Removing roots of conifers professionally

Remarkable roots. How to get rid of them.


Removing roots of conifers professionally
Removing roots of conifers professionally
Removing roots of conifers professionally

A nice winter work is to fell trees or to remove plants, that have been bought as so called "dwarf-specimen". The problem is that the root has to be removed from the soil, for that this place can be replanted again. So here is a guide, especially for conifers, how to get out the root professionally. Additionally a few gardeners tricks and at the end an amazing reconnaicance.

Many conifers, such as Thuja and others are pretty easy opponents when they shall vanish for prettier plants. This of course depends on their size and what kind of  root form they have. What has to be regarded, we will explain below.

First we must be sure about what tools and utensils are the best for it. The 'Wiedehopfhacke! (German expression- no translation found!) is the best partner for in such actions. Even thick roots can be capped wirth it, easily. The spade is used for undermining the root ball and the spade shovel is to get the earth out of the dug hole (also called 'american railway shovel'). From a straight spade blade the loose material will always slip off. That does not happen with the spade shovel.

It needs a good hand saw, as well as a tarp for the shoveled soil. For smaller trees it needs just a few other containers such as vats or wheelbarrows. These utensils are used primarily to avoid a complete mess up at sidewalks or your lawn.

First, you saw of the the lower branches of the stem, so that you have enough workin space for the 'Wiedehopfhacke'. Only as little as necessary, for that you can also work well with the other tools. The soil around the trunk is spaciously cleaned of other plants and roots, because a tiny bit of it can inhibit the power of the tools tremendously.

Now the dug is done, until you reach the first roots. Dig around and cut them off, at least in a width that all used tools will not be hindered. If not, you constantly get stuck. For cutting the roots with the 'Wiedehopfhacke', first cut  the finer, outer end of the root. Then the thicker part directly at the ball. If you do it reversed, the root pieces will wiggle loose like rubber at the first beat and bounce back when you hit it.

This procedure is repeated until the all the roots are cut off at least one side. Now the bale is undermined with the spade as far as possible. And if you are a lucky person you can yet push down the whole tree. The top of the tree has not been cut before on purpose, because it serves as a lever. Additionally the weight of the crown helps to pull out easily the remaining roots out of the ground. When the tree finally lays down it can be cut into pieces without any problems. So you need no ladder or other additional tool. Nevertheless, it will be necessary in many cases to clean the root from heavy dirt in order to be enlighten it for the transport.

But now to the promised reconnaicance; The ground under such a conifers is nearly always too acidic for other plants. Dead needles have fallen for years on the ground and have changed the PH value of the soil. For absolute perfectionists now the following advice: If you want to be sure that other plants grow there again in the highest possible splendor, you should either replace a part of the excavation or mix it generously with normal soil out of your garden.

This has not to be regarded for ericaceous plants such as azaleas or rhododendrons which love an acidic soil milieu .

Garden trick : Smaller or thicker conifer roots may remain in the ground if they don't disturb.  But the roots of a few specialists among the deciduous trees must be dug out completely because they have the ability to regrow from the remaining roots!