Your Complete Tree Stump Removal Guide

Your Complete Tree Stump Removal Guide

You have a beautiful yard. There’s only one thing that’s ruining the scenery. You’ve got a large tree stump sitting in the middle of your lawn.

It’s an eyesore, and you’ve almost tripped over it a handful of times. The question is, how are you supposed to get rid of it? Can you handle it yourself, or should you call a tree stump removal service like The Local Tree Expert?

That depends on how comfortable you are with handling heavy equipment or chemicals. Check out this guide to learn the different ways to get rid of a stump so you can start enjoying your beautiful yard again.


If you’re looking for a cheap tree stump removal option, you can decay it with chemicals. The steps aren’t too intensive, either. There’s only one problem that people have going this route.

It’s slow. It can take months for your stump to become soft enough for you to finish it off with an ax. If you’re fine with playing the waiting game, here’s how it’s done.

Chemical Instructions

Magnesium and sulfur pull the moisture out of a stump and allow it to decay much faster than it normally would. You can buy specialty chemicals from the hardware store, or you can use Epsom salts.

Whatever you decide to use, drill holes into the stump that are about an inch wide. If you’re using chemicals, you’ll pour the liquid into the holes you made and drench the top of the stump with water. If you’re using Epsom salts, sprinkle them on top of the stump and follow it up with water.

Cover the top of the tree with a tarp. You can coat the bottom sides of the tarp with mulch to hold it in place. Pour water around the mulch to add to the decaying process.

You’ll repeat these steps every few weeks or so until the stump becomes soft and spongey enough for you to hack away at it with a regular old ax.

Boiling Water

If you don’t have chemicals or Epsom salts on hand, you can always use heat. Hack away at the sides of the stump until you’ve exposed as many roots as possible.

Pour the boiling water over the roots. This will shock the system enough to jumpstart the decomposition process. It may take a long time for the stump to be out of your hair, but it’s safe and effective.

Kill It With Fire 

Before you grab a box of matches, you’ll need to do a little research. Some states have outlawed using fire in the tree and stump removal process. You’ll have to check with your local fire department to find out if you’re safe.

If you have the go-ahead, you can do one of two things. You can drill holes into the stump and pour kerosene into them before lighting the surface on fire. This will destroy the stump on a deeper level, but it takes a long time.

You could also cut criss-cross patterns into the top of the stump using a saw. When you’re done, put some kindling on top and wait for the stump to burn.

There might be some roots left over after the stump burns down. You can use a shovel to cut them and pull them out of the ground.

Dig the Stump 

When figuring out how to remove a tree stump, many people avoid this method because it’s a lot of hard work. You could spend up to 12 hours or more pulling the offending object out of the ground, depending on how large it is.

Take a shovel and dig around your stump until you’ve exposed the roots. As you go along, you’ll find both large roots and smaller ones. Small clippers can handle the tiny ones, but you’ll have to use a hatchet or hacksaw for the bigger ones.

Once you’ve cut through all the roots, you can slowly wiggle the stump out of the ground. If you can’t get it to budge, you may have to wrap a chain around it. If you connect said chain to a four-wheel truck, you may eventually pull the stump out of the ground.

Grind the Stump Down 

If you have a large stump on your hands, you may have no choice but to buy one of these tree stump grinders and use that to drive the object into the ground.

Before you get started, use a chain saw to trim the stump down as far as you can. You’ll also want to use a shovel to remove any rocks and debris from around the stump.

If you don’t, these objects might get caught in the grinder and fly toward your face. Bring the grinder down about three inches away from the top of the stump before you turn it on.

Slowly lower the machine down while moving it from side to side. Grind the stump down until it’s about four inches into the ground. When you’re done, you can cover the area with soil and plant whatever you want in the stump’s place.

Your Guide to the Tree Stump Removal Process

Having a stump in your yard isn’t only a huge eyesore. It can also be more than a little dangerous. You can trip over it and injure yourself.

As the wood decays, it can also attract insects toward your home and cause a bunch of other issues. Trust us you’re better off using these steps for tree stump removal to get rid of it.

Once you no longer have a huge tree stump in your yard, you can begin an awesome landscaping project. Check out the Home & Design section of our blog to learn what you can do with your lawn.

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