How To Get Rid of Tree Stumps

Posted in Blog  
  on Apr 05, 2016

If you choose to cut down a tree (for whatever reason you are doing this), the job doesn't end there. You'll still have a stump in the ground, and it may need to be removed.

In the past, you might have hooked up some chains to the root base after you spent hours digging out around the stump and maybe you could have pulled it out.

Today you can get the job done without that much sweat, without tearing up all the dirt, and still be done before the sun goes down.

If you want to know how to get rid of tree stumps, then you'll need to choose a removal method to get started. Here are some of your options that are available today.

1. Encourage The Decomposition Process.

If you don't need the stump to disappear immediately, then try encouraging the stump to turn itself into plant food.

You can do this by drilling a series of holes into the flat portion of the stump.

You'll need to drill down at least 4 inches into the stump using a 1 inch bit. Then drill holes around the edge of the stump so that you've covered the entire circumference.

Once you've done this, you can insert potassium nitrate granules into the holes to start having it rot out. This process takes about 4-6 weeks.

If you have kids or pets at home, Epsom salt might be a better choice. Just fill up the holes with the salt and over time the stump will become spongy. You'll then be able to chop it out pretty easily with handheld tools.

2. Grind It Out.

If you don't want to wait 4-6 weeks to get that ugly stump out of your yard, then consider renting a power grinder from your local equipment rental shop.

An afternoon rental will typically cost between $75-$150 depending on your local market.

Then you'll just hold the grinder on the stump and turn it into sawdust. You'll want to make sure you've gone under the ground level when grinding to prevent any future hazards in the yard.

Make sure you're wearing all necessary safety equipment if this is the method you choose. This is likely the best method for those who have just cut down a tree and want the stump removed right away.

Most of the other options work better if the stump has been sitting in the ground for at least 12 months.

If you don't want to grind it out, then you'll have to dig out the root base, disconnect it from the trunk, and then pull it out with a crane, a truck, or some other vehicle.

3. You Could Burn It Out.

If you don't want to perform any more labor because you're just done with this tree, then you may be able to burn the stump out of the ground.

This means you pour kerosene or gasoline onto the stump, stand back, and light it up.

Although you can light it immediately and then keep the fire burning hot, it works better if you let the fuel soak into the stump for a few days. This will allow the wood to continue smoldering even after the fire goes out and that will help you take out much of the root system as well.

If you do choose this method, be aware that not all jurisdictions will allow it.

For those that do, you may be required to pick up a burn permit before beginning. The local fire department may also wish to have a representative at your location and you may be asked to pay for that representation.

4. Or You Could Just Leave It Alone.

Some stumps have become part of the landscape of a yard.

A flat stump becomes a nice place to put yard decorations, a piece of furniture, or other useful items.

If you decide that you'd rather keep the stump instead of dealing with the potential headache of taking it out, then consider using a wood sealant on the stump to help protect the surface.

Follow the instructions on your preferred sealant and be aware that it may take a coat or two more than needed for other wood surfaces.

Knowing how to get rid of tree stumps has evolved past the days when you'd risk the axles of your truck to pull it out.

Consider these methods today if you've got a stump to remove and then choose the one that works best for you.


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