The Q&A Archives: Removing Mature Yews & Rhododendrons

Question: Around the foundation of my house are yews and rhododendrons that are quite old. They are much too big for the house (over 6 feet in places). What is the best way to remove them so I can plant new shrubs in their place?

Answer: Rhododendrons are fairly shallow rooted and can be dug up and removed. You might find a gardener or a landscaper who would be happy to take them. Yews, on the other hand, are very difficult to dig up. I've seen them pulled out by a vehicle using a chain. Another method is to cut them down, and then the cut and dig out the roots as best as possible. Both of these plants do repond very well to heavy pruning, so you might also consider that option as opposed to replacing them altogether.

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