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Hasta la vista: Removing evergreen bushes

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There was an item that was on my to-do list for a while  – getting rid of the evergreen bushes in front of my house.

Evergreen bushes

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I have hated them since I moved in. I’d asked a few friends about it and when they said, “Well, I could hook a chain up to my truck and….” I knew I was screwed.

While ripping them out with brute force seemed the most satisfying and appealing option, the possibility of damaging my foundation and causing thousands of dollars of damage made it a deal breaker.

Spraying nasty chemicals to try and kill them didn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies either. I didn’t think that would work anyway and if it did it would be ugly. It’s hard to know the exact age of these bushes but my best guesstimate put them at “pretty darn old”. That meant the roots were probably deep so digging them out wasn’t an option either.

It’s at this point that a smart and wise homeowner would have called in a professional. Spoiler alert – I’m not smart or wise.

So I thought about it. What harm would it do if I just cut the branches off, dug down a little and cut the stump below ground level? I could cover it back up and no one would be the wiser. (Except for you because I just told you about it.)

A few weeks ago we had what was probably the last nice weekend of the year. I’d put it off long enough and DID NOT want to wait until spring. I decided to put my plan into action and headed to the front yard, shovel in hand. You can see in the picture above that it had been awhile since I trimmed so it took a minute to de-branch them all.

I removed all the branches and then it was time to dig!  I dug around and down a couple of feet. Enough to expose the roots and a good bit of the trunk. I also had a nice conversation with my mailman about our shared hatred of evergreen bushes. Food for thought – if everyone hates them so much, why are they everywhere??

I didn’t think to take any pictures. And anyway, it’s kinda hard to hold a camera and dig at the same time.

Once the digging was done, it was a simple matter of taking the reciprocating saw to the trunk. I cut as close to the ground as I could and in a matter of minutes it was done.  Then I just covered it up with the dirt I’d removed and raked it smooth.

Evergreen bushes removedSo much better even though the meter is completely visible now. It’s safe to say I’ll be spending the winter thinking up ideas for this space. By the time spring gets here, I’m sure I’ll have discarded at least 20 ideas. Planters? Another kind of bush that isn’t butt ugly? A water feature? A collection of tacky garden gnomes posed in compromising positions? It’s a good thing I have time to figure this out.

Side note, evergreen bushes are good for one thing least. You can use the branches in lovely winter arrangements. I made a few baskets using branches, pine cones, logs, and ornaments when I was doing the outdoor Christmas decorations.

After all the agonizing I did about this, the final solution was a lot easier than I thought it would be. So the moral of this story is don’t overthink things!

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