How to Remove Tree Stumps (4 EASY DIY Methods)

Learn how to easily remove tree stumps. Do you have a beautiful yard with a few annoying tree stumps? Tree stump removal might be a good option for you. Let’s take a look at the different reasons that you may want to remove a tree stump and various methods that can be used to get the job done.

How to Remove Tree Stumps (4 EASY DIY Methods)

Reasons Why You Might Want to Remove a Tree Stump

If you have a tree stump in your yard and have thought about removing it, now might be the time. Below are a few reasons for getting rid of tree stumps.

  • Tree Stumps Can Be Eyesores – Imagine having a beautiful yard with neatly trimmed grass with an old tree stump in the middle. Tree stumps can ruin the aesthetic value of your yard, especially if weeds start to grow around them.
  • Tree Stumps Can Be Dangerous – A tree stump could be a dangerous tripping obstacle – especially if kids are running around the yard. Clearing out tree stumps will also give you more valuable space in your yard.
  • Tree Stumps Attract Pests and Mold – Tree stumps are the perfect home for ants, termites, beetles, and other pests. They are also a prime location for mold and other fungi to grow.

Different Methods of Stump Removal

Depending on the size and type of tree, some stumps will be easier to remove than others. For example, pine tree stumps can typically be removed easier than stumps from deciduous trees. Below are four easy methods (and one difficult method!) for removing tree stumps.

1. Use A Chain Saw for Stump Removal.

One approach to removing tree stumps is to use a chainsaw. Just keep in mind that your chainsaw will likely get dull if it contacts the dirt. First, use the chainsaw to cut the stump as low to the ground as possible.

Stump removal chainsaw

Next, cut a crisscross pattern into the stump that is a few inches below ground level.

Stump removal chainsaw cutting grooves.

Then use an axe, splitting maul, or wedge to chip away at the remaining portion of the stump.

Stump removal axe wedge splitting maul.

In this example, I am using an adze to help remove the remaining portion of the tree stump.

Stump removal adze hammer.

2. Use a Stump Grinder.

Renting a stump grinder might be one of the easiest methods to remove a stump. However, stump grinders can be heavy machines and somewhat expensive to rent. Plan on spending $100 to $200 per day to rent a stump grinder.

If using a stump grinder, start by clearing the area surrounding the stump and removing any rocks and debris. Next, use a chainsaw to cut the stump as low to the ground as possible. Once the prep work is done, turn on the grinder, and move it side to side as you grind down the stump. Continue this until the stump is below ground level. When stump grinding, remember to use protective gear and goggles and be extra careful when using dangerous machinery. You can also ask somebody from the machine rental place to advise how best to use the machine.

Tree stump grinding slower approach.

Tree stump grinding faster.

3. Use Chemicals to Remove Stumps.

Another option is to use chemicals to help remove tree stumps. This can be a good option if you don’t want to do much physical labor. First drill a few deep holes into the stump. Next, pour some chemical stump remover into each hole. Over four to six weeks, you will notice that the stump will start to get spongy. The spongy stump can then be easily broken apart with an axe.

Drilling holes to remove tree stump.

Potassium nitrate is commonly used for tree stump removal.

Chemical stump removal potassium nitrate

4. Remove the Stump by Burning It.

Burning the stump is another method that requires less physical labor. You’ll need some kerosene, diesel, or charcoal briquettes. Like in the previous method, first drill some deep holes into the stump (or cut grooves with a chainsaw). Next pour some kerosene or diesel into those holes. Once the stump soaks up all of the fuel, you can ignite it and let it burn up completely. Once it is done burning, add a layer of topsoil over it to put out any remaining flames. Although this is a quick and relatively cheap method of removing tree stumps, you have to be very careful and diligent when it comes to fire. You have to keep a close eye on the burning stump in case the fire spreads to the rest of your yard. You also have to check in with your neighborhood’s rules and regulations to see if burning anything in your yard is allowed.

Burning out a stump

5. Remove it Manually.

NOT AN EASY METHOD! Removing a tree stump manually can require a lot of hard labor. You would begin by clearing out the ground surrounding the stump and digging around it. Once the dirt surrounding the stump is loosened up, you would shovel it away to reveal the stump’s roots. Next, you could use an axe or chainsaw to cut the roots. Eventually, you will work your way to the taproot. After the taproot has been cut, you should be able to wiggle the stump right out of the ground. Depending upon the size, this method might take 10 hours or more to complete.

Finally, enjoy your beautiful yard!

Front yard with tree stumps removed.

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