I am attempting to remove what I believe to be a small privet tree. It is planted in a raised bed and has been here for several years. I cut the main trunk off a couple of years ago, but it has since thrown up several new branches from the stump, and now I want to get rid of it.

There are some quite stubborn roots that appear to extend for a few feet. It will be a lot of work to remove all the roots, and will involve disturbing other things planted in the vicinity, including bulbs that are about to flower.

My question is: if I sever the roots, will they grow back? They are probably an inch think and hardly budging even 18 inches from the stump. They are growing down into clay with lots of stones.



Thank you.

EDIT One hour later - root (mostly) out: enter image description here

  • The pictures are missing. Can you try again?
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 12:34
  • Yes, they should be there now.
    – greenback
    Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


I would suggest a couple of options. First, dig out the stump using a mattock. There's a YouTube video here. Second, cut all the branches off and zap all new green growth with Roundup. Do this regularly and you should eventually kill it. Roundup only works in contact with green leaves, so you need to wait until they appear, then spray. Repeat as necessary and follow all usage instructions to the letter.

  • Thanks. I've managed to dig out one of the big roots but it broke off probably 2 ft away from the stump (photo added to original post). The remaining bit is about half an inch thick and coils away under some large stones in clay. As it's a confined space it will be a real job to remove the rest of it. From 12:40 in the video link he talks about getting rid of the remaining big roots using the mattock. He says something to the effect that narrow roots about a foot or two away from the stump will rot away - hopefully that will happen in this case, but I've heard privet is very resilient.
    – greenback
    Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 14:31
  • This is exactly what I would advise. A mattock is the best tool for this job. Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 16:18

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