How to Get Rid of Tree Stumps

13+ Steps For Getting Rid of Tree Stumps in Your Backyard

Maybe you’ve recently had a tree cut down and are now looking to get rid of the remaining stump, or perhaps you’ve moved into a property that has a tree stump in the yard that you’d like to have removed. Either way, you may be wondering how to get rid of tree stumps.

In today’s blog, we take a look at some methods of tree stump removal. Read on to learn more about how to get rid of tree stumps in your garden.

Manual removal

For manual tree stump removal, you’ll need to cut off the remaining stump as close to the ground as possible using either an axe or chainsaw, then dig up the stump to remove the root system entirely. For larger stumps that are hard to reach, consider using machinery or enlisting help from a friend or neighbour. You may also like to first complete the herbicide stump removal steps (listed below) to soften a particularly pesky stump before beginning the manual removal method. 

Step 1: Dig around the stump

A mattock and/or shovel can be used to dig around the base of the stump. Dig deep and wide to ensure you unearth all of the roots from the tree. Keep an eye on the stump itself and consider putting in support to ensure it does not fall during this step.

Step 2: Remove the upper roots

Once you’ve dug around the tree stump, exposing the tree roots, you can then begin removing the upper root system. This can be done with secateurs, a saw, or an axe, depending on the size of the roots and the equipment you have available.

Step 3: Remove the taproot

Next, remove the lower roots and finally the taproot. After you’ve severed all of these roots, you should be able to simply pull the tree stump out of the ground and dispose of it.

Stump removal with herbicide

Another option is to remove the stump chemically using herbicides. There are a few different herbicides that can be used to rot the stump, such as fertiliser or specific stump removal chemicals like potassium nitrate.

Step 1: Drill into the stump

Use a long drill bit to create deep holes in the stump. The holes should be at least an inch in diameter and a few inches deep – thick enough for liquid to be poured into them. Along with drilling holes into the top of the tree stump, you’ll also want to drill holes into the sides of it.

Step 2: Pour chemicals into the holes

Wearing appropriate protection, pour your selected chemicals into the holes you’ve drilled. The amount you use will depend on the type of chemical you have chosen to go with and the size of the stump. Some chemicals may also require you to pour water into the hole after they have been inserted. For a more natural alternative, you may like to instead try Epsom salts.

Step 3: Cover with a tarp

After this, soak the stump area with water and cover it with a tarp. Soaking the area and covering it can help accelerate the rot process, which may be necessary for a stubborn stump.

Step 4: Remove the stump

The time it takes for a stump to rot and soften from chemical removal will differ depending on the size and type of tree, along with the climate. Check on the stump regularly. Generally, it should take around a month or so for the tree stump to soften. Once this has occurred, you can remove the tree using an axe.

Bring in a stump grinder

A stump grinder can provide a solution for removing your tree stump if you’re not too worried about leaving the roots in the ground below. If tree stump removal is only an occasional task for you, you’ll likely want to rent the stump grinder rather than purchase it.

Step 1: Rent a stump grinder

The first step is to get your hands on a stump grinder. These can generally be rented from hardware stores or nurseries. They’re pretty large machines, so keep this in mind when sourcing one and bringing it home.

Step 2: Clear the area

Before you begin using the stump grinder, clear any leaves, dirt, rocks, or sticks from the surrounding area. Make sure the space is clear to avoid any debris making contact with the grinder while it’s on, as this could cause the debris to become airborne.

Step 3: Cut the stump down

Using a saw or chainsaw, cut the stump down as far as possible. Level with the ground is ideal, although you can leave a few inches of stump above the ground if needed.

Step 4: Dress appropriately and be safe with protective gear

Put on protective eyewear, ear protection, closed-in shoes, and gloves before turning on the grinder. Make sure there are no children or pets in the area during this process.

Step 5: Grind down the stump

If you are unsure of how to operate the machine, do plenty of research before you begin. As a general rule, you should place the stump grinder over the tree stump and turn it on, then carefully lower it down so it can begin grinding the stump. Many grinders can be moved side to side using a lever on the machine. You’ll likely find that you’ll need to reposition the grinder as the task goes on. Continue grinding down the stump until it sits around 10cm below ground height.

Step 6: Fill in the hole

Once the tree stump has been ground down, the hole can then be filled in using wood chips and/or soil and levelled out. Then all that’s left is deciding what to do with your new, smooth patch of ground!

Call in Jim’s

If you’re feeling a little intimidated by the prospect of a do it yourself stump removal project, call in the professionals! Jim’s Mowing can provide assistance for tree stump removal, allowing you to simply sit back and relax while the job gets done. Our garden specialists can assess the tree stump and discuss options for how to proceed.

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