How to Remove a Tree Stump Yourself

If you recently cut down a tree in the courtyard, you will also face the trouble of removing the stump, because removing it is not easy,In this article, we will discuss several popular steps and techniques for removing stumps:

  • Digging out the stump manually
  • Use a stump grinder to get rid of tree stump
  • Burn out the stump
  • Use chemicals to remove tree stump
  • Use epsom salt to remove tree stump
  • Use the cover method to clear the stump

Remove the stump manually will definitely be more labor-intensive, but the stump removal can be completed faster. This method is most suitable for small and medium-sized tree trunks. If your stump is large, you may need a stump shredder, which we will discuss later. It may take about 3 to 10 hours to complete the project.

Tools you need to collect or buy:

  • Pickaxe mattock ($ 15-50)
  • Long handle scissors or saw ($10-30)
  • Axe ($ 30-40)
  • Shovel ($ 15-30)
  • Work gloves ($5 )

Digging out the stump manually

1. Dig next to the stump with a hoe

Until all the large roots buried in the soil are dug out, it should be noted that if the roots look large and deep, it is difficult to dig them out completely. You can consider using other methods to remove the roots.

2. Chopped roots

Depending on the size of the tree roots, use long-handled scissors or saws to chop them up. Cut the root of the tree into small pieces that are easy to handle.

3. Clean up the stump

Clean up as many root systems as possible. Before pulling out the stump, use a shovel to dig under the stump and cut off the main root. After all or most of the roots have been processed, the stump can be easily removed.

4. Fill up the tree pit

The final step is to fill the hole with soil or sawdust.

Use a stump grinder to remove tree stump

If you are dealing with larger stumps, or if you want to remove multiple old stumps, renting a stump grinder may be your best DIY option. This machine can cut stumps and roots about 30 cm deep underground. The rental cost of a stump shredder provided by your local home decor store is usually between $ 100 and $ 200. If you have never used a stump grinder, it is best to find someone at the rental office to teach you how to use the equipment.

You also need some additional tools, including:

  • Shovel
  • Chainsaw
  • Working gloves
  • Goggles or ear protectors

Remember: Stump shredders are dangerous equipment, and you should always wear protective equipment. Pay special attention to wearing protective glasses or goggles because wood chips and other debris can fly everywhere.

How to use the stump crusher to clear the stump?

1. Use a chainsaw

Use a chainsaw to cut the stump to a height close to the ground, and clean it as much as possible the branches and roots beyond the ground.

2. Use a grinder to start cutting

Place and open the cutting machine according to the operating instructions, and slowly move the cutting machine along the surface of the stump to cut the stump into small pieces. Continue cutting along the aerial roots until the stump is completely shredded.

3. Fill the hole

Clean up all wood chips and fill the holes formed with the soil or sawdust.

Burn the Tree Stump

Burning tree stumps can be combined with chemical stump removal methods. Open flames may be restricted in your area, especially in well-ventilated areas. Therefore, you must call the local fire department before burning to determine whether you can burn the stump. Supplies needed:
Kerosene or fuel oil
Electric drill

How to burn out a stump?

1. Drilling with electric drill

Use an electric drill to drill many holes about 10 inches deep in the stump.

2. Pour fuel

Pour kerosene or fuel oil into the holes. Wait for kerosene to fully penetrate into the stump (it may take a few weeks)

3. Fire

Consider putting a circle of stones around the stump and putting the wood on the stump. It is easy to light a fire on a tree stump. Let it burns until the stump is completely burned.
Smoldering may also be considered. The stump will continue to smolder for several days, leaving a hole full of charcoal.

4. Shovel out the ashes

After the entire tree stump is burned, the remaining trunk parts must be chopped and removed with an axe. Shovel out the ashes in the hole and throw them away.

5. Fill the hole

Fill the hole formed by the treatment with soil or sawdust.

Use Tree Stump Killer and Chemical Stump Removal

The use of chemicals to remove tree stumps is the least labor-intensive method. Most stump killer brands on the market today are made from powdered potassium nitrate. This chemical contains a high concentration of nitrogen, which can accelerate the decay process. After using the stump killer for 4-6 weeks, the stump will become spongy and you can use an axe to break the rotten wood.

It should be noted that children and pets should be kept away from stumps, because inhalation of stump removal powder can cause harm to children and pets.

If you already have a chainsaw and an electric drill, then you will need to purchase less than $ 20.

To remove stumps using chemicals, you need to prepare:

  • Chainsaw and electric drill
  • Potassium nitrate
  • ax
  • Oil cloth or plastic tarpaulin
  • Kerosene or fuel oil

How to Remove a Tree Stump Using Chemicals?

1. Use a chainsaw

Pull out as many tree stumps as possible on the ground. And make sure to wear protective safety equipment, such as work gloves and safety goggles.

2. Drill holes in the stump

Drilling machines that use large bits drill many evenly distributed holes in the top of the stump, each about 10 inches deep.

3. Use stump de-rooting agent

Please pour the de-rooting agent on the stump according to the instructions and fill every hole in the stump. Pour water into the hole of the stump. After the potassium nitrate reacts with the wood, it will accelerate their softening and rot. After operating the above steps, cover the area with a plastic tarp. The tarp will help retain moisture and speed up the stump decay process.

4. Check the stump regularly

After 4 to 6 weeks, your stumps should start to soften and rot and become spongy. When you think it is soft enough to be easily removed, you can do the rest.

5. Chopped stumps

Use an axe or shovel to chop the softened stump and remove the debris until the stump is leveled.

6. Use fire (optional)

Put a fire on the remaining softened wood to remove the remaining part of the stump and the roots.

7. fill the hole

After the fire burned, the ashes were dug and discarded. Fill the hole with soil or other fillers, such as sawdust.

Use Epsom Salt to Remove Tree Stump

If you don’t want to use chemicals, fuel or other unnatural substances to kill the stump. You can use 100% Epsom salt without added Epsom salt, which contains magnesium and sulfur. When used directly on a tree stump, Epsom salt will prevent it from absorbing the water and nutrients needed for life, and will eventually rot and decompose the tree stump, which is easy to remove manually.

To remove stumps with Epsom salt, you need to prepare:

  • Chainsaw and electric drill
  • Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate)
  • Oil cloth or plastic tarpaulin

How to use Epsom salt to clear tree stumps?

1. Drill holes in tree stumps

A drilling machine using a large bit drills many evenly distributed holes in the top of the stump to allow the solution to penetrate. These holes are about 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters wide and at least 20 centimeters deep. If your drill is long enough, you can also drill to a depth of 30 centimeters to ensure that the salt solution penetrates into the roots under the stump.

2. Fill the building with epsom salt

Pour the Epsom salt directly into the drill hole and fill to the top. Add enough water to the well to wet the salt.

3. Covered tree stump

Depending on the season, you may need to cover the stump with a tarpaulin. This prevents rainwater from filling the holes and excessively diluting Epsom salt. As long as there is no sun and rain to continuously nourish the new shoots, the stump will die faster.

4. Regular inspection

This process is repeated every 4 weeks until the stump dies.

In various situations, Epsom salt is a good choice for removing stumps. It provides a solution with high safety performance, low cost, easy implementation and no harm to the environment. The only drawback is that you have to wait for a few months.

Use the cover method to clear the stump

You can also directly use the method of covering the stump and blocking the sunlight to kill the stump.

1. Put a dark tarpaulin on the stump to keep the stump away from sunlight and moisture.

2. Wait 4-6 months and check regularly, the stump will start to rot and decompose .

3. As the stump rots and decomposes, you can use the stump to remove dissolved or catharsis salts to accelerate decomposition until the stump is completely rotted, and finally remove the stump.


Through the introduction, we already know how to use the DIY method to clear the stump. You can remove the stump by sanding, manually pulling out, burning or using chemicals to rot. Among these four methods, the stump grinder removes the stump quickly, but it is the most expensive. Pulling out the stump is the most tedious job, but the cost is not high. Burning is the easiest, but it may require a few days of smoldering, while chemical decay takes 4-6 weeks. No matter what method is used for removal, be sure to pay attention to safety when using the stump removal tool.