How to Remove a Large Hedge & Kill the Roots

Updated February 21, 2017

Removing a large shrub or a hedge by pulling out the roots is time-consuming work. A less labour intensive way to remove a shrub is to use a combination of pruning and herbicide. The non-selective herbicide triclopyr kills all vegetation it comes in contact with. It enters the vascular system of the plant and moves through its entire system, spreading its deadly poison and resulting in the death of the entire plant, roots and all. Autumn is the best time to treat woody shrubs and hedges with non-selective herbicide because the plants are already sending nourishment down to its roots for winter use.

Saw off the stems of the hedge about 12 to 18 inches above the ground. Do a small portion of the hedge at a time -- only what you can cut in about 15 minutes.

Immediately paint the cut wounds with full-strength triclopyr. Do not wait to apply the herbicide to the open wounds because they begin to grow a protective covering almost immediately after they are cut. This protective covering will prevent the herbicide from being absorbed into the vascular system of the plant.

Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the remaining portion of the hedge. Ensure that you apply the herbicide to the cut surfaces within 15 minutes of making the cut.

Monitor the area for the next two to six weeks. The branches and eventually the roots will wilt and die during that time.

Remove the roots from the ground after they have dried up because they will then have released their hold on the soil and will be easier to pull out.


Do not touch any desirable plants with a single drop of the triclopyr because even that small amount can be fatal to shrubs and trees.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
  • Full strength triclopyr herbicide
  • Paint brush
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About the Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.