Removing Shrubs

Your truck can be a great help when removing shrubs.
By David Griffin
October/November 2002
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In my landscaping business I remove unwanted shrubs and small trees with my truck and a logging chain or tow cable. One end of the chain hooks on the tow bar in the bumper and the other wraps around the shrub or tree. Two or three tugs in four-wheel drive and the woody offender pops out by its roots.

When you're using your truck for removing shrubs or small trees, use a long cable to stay on the pavement where possible. Cut down parts of the plant that will get in your way or something, but leave 6 feet of height on the trunk, if available, for leverage. Make sure to leave some branch stubs, too, so that the chain doesn't slip off. Plan for safety first. To avoid whiplash, use a heavy, steel, hooked cable or a logging chain. Run the chain hook across and not into the link, so the hook doesn't damage the link. The area of demolition should be completely blocked off and free of pets, people and cars. A cable stretched across a road may not be visible to an oncoming car. Make sure the hook is attached to the part of the vehicle designed for pulling. My truck has a bar in the bumper that is attached to the frame to hold tow knobs. Ordinary bumpers are quite easy to rip off with an anchored chain. Choose your battles and fight from high on the trunk. I've yo-yo'd off the bases of a number of sturdy old yews, and it probably didn't do my truck any good. But big, tall arborvitae, even old ones, come down like dry corn stalks if the chain is positioned 5 feet up the trunk. Once the dirt ball's out, stop pulling. There's no need to drag 200 pounds of dirt across your lawn. Knock the dirt out of the roots and rake it back into the hole. Finally, cut the shrub or tree into manageable pieces and haul them to the com post dump. May the plant rot in pieces!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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