How to Remove a Tree Stump

How to Remove a Tree Stump

How do you remove a tree stump after looping the tree over? Extracting the stump is more intrusive, requiring extensive excavation to ensure the tree’s widespread root system is out of the ground. It is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and demanding.

New tree shoots keep germinating, leeching moisture and nutrients from surrounding vegetation without complete removal. No matter your speed at pulling them out, the regeneration will continue as long as the environment is conducive. Here are detailed methods, including a step-by-step guideline on tree stamp removal without leaving lingering roots that may intrude on your yard space in the future with new shoots.

4 Simple Methods to Remove a Tree Stump

The Chemical Removal Method

Tools Required

  • Corded drill
  • Axe
  • Shovel
  • Stump grinder
  • Shovel
  • Wood chipper
  • Chain saw
  • Tree stump removal chemical
  • Safety gear: safety glasses, ear protection, and strong footwear

Step 1: Clear the Area around the Stump

The best time to remove a tree stump is during the warmer months when the wood is dry. Start clearing any vegetation around the stump using a shovel, axe, and your hands. Use the shovel to remove the dirt and uprooted plants from the stump site. 

Ensure the stump is as low to the ground as possible. You can use a chainsaw to reduce the stump length if you are a professional. Remember, a chainsaw is a dangerous tool and requires expertise to operate.

Step 2: Drill Holes on The Stump

Drill holes downwards into the tree stump’s top and sides using your corded drill. Ensure the holes are as deep as possible. A bigger drill bit will achieve better results for this step. However, if you lack a sizable drill bit, use any drill.

Step 3: Pour the Tree Stump Removal Chemical

The Chemical Stump Removal Method

Saturate the holes with the stump removal chemical. Apply the chemical to the remaining parts of the stump. The chemical disintegrates the structure of the remaining wood.

Many states have legal restrictions on the type of chemicals used in this project. Ensure that you use a chemical approved by your state. An ideal chemical is a nitrogen-concentrated commercial fertilizer, like potassium nitrate. It breaks down the stump rapidly. Alternatively, you can use cow manure, an eco-friendly alternative that is equally effective.

Epsom salt is also environmentally friendly. It effectively breaks down the tree stump, is affordable—a 19-lb bag costs $10—and is not as disgusting as handling cow manure. The salt dissolves into the wood like nitrogen without negatively affecting the environment. 

Step 4: Soak and Wrap the Stump

Once you are satisfied with the chemical covering, soak the stump in water. Water helps the chemical penetrate the stump and the wood. Cover the stump to trap the moisture and enhance the decomposition process.

Apply mulch on top of the wrap. For best results, use hay or tree bark. You can also use stones to hold the wrap in place and prevent moisture from escaping into the atmosphere.

Nature takes time. So, be patient with the rotting rate. Wait about four to six weeks for the chemical to work on the stump. The degradation is complete when the wood becomes soft and mushy.

Step 5: Remove the Roots

Burning what is left of the stump can eliminate the tree roots. Some manufacturers recommend using kerosine or fuel oil. However, avoid using gasoline because it is highly flammable, unlikely to penetrate the remaining stump, and toxic to the environment if it spills into the ground.

You can pour the kerosene or fuel oil together with the chemical in step 4. After the chemical works on the wood, ignite several matchsticks in the holes on the stump, letting it smolder for days. After several days, you will find a charcoal-filled stump.

Remember to be cautious about having an active smolder in your yard. It is a fire hazard. Make sure there is nothing flammable next to the smoking pit. Remove all leaves and secure the site with chicken wire. Have a hose nearby in case a fire breaks out because of strong winds or any other accident. Clear the remaining roots with the axe and shovel.

The Tractor or Backhoe Method

Tractor stump removal

Required Tools and Equipment

  • Tractor
  • Backhoe
  • Shovel
  • Axe
  • Safety gear
    1. Start by working around the trump, removing exposed roots and freeing those entangled with the dirt and other plant roots. Use a shovel, axe, and your hands to free the roots.
    2. A tractor with the appropriate attachment is an effective instrument for removing tree trumps. Attach the backhoe to the tractor.
    3. While maneuvering the tractor, start pulling the trump. Ensure the backhoe holds firmly a strong root that can pull the rest of the trump’s root system.
    4. Continue cutting the roots and pulling them from the ground using the shovel as the tractor unearths them.

Remember to exercise caution as a root deeply embedded underground is nearly impossible to expose.

The Stump Grinder Method

Materials and Equipment

  • Protective glasses, gloves, shoes, and clothes
  • Stump grinder
  • Axe
  • Shovel

The stump grinder is a straightforward stump removal method. Your only consideration is the size of your machine and protection during the process because of the amount of wood chips released.

If you have many stumps to remove, you may need a commercial-size stump grinder to handle the number of stumps. However, if you are removing one small stump, a small grinder can do the work. Wear protective gear to prevent accidents as the wood chips fly everywhere as the machine grinds the wood.

Remember, the stump grinder is a powerful machine that requires some expertise while grinding the wood. If you are unsure of your machine handling proficiency, work with a professional.

Work on the machine until the stump is low on the ground. You can also use it to break exposed roots. Use a shovel and ax to expose the roots and the machine to break them into chips.

The Mattock Method

A mattock is a handheld tool that works like a pickaxe. Its head can have either two or one cutting blade. The mattock method is the traditional method for cutting tree stumps. It is an effective tool for cutting and uprooting tree roots.

This method is labor intensive and requires patience to work through a stump. It is, therefore, not suitable for large stumps. The mattock may not be an ideal solution if you are dealing with hardwoods like a maple tree, California red oak, or sequoia. It may do well in removing the desert willow, a softwood with a small diameter. Ensure you have enough strength to endure the cutting.

Partner with Certified Arborists to Remove Tree Stump

At Fire Fighter Tree Services, we specialize in all things trees, from growing, managing, and removing trees, including stumps. We have invested in industry-grade technology and equipment to remove tree trumps without leaving lingering roots.

Our arborists have the qualifications, training, local knowledge, and license to operate in California. Leverage our expertise, experience, and resources to remove stumps in your property. We are ready to help you actualize your landscaping plans or projects. Call us today for business.  

Share the Post:

Related Posts