How To Get Rid Of Tree Stumps

Let’s get rid of that eyesore in your yard and bump up your property’s aesthetic appeal. Removing a tree stump isn’t a glamorous job, but it is a necessary one. This article will explore some of the most popular ways of how to get rid of tree stumps. You don’t have to break your back to remove a tree stump, either. There are also safe and effective ways to remove a tree stump if you have a little patience.

Know Your Stump

Look at the unique characteristics of your tree stump. Does it have a deep root system? Is it a small, medium, or large tree stump? Large tree stumps may not come out as easily as smaller ones with some of the methods. Why do you want to get rid of the tree stump? Is this tree stump the remnant of a tree removal job? Is it an old tree stump you are ready to take out, or perhaps an eyesore that you are prepared to eliminate?

Use Chemicals

Cut off as much of the stump above ground as possible. Then drill one-inch holes around the perimeter of what’s left. Drill angled holes to intersect with vertical ones. Make them at least 12 inches deep. Pour three to four ounces of stump removal chemical into each of the holes and fill them with water. Potassium nitrate works a treat. Soak the ground all around the stump with water then cover the area with a plastic tarp. The tarp will help keep the moisture in and accelerate the rotting process. This method takes four to six weeks to complete. Check periodically, add more water and nitrogen to your tree stub, and then recover with mulch and another hose. After four to six weeks, the stump should become spongy enough for you to use the ax to break it up for removal. If the stump is still firm, repeat the process.

Using Epsom Salt

For a very natural method that works, try changing your stump removal chemical for Epsom salt. Create a mixture of one part Epsom salt to two parts water. Make sure all the salt is dissolved and then pour it into the holes until full to overflowing. Follow the rest of the instructions used in the method above.

Manually Remove Stump

If you already have the tools, it is not expensive to remove the stump manually. It may take three to 12 hours to finish the project, but once complete, the stump will be history. This method is labor-intensive, so be prepared to break a sweat. It is also most successful for small to medium-sized trees. 

Use the broad end of your hoe to dig around the stump and loosen dirt. Remove the loosened dirt with a shovel so you can see the roots. Grab your hoe, or small bow saw to sever the roots from the trunk. Continue to chop and dig until you reach the taproot, and clear an area around it. Use the ax or bow saw to cut the taproot, then you can wiggle the stump around and pull it out of the topsoil. 

Burn The Stump

You’ll need a stump removal chemical, kerosene or fuel oil, and a power drill. Drill holes in the stump and sprinkle the stump removal product inside. It helps to make the wood porous. Pour kerosene or fuel oil in the holes. Soak the tree stump thoroughly, allowing the porous wood to absorb the fuel. Ignite the tree stump and let it burn. Watch it carefully and make sure that the flame smolders. When almost done, cover it with topsoil to help put out any remnants of the fire.

Use A Stump Grinder

If you have one large stump or multiple old tree stumps to remove, renting a grinder to grind a stump may be the best DIY option. Your local home improvement store generally stocks stump grinders to rent. You’ll also need a shovel, hoe, rake, and chainsaw for this method. A grinder is a large machine that can weigh around 1000 pounds, and grind stumps. Before renting, make sure you have a vehicle that can transport it to and from your home or have the rental company deliver it and take it away.

Clear the dirt, debris, and rocks away from the tree stump using your hoe or shovel. Use your chainsaw to cut as much of the stump as possible. Ground-level is ideal. Place the stump grinder wheel a few inches above the stump and turn it on. Lower it about three inches and move it from side to side, using its lever. Grind stump down about four inches using the grinder wheel and repeat until the entire perimeter of the stump is four inches below ground. Fill the hole with the wood chips, which are remnants of your stump, then cover with topsoil and grass. Grinding a stump with a stump grinder can be challenging, so proper safety gear is a must. 

Call In The Professionals

If you don’t have the patience or the physical ability to get the job done yourself, you can always call in the professionals. If you’re having a tree lopped, ask the company if they’ll take the stump out, and carry it off for you as well. They will charge an additional fee, but the situation will be taken care of. Generally, it costs between $60 and $350 per stump for removal. Work out a rough estimate. Measure the diameter of the trunk, and multiply it by $2 or $3. The average cost for removal is $165, and most charge a minimum of at least $100. 

What Not To Do

Nothing. Leaving the stump where it is is the worst thing you can do. Not only is it an eyesore, but it can also attract unwanted pests like wasps and termites, can damage your lawnmower, or even cause someone to trip and injure themselves. 

When To Remove A Tree Stump

Remove a tree stump any time after a tree is felled. Manual removal is sometimes more manageable if the stump has aged and dried out somewhat. If you can let the stump remain in place for a full year or even two, the dried wood could also be easier to cut out than when working on a green stump. Of course, if using potassium nitrate or some other chemical stump remover, the process should begin straight after removing the tree. 

Quick Tips

● When digging out a stump by hand, a hose or pressure washer can be helpful to wash away dirt to expose roots as you dig downward.

● Major roots don’t need removing once the main body of the stump is severed from the roots and taken away. The roots will generally rot away naturally over time. Should they begin to sprout suckers, applying a chemical brush killer will stop their growth. 

● Disposal of a large tree stump can be difficult. Contact your local waste disposal authorities for instructions on how and where to dispose of large garden waste items.

Tools Required

Whatever option you choose to remove your tree stump, there are several tools you’ll need. They include: 

● Chainsaw

● Drill

● Mattock

● Ax

● Extension cord

● Digging bar

● Bow saw

● Stump Grinder

Other materials required include topsoil, mulch, and tree stump removal chemicals.

Wear personal protective gear such as a hard hat, earplugs, safety glasses, work gloves, and steel-toed work boots.