How to Remove a Fence Post from the Ground Without Digging
If you have a fence that is in good condition except for one rotting or broken post, you don't have to destroy the fence to remove and replace it. There is an easy way to get it out of the ground without wearing yourself out with a shovel, and it doesn't involve tying a rope around the post, attaching it to your car bumper and running your car in reverse. Whether it's a wooden post or a metal one, you can lever it out with a long piece of two-by-four. This technique will work even if the post is set in concrete.
Disconnect the fencing from the fence post if it is still attached. Saturate the ground around the base of the post with water from a garden hose. Let the water soak in until the ground is muddy.
Wiggle the post back and forth to loosen it. Even if it doesn't move very much, any amount of loosening of the soil around the base will make it easier to remove.
Place a concrete block on the ground about 6 inches from one face of the post. Make sure that it isn't on top of the concrete that is holding the post. If the post is wood, drive two or three 3-inch wood screws into the face side by side, about 1/2 an inch apart. They should be 2 inches higher than the top of the block. If the post is metal, set the block in front of the bracket that holds the bottom rail.
Turn an 8-foot length of two-by-four on its edge, pass one end over the block and wedge it under the screws or the bracket. The other end should be sticking up at an angle.
Pull down on the other end of the two-by-four to lever the fence post straight out of the ground. This may be a two-person job, depending on how deep the post is and how much concrete is attached to the base. When the post is out far enough, tilt it away from the two-by-four and pull it out the rest of the way.
- You can substitute a metal digging bar or even a length of 3/4-inch metal pipe for the two-by-four if necessary. Don't use 1/2-inch pipe, as it will probably bend.
- If you are removing a concrete post, you may need a hydraulic fence-post puller.
- Be sure the post is completely detached from the fencing, or you may damage the fence.
Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.
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