How To Get Rid Of Tree Stumps

Bill Taylor
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Know Your Stump

It’s important to know what you’re working with before you start the removal process. This helps you determine your approach and how much time or effort the removal will take.

Three main types of tree stumps are out there and knowing what type of stump you have is the first step in figuring out how to remove it.

Type 1: Straight up and down, this stump is easy to remove. Go for direct removal by cutting the stump off at ground level or tackle the removal using one of the less complicated removal methods outlined on this page.

Type 2: This stump has a wide base and usually must be cut off before (or with) chopping it up and removing it.

Type 3: This stump is either a stump that was cut off and allowed to sprout again, or an underground stump. Because you’ve chopped it off at its base, it’s probably still emerging out of the ground as a root system. You might hear people refer to this as a root stump.

Use Chemicals

The most effective way to kill a tree stump is to inject it with chemicals. You'll need to inject chemicals into the center of the stump. Wring a towel out in a bucket of water and cover the stump and towel with an old sheet or tarp. Cover the tarp with an old piece of wood to hold it in place. Don't put too much weight on the wood; leave a few inches between the wood and the ground. Add several pounds of weight on top of the wood, then put 1 to 2 inches of soil over the wood. The weight is important. If you don't cover the stump enough, the chemicals can leach into the soil and affect other plants.

Inject the chemicals into the center of the stump, keeping the plunger depressed. If you don't have a chemical injector you can also put the chemicals into a syringe and inject the stump by hand. Use a 30:2 or 10:1 ratio of water to herbicide, and always read the safety label of any chemical you plan to use. Stump killer should come with instructions on how to use it.

You've snipped a couple of centimeters off the top of the stump and have exposed the inside. Now you'll inject the stump killer. Douse the inside of the stump with the water and herbicide mixture and keep the plunger depressed. Wait for roots to die and stump to rot before removing it.

Using Epsom Salt

When a tree is removed, sometimes the stump is left behind. These stumps won't rot away naturally and will generally stay put unless removed or treated. Because of the nature of the wood, they are usually hard and dense.

To remove them, you can either dig or break the stump out with machinery. This can be extremely difficult and time-consuming, especially if you are trying to dig it out.

The best way to remove the stump is to treat it with Epsom salt. Wrap the stump in plastic and saturate it with Epsom salt. This is an effective way to kill the roots and the stump, so that you can easily pull it out.

For really small stumps, you can also wrap the stump in newspaper, wet it with Epsom salt and let it sit overnight.

Manually Remove Stump

Stump removal can be costly, time consuming, and further damage your yard.

If you are not planning to move, the stump can be a burden you live with until the stump and roots has decomposed and the stump has rotted into the ground. It can take up to 20 years for the stump to rot enough that it can be removed easily.

If removing the stump is a must, you might want to hire a tree service to do the job for you. The tree service tends to use a technique called "stump grinding" to remove the stump which makes the entire process easier.

If you want to do it yourself before you hire a professional, then try digging around the stump to loosen the roots. After the roots are loose, you can pull the stump from the ground and scrape it clean of any remaining roots. Use a wood chipper or other stump dumping option to ensure all the debris is removed.

To keep the grass from growing back into the soil, apply phosphate-rich fertilizer to the area. It contains nutrients that will kill any remaining bacteria in the soil. Raw peat moss and wood ash will also be helpful in a similar way.

Burn The Stump

If you have a nice, warm day and you're looking to get rid of that stump the fastest, then I would burn the stump. Just use a little kerosene on there and a lot of safety precautions. I don't recommend doing it at night. Find a nice day, when you don't have to worry about burning the house down. Get a long brush and just kind of dig into the dirt next to the stump. Dig a little trench. Pour some kerosene in and just light that baby! It's amazing the kind of dirt flying off that stump. When you get the stump to turn grey and white, you know you're getting pretty close to burning the stump out.

Use caution when using fire to get rid of your stumps. Fire can spread and get out of control. Be aware of the possibility of the fire spreading to other trees, the grass, the shed, or even your house.

Use A Stump Grinder

A stump grinder is a specialized piece of equipment used to grind tree stumps and roots. It's also known as a grubber or a stump-grinding machine. If you're looking to get rid of a tree stump, this is the best option. A stump grinder increases the efficiency of tree stump removal with less time and effort and no digging. While there are several options for removing tree stumps and roots, the least invasive method is almost always the best way to go. This is especially true if a tree stump is near a building or buried underneath the lawn.

There are many types of stump grinders ranging from small, handheld grinders to larger tractors that can be mounted on an excavator. Handheld stump grinder models are typically powered by gas or electricity. The most common handheld grinder is the Stump-Eze that uses a gasoline-powered pneumatic engine or a battery power option. It is available in various models that focus on different size tree stumps and also features a tool-free depth adjuster and an adjustable guard to protect against over cutting.

Some garden centers sell Stump Grinder mixes. It's worth asking if they have a display near large trees.

Call In The Professionals

If you have a long stump or a stump that reaches below ground level, then you will need to call in the professionals. You'll probably also need to hire a heavy-duty stump grinder or a backhoe to dig up your soil and excavate your stump, depending on how deep your stump goes down. Do not attempt to DIY with any of this. Unless you are a professional yourself.…

But there is some hope. It is possible to get rid of a tree stump. Just to remind everyone, never try to burn, cut, or remove your tree stump on your own no matter how much you hate it.

A large section of the stump can remain after cutting. To make removal easier, you can slice off the root ball 1 inch below the ground line. This will allow the stump to dry and break free from its roots.

What Not To Do

The average homeowner uses a few different methods to get rid of tree stumps.

Some people try to chip the stump by using a sledgehammer and chisel. The chipping process can be messy, labor intensive, and if you have hired a professional landscaper, it could lead to some costly landscaper mistakes.

Next, they might try to burn the stump out with a torch. This requires starting a fire in your yard, using flammable materials, and the stump could smoulder for weeks.

When To Remove A Tree Stump

A tree stump is wood that is usually left after a tree has been removed. While a few stump removal services can perform the task in a few hours, most projects take several days. The best time to remove a tree stump depends on several factors, such as your life schedule and the best season for removal. If you need help, visit this site for more information about tree stump removal.

If you have a new construction project and want the stump removed before the building is completed, during the winter months is best. A contractor can grind out the stump and start the new project immediately. This is pricey, but the cost may be worth the time that is saved. If you plan to have a new swimming pool or patio installed in a few months or a year, your contractor can save a lot of backbreaking labor by removing the stump during the off-season when the ground is too frozen or too wet to work.

Quick Tips

If you own some real estate, odds are there will be a tree on it. And if you own any property in a wooded area, you can bet there are at least a few trees on it. And if you own property that is heavily wooded, you're almost certain to have a few trees growing where you don't want them or where they create an undesirable appearance.

And so, how do you remove a tree stump from your yard? You have four options. You can hire a landscaper or yard expert. You can buy a tree stump grinder. You can use a chainsaw. Or you can dig up the stump with a mattock. The following are quick tips to safely remove tree stumps from your lawn.

Tools Required

There are many tools you can use to get rid of stumps. Chances are, if you want to remove tree stumps, you have a fairly big tree. It’s also likely that you don’t have a crane that can lift it out or a bulldozer with a chainsaw attachment. So, what are your options?

The first is to use a stump grinder. Stump grinders come with a chainsaw attachment and are basically a chainsaw on a stick. You might find that they can’t get all the way around the tree stump. This usually means that you’ll have to follow them around and use a saw to help them out.

Stumps are not cheap to remove, either. There are companies that will do it for you, but it will still cost a fair bit of money. The less expensive alternative is to find friends or family, who have a chainsaw or a stump grinder and maybe they can help. A lot of people may turn you down, finding it a hassle and I’d be surprised if anyone volunteered without some sort of incentive. A case of beer seems to be a fair trade for a few hours of labor.