How to Remove a Tree Stump

A tree stump

How to Remove a Tree Stump by Hand

Are you tired of tripping over that annoying tree stump in your garden? Or maybe you want to repurpose the space but can’t because of the stump. Whatever the reason, removing a tree stump may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Removing a tree stump can be a challenging task, but with the right knowledge and tools, it can be done effectively. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional, the important thing is to ensure that the stump is completely removed.

Read on to find out how to effectively remove a tree stump.

Benefits of Removing a Tree Stump

Once a tree has been cut or felled down, what is left behind is referred to as the tree stump. This consists of a short section of the remaining trunk along with the root system still buried in the ground.

By removing the tree stump, you eliminate the risk of pests, diseases, and accidents that can occur if it is left behind. It also allows you to utilise the space for other purposes such as planting new trees or creating a garden.

Here are the key benefits of removing a stump:

  • Improves aesthetics – Removes an unsightly stump from your landscape
  • Opens up space – Clears area for other uses like gardens, play areas or sheds
  • Reduces hazards – Gets rid of tripping risks posed by protruding stumps
  • Limits root issues – Stops ongoing root expansion that can damage infrastructure underground
  • Allows new plantings – Enables planting trees, shrubs, flowers in same spot without obstruction
  • Raises property value – A tree stump-free yard boosts your home’s curb appeal
  • Prevents pest nesting – Eliminates a hiding and nesting place attractive for rodents
  • Eases mowing – Removes obstacle that obstructs lawn mower passage
  • Gives a finished look – Completes the restoration after a tree removal

Safety First

No matter how you choose to remove a tree stump, make sure you always wear the right protective gear.

If you’re using a chainsaw, wear strong boots and a clear face shield. It’s a good idea to get gloves that protect against chainsaws and Kevlar chaps too. Spending a bit more on these safety items is worth it.

When you’re using an axe or mattock, make sure you have good boots and work gloves on.

If you decide to burn the stump, keep in mind it will take a few days to make sure no embers are blown by the wind and start fires. Stumps can keep smouldering for days or even weeks.

Underground roots might smoulder for a long time, possibly causing septic systems to catch fire or harming foundations. Before proceeding, you need to check if burning a tree stump is legal in your area based on local ordinances.

7 Ways to Remove a Tree Stump

1. Using a Stump Grinder

Stumps can take years to decompose naturally, and speeding up decay can take months, depending on the method used. If you’re looking to save time, consider a stump grinder to complete the job much faster.

A stump grinding machine to remove a tree stump

This powerful tool grinds the stump below ground level, handled best by professionals due to its complexity and power. The ground wood chips produced can be used as organic mulch for landscaping.

An arborist service can grind the stump, ensuring its complete removal, resulting in the fastest way of eliminating a tree stump. This method guarantees that the entire stump is effectively removed, addressing the issue at its very tips.

If you live in and around the Newbury area and need help with tree stump removal, contact us for a free quote and we’ll be happy to help.

How Much to Remove a Tree Stump

The typical cost for tree stump removal in the UK ranges between £100 and £500 depending on stump size, site access, and other variables. For more manageable stumps under 30cm across located in open areas, expect pricing around £100-200.

However, larger stumps exceeding 60cm in diameter or situated in restricted spaces usually run £200-500+, or more if substantial root networks or land repairs are involved.

2. How to Remove a Tree Stump By Hand

Removing a tree stump manually requires patience and physical effort to methodically dig, chop and extract it bit by bit.

Start digging around the stump using an axe or shovel, loosening the dirt to expose all roots extending outward and downward. Wash off the earth with a hose if needed to see each root as more soil gets removed.

With care not to strike rocks, use the mattock or bow saw or loppers to systematically sever the smaller visible roots first.

Continue tunnelling beneath the stump’s centre until reaching its thick, primary taproot. Carefully clear off excess soil and check for obstructions before cutting through the taproot with precise axe strokes or sawing action. Maintain control when chopping.

Finally, with the taproot and stabilising roots severed, recruit helpers to attach ropes and yank the loosened stump straight up and out of the hole.

Inevitably, some roots will be left in the ground, especially with a large stump, but the majority should eventually rot down.

Log splitting services by Evolution Tree Surgery

3. Chemicals

When removing a tree stump with chemicals, ensure that no children or animals will come into contact with the stump.

  1. To remove a tree stump using chemicals, start by cutting the stump as close to the ground as possible with a chain saw or bow saw. Avoid letting the chainsaw’s teeth strike the ground to prevent dulling.
  2. Next, use a power drill to make holes a few inches deep into the stump to help with absorption.
  3. Pour the chemicals into the stump holes. Always follow any guidelines that come with your particular stump killer. This will work to kill the stump and soften it for easier removal.
  4. Watch the decomposition and soon the stump should become soft enough to break apart with an axe.

4. Fire

Removing a tree stump from fire can be a risky task, so it’s crucial to follow safety measures.

  1. Firstly, check local regulations about open burning, as it may not be allowed in urban or suburban areas.
  2. Once you’ve confirmed it’s permissible, drill 8-10 inch holes into the top and sides of the stump using a power drill.
  3. Fill these holes with kerosene or diesel, letting it sit for over an hour.
  4. Add extra fluid and use a long stick to light the stump from a safe distance.
  5. Keep an eye on the burning process from a secure spot and ensure that flammable debris is at least two meters away.
  6. Be prepared with a fire extinguisher in case of any unexpected spread. It may take up to 24 hours of repeated lighting to fully burn the stump.
  7. Once burnt, you can safely remove the remains, but remember never to use gasoline or motor oil, as they pose significant safety risks.

Always prioritise safety and follow local guidelines when attempting to remove a tree stump with fire.

Consider putting up barriers to deter people or animals from unintentionally walking over the embers, as the stump may still be smouldering for a long time afterwards.

5. Chainsaw

Removing a tree stump with a chainsaw can be a daring yet effective approach.

  1. Begin by digging around the stump and cutting it as low as possible. Be cautious, as this method might damage or break your chainsaw chain and may not eliminate the stump.
  2. To proceed, use a shovel to clear soil around the stump and remove as much from the top as possible.
  3. Use the chainsaw to cut the stump into sections with a crisscross pattern, reaching about 5 inches below ground level.
  4. Afterwards, cover the hole with soil and grass.
  5. Keep in mind that using a chainsaw in this manner can potentially dull the chain, and accidental encounters with rocks may lead to chain breakage.

This technique can be an efficient way to tackle a tree stump, but it’s essential to take precautions to avoid damaging your equipment.

6. Epsom Salt

For a natural method to decompose a tree stump, Epsom salt can be used by drilling holes into the stump and adding the salt.

Best for smaller tree stumps with a shallow root system, this organic method facilitates decomposition and allows the remnants to be used as fertiliser.

The Epsom salt method provides an environmentally friendly approach to removing tree stumps without the need for harsh chemicals and is an effective way to repurpose the remains of the tree.

  1. Start by drilling several 1⁄2-inch wide, 6-inch deep holes across the top and sides of the stump, with more holes for larger stumps.
  2. Using a funnel, completely pack Epsom salt into each hole, compressing it as much as possible. The stump itself should then be thoroughly soaked with water, without getting any moisture into the salt-filled holes. The Epsom salt needs to slowly dissolve over time when absorbed into the wood.
  3. Completely seal the stump by covering it with a waterproof tarp to deprive it of light and retain moisture.
  4. Over the next 2-3 months, the Epsom salt will break down lignin and cellulose within the wood, causing the stump to rot and become brittle for much easier removal. Just avoid wetting the salt directly to prolong its gradual dissolving action on the stump itself.
  5. After two to three months, the stump will be soft and break apart easily and you’ll be able to dig it out.
  6. Finally, cover the hole with topsoil.

7. Rotting

For a non-invasive stump removal option, consider accelerated natural decay through burying. Cover the entire stump with nitrogen-rich compost, keeping it moist. Over 1-2 years as the stump rots, fungi and microorganisms will consume the rotting wood.

Once adequately degraded, the softened stump can be pulled or dug out with basic tools like an axe or spade, though thick lateral roots may remain.

This natural process avoids chemicals and heavy machinery for low-impact stump removal. However, it requires patience as rapid breakdown is not guaranteed.

Hiring an Expert Tree Surgeon for Stump Removal

While DIY stump removal may seem cost-effective, attempting extensive extraction yourself risks injury, property damage, and incomplete stump elimination if roots remain. Professional tree surgeons have advanced equipment, experience and vast knowledge of stump removal.

Team at Evolution Tree Surgery - Tree Services in Newbury, Berkshire

At Evolution Tree Surgery, we offer expert stump grinding servicestree felling and hedge trimming for residential and commercial customers in Newbury and the surrounding areas in Berkshire.

For a free stump grinding quote, call Evolution Tree Surgery in Newbury at 07917 195806 .

FAQs About How to Remove a Tree Stump

How long does it take for a stump to decompose naturally?

The amount of time it takes for a stump to decompose naturally depends on the size of the stump and the type of tree. Larger stumps can take up to 10 years, while smaller ones may decompose faster. Factors like moisture, fungi, and pests contribute to the natural decomposition process. However, decaying stumps can attract pests and become unsightly.

Is there a way to speed up the decay of a tree stump?

To speed up the decay of a tree stump and achieve the fastest results, there are several methods you can try. Applying nitrogen-rich fertiliser or potassium nitrate can accelerate decomposition. Drilling deep holes in the stump and adding stump remover can also help. Encouraging new shoots and using rock salt or mulch can aid in natural decay. Additionally, covering the stump with a plastic tarp to trap moisture can further expedite the decomposition process.

What is the easiest way to get rid of a tree stump?

The easiest and best way to remove a tree stump is by using a stump grinder machine. Another option is to drill holes in the stump and pour in a chemical stump remover. Burning the stump is also an option, but it can be dangerous and illegal in some areas. Hiring a professional tree removal service can ensure safe and efficient removal of the stump.

What is the cheapest way to get rid of a tree stump?

The most cost-effective ways to remove a tree stump include using Epsom salt or rock salt, cutting the stump with a chainsaw, renting a stump grinder for larger stumps, or burning the stump if it’s legal in your area.

What tool is used to remove tree stumps?

When it comes to removing tree stumps, the most efficient tool is a stump grinder. Available for rent or purchase in various sizes, a stump grinder makes the job easier and quicker. Other tools like shovels, axes, and chainsaws can also be used, but a stump grinder is the recommended option for effective removal.

What is the best tree stump killer?

When it comes to removing tree stumps, the best tree stump killer depends on your specific needs. Chemical stump killers are effective but can harm surrounding plants and animals. Mechanical methods like digging or grinding the stump are also viable options. Natural alternatives like Epsom salt and vinegar solutions can be used as well. Consider your budget, desired outcome, and environmental concerns before choosing the best method, such as using Epsom salt on the top of the stump.

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How to Remove a Tree Stump UK

If you require the services of a qualified tree surgeon then simply give us a call. Whether you’re looking for a FREE consultation, or have a particular query, our qualified tree surgeons can help you.

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