DIY Stump Removal Process

Plan for an Easier Process


You may have enlisted professional help to remove a tree from your property, but you may be able to take care of the stump removal process yourself.

Why Remove a Stump

The stump removal process is more complicated than simply chopping down a tree. This is why it’s usually not included in the cost of tree removal. Since the process is more involved, some people may choose to just keep the stump where it is. Here are a few reasons why others choose to remove it:

  • Hazardous. Stumps can become overgrown with grass, leaves, and other plants, making them less visible and more dangerous. Whether running around on the lawn or mowing the grass, camouflaged stumps are a liability.
  • Eyesores. Looking out across your lush green lawn is abruptly disrupted by a giant tree stump. One that’s covered in weeds or in various stages of decay is even worse.
  • Uneven. Whether you want to clear a space for a garden or a shed, a stump can get in the way.

Stump Grinding Process

Some tree stumps are easier to remove than others. Having a plan will make the process even easier. Some things to keep in mind while planning:

  • Roots of pine trees are wide, flat, and more shallow, making them easier to remove.
  • Deciduous tree roots tend to be long, deep, and harder to remove.
  • The older a stump, the easier it is to remove.
  • The smaller the stump, the easier.
  • Consider the total number of stumps that need to be removed. The more stumps, the more heavy duty the equipment you should rent to make the process easier.

What equipment do you need? Renting a stump grinder makes more sense when there are several stumps to remove. It should still be used with great care and protective gear. You’ll also need a shovel, chainsaw, and rake. Here’s what to do:

  1. Clear the area around the stump of rocks and other debris.
  2. Level the stump by cutting away as much of the stump as possible with a chainsaw.
  3. Raise the grinder wheel a couple of inches above the stump. Move it side to side, grinding down to about four inches with the wheel. Repeat the process until the entire stump is a few inches below ground.

Manual Stump Removal

If you’d rather remove the stump without renting heavy machinery, here’s what to do:

1. Uproot the stump.

  • Use a chainsaw to level the stump.
  • Use a shovel to dig out the roots.
  • Cut the major roots with an ax.
  • Push and pull the trunk until it’s uprooted.

2. Kill it with chemicals.

  • Cut the stump down with a chainsaw.
  • Drill one-inch holes around the stump.
  • Pour potassium nitrate into the holes.
  • Fill the holes with hot water.
  • Wait until the stump becomes spongy and easier to chop up.

3. Burning a stump.

  • Follow the same chemical instructions.
  • Once all chemicals are dissolved, place scrap wood on top and ignite.

Contact your city to find out the best way to dispose of old stumps. They may not be picked up with yard waste. If you have many stumps, renting a wood chipper is an option.

After removing a stump, fill in the hole with topsoil, spread grass seed on top, and cover it with mulch. Water it well and watch it blend back in with your lawn.

Professional Stump Removal

If it’s starting to sound like DIY stump removal is not for you, hiring a professional is another option. The cost may be the same as renting equipment, plus they’ll know what they’re doing and may even haul the stump away. Contact Elite Tree Care for more information about stump removal and consider all your options.

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