How to kill hedges naturally

Isolated hedge image by Pamela Uyttendaele from

Hedges are a classic way to add charm to a garden but require significant upkeep. If you don't have the time, energy or finances to keep your hedges looking good, or have inherited a hedge in a new home which you don't like, then killing the hedge may be your best option.

Dumping poison on the hedge will kill it, but chemical root killers can also contaminate the soil and make it difficult to grow other plants in the area. Luckily you can kill hedges naturally, without resorting to harsh chemicals or poisons.

Put on the gardening gloves and protective eye goggles. Cut the hedges off at the roots with the hand saw, or if they are old and well-established, use a small chainsaw. Get as close to the ground as possible. Dispose of all the cut hedges. You will need to kill the stumps of the hedges in order to prevent regrowth.

Drill two 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) holes for every 32 cm2 (5 square inches) of stump as deep as your drill bit will go. Do this for every stump from the cut hedges.

Pour slow-release nitrogen fertiliser into the drilled holes. It may seem counter-intuitive to add fertiliser to something you wish to kill, but the fertiliser applied in this manner will kill off the stumps and aid in their speedy decomposition. Moreover, using organic fertiliser instead of harsh chemicals to kill the hedges will leave the soil richer, rather than poorer, in quality.

Cover the stumps with soil. Check the progress of decomposition every two weeks; it may take a couple of months to fully rot the stumps to a stage where you can replant in the area.