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6 DIY Tree Stump Removal Ideas You Can Try Today (with Pictures)

photo of tree stump

Clearing dead, invasive, or unwanted trees off your property is one of the best ways to instantly open up the space and boost your property value. However, we all know what remains when a tree is cut down: a useless eyesore we call a stump. If you’re looking for the best ways to remove stumps from your property, look no further. Below, we detail all the best methods of stump removal so you can finally get your yard back.

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The 6 DIY Tree Stump Removal Ideas

1. Use Epsom Salt by Plant Care Today

epsom salts in a leaf shaped ceramic bowl
Image By: marekuliasz, Shutterstock
Materials/Tools Needed:
  • Epsom salt
  • Chainsaw
  • Drill
  • Mulch
  • Tarp
  • Ax

Epsom salt is one of the cheapest and most widely available compounds that can help you get rid of your stump. It’s also not harsh and won’t leak into runoff like toxic chemicals will. This process involves first trimming as much of the stump’s top as possible with a chainsaw, then drilling large, regularly spaced holes in the stump. Make these holes as deep as possible, then fill them up with water and Epsom salt. Finally, water the area, cover the stump with a tarp, and cover the tarp with organic mulch. The stump will rot within a few weeks to months.

2. Stamp Out Stubborn Stumps With Chemicals by Love The Garden

roundup tree stump weedkiller
Image By: Love The Garden
Materials/Tools Needed:
  • Stump killer product
  • Chainsaw
  • Drill
  • Eye and hand protection

Epsom salt is a natural alternative to chemical agents, but to be fair, the chemicals do work wonders on stumps. You have to first trim the top of the stump and drill a bunch of holes in it, like the Epsom salt method. Where it differs is the next step: apply the stump killer product to the holes and wait. With most stump killers out there, your stump should fully rot within a few weeks to 2 months. It helps to cover the stump, but it isn’t necessary at all. If you don’t mind handling toxic chemicals, this is one of the easiest stump removal methods available.

3. Utilize Brute Force by Rehabitat Home

remove a tree stump by hand
Image By: RehabitatHome
Materials/Tools Needed:
  • Ax
  • Shovel
  • Mattock
  • Digging bar
  • Bow saw

If you’d rather avoid using hazardous chemicals, have some tools, and don’t mind hard work, consider manually removing small to medium-sized stumps. First, you need to dig around the stump’s edges with the blunt side of a mattock to loosen the soil and roots. After you remove the dirt with a shovel, you can use your mattock or a bow saw to cut the tree roots from the stump. Continue this process all the way around the stump until you find the stump’s taproot, which you can sever to finally free the stump out of the ground.

4. Have a Stump Fire by Dengarden

stump fire
Image By: Dengarden
Materials/Tools Needed:
  • Stump killer product
  • Kerosene
  • Drill

Fancy a bonfire? A rather extreme method of removing stumps involves drilling holes in the stump and pouring in stump killer to make the wood porous. After the stump killer, pour a generous amount of kerosene in the holes and all over the stump. If you’re unsure if it’s enough, pour some more, because you want it soaked. Finally, ignite the stump and keep an eye on it until it completely burns to coals and ashes. The last thing you need is wildfire!

5. Chip It to Bits With a Stump Grinder by Bear-rental

Removing Tree Stump
Image By: Susan B Sheldon, Shutterstock
Materials/Tools Needed:
  • Mattock
  • Stump grinder
  • Chainsaw
  • Rake

Stump grinders are large, heavy machines designed specifically to grind stumps into wood chips. They’re usually available for rent from select home improvement stores, but you’ll either need them to transport it to and from your home, or you need a method of transporting it yourself.

First, you need to use your mattock and rake to clear the area of all grass, plants, and other debris. Then you take your chainsaw and cut the stump as close to ground level as possible, using ground level as a goal. To use the stump grinder, hold it a few inches above the stump and turn the grinder on. Slowly lower it move it side to side with the attached lever and repeat until you’ve gotten several inches below ground level. Lastly, cover the hole with the wood chips and soil.

6. When in Doubt, Call in the Professionals by This Old House

man using chainsaw to cut down tree
Image Credit: Artikom jumpamoon, Shutterstock

We know this list is dedicated to DIY methods, but we’d be remiss to leave out the easiest method of all: let someone else do it. Even if you’re a pro at some DIY tasks, there’s no shame in asking for help if you’re unsure how to approach removing a stump. Most professionals charge between $100–$300 per stump, depending on how large its diameter is. If you had your trees cut by professionals, ask them to remove the stump for you too. They’ll charge extra, but it’ll be less than if you called them out for the stump alone.

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Stumps are the extremely annoying remnants of life-giving trees, and they both pose an obstacle and make your property look cluttered. To remove stumps, give one or more of the methods above a try! You’re guaranteed to find a method that gets rid of that ugly stump taking up space.

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Featured Image Credit: laura van den boogaart, Unsplash


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