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How To Get Rid of Oregon Grape Holly (4 Ways)

How To Get Rid of Oregon Grape Holly (4 Ways)

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

Oregon Grape Holly is a large shrub that produces delightful yellow flowers and edible berries. While this plant can be a beautiful addition to your garden or landscaping, its tendency to creep and slowly take over can be an annoyance.

To get rid of Oregon grape holly, you can dig the shrub out of the dirt by hand, cut the plant and its roots, suffocate it with plastic, or hire a landscaping company to remove it for you.

If you’re ready to say “goodbye” to the Oregon grape holly in your garden, this article will teach you four ways to get rid of it for good.

1. Digging Oregon Grape Holly Out by Hand

Digging the plant out of the soil by hand is the most straightforward option if you are ready for some landscaping labor.

The time of year you decide to do this doesn’t matter unless you plan on harvesting Oregon grape holly’s roots or bark. If you plan to use the bark for medicinal purposes, like its anti-inflammatory power, be sure to big up the plant in the fall or winter.

It’s also important to never consume plant products if you’re unsure of the species or if the area has been sprayed with pesticides.

How To Dig up Oregon Grape Holly Without a Chainsaw

Digging up an Oregon grape holly is quite easy. Just do the following:

  1. Prune the shrub to the best of your ability. Grape holly berries can be eaten and provide a delicious sour bite. It’s a good idea to harvest them as you prune the bush (source). 
  2. Grip the base of the stem and pull firmly. If you plan to harvest the roots, you should cut them no smaller than 3 inches (7.62 cm) (source). 
  3. Dig up any remaining roots. To ensure there won’t be any regrowth of the Oregon grape holly, sift through the soil for any more roots you might have missed.

2. Remove Oregon Grape Holly With Garden Tools

For more seasoned gardeners, that shed full of tools you have at your disposal will be a great advantage when getting rid of Oregon grape holly. Here are a few things you’ll need:

  • Shovel
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Saw (either a handsaw or a chainsaw works)
  • Protective eyewear
  • Extra topsoil 

You might also find the process more manageable if you have a mattock, a helpful tool also known as a gardening pickaxe. This Berry&Bird Garden Pick Hoe (link to Amazon) is affordable and sturdy enough for residential gardening.

How To Remove Oregon Grape Holly With Gardening Tools

You can remove Oregon grape holly using gardening tools by doing the following:

  1. Prune the outer and inner branches. Shrubs like the Oregon grape holly have an intricate network of inner branches. Cutting them away will give you better access to the stem and roots. Use manual or electric hedge trimmers depending on the size of the plant.
  2. Use your shovel to dig around the stem. Removing the soil surrounding the main stem will loosen the earth and make it easier to heave the entire plant out of the ground. 
  3. Pull the shrub out of the ground. You may not get it out completely, but be sure to pull it up enough to give you access to the roots. 
  4. Cut the roots with your mattock. As you cut away the roots, you’ll be able to pull the bush the rest of the way out. Discard the central part of the plant and continue digging and cutting the root system.
  5. Check for extra roots. Taking an extra moment to check the hole for more roots will ensure that the shrub does not grow back after putting so much work into removing it.
  6. Fill the hole with extra topsoil. If you don’t plan to replace the Oregon root holly with another plant immediately, fill the hole with soil or cover it with sod.

3. Suffocate Your Oregon Grape Holly

Suffocation may seem a bit extreme, but it makes sense, considering the science behind this. Plants are like humans because they require oxygen to survive. You can suffocate your Oregon grape holly to kill it off and make it easier to remove or keep it from spreading. 

How To Suffocate a Bush

The only supplies you’ll need to suffocate Oregon grape holly shrubs are plastic sheeting and something heavy to hold the plastic down, like stakes. I recommend using black plastic sheeting (link to Amazon) to block out sunlight.

Place two to three layers of plastic over the plant and secure it with weights or garden stakes. The plastic will kill off anything you cover, no matter how robust the plant. 

Unfortunately, this method takes a few years to work, so you’ll have to live with a plastic-covered shrub in your yard until it is completely dead. Once it has died, plant something else in its place or cover the area with topsoil or sod (source).

4. Hire a Landscaper To Remove Oregon Grape Holly

Some people enjoy looking at their beautiful yards and gardens but detest getting dirty. Removing Oregon grape holly on your own is a dirty job, so a professional landscaping service might be your best bet if you’d rather keep dirt from accumulating beneath your fingernails. 

What Does It Cost To Remove an Oregon Grape Holly Shrub?

Landscaping costs will vary based on your geographical location. The average landscaping per square foot (0.09 sq m) is around $12 in the United States (source). That said, landscaping companies may have different tree, stump, and bush removal rates.


If you have an Oregon grape holly bush in your garden or yard that you’re tired of looking at, you can kill it by trying out these tips:

  • Dig the plant up by hand.
  • Remove the bush with basic garden tools.
  • Suffocate the bush with plastic.
  • Hire a landscaper.

While landscaping can be expensive, bush removal is relatively cheap when done by professionals and even cheaper if you do it yourself. 

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