The Q&A Archives: Lilac Bush Removal

Question: I need to remove one of my lilac bushes. What is the easiest and most thorough way to do this? The bush is about 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide and is rubbing on the house. It was planted there way before we moved in and now it must go for a landscaping upgrade. I need for it to be completely removed. Can you give me any suggestions?

Answer: I'd start by cutting it down to about 2' above soil level (so the shrub will have handles, but won't be so large you can't work around it). Then start digging. Most of the roots will be centered under the shrub in the top 12-18" of soil and extending out about one and one half times the length of the brances. You'll want to get the largest roots out so there's nothing left in the ground to sprout up later. It's usually a slow process to remove a mature plant because you need to dig under and around the main roots. It's important to do this thoroughly or you'll be fighting lilac suckers for years to come. The fibrous roots won't resprout but the major roots will. Happy digging!

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