea is to try to hook the stump from the bottom.

Give it a pull - low and slow.

Couple points:
1. You may need to dig around the tree more to give it room to move.
2. In Alaska we had permafrost 18-24" down, so the root system grew out from the tree instead of down. In the rest of the US, the trees tend to have a "tap root" that grows straight down to anchor it. That sucker has to get severed if you have any hope of taking out that stump with anything short of a D-9 Cat.

Put your peevee together again afterward. Its a terribly useful tool.

PS: I read all the ATF/DOT regulations at one point when I was interested in high end rocketry and found a gem... Homeowners can buy dynamite for personal use specifically for stump removal.....
post #9 of 27
snug a chain around the shrub just above ground, attach chain to 4w drive vehicle if available, in 4w drive high slowly snug up chain and proceed, shrub should eventually pull out roots and all, try on smaller shrubs first to get the feel of it
post #10 of 27
CQ has it... I removed all the shrubs from our front bed like that, except I used a tow strap. On two "bushes" I needed to chop roots and rock them a bit.

Slow and steady.

Jeff B.
post #11 of 27
Have the local tree guy come in and hit em with the stump grinder. That's what I did and it was the best $100 bucks I've ever spent.



The gas and match is a bad idea, the previous owner of my house did that and left a 3' area in the front yard where nothing would grow. I dug it all out and replaced it twice and it still took me 4 years to get grass growing there enough to blend in with the rest of the yard.
post #12 of 27
Here's how I usually do it. Buy a length of aircraft cable from Home Depot & make a loop at each end w/ cable fittings sold right there w/ the cable. I use 2 on each loop just to be safe. I make sure 1 loop is big enough to slip over the hitch ball on my truck. I then cut all the upper branches off the shrubs, making sure I leave about 1 or 2 feet above ground for the cable to grab. I then pass the cable thru the loop on the business end, making a slip knot. Snug this end around the remaining branches at the soil line. Take the slack out of the cable w/ the truck & just take your foot off the brake to allow the weight of the truck to lean on the shrub. Most times (and depending on the species) this is all it will take to get the rootball dislodged & moving toward you. A touch of gas & that baby should tear out clean.
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by capequahog
snug a chain around the shrub just above ground, attach chain to 4w drive vehicle if available, in 4w drive high slowly snug up chain and proceed, shrub should eventually pull out roots and all, try on smaller shrubs first to get the feel of it




you can do some serious damage to your vehicle if you hook it up wrong, pull too hard, or a combination of the two

most people, myself included, tend to overestimate the pulling power of a 4WD vehicle, and underestimate the staying power of roots systems

also, root systems vary greatly depending on variety, location, and age

a 6 foot rhododendron should be a cakewalk

a yew the same size can bend your frame (or worse)

as mentioned, some plants that have outgrown their space still have value to the right person.....usually not, but you might have a gem hidden in there that would entice a design/build landscape firm to maybe do some of the work for a reduced fee....your local lawn cutter may not know, or not have a potential customer for, any plants you want out unless they also do some design/build stuff.....just bear in mind that time is money, and a plant with some potential still needs a customer, and may also need a year or 2 in a nursery situation to bring it around.....so don't expect miracles from any landscapers

that said, it would be a shame to see a 500 dollar rhodie get trashed because nobody knew you had it

after pruning the plants back, a digging spade is the first thing you need...(make sure you don't tear your hand open on a branch stub....you do need to leave some "trunkage" for leverage..if you are going to replant, dig a trench straight down on the backside of the plants in question, maybe a foot or so deep, that marks the back edge of your planting bed.....if you are not going to replant you can make the trench closer to the trunks, but if you hit a lot of roots you can make more work for yourself

then, using the digging spade, make overlapping cuts on the front of the plant the full depth of the blade

only then should you try to pull them out

if you have a couple of 4 by 4s, you might try lashing them them in an a-frame configuration and rigging them to the plant in such a manner so the top of the aframe is over the trunk of the plant and the bottom is pointing at the truck with a couple of stakes in the ground and a plank to keep the a frame where you put it......when you apply force with the truck, the a-frame will stand up and transfer the energy of the truck from vertical to horizontal as the truck moves away....i have never tried it, but it should give you more mechanical advantage than a straight pull....i am sure there is a term for it, something but not quite a gin pole

good luck...."brute force and ignorance" will probably be needed to a certain degree ......at my age, i have a lot more of one than the other
post #14 of 27
Hire someone to grind the stumps.....it ain't as easy as it looks.....trust me....been there.....done that....never again.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses! I'm now thinking, since I don't want to ruin my Jeep, that I should back it up and use a comealong to get them out...that should work right?
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