10 Best Stump Killers of 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
We have all heard the question: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The better question is now that the tree is down, what should be done with the stump? For many of us, felling a tree is an expensive process that includes the costs of removing the dead tree and the stump.
Stump grinders can cost hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars, but there is a better and cheaper solution to your stump problems: stump killers.
Stump killers are chemically based and speed the decaying process of the stump which means we can chop, rip, or burn the stump out of our yards much faster than normal. Before we go and kill off our beloved stumpy, we need to consider the right product for the job. To find the best fit for your needs, check out these (stump) killer reviews.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Spectracide Stump Remover||
|Best Value||Bonide 274 Vine & Stump Killer||
|Premium Choice||Earthworks Health Copper Sulfate||
|Dow AgroSciences Tordon RTU Herbicide||
|VPG Fertilome 32295 Brush Stump Killer||
The 10 Best Stump Killers
1. Spectracide Stump Remover – Best Overall
The top product for stump killing is the Spectracide Stump Remover, which kills the stump by helping to accelerate the decomposition process. Spectracide works by breaking down the stump from the inside out, making it porous and easier to deteriorate or burn out. This remover comes with an easy-to-use applicator and a 16-ounce container, enough to kill several small stumps or one large stump. Also, there is no mixing required. Pour the Spectracide granules into pre-drilled stump holes, add hot water, and wait for results.
Unlike many of the products we reviewed, the Spectracide Stump Remover is safe to use around other plants, grass, and vegetation. However, the stump needs to be treated with a brush killing agent before using the remover. Because the Spectracide Stump Remover is so cheap, the added cost is negligible. Despite this, we think this is the best stump killer on the market today.
2. Bonide Vine & Stump Killer – Best Value
Our pick of the best tree stump killer for the money is Bonide Vine and Stump Killer. This product is good for killing stumps, vines, and broadleaf weeds. The active ingredient, Triclopyr, gets soaked up through the roots, killing the entire system. This helps ensure that the root system does not re-sprout, making the removal process easier.
The product comes with an applicator brush which must be used because surrounding vegetation can be killed if not careful. Users should be informed that Bonide does a sufficient job, but takes time to work; meaning, the larger the project, the longer it will take to see results.
3. Earthworks Health Copper Sulfate – Premium Choice
Earthworks Health Copper Sulfate is a solid purchase in terms of quality and quantity. Composed of small blue copper sulfate crystals, this product comes in a 10-pound bag, which is enough for multiple uses.
To use the Earthworks remover, pre-drill holes in the stump and pack the holes with the crystals. The chemicals penetrate down into the roots, destroying the system. This product can also be used for many other projects around the house as a fungicide and cleaning ponds.
What keeps Earthworks Health Copper Sulfate out of the top two spots is the copper sulfate itself, which is less toxic than other products – good for other plants around your project – but requires more of the product and longer wait times to see results.
4. Dow AgroSciences Tordon RTU Herbicide
Dow ArgoSciences Tordon RTU is an extremely potent and effective stump killer, and can be used with other wood projects that require a cut to the surface. This is a professional-grade herbicide that works by attacking and destroying the root system. It’s a strong product that should be used with caution.
Yes, the Earthworks Health Copper Sulfate can kill stumps, smaller trees and brush, but it also kills other surrounding vegetation, so be careful when applying. To help users keep from killing plants they want to save, the liquid product shows up as a blue dye to let the user see where it has been applied. Because the product is strong and works quickly, it is on the more expensive side.
Earthworks Health Copper Sulfate requires no mixing and is ready to use from the bottle. It can be used year-round to stop rooting re-sprouts.
5. VPG Fertilome Brush Stump Killer
VPG Fertilome Brush Stump Killer will kill your stumps, but it will also kill your wife’s roses. The main target, of course, is not roses, but rather vines, wooded plants, and larger weeds that grow on your property. The product is versatile as it can be applied to a cut surface with a brush or it can be diluted and sprayed based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
VPG Fertilome Brush Stump Killer is a solid value purchase that comes in a 32-ounce container, which is enough for several medium-sized stumps. But again, this stuff will kill anything it comes into contact with, so use with caution.
6. BioAdvanced Brush Killer
BioAdvanced Brush Killer has a strong formula that penetrates stumps to help break them down from the inside out. For stump killing, make some cuts in the wood, apply with a paint brush, and the formula will soak into the wood, causing the stump to decay. Not only will BioAdvanced Brush Killer take out stumps, it also kills over 70 types of brush and weeds including poison ivy, poison oak, and bramble.
The 32-ounce bottle will provide the user up to 4,000 square feet of coverage, which is good for large stumps that may need a reapplication or areas on your property where brush needs cleared. Another positive with this product is that it becomes waterproof within 4 hours of application.
7. Sanco Industries Root Destroyer
You might be thinking “Sanco Industries Root Destroyer kills roots. Why are we discussing it on a stump killer post?” That is because this product does kill roots, especially stubborn tree stump roots. This product consists of copper sulfate crystals that penetrate into pre-drilled holes and work to kill the stump from the roots up. Results can be seen in 2 to 4 weeks, and with some larger stumps, results might not be witnessed until 3 months after the application occurred. This product comes in a 2-pound container and is not as expensive as other products, but again, can take longer to see results.
8. Brushtox Brush Killer
The Brushtox Brush Killer is what the name says, it kills brush. It will also help a fresh-cut stump die off and control re-sprouting. To kill a stump with Brushtox Brush Killer, the user should cut the stump and apply the proper spray mixture. This is best used for small to midsize stumps, and it’s deadly to almost any piece of living vegetation. It can kill over 60 different types of woodland plants and broadleaf weeds and is especially useful for spraying large grassy areas. Brushtox Brush Killer can cover up to 1 acre when mixed and sprayed.
9. PBI Gordon Stump Killer
This product comes in a 32-ounce container and is on the more expensive end of stump killers out on the market. The PBI Gordon Stump Killer is a liquid-based formula that the user can squirt over a cut-out stump. It helps prevent regrowth and the roots from re-sprouting. No mixing is required and you can pour straight from the bottle, so there’s no need for brushing or applicators. This stump killer is relatively powerful and will kill vegetation in the surrounding area if contact is made.
10. Southern Ag Brush Killer
Southern AG Brush Killer is an industrial brush clearer in a 1-pint container and works well along fence lines, property hedge lines, and alongside interstates. For stump killing, this product can be directly applied to a cut stump by brush or spray. For best results on stumps, the solution should not be diluted.
The Southern AG Brush Killer also serves as weed, vine, and wood-based plant killer. For larger areas, the product needs to be mixed and sprayed according to manufacturer specifications. This product ends up a bit on the pricey side for the amount the user receives. And sorry for sounding like a broken record, but this stuff will kill everything it touches.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Stump Killer
Now that we have looked at 10 different stump killing products, we need to decide what product works best for our needs. To make the best choice, there are several factors to consider so that we get the right product at the right price to do the right job.
Size of Stump
For larger stumps, you need a product that’s designed for stump killing. Larger stumps take time and patience. Larger stumps also require a buyer to pay attention to the amount of product they are buying and the price.
As a consumer, you should try to get the best bang for your buck, so pay attention to ingredients and the percentages that make up the stump killing formula. For smaller stumps, you may want a product that keeps roots from re-sprouting which can continue growth and make the eventual removal more difficult.
Killing a stump is a test in patience. Depending on the size and method, it could take months for a stump to die off. If you have the time and patience, drilling holes in the stump and using copper granules might be the best option, but if you want it done now, herbicide chemicals will be your best choice.
Killing a stump might be practical, but killing your neighbor’s trees while attacking the stump is a problem. Location becomes a big factor in selecting the right stump killer. If the area you are working is tight and there is other vegetation around that could die if contact is made, a stump killer that can be directly applied is a solid choice. If you’re working on a large piece of property and you don’t care that other plants and grass could potentially die, a spray might be the best product.
Again, you can also look for products that are safe for surrounding vegetation. These are typically less toxic and take longer to work.
There are several different application methods for killing stumps. A buyer has to decide on the best method for their needs. Brush-on products are typically more toxic, work faster, and can kill other plants. Granules that can be placed in pre-drilled holes are less toxic to the surrounding environment and takes longer to work. Some products require an extra step: mixing the contents with water or other substances and spraying.
As we can see with these reviews there are many products that can help in the stump killing process. The reality is that there are many products that meet specific needs, you just have to figure out what those are. There are products such as Spectracide Stump Remover that seem to check off many of the boxes such as being effective, fast acting, doesn’t kill off nearby plants, and is relatively inexpensive for a 16 ounce container. You could also go with a more environmentally friendly approach with Earthworks Health Copper Sulfate which is less toxic, gives you plenty of supply for stump killing and other projects around your property. It is our hope that you now have enough information to choose wisely and go kill that stump.
You might also be interested in: 10 Best Brush Killers – Reviews & Top Picks
Featured image credit: Iliya V. Soldatkin from Pexels