Is my bush worth anything?
October 30, 2006 1:16 PM   Subscribe

We have 2 mature boxwood bushes (about 10 years old) that are roughly 5 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter. My wife hates them because they obscure our front door. She wants me to cut them down and trash them. Being the cheapskate I am, I would like to dig them up (difficult, I know) and sell them. My question - is there a market for these and roughly how much do they sell for? It looks like small ones sell for $10-$20, but I couldn't find any large ones. Thanks for helping settle this marital dispute.
posted by stockaholic to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
The rootball is going to be pretty huge. Like too huge to get out without some power equipment. This isn't somethin you and a buddy can get out by brute strength. Assuming you have a Bobcat, sure go for it. If you don't, then renting one is going to kill any profit you intend to make.
posted by JJ86 at 2:06 PM on October 30, 2006

Check your local nursery yards and landscape services, see if you can barter them for plants you DO want. They dig them up right because they benefit and they bring you the trade(s). Win-Win and very green.
posted by Freedomboy at 2:09 PM on October 30, 2006

If you live in an area with an active craigslist you might try posting in there.

I've seen offers for free shrubs/bushes/trees to anyone willing to come dig them out. This gets rid of the problem for you without all the gruelling effort. Win!
posted by dorothy humbird at 2:11 PM on October 30, 2006

Those shouldn't be too difficult to remove, assuming your concrete around them allows sufficient space for digging. I've succesfully dug up and relocated 6 and 8 foot tall Camellia shrubs among other things with little real difficulty.

I second the CL idea. Don't dig them yourself if you can avoid it. Not only will it save you the work, but you will have less problems with anyone saying you damaged them by digging them up yourself(and therefore the reason they died after the person planted them).

Some tips if you do do it yourself:
Tools - Shovel(I prefer a "rabbiting" spade, aka "Poachers Spade", a thin slightly scooped D-handled shovel), Loppers/Hand shears/Small pruning saw, tarp, twine
1. If it isn't just a "shell" of greenery around a lot of dead interior twigs, i.e. constantly sheared without thinning, you can cut back(always to side branches) until the diameter is more maneagable.
2. water soil first 2-3 days beforehand. After a few days the soil will no longer be waterlogged and merely moist for perfect digging.
3. The "proper" way to transplant things of medium to large size is to first dig a trench around the outer edge of the root ball(a little exploratory digging will help you find where most of the roots are). After this trench is dug down approx. 1-2 feet you can begin digging out underneath the rootball. You will feel it loosen as you go. Once freed, tip it a little and slip a tarp halfway or so underneath it, tip back the other way and pull the tarp under the rest. You can then lift it with a friend without the root ball falling apart. Best to use a tarp you don't care about as you will want to just give the whole package to the recipient.
4. Be gentle and take your time. Be very careful the root ball doesn't split in half at any point as you go, it can be worrisome.

Good luck
posted by a_green_man at 3:10 PM on October 30, 2006

A possible data point: im my experience Japanese boxwood grows very slowly, so a large one may indeed be worth some dough. Digging up plants though is difficult even when you *don't* care about keeping them alive.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:50 PM on October 30, 2006

Since the bushes are at the front of your house, check to be sure you won't be digging anywhere near your water or sewer connections to the street, as you can do several thousand dollars worth of damage pretty quickly when digging residential sites, with nothing more than a spade. Doesn't take much force at all to go through buried fiber optic cable, clay sewer pipe, or PVC water main. And if you bring in power equipment, especially wheeled vehicles like trucks or bobcats, be very sure that they don't drive over any area of your yard where their might be buried utility or gas lines.

Finally, in most urban locales in the U.S., you're supposed to pull a permit for digging from your local Call Before You Dig (or equivalent) utility protection center. Failure to do so can subject you to significant legal and financial penalties, even if you don't hit anything unforeseen, but if you do hit something requiring utility company repair, and haven't filed appropriately, things get expensive fast.
posted by paulsc at 5:49 PM on October 30, 2006

"...where their there might..." Sheesh.
posted by paulsc at 5:51 PM on October 30, 2006

Thank you for the input, everybody. All posts were very helpful. I'll post again after the situation is resolved.
posted by stockaholic at 5:59 AM on October 31, 2006

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