Hedge removal costs about £100-£400, depending on the size of the hedge. But expect variations because there are several factors in play. Hedge size is just one of many. That’s why hedge removal prices can be difficult to predict.
The process itself is slightly more complicated than it seems. In theory, the person doing the job, a gardener, tree surgeon or yourself, digs out the hedge and refills the site with soil. However, hedge removal is rarely that simple.
You will have to contend with factors like accessibility, hedge type, and your plans for the site. All gardening projects are like this. That’s why you need to know what you are getting into, even if you plan to hire a professional.
So, although the primary aim is to help you figure out the cost of removing a hedge, this article will dive deeper. We explore other aspects, such as related jobs, legal aspects, hiring tips, the removal process, alternatives to hedge removal and more. In short, we will explore the essentials of having a hedge removed.
How much does it cost to remove a hedge?
Hedge removal costs
|Hedge size (metres)
|Removal cost (£)
|Small hedge (2-4)
|Large hedge (More than 4)
The labour costs of hedge removal are usually around £100-£150 per day. You can hire a regular gardener, landscaper, or tree surgeon for the job. They will bring their own equipment. These will probably include a shovel, fork, mini digger, stump grinder, pruning shears, trough and borrow.
However, you may have to pay extra for specialist tools like an excavator, skip or wood chipper. The latter two are for waste removal. In some cases, you may have to handle this (waste removal) part by yourself. Either way, an excavator costs £50-£120 per day, while a skip and a wood-chipper cost £75-£150 per day and £170 per day, respectively.
For a relatively small hedge, the entire thing should be over in 12-24 hours. For a large hedge, it could take 24-48 hours.
What are the factors that determine the cost of hedge removal?
At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that both the process and cost of removing hedges tend to be more complicated than most people expect. Now, it is time to discuss the factors that cause those complications. By the time we are done, you will be ready to talk to a tree surgeon without fear of being taken advantage of.
As you can see from the table, larger hedges cost more to remove. They have a bigger trunk and a more established root system. Therefore, they are harder to remove. You will need more time, costlier equipment, and possibly more workers. You will also have to spend more on waste disposal.
In fact, we can say that hedge size is the biggest factor affecting hedge removal prices. Think about it. You can remove a very small hedge within an hour, using nothing but your hand and maybe a spade.
You can’t do that with a large hedge. Removal will take longer and may even require multiple stages. For example, you may first have to cut off the foliage, then cut down the trunk, before finally removing the stump and root.
Hedge age and maturity
Age plays a huge role in the amount of time and resources it takes to remove a hedge. An older hedge is more mature. It is bigger. Its root is also more established and secure. So, it will cost more to remove.
So expect age and maturity to affect the cost of hedge removal. However, this also depends on the specie of the hedge.
Hedge specie and type
Size, trunk structure and root system vary from one hedge species to another. Therefore, the removal cost will also vary accordingly. A dwarf hedge will be easier and cheaper to remove than a full-grown one. Likewise, an herbaceous shrub will be easier and cheaper to remove than a woody one.
Pay attention to this factor, especially if you have multiple species within the hedgerow. For common species like Leylandii (conifer hedge) and Privet hedges, the average costs of hedge removal range from £175.10-£329.60.
To remove a hedge, tree surgeons must get their tools to the site. They may also have to restrict access to the area to reduce the risks of injury and property damage. These two factors – “the ease of moving equipment” and “the ability to establish a safe workspace” – have a huge effect on hedge removal costs.
If tree surgeons have a hard time getting equipment to the site, they will probably want to charge higher rates. And if they have to block a public road, you will need to pay for permits. In either of these situations, the overall cost of the project will be higher.
Your intention for the site
This influences the removal method and the amount of work you have to do after. Let’s say you intend to plant a tree after having the hedge removed. In that case, you need a hedge removal method that prioritises root removal.
This ensures the new plant has enough root space. It also reduces the risk of regrowth, or that leftover roots will harbour pests and diseases that could endanger the new tree or healthy nearby plants.
Basically, it is about choosing between stump grinding and complete removal. The total cost of the project depends on this choice.
Hedge removal costs are often higher in big cities like London and the southeast. This is due to the higher standard of living.
What are the additional costs involved in hedge removal?
Here are some related gardening jobs that you can hire the same tree surgeon or gardener to do.
- General garden maintenance: This includes planting, trimming, watering, weeding, and patio cleaning. It costs £30-£800, depending on the task(s).
- Tree stump removal: The people with the right skills and tools are already available. So this is a great time to remove any tree stump you have lying around and have always wanted to get rid off. It costs £45-£200, depending on the size of the stump.
- Turf installation: It costs £40-£250, depending on the type and size of the turf.
- Lawn Fertilisation: It’s a great way to make your lawn pop. With just £80-£120, you can get a full law service. You can also try seasonal or one-off lawn fertilisation for £20-£30 and £40-£50, respectively.
- Complete site clearance: A hedge removal service will probably also do garden clearance. It costs £100-£300.
How do I remove a garden hedge?
As stated earlier, hedge removal is simple in theory, at least for a relatively small hedge. Basically, you have to dig around the base of the hedge until the root ball is out in the open. Then, you grub it (the hedge) out of the ground.
For a larger hedge, it’s not that simple. Here is a breakdown of the process.
Step 1: Inspect the site
This involves checking the area for cables, drain pipes or anything else that can get in the way. The point is to make plans to remove the hedge without damaging anything.
Step 2: Cut down the hedge
This involves cutting down the hedge to make it easier to remove. It might include cutting the foliage, then the branches and the trunk.
Step 3: Remove the stump and roots
This involves either digging out or grinding the stump. The main issues are the choice of removal method and the extent of root removal involved. Each choice will require specialist equipment and vary in cost. For the digging aspect, you can use either a manual or mechanical digger or both.
Step 4: Refill the site
After removing the hedge, the next course of action depends on your plans for the site. However, in most cases, you still have to refill the area with soil. If the plan includes planting, it’s better to add topsoil.
Why would you want to remove a hedge?
Here are 5 reasons.
- If hedge maintenance costs are too high: Hedges are generally high-maintenance. However, a formal hedge is higher maintenance than an informal hedge.
- If the hedge is overgrown or sickly: You can resolve this problem with pruning and other hedge maintenance practices. But it is still a good enough reason to consider removing a hedge.
- If the hedge is becoming a nuisance: For example, if a garden hedge steals all the nutrients and water, thus endangering other plants. Another example is if it blocks sunlight and views.
- If the hedge causes dispute with neighbours: This is mostly common with boundary hedges. An example is if it is encroaching or blocking sunlight in a neighbour’s garden.
- If you want to replace the hedge: This is also a viable reason. Maybe you want to replace it with a fence or another hedge.
- Garden redesign: Maybe you want to redesign that part of or all of your garden.
What can I replace a hedge with?
Here are two options:
Fences can’t match the beautiful natural aesthetics of a hedge. Neither can they match the ability to keep out noise and dust. But, they are still a great alternative to hedges.
Fences offer a lower maintenance, more secure and less space-consuming boundary. You can also get a natural aesthetic by adding climbing plants.
A more suitable hedge
Another option is to replace the removed hedge with a hedge that doesn’t have the same shortcomings. For example, maybe you want a hedge that attracts more wildlife or is less high-maintenance.
When planting new hedges, you have to remember that it takes time for them to establish, grow, and fill out. This usually takes about 3-7 years, depending on the species. However, you can try fast-growing options like Cedar or Californian privet hedges. Another option is ready-made hedges. These are grown hedges of about 0.8-2 metres that you can transplant.
Are there alternatives to hedge removal?
The best alternative depends on your original reason for deciding to remove the hedge. Here are some options.
Hedge maintenance trimming and pruning
Hedge trimming and pruning will fix issues like overgrown or thin foliage. Generally, they improve aesthetics and encourage healthy growth. They also help with issues like encroachment or blocking of sunlight.
For the best result, you need to trim your hedges 2-3 times a year. Hedge trimming costs £80-£250.
This improves aesthetics by shaping the hedge into interesting shapes and forms. It’s a great way to add creativity and visual interest.
Pathways and windows
This involves cutting windows and doorways into the hedgerow. You can also plant hedgerows to form pathways. Then take things further by adding trellises and other structural elements.
How can I find a good hedge removal service?
Remember, you need a regular gardener, landscape gardener or tree surgeon. You will find them among local and reliable trades-people. However, it is better to ask people for recommendations before you start searching on your own.
Talk to neighbours, friends, family members and colleagues. Chances are they know a few hedge removal services. If they don’t, you can check local listings and the internet.
When you find someone for the job, make sure they have the following:
- The right certifications and licences. Do note that this is not a deal breaker.
- Proof of successful similar projects
- Public liability insurance
- Reliable references
Then get written quotes with a full cost-breakdown from the top 3-5 candidates.
Can I remove the hedge myself?
Yes, you can. All you need are the right tools, enough DIY experience, and an understanding of the risks involved. Still, it is better to only try this with small hedges. Let the professionals handle large hedges. They have more experience and better tools.
Here are some tools you might need for a DIY hedge removal project.
- Digging tools: such as a spade, shovel, crowbar, excavator and mini digger.
- Stump grinder: you can hire stump grinders for about £100-£200 per day.
- Cutting tools: powered or manual
- Waste removal tools: skip, wood chipper
- Safety equipment: gloves, googles, steel-capped boots etc
- Others: a harness or a raised platform if you have to cut at branches at height
When it comes to hedge maintenance and removal, there are several other important questions apart from price. Hopefully, this article has answered most of them. However, we understand that you may have others. So, we welcome you to contact us for anything else you need know about removing hedges.
What time of year should I remove a hedge?
The best time for hedge removal or trimming is outside the bird nesting season, before (early spring) or after (late autumn). Hedges provide shelter for wild birds.
Can I remove a boundary hedge?
You can if the hedge is on your property and owned by you. If it is on a legal boundary or another person’s property, you can’t remove it without their permission.
Do I need planning permission to remove hedges?
No. Except if the hedge is:
- On public property, local nature reserve or conservation area
- Larger than 20 metres
- protected by the wildlife and countryside act
Just to be safe, consult your local council before removing a hedge. If they can stop you, they usually issue a hedgerow retention notice with a maximum fine of £5000.