How to Remove Hedges

By Shelley Frost

Hedges give you privacy and define property lines, but a landscaping renovation may include removing hedges. Getting rid of the plant row opens up the area. The removal also gives you the option of installing a fence or growing more desirable plants in the area. Hedge removal takes some muscle, especially if the shrubs are overgrown. Use a combination of techniques to tackle the growth so you can remove the hedge and renovate the area.

Man trimming hedges
credit: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
Trimming back the branches makes it easier to remove the hedges.

Step 1

Call 811 to request marking of underground utilities in your property. Within a few days, someone will come to your home and mark the lines. This prevents any damage to the underground utilities as you dig out the hedges.

Step 2

Identify the section of the hedge you want to remove. If you plan to leave part of the hedge, mark those sections so you don't accidentally remove any shrubs that you want to keep.

Step 3

Watch for other structures in the area that could be damaged by the removal, such as a fence. Keep those structures in mind as you plan the removal.

Step 4

Cut back a large hedge to make it more manageable to remove. Use a chain saw, hedge clippers or loppers depending on the size of the shrubs. Cut the shrub to the ground once you remove the large branches.

Step 5

Dig around the base of the shrub with a sharp spade to sever the roots. Use loppers to cut through large roots and release them from the soil. Dig out as much of the soil and roots as possible at the base of each shrub. Push the spade under the roots to lift them up and out of the ground.

Step 6

Build a lever system using a car jack if you have stubborn roots that won't come up. Place plywood on each side of the roots for a flat, stable surface. Put concrete blocks on one side. Set up your car jack on the other piece of plywood. Place a 6-by-6-inch beam horizontally over the roots so it rests on the blocks and jack. Wrap a chain used for towing cars around the roots and the beam. Lift up the jack to pull up the roots, cutting through any stubborn roots with loppers to release them from the planting site.