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How to Remove Tree Stumps Yourself: Tips and Techniques

Tree Stumps

You started a yard improvement project, cut that eyesore (that tree blocking your gorgeous porch), and you were left wondering, “How much effort would it take to get rid of that tree stump?” Not an easy feat compared to cutting the tree itself, that’s for sure.

There are a lot of ways to remove tree stumps. Here are some of the ways you could remove them by applying different methods.

Note: Safety is your first and utmost priority. Make sure to equip the proper gear before you start with any of these techniques.


Chemical Method


Using chemicals to remove tree stumps possibly the easiest way you can do it yourself. However, the results of this method are significantly slower because it involves rotting the stump.

Tools you need

  • Chemical Stump Remover
  • Power Drill
  • Cutting tools
  • Plastic Tarp
  • Mulch
  • an Axe

Gather your tools and you’re ready to begin. Take note, too, that you need to stock up on patience as it could take a couple of weeks at most before you begin to see some results.

Steps in Removing a Tree Stump Using Chemicals

  1. Use your cutting tools to remove parts of the stump that are above grass level.
  2. Drill holes through the stump. Make sure that the holes you drill are close together, wide, and deep enough to hold the stump remover solution. You can also use a hammer and chisel to make these holes if you don’t have a power drill.
  3. Fill the holes with lukewarm water, then add the stump remover.
  4. Wet the ground around the tree stump, then cover the area with the plastic tarp. Make the ground around the tree stump wet, then cover the area with the plastic tarp. The tarp will keep the stump wet and speed up the rotting procedure.
  5. In order to keep the stump from getting dry, put some mulch on top of the tarp and regularly water it.
  6. Check on the stump from time to time and keep adding more water and stump remover to your tree stump. Regularly change the mulch and add more water.
  7. Within four to six weeks, the stump should be softer than it was before. If it is, then use the ax to cut off parts until only a little of it remains.

When there’s little to nothing left of the stump, cover it up with dirt, and voila, no more unsightly stump.


Manual Method


If you want to avoid chemicals you could always do it manually. Keep in mind though that manually doing this is going to require exerting a lot of effort from you.


Tools you need

  • Shovel
  • Loppers
  • Grub Hoe
  • Safety Equipment
  • Ax (optional)


Steps in Removing a Tree Stump Manually

  1. Use a shovel to dig next to the stump. Expose the roots underneath the surrounding dirt. Keep digging around the stump until you’ve exposed all of the largest roots, then dig deep on either side of the roots to expose them as much as possible.
  2. Cut the roots up. Depending on the size of the roots, use loppers, a root saw, or any other sharp enough tool to cut them into pieces. Cut them into small pieces you can easily throw away.
  3. Pull the remaining roots out. Use the grub hoe to wrench the roots that are deep underground. Make more cuts as you go as it makes uprooting stump removal easier.


Burning Method


Looking for the quickest fix? Burning the stump is the easiest of the three! You might want to ask for permission to do this first from your homeowners’ association (if you live in a neighborhood), as smoke emitted from the burning stump can be harmful to the health and environment and to avoid a rift with your neighbors. Also, open burning might be banned where you live.


Tools you need



Steps in Removing a Tree Stump Using Burning Method

  1. Drill some holes in the stump and put some potassium nitrate in these holes.
  2. Fill the holes with hot water and mix it a little bit so the potassium nitrate dissolves and coats the stump.
  3. Once the stump has absorbed the potassium nitrate mixture, it’s now flammable.
  4. Light the stump up and let it burn. Monitor the fire carefully and make sure that the flame smolders.
  5. Once it’s turned into charcoal and ash, dig out the stump.


When you’re done burning the stump and you can’t get all of the ash out, you can bury it in soil.


While all of these methods can successfully help you with tree stump removal, you can also add these two (2) extra tools to your arsenal to make the stump removal easier and quicker, and easier:

  • Pickaxe – For breaking dry, hard soil or dirt around the trunk.
  • Hedge Cutter (trimmer) – For cutting the surrounding plants that are in your way of cutting the stump.

Follow these steps and you’ll have a stump-free yard in no time!

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