Stump removal is a more intensive, tricky, and expensive process than tree cutting. That’s one of the reasons stump removal cost is usually not included in the cost of tree removal. It’s also why many homeowners shy away from removing any old tree stumps in their yards. 

But, like everything else related to your home, we make stump removal too a doable task for you. The fastest way to remove a tree stump is when you know how to use the right techniques and methods. And, that’s exactly what we’ll tell you in this blog. 

More often than not, a stubborn stump — with its vast root system –continues to grow rather than decompose long after the tree is cut down, becoming more of a nuisance. That’s when we need to remove the undesirable elements from our property.

Read more: Buying a home? Learn why you must schedule tree inspection

Common reasons for stump removal

tree stump

After getting a tree removed, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to leave an annoyingly persistent tree stump in the yard. Some of the common reasons for removing stumps from your yard are:

  • Old tree stumps dotting your yard landscaping become eyesores. 
  • They take up valuable space in your yard.
  • Stumps can be a tripping hazard, especially if they get camouflaged by grass, weeds, and other plants.
  • Old stumps can be dangerous — attracting insects. They may even harbor diseases.

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Here are some popular methods to remove a stump from your yard. And, this includes your DIY options.

Stump removal by using chemicals

Using chemicals is perhaps the least labor-intensive stump removal method. However, this process takes time, depending on the size of the stump. You’ll need a lot of patience!

Chemical stump removal could take up to a year, or more, as you’re literally rotting the stump with additives. This method is inexpensive if you already have basic tools such as a chainsaw and a drill.

Step 1: With a chainsaw, cut off the stump that’s above ground level. Be sure to wear protective safety gear such as safety goggles.

Step 2: Drill a few inches deep holes into any remaining tree stump. 

Step 3: Fill the holes with water and then add some Epsom salt, potassium nitrate, stump remover granules, or any other tree stump killer.

Step 4: Soak the ground with water and cover the area with a plastic tarp to accelerate the rotting process.

Step 5: Cover the tarp with mulch to help retain moisture.

Step 6: Check on the progress periodically and repeat the process.

Manual stump removal

Manually removing a tree stump is more labor-intensive, but it’s the fastest way to remove a tree stump. This method works best on small to medium-sized tree trunks. For large tree stumps, you may consider renting a stump grinder.

Removing stumps manually may take around three to 12 hours. Keep in mind that manual stump removal is usually easier if the stump has aged and dried out. Not when it’s a new stump that’s still green.

Step 1: Dig around the stump and loosen the dirt with a mattock.

Step 2: Using a shovel, remove the dirt so that you can see the tree roots.

Step 3: Sever the tree roots by digging and chopping with the mattock.

Step 4: Cut through the taproot with an axe or bow saw.

Step 5: Try to wiggle and pull out the tree stump.

Burning the tree stump

The burning method is an easy way to get rid of an annoying stump. Moreover, you can use it on its own or in conjunction with any other stump removal method. However, before you use this method for stump removal, you may want to check first if it’s acceptable in your neighborhood.

Step 1:  Drill holes in the stump and sprinkle a powdered tree stump removal product such as Stump Out

Step 2:  Pour some kerosene or fuel oil into the holes. Make sure you soak the tree stump completely.

Step 3: Burn down the tree stump — all the while watching the fire closely. When you want to put out the fire, cover it with some topsoil.

Using a stump grinder

tree stump removal

When dealing with a large stump, or multiple old tree stumps in your yard, you may want to rent a stump grinder. These are easily available at any local home improvement store. You can expect to pay between $100 and $200 for the heavy equipment. 

Keep in mind that you should begin this home improvement project only if you’ve done your research, and are confident about stump grinding. Operating these machines can be challenging.

Step 1: Remove any dirt, debris, and rocks from the tree stump.  

Step 2: Cut the stump up to ground level using a chainsaw.

Step 3: Place the stump grinder wheel on top of the stump, lower it about 3 inches, and turn it on. Use its lever to move it from side to side.

Step 4: Grind the stump down until it’s 4 inches below the ground.

Step 5: Fill the hole with the wood chips, and cover with topsoil or grass.

Hiring a professional service

Even though tree stump removal can be a DIY project, it’s a good idea to hire a professional tree service company. Removing a stubborn stump may cause property damage or harm the underground utilities of your home. 

Moreover, lighting fires and operating large machines may leave a lot of homeowners stumped! Pun intended. 

It’s best to ask the tree-cutting company to remove the trunk as well. Although they’ll charge an additional fee, it will be worth the cost. 

The cost to remove a tree stump generally ranges between $60 and $350 per stump. On average, the cost for a professional tree stump removal comes to about $165. A reliable way to get a good estimate is by measuring the diameter of the stump and multiplying it by $2 to $3.  

Last thoughts

The reason a homeowner wants to cut down disarranged trees in their yard is to improve the natural lighting for the house, get unblocked views, or make way for newer, better trees to grow.

If you too have removed trees, you’ll know how unsightly the leftover stumps can be. What’s worse is that the eyesore of a tree trunk may take years to naturally rot and decompose — continuing to take up precious yard space. 

If you’re not one to wait for years, just wishing the stumps away, we suggest using any of the above techniques to kill the tree stumps and remove them from your property.

Read more: A guide on how often you should trim tree branches, safety & more

How to tackle tree stump removal in your yard was last modified: August 24th, 2021 by Ramona Sinha
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