How to Remove a Tree Stump

It’s happened to even the most diligent of homeowners: after prolonged heavy rains, an ice storm, or high winds, a tree falls over and needs to be removed.

Cutting the tree trunk and dragging it away is labor-intensive, but straightforward and can be done in an afternoon. Tree stumps, on the other hand, can be tricky. Learn how to remove a tree stump in order to save yourself both time and money!

Why Remove a Tree Stump?

How to Remove a Tree StumpTree stumps are notoriously challenging to remove since their roots can run incredibly deep. There’s a reason why many people wind up leaving stumps in their yards to decompose naturally!

However, there are many reasons you should remove the stump from your yard.

  • Tree stumps can take up a lot of space in your yard. This means less room for flowers, other plants, or replacement trees.
  • Tree stumps aren’t always attractive. Some people make good use of tree stumps by setting out potted plants or decorations on the flat space. As the stump naturally decomposes, however, the appearance and its rustic appeal are going to diminish.
  • Tree stumps can be an inconvenient tripping hazard. It doesn’t take long for grasses and other plants to grow over a stump, obscuring it from sight. This means that casual walks could be interrupted by tripping over a stump!
  • Old tree stumps attract insects. In the back corner of a natural lot, this isn’t necessarily a problem. A stump right next to your home, on the other hand, is much like putting up a buffet sign for termites and other boring insects. Once termites arrive and enter your home, they can do significant and costly damage to the framework.

Left to nature, tree stumps will eventually decompose on their own. The time for this process varies depending on the size and species of the trees, but you can generally expect for tree stumps to take 10 years to decompose naturally.

How to Remove a Tree Stump

Tree stumps are much more difficult to remove from your yard than a felled tree. However, with the right equipment and know-how, you’ll be able to remove your stump without too much hassle.

Always remember to wear proper protective gear, especially eye protection!

There are four different ways to remove a tree stump.

1. Burn out the stump

If you’ve just cut down the tree previously attached to the stump, consider making firewood out of the remaining parts for this project. A chainsaw will help make this project go by quickly!

  1. Some people drill several large holes into the top of the stump to help the air circulate and allow the fire to spread into the stump more quickly.
  2. Build a fire on top of the stump and start it.
  3. As the fire spreads, add wood to help the fire grow.
  4. Keep an eye on the fire, especially in hot, dry, or windy conditions so that it does not spread to other parts of your yard.
  5. Continue to add wood as necessary to keep the fire strong.
  6. The stump will eventually catch and burn to the ground.
  7. Pour water onto the coals.
  8. Shovel out the ash and discard, then fill the hole with dirt.

2. Grind the stump

Using a stump grinder is a fast and effective way of removing tree stumps. As this machine suggests, this machine grinds stumps until what’s left is below ground level. You can then use the ground stump in your garden and fill the hole with dirt.

3. Dig out the stump manually

This method is best for stumps which have shallow or short root systems, as you are basically cutting the stump into manageable pieces. You will need a shovel, an axe, and a hoe.

  1. First, dig around the base of the stump to expose the roots.
  2. Cut the roots with an axe where they vanish deeper into the ground. Repeat this around the base of the stump.
  3. Place the hoe underneath any remaining roots and leverage the stump up and outwards. This process may take time and additional root cutting.
  4. Pull out the stump once it is freed from the ground and dispose of it – burying and burning are common options.

4. Use stump remover solution

This method requires a drill and a bottle (or several, depending on the size of the stump) of stump remover solution.

  1. Drill several large holes into the stump.
  2. Pour the manufacturer-recommended amount of stump remover into the holes. Fill with water if applicable.
  3. This method may take several weeks before the stump begins to feel soft and spongy.
  4. Once the stump feels spongy, you can easily cut it out with an axe.

Equip Yourself at Northside Tool Rental

Removing a tree stump can be a challenge, but with the right equipment, you can do it yourself! We offer many equipment options for tree and stump removal, including wood chippers and log splitters for the trunk itself. Contact us at one of our five convenient Atlanta locations today!