The Q&A Archives: How to remove shrubs

Question: We have yews that are not in the right place and would like to remove them. Do you suggest wood and car jack, pulleys or just plain digging. Easiest way would be great.

Answer: Although a car jack and pulleys sounds like the easiest way to do it, I'm afraid you would damage the roots and the yews might not survive. The safest way to transplant, and the healtiest for your plants, is to dig them up with a shovel, keeping the rootmass intact as much as possible and then replanting right away. You can do some root pruning but take care not to damage the majority of the largest roots or your yews may simply fade away after being replanted. The roots will probably be in the top 12-18 inches of soil, and venture out just past the longest branches. I would dig a trench all around the yew at the dripline and then start digging down and toward the main stem. Dig the same depth all the way around the plant and then you may be able to use a crowbar or something similar to get under the root mass and pry it up. Try not to sever, rip or tear too many roots during the process. Best wishes with the move!

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