Tree Stump Removal Guide

Tree Stump Removal Guide

When a tree is cut down, the remainder of the tree including the root will eventually die away and begin to decay with the exception of some trees that grow again. When these stumps are left all over your field or even in your garden, they can become a little bit irritating especially if they are situated in the way. We believe most home owners probably have a lot of reasons to eliminate them from their gardens and compounds however as you will probably agree removing these stumps is not an easy task in many cases especially if you are dealing with a larger type of tree.

However, the good news is we will help shed some light on how to eliminate these annoying stumps from your garden in this detailed tree stump removal guide.

Why You Should Remove Tree Stumps

As already mentioned, each person will have a different reason to remove tree stumps. After you spend that much time and money to get the tree removed in the first place, you now probably don’t see any sense in leaving the stump there. Here are some reasons why you should remove tree stump.

They Can Take Up Valuable Space– This is one of the reasons why we personally dislike tree stumps.

They are Hazardous– This is another reason that most people don’t have in mind. Some tree stumps are very hazardous especially when they start to decay. Weeds and some harmful plants can grow here which could pose problems to you and your family members especially small children. They also act as a hideout for some of the most annoying and venomous insects and reptiles such as snakes and scorpions. 

Tree Stump Can Be Eyesores– Every time you set foot outside your house, the first thing you will probably notice is the remaining tree stumps. These stumps look even worse when weeds and plants grow on them.

Removing a Tree Stump

If you have already made up your mind that you don’t want to see tree stumps and you would happily wave them goodbye, but aren’t really sure what to do then keep reading. Depending on the method you choose, you may require some tools. First of all you will need to assess the stump and the second thing is to gather the right tools for the removal process.

Assess the Tree Stump

This is the first thing that you should do. The fact is that there are some stumps that are a lot easier to remove than others. You will not be able to gauge the level of difficulty involved in removing these stumps unless you assess them and even then it can be difficult to gauge given the root system is hidden under the ground. However you should still spare some time to look at the stump to determine the strength of the roots and later come up with the best method you can to remove them.

The first thing is to determine the type of tree that was standing there to begin with. Some of the trees such as Pine are easy to remove. This tree has wider roots but they don’t go down as deep. What this means is that you can eliminate a pine tree stump with a little bit more ease. If the tree is freshly cut then you can look at the leaves or bark to determine what type of tree it is based off any reference pictures you can find online.

Check on the age of the tree. This is another factor that determines how easy the tree is to remove. Older trees have their roots deeper and for this reason you need to look for a reliable and a sophisticated method for that purpose.

The size of the stump- if the stump is very big, then you may have to look for a method that uses mechanical means rather than trying to do it all yourself manually.

Get the Right Tools

After assessing the stump, you may have already come up with a method of removing the stump from your field or perhaps not. The process of removing the stump is always difficult and time consuming but if you get the right tools, the whole process can be simplified.

Chainsaws– This is one of the machines that you may need for the task. In case you have decided to dig the roots by hand and later cut them to get rid of the stump, then you must get a chainsaw for cutting roots and so on.

Tractor or Backhoe– In case you are dealing with old and big stumps, then you need to have a backhoe or a tractor for this purpose.

Stump Grinder– This is another tool that is used for grinding away the stump to eventually eliminate it. They are available in various different sizes and for this reason you should get the right one to suit your needs.

Mattock– There are some people who prefer digging out stumps the old-fashioned way. If this is the method you are selecting, then you need to have a mattock for digging and cutting small roots and perhaps a spade or shovel too and some type of metal bar for leverage can  come in handy also.

Stump Removal Methods

There are several methods that you can use to remove tree stumps. You should opt for the method that works best for you. At this point in time, we are going to discuss some of the most common and effective methods of eliminating tree stumps in your garden.

Using Nitrogen to Rot the Stump

This is the first and the most effective method of removing the stump. However, it takes a longer time. Here, you are just required to dig deep holes on the stump and fill them with high-nitrogen substances. The other thing is to pour water in the stump. As the stump softens and rots, its pieces will chip off completely.

There are several products on the market today that can quicken the process of rotting and eliminating tree stumps. Just ask an expert about it if you are unsure and everything else will follow on from that. Most of these products make use of Potassium nitrate to initiate the decay and decomposition process.

Grinding

This is another method that you can use to eliminate stumps from the garden. However, when you are using this method, you have to wear the right safety gear. It is always imperative to wear the proper PPE when you are manually removing the stump. Wear long sleeves, eye protection, steel toe cap boots and long pants are a must.

You will use a mechanical tool known as a tree stump grinder. This is the best machine to remove the tree stumps. The tool has a toothed circular cutting blade that grinds away the stump. It grinds away quick as a flash to break up the stump into small chips.

However, it’s important to first of all remove any rocks and debris from anywhere around the stump. After that, you are supposed to use a chainsaw to cut the stump as close to the ground as possible. After this use the grinder to grind the top of the stump back and forth from side to side.

Even if you don’t have this type of machine, you can just rent one from a garden supply store. You could also pay a landscaper to do the task if you aren’t really digging the task at hand. In fact this method may be the best option for some people who have multiple stumps to get rid of. In most of the cases, you may not be able to use this machine the right way if you don’t have the experience required. For this reason, if you have multiple big stamps in your field, you should get an expert to do it.

Remove it Manually

The other good method of removing stumps in the garden is to use a manual method. However, this method works better if the stump is very small. In case you have a large stump in your garden, this is not really a good method to use.

If you select this method, you need to dig it strategically. It is not an easy task removing the entire stump together with the roots. The first step here is to start by digging a trench around the perimeter of the stump. You can use the mattock to dig and cut some small roots. When the other roots are exposed, you can now cut them with an axe or any other tool. You can also use a circular saw to perform the task.

When you are digging, ensure that you are leaving enough space for you to work. What this means is that you shouldn’t dig the trench close to the stump so that you will have a wider room to perform the task. The fact is that the wider the circle, the more room you have to work in. After you have cut all the roots on the sides, the other thing you need to do is to cut the tap root. If you can trace it and cut it completely, then you are done. After removing the stump, refill the hole with enough soil. You can even plant a flower or any other plant in the hole.

Burning the Stump

This is the other method that you can use to remove the stump. This is one of the simplest and easiest methods of removing the stump. In this case, you are supposed to drill holes in the stump using a drill and later fill them with kerosene or fuel oil. Give it some time to soak and later light it. You can drop a match box on each of the holes and leave it burning for some time.

After a few days, the stump will smolder and later you will be left with charred holes. However, ensure that you have kept pets and children away from accessing the site. It can be dangerous due to the burn hazard. Also never burn a tree stump in areas where fire could take hold especially in dry and arid areas where even the tiniest spark could start a forest or grass fire. Always take adequate precautions when burning anything outdoors.

Pushing and Pulling

This is one of the quickest methods that you can use to eliminate tree stumps. You just need a tractor with a blade attachment. Just lift the blade to push over tall stumps until the root ball is visible. It will now be easier to get rid of the stump. You now have to lower the blade under the root ball to lift it up of the ground.

If you are going for this method, then you are supposed to only use it on places where it won’t damage the landscape or even compact the soil. You also pull the stump out off the ground. Just get a chain to tie onto the stump and later pull it from the ground. You can use a trencher or a soil saw to remove the most of the soil and cut the small roots to ease the stump.

Natural Removal

This is also another way of removing the stump. You just have to give it some time and it will be eliminated naturally. However, it may take a long time for it to be eliminated entirely. After cutting down the tree, you do nothing at all. Just leave the stump to rot essentially nature does the work for you.

This is a good alternative when the stump is not that large. When the stump is not big and doesn’t pose any threat or even take up a lot of space, just leave it and wait. To quicken the process of decomposition, you may add fertilizer, soil or even mulch. This will help to generate fungus and bacteria that will facilitate the decaying process.

Disposing of the Stump

When you were looking for the best method to remove the stump, you probably didn’t think about what you were going to do with the stump afterwards. The fact is that it is not an easy task to dispose of an especially large tree stump. You should also know that the city garbage collectors may not take it together with your waste and for that reason; you should know what to do with it.

In this situation, it may be a wise decision to rent a wood chipper and then use the woods for different projects in your home. If you are the kind of a person who uses fire for cooking or warming up the space during summer, then you may have to consider keeping the wood as firewood.

The Bottom Line

If you are planning on removing a stump in your compound, there are several things that you have to do. As I have already stated above, the process is simple, you have to assess the stump, determine the method to use, get the tools you need and then execute your plans.

Hopefully you learned a bit more about how to tackle your tree stump issue. If you have any questions please feel free to ask or leave a comment. You can also checkout our other blog posts and other articles where you may find what you are looking for.

Thanks Folks and Happy Cutting!