Stump Removal Guide

Choose the Right Method for your Yard


Once you remove a tree, you’re still left with a stump. Even if you get a tree professionally removed, stump removal is usually not included. There are a few ways to take on this project, and each is detailed in this stump removal guide.

Stump Removal Guide

Removing a stump is more complicated than removing a tree. This is one of the reasons why it’s not included with professional tree removal. Different tools are needed and the process can take a while, depending on the method you use. Some methods are easy to DIY, some require more skill, but all are feasible ways for removing a stump.

Why Remove a Stump

Sometimes homeowners are happy with leaving the stump alone. They may even work it into their lawn decor. But sometimes a stump needs to be removed. Here’s why:

  • Hazards. Once stumps start growing grass, moss, and other plants around it, it becomes a tripping hazard. You can also damage lawn mowers and other lawn tools.
  • Attractive. But only to weeds and pests, especially if the stump is rotting away.
  • Eyesores. If you’ve had multiple trees removed, you have multiple stumps to stare at and navigate around.

Before starting any removal process, assess the stump to gauge how easy it may be to remove. Having a plan will help any process go smoothly. Knowing what type of tree you have and how far the roots may be situated also aids in deciding which method to use. Also, size, age, and the number of stumps should all factor into the decision process. After assessing your stump situation, pick from this list of stump removal methods.

Stump Grinding

This requires the proper tools and knowledge of how to use them. You can rent a grinder from a lawn and garden shop and do the job yourself, or hire a professional to handle the work. Remember, this is a heavy piece of machinery and can be dangerous if handled improperly. Here’s what to expect:

  1. Wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles. Clear rocks and other debris away from around the stump.
  2. Cut away as much of the stump as you can with a chainsaw, leaving it as level to the ground as possible.
  3. Using the hydraulic lever on the grinder, raise the wheel a few inches above the stump.
  4. Turn the machine on and lower it a few inches into the stump. Move it side to side with the lever.
  5. Move it forward and repeat the process until the entire stump is a few inches below ground.

Remove a Stump by Hand

If your tree is small, old, and rotting, you may be able to remove the stump manually.

  1. Use a chainsaw to remove any lower branches from the trunk.
  2. Remove the top portion of the trunk, but leave some to use as leverage.
  3. Shovel around the stump to dig up the roots.
  4. Cut the major roots with an ax. Push the trunk to expose even more roots and cut those as well. Continue until the trunk is entirely uprooted.
  5. Tougher trunks can be wrapped with a chain and connected to a four-wheel-drive truck. Slow back and forth movement can help wiggle the trunk until it is uprooted.

Chemical Stump Removal

There are products available to help soften the stump to make it easier to remove. Be careful when using any chemicals. Wear protective clothing and be sure the product doesn’t spill onto other plants.

  1. Cut off as much of the stump as possible with a chainsaw.
  2. Drill holes around the perimeter and middle of the stump. These holes should be about one inch wide and eight inches deep.
  3. Pour potassium nitrate into the holes.
  4. Fill the holes with water.
  5. After four to six weeks, the stump should be very spongy.
  6. Use an ax to break up the stump.

Burning a Stump

Similar to using chemicals, burning a stump can be dangerous too, so use caution.

  1. Follow the steps above, cleaning the debris out of the holes, and fill them with hot water until the potassium nitrate dissolves.
  2. Place scrap wood on top of the stump and light it.
  3. Remove the debris and fill the hole with soil.

Post Stump Removal Guide

Always check with your local authorities to see if stumps can be included with yard waste. You can also rent a wood chipper to make mulch out of any stump remains.

You’ll want to fill the hole with soil, then spread grass seed and cover it with mulch or hay. Water it well and monitor frequently until grass covers the area.

If you still have questions about stump removal and the best method to choose, contact Elite Tree Care. However you decide to deal with a tree stump, keep yourself and your lawn safe throughout the process.

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