I'm trying to come up with a cheap and easy way to remove a broken-off fence post. It's a 4x4 lumber post that's snapped off flush to the ground, without any concrete around it.* I'd like to pull it straight out and sink another post in the same hole without digging too much.

*EDIT 2: I tried digging down a few inches last night to attach the 1x2, and discovered it was set in concrete about 6" below ground level. Looks like I'll be digging this one out.

The current plan that I have in my head is to dig down a few inches and nail a 1x2 strip to the side of the post. Then take a few boards, stack them up as a fulcrum, and wedge another board or a pipe under the 1x2. Then stomp on the other end of the lever to pull up the post. Will this work, or should I just dig it out?

I suppose soaking the area with a hose would help, but I'd rather not soften the ground since I want to reset another post immediately.

Note: I'd like to avoid spending anything extra if at all possible. It's my neighbor's fence, and he's told me that he's in no hurry to repair it. Since I want it back up, I'm taking the initiative and fixing it for him.

Edit: Here's some pictures of the fence line:

enter image description here

And here's where the fence post is snapped:

enter image description here

That big spot without any grass is where my neighbor's shed used to be before the tornado carried it off.

  • 3
    Adding water might soften the ground, but it might also get in the bottom of the hole and create suction making it harder to pull the post.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 1:47
  • 1
    "I'd like to avoid spending anything extra if at all possible. It's my neighbor's fence, and he's told me that he's in no hurry to repair it. Since I want it back up, I'm taking the initiative and fixing it for him." Your problem is not the broken fencepost, but I suppose thats better addressed at another stackexchange site.
    – Freiheit
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 22:05
  • 1
    In all honesty you're not getting that fence post out; not with concrete around it. :(
    – Ian Boyd
    Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 13:25

9 Answers 9


Since you just want to get the fence back up: screw a long board horizontally across the pieces of fence, bridging the broken post. A couple of long 2x4's should do the trick.

Skip fixing the post altogether.

  • 1
    I actually did a mix of kind-of fixing the fence post and your suggestion. I dug down about 8" and chipped away the concrete at the top of the post. Then I screwed 3' sections of a treated 2x4 to the sides of the 4x4 post, splicing the broken pieces together. I plan on running an additional 8' 2x4 toenailed along the top and bottom rail, centered at the formerly broken post. (Pictures to follow - we'll see how well this holds up!)
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 15:35

Depends on how intact it is. If it is good solid wood, screw a long eye-bolt into it and yank it out / work it out that way

If it's all punky, drill some holes down the middle and split it, and remove the pieces.

  • I think if the method I've got planned doesn't work, I'll try this. I suppose buying a single eye-bolt isn't too much of an expense.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 20:55
  • 2
    +1 If you don't have a jack or wench that can lift this, build a lever with a few cinder blocks or something large on one side and a long board. I'd put the hole in the middle of the lever and lift rather than making a seesaw that would launch the result when it comes free.
    – BMitch
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 21:43
  • 7
    @B Mitch. I find most wives don't like being called "wench." Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 12:34
  • @chris, lol! I speak a bunch of languages, perl, php, c... I just wish English was one of them. :)
    – BMitch
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 23:07

I would use something like a MetPost repair spur. You drive it into the bottom of the old post and then fix the new post to it.

iamge taken from MetPost website

  • Looks like Simpson Strongtie makes a similar product. I really like this concept, but I already kludged together a solution similar to Scott's answer. (This method is also a little more expensive than I'd like to go - $15 as opposed to the $2 I spend on a treated 2x4.)
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 15:30

Automobile floor jack and a jackstand. Place on both sides of broken pole. Straddle from jackstand to jack with two 2' x 6's screwed together. Wrap chain around 2x6 and using a cordless drill, screw lag bolts through chain into broke off fence post. Raise jackstand to keep level with jack. lift with jack, stop and raise jackstand to equal height. 2-3 rounds of jacking, raising stand, and post will be out without any damage to hole. If ground is soft, place jack and stand on small piece of plywood. My yard looked like yours--only all my poles were snapped off after small TX tornado.


If you have a vehicle winch/come along/high lift jack you can use it to pull the post out. Beats wiggling the post back and forth all day.

I dug some post holes in very hard soil with a steel bar and a shop vac. I chipped away at the soil and vacumed out the loose dirt. I went down 4 feet in a very short time. Maybe you can do something similar around the post.

When the post is out, put in the new post and fill around it with crushed stone instead of dirt.


It really depends on how deep it is. I'd start with Alex's suggestion of a lagbolt with an eye on the end, then some chains and your lever idea.

I wouldn't wet the ground...that'll just create a suction that will make it that much harder to pull out.

That said, will the new post be in plain dirt like this one? You probably don't want that...and want to use crushed gravel or concrete around the post so you could just start digging out round it. That's make it a lot easier to pull out.

  • @DA01: The object is to spend as little as possible - I'm not sure if my neighbor will reimburse me for materials. It's not my fence, and I don't care about how long it will last as long as it's functional. So I'd like to skip the gravel/concrete if I can.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 20:00
  • 4
    I'm confused...you are building someone else's fence for free? If that's the case, leave it in the ground. Dig a new hole next to it. ;)
    – DA01
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 20:07
  • I want to have the fence up so I can let my dog out in my backyard without a leash. (She tends to forget all her training when she's outside.) My neighbor doesn't have any pets and keeps all his blinds closed on the back of his house, so apparently he could care less about his fence.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 20:25
  • What about a leash run (where they're on a leash attached to a long cable anchored in the ground on each end?)
    – DA01
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 20:32
  • Meh, it's nice to just open the back door and let her run outside without having to deal with a leash. She'd chew through anything that wasn't a steel cable anyway if we left her alone out there. Plus I think we technically signed paperwork with the animal shelter we adopted her from saying that we wouldn't use a tie-out stake or anything similar on the grounds that it wasn't 'humane'.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 20:37

Another option:

Get two steel angles, pound them in at opposite corners beside the stub, and lash the upper part to them with wire. They shouldn't be that hard to scavenge.


I had a similar problem. This is what I did:

  • Removed a paving slab, this gained me 2 inches.
  • Used a hose pipe, with the nozzle set to jet, to erode the soil that had got in, then wiggled what I could, and some came out.
  • Used a chisel to break up what remained.
  • Used the water jet to clear out debris.

You could try just standing it back up as is, since it's not your fence and it might be good enough.

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