How to Remove a Tree Stump: The Different Ways Explained

It’s taken you three times of tripping over the tree stump in your yard for you to realize that it might be time to remove it. It’s a huge eyesore and you’re pretty sure it’s attracting insects.

The thing is, you’re not sure how to remove a tree stump. You don’t even know if you have the right tools to start the removal process.

According to, there are several ways to get rid of that annoying stump and not all of them are labor-intensive with a long list of equipment that you need. Keep reading to learn what you can do to get the job done.

Chemical Removal


If you’re looking for an easy way to remove a tree stump that doesn’t involve a whole lot of labor, chemicals are going to be your go-to. We will say that this process takes quite a while.

Once you apply the chemicals it goes to work rotting the stump. It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months depending on how large the stump is. You will need a chainsaw, drill, plastic tarp, mulch, an ax, and the chemicals to get started.

  • The Process

Use your chainsaw to get rid of as much of the stump as you can before you apply the chemicals. After that’s done, take your drill and put several large holes into the top of the stump. The holes need to be as close together as you can manage.

Fill the holes up with water and then go behind it with potassium nitrate. If you don’t like the idea of using harsh chemicals, Epsom salt will do the trick as well. Wet the ground around the tree with water and cover the stump with a plastic tarp.

Cover the tarp with mulch to keep it in place and also hold moisture in. Repeat this process once a week or so until the stump has gotten soft enough for you to chip away at with an ax.

Dig the Stump Out


If you don’t want to wait long enough for chemicals to rot the stump and you don’t mind heavy labor, your next best option is to put on safety gear and dig the stump out of the ground.

This job should only take around three hours (give or take depending on how big the stump is). You’ll need to grab an ax, shovel, and mattock before you get to digging.

It’s important to note before you pick up your gear that this job works best for small and medium-sized stumps. If you’re dealing with a rather large one, skip down to our section on using a grinder.

  • The Process

Use the broad side of the mattock to loosen up the dirt around the stump. Grab your shovel and remove the loose dirt until you can see the tree roots.

Pick up your mattock again so you can cut the roots and pull them away from the trunk. Keep this process up until you get to the taproot.  Clear the dirt away from the taproot and then cut it with your ax.

Once the taproot is cut, you should be able to shift the stump until it comes out of the ground.

Burn the Stump


You can start with this removal process or use it along with one of the other options on this list. It’s one of the fastest methods for getting rid of tree stumps but it’s not allowed in all neighborhoods. You’ll want to find out where yours stands before you buy the tree stump removal product, power drill, and kerosene needed for the job.

  • The Process

Drill a few holes into the stump and pour some of your tree removal products into them. This will help the tree absorb the kerosene that you’ll pour into the holes.

Give the wood a few minutes to soak in the kerosene before you ignite it and watch it burn. Keep an eye on it to make sure the fire doesn’t get out of control. Once the stump is gone, cover the area with soil to put out the fire.

Use a Grinder


If you’re dealing with a large tree stump or you have several that you have to take care of, using a grinder is going to be your best stump removal option. You can rent a grinder from your local hardware store for a hundred bucks or so. You’ll also have to invest in a shovel, chainsaw, and mattock.

  • The Process

Before you begin, it’s important that you read up on how to use a grinder. They aren’t the easiest things to use and you’ll need to wear certain clothes to keep yourself safe.

After you’ve learned everything you need to know, use your shovel to clear any dirt and rocks away from the base of the stump you want to get rid of. Take your chainsaw and carve away as much of the stump as you can.

Grab your grinder and hold it an inch or two above your stump before you turn it on. Lower the grinder down and move it side to side. Keep this up until the tree is about four inches into the ground.

Cover up the hole using woodchips and topsoil and that’s it.

Call a Professional to Take Care of it

If you don’t feel comfortable using any of the methods that we’ve talked about, call in a tree stump removal professional. In most cases, renting a grinder is more expensive than paying someone to do the job so you may come out of it with more money in your pocket. You also don’t have to waste time learning how to use a new piece of equipment.

How to Remove a Tree Stump the Right Way


Do you have an ugly stump in your yard that you want to get rid of? Learn how to remove a tree stump. If you leave it alone you may attract unwanted pests or someone may trip over it and get hurt.

If you feel uncomfortable removing the tree stump, a local professional can do it for you. Contact an experienced local tree service professional for an estimate.

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