Genome size and complexity often present major challenges to genome-based approaches in crop plants and other agricultural species. For instance, repetitive sequences comprise 80% to 90% of the genome of hexaploid wheat, which has a haploid genome size of approximately 17 Gb. In this study, we developed an improved design and procedure for short-read library preparation that uses a modified adaptor and duplex-specific nuclease (DSN) for the efficient elimination of highly repeated sequence elements within genomes. The improved adapter, which has a hairpin-like form for stability, was constructed from truncated sequences adjacent to the original Illumina TruSeq adapter and can be converted to a full-length adapter structure during PCR amplification. Using the hairpin-structured adaptor, we prepared randomly sheared genomic libraries from rice and diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid wheat cultivars and evaluated the efficiency of DSN for the enzymatic depletion of repetitive elements. According to real-time quantitative PCR analysis, the relative abundances of 18S and 25S ribosomal DNA decreased respectively to 1.15% and 3.54% in rice and 1.70%-1.95% and 14.71%-20.01% in the three wheat cultivars. Whole-genome sequencing analysis of a diploid wheat cultivar, KU104-1, indicated that DSN treatment with the designed hairpin-structured adapter dramatically reduced highly repetitive elements, such as Ty1-Copia and Ty3-Gypsy retrotransposons and DNA transposons, within the genome, while sequencing reads derived from low-copy genes and protein coding sequences increased more than 50%. Our new procedure should be useful not only for wheat genomes but also for other agricultural plant species with relatively large and complex genomes.