How To Remove A Tree Stump Without A Grinder

If you don’t want to grind a stump, or don’t have the means to, manual removal is sometimes more manageable if the base has aged and dried out. If you can let the stump stay in place for a full year or two, the dried wood may be more natural to cut out. You still have options. You could remove the stump manually or chemically or perhaps even burn the stump out with the aid of commercially produced stump remover products. The size and age of stumps and your strength and abilities will be deciding factors influencing your approach. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to remove a tree stump without a grinder!

Safety First

Undertaking any DIY project at home will always bring a share of risk, so invest in the right safety gear and only attempt it if you have proper tools for the job. As a minimum, you should have steel-toed boots, work gloves, and eye protection. It is best to ensure children and pets are kept away while the job is being carried out.

Tree Stump Removal

Depending on the size of the tree stump, you may be successful in removing the stump manually. Removing a tree stump manually requires a lot of digging, chopping, and sawing. You should have the following tools to try such a venture:-

  • Mattock
  • Shovel
  • Heavy steel digging bar
  • Ax or bow saw

Avoid digging the trench too close to the stump as this reduces your room for maneuverability and hence increases the chance of injuries. Start by unearthing the soil around the stump and clearing the dirt away. This may take considerable time and effort, depending on the size of the stump. Once the roots are visible, cut through the roots using the sharpened end of the ax. Unearth and cut under the root ball until you reach the taproot. Once you have removed the dirt around the taproot, you can cut through the taproot using an ax or a bow saw. Only use the ax if you feel confident in your abilities. Keep cutting the roots until you have enough leverage to try to pry or pull the stump out.

Chemical Removal

If the stump is more extensive, it is possible to use chemical removal to assist the process. The chemicals speed up the process of decay of the stump, making removal easier. If you decide to use a chemical stump remover, follow the chemical manufacturer’s directions for applications, rates, and timing. Be aware that if toxic, these chemicals may irritate the skin or cause health problems. Some chemical stump removers, such as those containing potassium nitrate or a high nitrogen content are combustible and pose a fire hazard.

A downside of this process is that it does take time for the chemicals to do their job, and on the whole, this process would be slower than manual tree stump removal or burning. To prepare for the substances, drill 1” holes around the perimeter of the stump and 12” deep and about 3-4” back from the edge. Drill holes 3-4” down from the rim at a 45-degree angle to connect with the other holes. Pour 3-4 oz of tree stump removal chemicals into each of the holes and fill them with water.

While the process can be helped along by increasing the moisture of the stump, you won’t see any change until about 4-6 weeks, and it may take up to a year for the whole tree stump to decay completely. You can speed up the process by chipping away dead portions periodically and reapplying the chemicals to the remaining wood beneath. It is good to cover the area with plastic sheeting to prevent rain from washing the compound from the wood.

If you opt for this type of process, you will need to wear a paper gas mask while applying the chemicals. Wash your hands thoroughly after you have completed the job and disinfect the tools to avoid contaminating other trees in your yard with the harmful chemicals.

Tools you will need include the following:

  • Drill and one large bit
  • Plastic Tarp
  • Longbow saw
  • Garden mulch
  • Hay
  • High nitrogen garden fertilizer/Potassium nitrate tree stump removal granules
  • Chainsaw

Burning The Stump

You can get rid of a tree stump by burning it. However, the wood needs to be dry. You should also check with your local fire department to ensure you have permission to light a fire in your backyard. The oxygen-bathed outer portions of the stump will generally burn reasonably quickly, but the internal parts require treatment with hot coals or charcoal. Always be sure that you keep fire safety in mind when attempting to remove a tree base. Burning tree stumps to remove them requires some determined preparation, but it is considered a relatively easy way to remove a tree stump without a stump grinder.

Firstly, dig around the area with a shovel to expose as much of the stump as possible. Make sure you dig underneath to reveal some of the roots. Drill some holes all over the top of the stump, around the base, and drill further holes into the roots as they become exposed. The drill holes should be about 2” in diameter, so you will need a large drill bit. It would help if you then soaked with kerosene. Pour kerosene into the holes and keep topping up overtime to make sure the fuel penetrates as deeply as possible. After about three days, before starting the fire, surround the area with plenty of charcoal. The fire will burn for approximately four days.

A Final Word

Stump removal and stump grinding both come with their pros and cons. Choosing which route is best for you mostly depends on the plans you have for your landscape and the number and size of the stumps you want to remove. Consider also your expertise with using the various tools required. Manual removal is cheaper, but it demands much labor. It must also be remembered that if you are doing the job yourself, you will need to consider how to dispose of all the wood and debris the process produces. With manual removal, some methods do require you to be patient and may take longer than you have time to wait for if you want to use the area for an upcoming event.