Ask a Question forum: Stubborn taproot won't come out!

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Jun 20, 2017 12:05 PM CST
I have a dead shrub, and what remained was a 3 inch thick, 5 foot deep taproot. I got the first two feet removed, but 3 feet remain deep into the soil. No amount of digging or chopping will allow me to remove it or get leverage to break it! I think I need to rent an electric tool, what works best?
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Jun 20, 2017 12:25 PM CST
Why are you trying to remove it all, Keith? When we need things like that removed we use one of the stump removal products you can get at Home Depot or Lowe's. If you do that, check to see which ones are less toxic. Some of them are quite toxic and you won't want them near any food you're growing.
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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Zinnias Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Spiders! Hybridizer Garden Photography
Vegetable Grower Tomato Heads Native Plants and Wildflowers The WITWIT Badge Daylilies Dog Lover
keithp2012
Jun 20, 2017 12:28 PM CST
plantmanager said:Why are you trying to remove it all, Keith? When we need things like that removed we use one of the stump removal products you can get at Home Depot or Lowe's. If you do that, check to see which ones are less toxic. Some of them are quite toxic and you won't want them near any food you're growing.


It's not a stump, just a dead taproot. I want to remove to plant a new shrub, I won't use chemicals for this.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 20, 2017 12:32 PM CST
Cut it off with a sawzall.
Porkpal
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
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plantmanager
Jun 20, 2017 12:33 PM CST
Ok, but stumps and taproots are pretty much the same and there are some chemicals that would be safe to use and cheaper than buying or renting special tools.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 20, 2017 12:41 PM CST
If you have removed the first two feet, do you really need to remove it? It will just decay over time. Two feet depth should be enough to plant a new shrub over it.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
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plantmanager
Jun 20, 2017 12:42 PM CST
I was thinking the same thing, Sooby. It won't hurt the new plant at all.
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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Jun 20, 2017 1:19 PM CST
The ground around it is compact and needs to be tilled, the taproot is not allowing me to do that. I need to add new soil too. I need it removed, but do not know safe chemicals, I have cats outside.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 20, 2017 1:24 PM CST
Get your shovel and start digging down. Down. And further down until you find the end of the offending taproot. That is the best way to remove it without using chemicals. To make the work easier, water the area deeply before digging. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Zinnias Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Spiders! Hybridizer Garden Photography
Vegetable Grower Tomato Heads Native Plants and Wildflowers The WITWIT Badge Daylilies Dog Lover
keithp2012
Jun 20, 2017 2:49 PM CST
greene said:Get your shovel and start digging down. Down. And further down until you find the end of the offending taproot. That is the best way to remove it without using chemicals. To make the work easier, water the area deeply before digging. Thumbs up


Ive tried that, with multiple tools, it didn't work. This is the first time a plant has defeated my efforts Hilarious!
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
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plantmanager
Jun 20, 2017 3:15 PM CST
Did you really soak it well, Keith?
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Jun 20, 2017 3:30 PM CST
You may need to make the hole a lot wider in order to go deeper - if there's room. Are you sure it's worth it? How badly do you really want to till that area?
Porkpal
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
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plantmanager
Jun 20, 2017 3:39 PM CST
Good question! If the ground is that hard, I'd be giving up on getting it out.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 20, 2017 4:15 PM CST
keithp2012 said:

Ive tried that, with multiple tools, it didn't work. This is the first time a plant has defeated my efforts : lol:


You are not defeated until you quit trying; don't give up. Thumbs up

When I was digging some unidentified metal object out of the ground in the back part of the yard I also tried every tool in my arsenal, including the post hole digger and a 6-foot long steel pry bar. I actually hit water before succeeding in removing the thing. Turns out it was a 30-inch long mobile home anchor.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/She...

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Jun 20, 2017 7:04 PM CST
When I had shrubs that needed replacing, I had someone come over with a bobcat machine and pull them out roots and all plus it broke up the soil. Not sure something like that is available in your area but it certainly made short work of getting rid of those shrubs. I would think if enough of the root is exposed they would be able to get a grip on it and pull it out.
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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Zinnias Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Spiders! Hybridizer Garden Photography
Vegetable Grower Tomato Heads Native Plants and Wildflowers The WITWIT Badge Daylilies Dog Lover
keithp2012
Jun 21, 2017 9:39 AM CST
porkpal said:You may need to make the hole a lot wider in order to go deeper - if there's room. Are you sure it's worth it? How badly do you really want to till that area?


There's not enough room for that.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Zinnias Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Spiders! Hybridizer Garden Photography
Vegetable Grower Tomato Heads Native Plants and Wildflowers The WITWIT Badge Daylilies Dog Lover
keithp2012
Jun 21, 2017 9:39 AM CST
plantmanager said:Did you really soak it well, Keith?


Yes until I had mud, made no difference.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Zinnias Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Spiders! Hybridizer Garden Photography
Vegetable Grower Tomato Heads Native Plants and Wildflowers The WITWIT Badge Daylilies Dog Lover
keithp2012
Jun 21, 2017 9:39 AM CST
porkpal said:You may need to make the hole a lot wider in order to go deeper - if there's room. Are you sure it's worth it? How badly do you really want to till that area?


Very badly lol
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Jun 21, 2017 9:43 AM CST
If you've dug enough to get 2' of root out and to discover there is 3' still left, and there's not enough room to dig wider, I'm wondering how you are going to till it. If it's a small area have you not dug most of it up already by hand - can't you dig the rest of it by hand too? Maybe you could post a picture so we have a better idea of the situation?
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jun 21, 2017 10:08 AM CST
Heh, what about getting one of those long drill bits, like an auger, and drill it out with that?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

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