How to Remove a Privet Hedge

Written by barbara freeman
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How to Remove a Privet Hedge
Privet hedges grow quickly. (Privet Hedge at Night image by Gary Chorpenning from

Privets are fast-growing plants that thrive in almost any kind of soil, making them a popular choice for hedges. But if you aren't careful, these plants can spread out of control and quickly kill off other plants around them. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), many people end up removing a privet hedge because the plant is so invasive. The most effective way to remove a privet hedge is to spray it with a herbicide, cut the branches off and dig up the roots. The best time to tackle this job is in the summer or early fall.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Safety goggles
  • Gardening gloves
  • Herbicide
  • Shovel
  • Gardening loppers
  • Tree saw or chainsaw
  • Mattock (gardening pick axe)
  • Pitch fork (for prying up roots)
  • Compost

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  1. 1

    Cover plants near the privet hedge with a tarp to protect them from the herbicide. Put on safety goggles and gardening gloves.

    How to Remove a Privet Hedge
    Apply herbicide generously to privet plants. (Spray image by Dominator from
  2. 2

    Spray the herbicide on the leaves, stems and roots of your hedge if it's up to 8 feet tall. If your hedge is taller than 8 feet, apply herbicide only to the roots and the bottom 12 to 18 inches of stems. For most species, use an herbicide with 25% glyphosate and 75% horticulture oil. Keep the herbicide on the hedge for 15 days.

    How to Remove a Privet Hedge
    Use a chainsaw to cut larger plants. (Sciage image by lamax from
  3. 3

    Remove the branches of each plant at the trunk with gardening loppers, a long-handled tree saw or a chainsaw. Cut the trunk of each plant down to 10 to 15 inches above the soil line.

    How to Remove a Privet Hedge
    Dig under and around roots to loosen them. (spider web on tree branch image by Kathy Burns from
  4. 4

    Dig up all the roots from each plant, making sure that you remove all traces of the roots, which can be extensive, so that the plants won't grow back. Dig around and loosen all the root parts with a shovel, then use a mattock or a pitch fork to lift the roots out of the soil. Cut the roots into smaller pieces with your saw or chainsaw.

  5. 5

    Fill the holes left by the removal of the privet hedge with a mixture of compost and the remaining soil.

  6. 6

    Cut all hedge parts into pieces measuring 1 to 2 feet, then safely dispose of the pieces.

Tips and warnings

  • The USDA recommends that you contact your local agricultural extension specialist for control measures for your area (see References).
  • Keep children, pregnant women and pets away from any area in which you've sprayed herbicide.

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