How to Remove a Silt Fence

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Things You'll Need

  • Wire cutters

  • 5-gallon bucket

  • Garbage can or Dumpster

  • Shovel

  • Wheelbarrow or pickup truck

  • Landscaping rake


Use a loader tractor for large areas. The bucket can be used to lift the posts out of the ground with a chain fastened from the bucket to the base of the post. Level the area by sliding the underside of the bucket over the ground while driving the loader in reverse.


Silt fences shouldn't be removed until after construction is complete and erosion control has been corrected with vegetation or other methods.

Wear work gloves to protect hands from blistering and scratches.

Silt fences reduce erosion.

Silt fences are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to control the transportation of sediment in storm water runoff around construction sites. The silt fence, erected down-slope from disturbed and nonvegetated soils, can be removed once the soil areas up-slope from the fence have been revegetated or permanently stabilized. The bottom of the fence is buried 6 inches into the soil, then held upright with wood or metal fencing stakes 5 feet in length.

Step 1

Cut the fasteners holding the silt fencing material to the fence posts, using a pair of wire cutters. Place all of the fasteners in a 5-gallon bucket. Dump them in a garbage can or Dumpster.

Step 2

Grip the posts with your hands and try pulling them out. Leave the ones that don't come out easy.

Step 3

Position the blade of the shovel at the base of the difficult posts beneath a burr or bump on the post. Pry downward with the shovel handle and watch as the blade of the shovel lifts the post up out of the soil. Repeat this process until the post is ejected from the ground.

Step 4

Shovel all sediment trapped by the silt fence up and away from the fabric. Dig away the sediment until the base of where the fabric contacts the ground is exposed on both sides of the fence.

Step 5

Dig down 6 inches on each side of the fence to loosen the soil. Leave the soil in place, but dig and lift enough to allow the fencing fabric to come free.

Step 6

Walk to one end of the fence and grab the corner of the fabric. Pull the fabric toward you and remove it from the soil. Pull until the entire silt fence has been freed from the soil. Toss the silt fence in the garbage can or Dumpster.

Step 7

Gather up all of the fence posts and remove them from the area by wheelbarrow or truck.

Step 8

Level out the sediment by scooping up the high spots with the shovel blade and tossing the soil into the low spots. Go over the uneven soil with a landscaping rake in back-and-forth motions until the area has been returned to its natural draining state.


Cody Sorensen

Cody Sorensen has been writing professionally since 2009. His online articles focus on his experience with painting, horticulture, construction, plumbing, home improvement and agriculture. Sorensen is a licensed truck driver, certified forklift operator and a journeyman painter. He studied organizational communications at Brigham Young University.