How to Cut Down Shrubs

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Things You'll Need

  • Manual hedge trimmer

  • Electric hedge trimmer

  • Pruning shears

  • Wood saw

  • Shovel


  • If you are removing larger shrubs with thicker stumps and root systems you may need to hire help to remove the stump. Waiting for stumps and roots to rot can also make removal easier.

  • Removing new growth will not harm shrubs and can actually encourage new growth; cutting into woody growth may harm certain types of shrubs.

Shrubs are bushy plants that are usually between a foot and fifteen feet in height which are common in the landscaping of many yards. Shrubs tend to grow out in all directions and have growth very close to the ground, which can make them look unkempt if they are not cut back periodically. New growth on shrubs can often be trimmed down several times during the spring and summer to keep shrubs in the desired shape. If a shrub is no longer needed, it can be cut all the way down to the trunk and removed.

Trimming Shrubs

Step 1

Use an electric hedge trimmer to cut back new growth on the shrub. Use strokes that run parallel to the surface of the plant to make sure you don't cut in too deeply. Your goal should be to give the shrub a uniform shape, just as if you were giving it a haircut.

Step 2

Use a manual hedge trimmer to clean up your initial trimming. Electric hedge trimmers are good for quickly taking down the length of a shrub, but they often leave uncut growth that needs to be touched up.

Step 3

Assess the size and shape of the plant and cut it back further if necessary. If you don't want to let the shrub grow larger, then cut new growth all the way back to the woody parts of the shrub.

Step 4

Use a pruning shears or wood saw to severe and remove any dead branches. Dead branches will typically have discolored and shriveled leaves or no green growth on them all.

Removing Shrubs

Step 1

Use a manual hedge trimmer to aggressively cut back the bushiness of the shrub. Cut into the woody growth as far as possible. To gain access to thicker woody branches.

Step 2

Use a wood saw to carefully saw through and move larger branches, working your way down toward the trunks of the shrub.

Step 3

Cut the shrub off at the trunk or trunks, leaving an inch or two of stump above the ground.

Step 4

Use a shovel to dig around the stump and remove it along with the main root clump. Depending on the size of the shrub you are removing, this may or may not be possible. Small shrubs have shallow root system that can be cut through with a shovel in order to remove the stump and bigger roots.


Gregory Hamel

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.