Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Remove Hedges

Isolated hedge image by Pamela Uyttendaele from

Hedges are typically desirable elements of a backyard landscape, separating you from your neighbors or dividing sections of your garden. You may wish to remove a hedge to make your garden feel more open and spacious, or to install a more low maintenance divider, such as a fence. A combination of chemical and manual strategies can help you remove your hedge with as little effort as possible, though some manual labor will be required depending on the size and age of your hedge.

Spray the hedge with a glyphosate-based herbicide if you have a very dense hedge. This systemic chemical will kill the hedge's foliage, exposing its branches and making the act of cutting it down much easier.

Cut down the hedge using pruning shears or a chainsaw. Start from the top and work your way down toward the base of the hedge. If you plan to uproot the stump, leave 5 to 8 inches of stump so you have something to pull. If you want to leave the stump in the ground to decompose over time, cut it down to just 1 to 2 inches.

Rake the area to collect and clear away all fallen foliage and branches. Discard the cut vegetation.

Paint the stump with a stump killer herbicide. The herbicide penetrates the plant's underground root system and kills it, preventing new shoots from springing up. This is important for invasive hedge species.

Remove the stump if you don't want to leave it in the ground to decompose naturally. Use a spade and loosen the soil around the stump. Grab the stump and pull it away from the ground. Repeated wiggling and pulling may be necessary to loosen the stump's roots enough to allow you to pull it out.


Removing an established stump from the ground can take several hours of hard work with a spade. Plan your schedule accordingly.

Garden Guides