Tree Stump Removal Methods


Phil's Excavating

There are many ways to remove tree stumps. All of them are a lot of work. Phil's Excavating has been called in by many homeowners who started to remove their own tree stumps, but gave up, saying that it was harder than they imagined. Unless you have only a few fairly small stumps, we recommend that you hire a professional, such as an excavating company, to get rid of the stumps. Here are some choices. 

Stump Grinding

Most advice columns suggest that you hire a stump grinder to grind the top of the stumps a few inches below ground level. New loam is brought in to fill in the holes and then you plant grass. Stump grinding works best when you have a few stumps that are too much work to dig out and cut with an ax. It is especially good when a stump is next to a walk or driveway where you can't access the roots for cutting and pulling the stump out.

It's a poor method if you want to plant a garden, shrub or another tree in its place, since the roots remain in the ground. It's definitely not the right method if you plan on putting in a patio, driveway or building where the stump is. It also means the roots will eventually rot, collapse and cause sinkholes. 

Many stumps have large roots that have pushed the soil up around the stump. Stump grinding leaves these roots and an uneven, bumpy yard unsuitable for many yard uses such games, sports, and patios. Plus it's not very attractive. This is a particularly bad method if you have a lot of stumps  that have pushed the yard up.

You can often save money by renting a stump grinder to grind the stump yourself, but keep in mind that the a stump grinder is very heavy and dangerous. Don't do it unless you are strong and in good health. Wear googles to protect your eyes and keep children and other spectators away. 

Hire an Excavator

An excavating contractor can completely remove the stump with all its roots and then regrade the yard. Having an excavator remove stumps gives you the best yard possible and it's the only sensible way to go if you have many stumps throughout your yard or some very large stumps. After the stumps and roots are removed and trucked away, the yard will be perfectly leveled off and can be used for sports, gardens, patios, driveways or new plants. 

Other methods of stump elimination

Remove the stump by hand by digging around the stumps and its roots with a mattock or shovel. Cut the roots with an ax and try to pull it out. Often the stump won't come out and you need to dig deeper to find and cut more roots. Some may be under the stump and difficult to access. If you have a pickup truck you can try to attach a chain or strong rope around the stump and pull it out after all the easy roots are cut. 

Make sure you are in good health, strong and can spend a considerable amount of time to use the hand method of stump removal. This method is the most common method of stump elimination for a homeowner with only a few small stumps.

Chemically removing the stump makes the job easier but takes time. Drill 1" holes 12" deep into the stump. They should be 3' to 4" apart. Also drill around the outside of the stump and connect these holes to the holes drilled on the top at a 45 degree angle. Pour potassium nitrate into the holes, fill the holes with water and wait four to six week until the stump is soggy and soft. Remove the stump with an ax.

Help the stump rot by following the steps for chemically removing the stump but instead of cutting it out in 4 to 6 weeks, cover the stump with plastic and mulch and let it rot. Periodically remove the plastic and mulch and add more water and potassium nitrate and cover again. This method is for very patient people.

Burning the stump is another stump removal method. There is a stump removing product called Stump Remover. Putting this on the stump softens it up so that you can pour kerosene into the stump and burn it away. This is a slow smoldering method and you should be prepared for a smokey yard.

Good luck on your stump removal project. If you're within 15 miles of Bellingham Massachusetts, have very large stumps, many stumps or want the best yard possible, contact Phil's Excavating for a free quote.