If you have an unsightly tree stump in your yard that’s getting in the way, you’ve probably thought about having it removed. While you can always hire a professional to take care of it for you, for those who want to give it a shot on their own, we’ve found 5 ways to remove tree stumps.
1. Burn the Stump
For this method, you will be creating a small fire to burn the stump out of the ground. This is a relatively easy method that requires some time and supervision.
- Chopped wood to burn
- Matches or lighter
- Before you can begin, it’s important to know if you’re allowed to have a fire on your property. There may be restrictions in your area especially if you live where draughts area concern. You can check online or give your local fire department a call to check.
- Once you have the okay to go ahead, you will need to build a small fire around and on top of the stump. The stump should be at the centre of the fire.
- Light the fire and keep it burning. Burning the stump to the ground will take several hours so it’s important you have the time set aside to keep an eye on it and add more wood.
- Once the stump is gone you will need to shovel out the ash and discard it.
- You can then fill the hole with sawdust. You may need to add some sawdust to refill the hole every few months as the ground naturally settles.
2. Chemical Stump Remover
This method is a bit more involved than burning the stump, but it works just as well. You will need to put in a bit more effort and the wait time is longer for the stump to be completely gone.
- 1 can of tree stump removal powder
- Axe or shovel
- Lighter or matches
- Using a drill with a large bit, drill holes into the top of the stump. The holes should be evenly spaced out and the number of holes will depend on how big your stump is. Space them out a few inches and drill down about 12 inches deep.
- Take your stump removal powder and add it to the holes. Be sure to read and follow the stump removal powder instructions as products can vary.
- Stump removal powder is made up of potassium nitrate which causes the wood to soften and rot. It’s very important you keep any pets or children away from the stump while the powder is working.
- The powder will take a few weeks to work. Keep an eye on the stump and when it looks soft enough to remove it’s time to remove it for good.
- Use an axe or shovel to chop up the softened stump into pieces and throw them away. Keep removing the stump until it is as close to level as you can get it.
- Burn the remaining bit of the stump using the method above.
- Once the stump is gone, you can shovel out the remaining ash and fill the hole with sawdust.
3. Dig Out the Stump
This method is best for smaller trees with roots that are not very deep or large. If you have a very large tree stump you may want to consider a different removal method for it.
- Root saw
- Grub hoe
- Use your shovel to dig around the circumference of the stump. Keep digging until the roots are exposed and easy to see. You want to expose them as much as possible so removal is easier.
- Now that you can see the roots, it’s time to chop them up and pull them out of the ground. Try to clear as much of the roots as possible. You will need to use a root saw to do this. A regular axe will not work as it can shatter if it hits a rock. Be careful when using tools you’re unfamiliar with.
- Using a tool called a grub hoe, you can then dig out the remaining roots.
- Now that most of the roots are gone, you can use a shovel to remove the rest of the stump. You may need to dig a little more to get it free, but it should come out easily by this point.
- Remember to fill in the empty hole with sawdust or another filler.
4. Grinding the Stump
This is the most advanced and difficult method. You will need to borrow or rent a stump grinder for this method. Make sure you are comfortable using one before you consider going forward.
- Stump grinder
- Safety glasses
- Ear protectors
- A stump grinder is a machine that looks similar to a lawnmower but it is used exclusively to grind up stumps and their roots. The stump grinder will reach about a foot beneath the ground. Be sure to wear safety gloves, glasses and ear protectors.
- Follow the instructions that come with the stump grinder and begin grinding. You will need to move the stump grinder around the circumference so that all the roots are ground as well.
- Once the stump is gone, you will need to shovel out the leftover bits of ground-up wood.
- Fill the hole with sawdust to finish the project.
5. Call in the Pros
If the above methods seem too time-consuming or difficult, you can always call in the pros to take care of it for you.
- Go to HomeStars’ Tree Removal category and browse companies in your area. Make sure to read reviews and look at each company’s Star Score.
- When you’re ready to hire, submit a service request to either one company in particular, or use this form and HomeStars will find 3 reputable tree removal companies in your area and provide them with the job details.
- Hire a company and sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.
Now that you know what your options are when it comes to tree stump removal, the only thing left to do is pick a method. Good luck removing your stump!
Cover image courtesy of The Spruce.