shrubbery removal?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by steve in Pa., Apr 27, 2004.

  1. steve in Pa.

    steve in Pa. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    what have you found out to be the best way in removing old shrubs like yew bushes, arbs, cypress. I have heard and read about using a winch but just not sold on it yet. we have gotten into some tough shrubs already this year. Just wondered what methods other people use and what price you charge for removal per hr or per shrub?
  2. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    tractor with front end loader and 4 in 1 bucket
  3. hortboy

    hortboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    4x4 truck and a chain, just make sure you run the chain through the an old tire so if the chain snaps it doesn't hurt anything
  4. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Mini-exavator with a "thumb" attachment works the best. Short of that, a skidsteer with forks.

    It takes a big tractor to rip out old yews, bigger than most here can safely transport.

    And a truck with a chain just looks to redneckish to project a professional image on the job.

    We've also had good luck with simply cutting them down and grinding the stumps.

  5. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    I kinda hear what your saying, but at the same time, I figure whatever gets the job done the most efficiently.

    Obviously most of us don't have a mini excavator sitting around, so should I dig them out by hand when I could use my truck just so I don't look 'redneckish"?. Heck no.

    But I definitely think we all need to be careful when doing this. Use some common sense. Don't underestimate the possibilities of an accident.

    If it's real small, I'll just pull them out. If it's a bit bigger, I'll do a little digging first to "loosen" it up before pulling.

    I'm sure not going to sit there spinning wheels trying to pull something out!!! As a matter of fact, I barely push the gas pedal.

    I happen to use a tow rope rather then a chain, just because that's what I already have. Not really sure which is better or safer.

    As far as price, I just go off of time and be sure to factor in hauling it away and dump fees and time to dump it.

    I may eventually buy one of those winches you see in Harbor Freight (like $50-60 I think).
    It may look slightly less "redneckish"(lol!), and I'm sure it could come in handy for other things (like a stuck mower, truck, etc.).
    Plus you could use it in places where the truck can't get to as long as you have a nice big solid tree or something to anchor to (and a 12v battery to run it off of).
  6. Ice_Gargoylle

    Ice_Gargoylle LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 60

    good question. the per hour is removal , hauling, and it will be kinda high sounding but nothing less than 100/hour..or even better yet...charge a flat fee, this is the easiest. when ya bid, keep in mind the biggest problem is gonna be hauling the brush away. you can rip out 30+ bushes in 2 hours but you have 6 trips to the dump.

    removing old stuff really isn't that bad until you hit yews, burning bush, trees, or honeysuckle to name a few biggies.

    most things even huge things can be handled with elbow' grease and a full metal spade--very sharp. you would be amazed at how easy things come out when you know what to look for.

    BUT, big old yews go either amazingly easy or the worst thing that could happen to ya. the "bobcat" and forks works very well. i don't recommend a winch just because it WILL pull the truck, leave skid marks or tear turf. the key to making money is to make as little mess as possible.
  7. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    Sometimes we'll use a pole pruner ("chainsaw on a stick") We stick it right into the loosened ground and it cuts the roots nicely.
    Then maybe a few swings of an ax and then they come out pretty easily. Yes I do admit to using the truck on a few occasions but I dont like to do that for various reasons...not the least of which it does look unprofessional.

    I give them a "not to exceed $x " price and I make the number much higher than it usually turns out to be. Predicting the time for shrub removal can sometimes be as difficult as estimating a property cleanup
  8. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    We don't either. Rental on all equipment is figured into the cost of the job, along with delivery if needed. The only piece of equipment we own that is capable of pulling out shrubs is a JD 4300.

    About the only ripping and tearing we will do, is if we will be re-planting the landscape. Only once in the last 2 years can I think of a job that was bid strictly as rip and tear, and that was actually in the last week. There's a chance that if we get that part of it, we will also re-install.

    As for a winch, you will need a LARGE winch to be effective. Certainly not one that costs $50-60. To be effective, you would need a winch rated for AT LEAST 6000 pounds, and that may be on the small side. And that will cost you at least $500-600.

    If there's a rental yard nearby, try either a mini-ex or simply cutting them with a chainsaw and grinding the stumps. If you are re-planting, make sure you mix in some fertilizer with the grindings, lest they rob the soil of nitrogen as they decompose....

    About 3 weeks ago, we removed 18 large, overgrown arbs and viburnums in less than 3 hours using the cut and grind method. I don't think we could have done it much faster, but then again (as I'm getting a big ego boost right now), I think the experience of the equipment operator (me) played a big part...:D


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