The Best Way to Remove a Tree Stump from Your Garden

Tree stumps are hard to remove. They can be a hazard for people and pets, and they often take up space in your garden that could be put to better use. 

Fortunately, you have tons of options when it comes to removing these stumps and the right option is out there for everyone!

We know all too well how overwhelming it can be when you’re faced with a tree stump that needs to be removed. 

There are so many options out there and it can become confusing as you try to decide which way is best for your situation!

We’ve gathered up some of the most popular ways people remove these pesky stumps from their gardens and we have put them in a list below!

removing tree stump feature image

Table of Contents

Know your stump

Every tree trunk has unique characteristics depending on what kind of tree stump it is. There are two different types of tree trunks that all have their own process for removal in the UK.

Conifer trees (pine, fir, spruce) will require a lot more time and labour to remove because they leave an enormous stump in the ground. You need to dig down deep into the earth until you reach the hardwood layer then cut it with a saw before removing any remaining roots by hand or using small tools such as pliers and shovels. This is not recommended if you don’t know what you’re doing!

Deciduous trees (oak, apple) also have large roots which can be difficult to extract from the dirt, but at least there isn’t much wood left after cutting them off so it’s easier to cut them with a saw.

large tree stumps

Using chemicals

To get rid of a tree stump, you’ll need to remove as much of the part above ground before drilling holes around it. Start by cutting off any remaining bits and then drill one-inch diameter holes at least 12 inches deep, angle these so they intersect with vertical ones drilled from the top down. Pour three or four ounces of the chemical into each hole (don’t forget those angled ones!) Then, fill up all but two inches worth with water for an efficient process that only takes about 8-10 weeks.

Potassium nitrate is a fantastic stump remover because it breaks down the tissue under the ground so it’s easier to remove. You can use other chemicals too, such as calcium chloride or sodium nitrate which will soften up roots and make them easier to break apart from the surface of your garden where you need to do most of your digging.

Chemicals are an economical option for people with a small garden since they don’t require a lot of physical labour on behalf of the person removing stumps. However, keep in mind that these types have low success rates and not all stump removal chemical is created equal! If you want something more natural, read on below.

stump removal chemicals

If you know that chemicals are not for you, Epsom salt might be an economical and natural alternative to chemical stump removal. You need a bucket or wheelbarrow of water with the same amount of Epsom salts as there are gallons worth in your container.

Pour this mixture on top of the tree trunks then use a shovel or spade to break up any remaining roots before digging them out by hand. This method will take longer than just using chemicals, but it could work if you want something more traditional!

epsom salt

It will take anywhere between 8 to 10 weeks for the Epsom salt to kill your tree stump. For a large, troublesome stump this might not be enough time so you may need to use other methods or find another solution! Epsom salt is good at permanently destroying stumps because it’s a salt that doesn’t evaporate and is very strong.

If you have a small or short tree trunk, then the best way to remove it is with manual labour. This might mean that you need an excavator machine to help dig down into the dirt and use some heavy machinery to extract roots before cutting off any remaining parts of your unwanted stump. If this isn’t possible for you, try using a shovel!

You can also mix up something called root killer which will cause enough damage so the roots of the stump die and fall away from the soil leaving no trace behind.

If you want to learn more about removing a tree stump that is sprouting then make sure you give this article a read!

If you have a large or long tree trunk, then a great way to remove it is by burning it. You can use petrol, but make sure there’s nothing around your stump before setting it alight. After about ten minutes of being on alight, search for any remaining roots in the hole left behind from where you removed the tree trunk.

You don’t want to leave anything alive after removing a tree stump because its roots might be able to grow back into your garden! So get down as deep as possible and pour some chemicals over the top which will kill all living cells beneath your surface soil layer. It should only take about one month at most instead of two weeks if using potassium nitrate.

burning tree stump

If you have a lot of trees in your garden, then it might be best to invest in stump grinders that can do the job quickly. This is often for people who need more than one tree removed from their property.

Some machines will work better or worse depending on what type and size of tree stump that needs removing, so make sure you choose wisely before buying.

Clear the dirt, debris, and rocks away from your newly-cut tree stump using a hoe or shovel. Use a chainsaw to cut as much of it off as possible. Ground-level is ideal for this task so make sure you get rid of any large stumps that are close by too.

Place the grinder wheel above the stump at about three inches height then turn on its safety system before lowering it down slowly until all four sides have been ground below surface level.

stump grinders

Bleach is typically not an effective stump killer because it does not effectively kill the tree roots under the surface of the ground. It may sterilize the stump, but this will do nothing to prevent new shoots from coming up through from underground. Bleach isn’t an ineffective tree stump remover.

Roundup can be effective when killing a tree stump, but it will not be as effective as some of the other chemicals on this list. Keep in mind that Roundup is usually more expensive and does not work well with large or long trees!

A lot of physical labour on behalf of the person removing the stumps will be required. However, keep in mind that these types have low success rates and not all stump removal chemical is created equal!

all the roots

Yes, a copper spike into the trunk of an old sawn-off tree will ensure that it never grows back. A knife should be used to cut around the bark in 2-inch strips all around the base of this tree and then insert one or two copper nails directly through these circular cuts on either side where they meet at ground level.

Can you kill a tree stump with vinegar?

If you’re cautious about using a non-toxic homemade solution for your tree stump, then consider vinegar. Gardeners use horticultural vinegar in small quantities and low concentrations to aid plant growth. However, if this is used frequently – or even worse undiluted white vinegar will kill the plant!

chemical stump remover

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

The fastest way to remove a tree stump is by burning it. Sketch out the process of removing a tree stump from your garden in detail. Include steps, tools needed, and extra precautions that you may need to help you complete the task.

What happens if you don't remove tree stumps?

If you don’t remove a tree stump from your garden there is the possibility that it will grow back and take over what was previously an area of your garden. Be sure that you read the points in this article so that you know the best ways to remove one.

small tree stump

Call in professionals

If you’re still struggling to get rid of your stumps, then it’s best to call in the professionals! They will be able to use specialised equipment and machinery that might not be available for purchase.

If you are having the tree lopped, make sure that you give the professionals enough time to remove and dispose of the stump themselves before they come back! What some professional companies charge can vary, however typically it will cost you £250 to £500 for a two-man job.

tree removal specialist

What you shouldn't do

The worst thing you can do when it comes to removing a tree stump from your garden is nothing. Not only is it an eyesore, but it can also be dangerous as the stump might grow roots back up and into your garden. You also run the risk of attracting pests such as ants, wasps and termites which will cause you more problems later down the line.


We hope you have found this article informative and now have the confidence to use any of the above methods to remove a tree stump from your garden. You should now be able to get on with your garden knowing that you won’t have any pesky tree stumps sitting around and taking up space.

You will find success by using one of the methods listed above, which will depend largely on what type of chemical or physical method you want to use for removal. Keep in mind that most of these types are not 100% effective, but they can do a good job when combined together!

You don’t need much more than determination and patience if you plan on removing this stubborn obstacle yourself- it just might take some time for the tree roots underground level to die out completely. Call in professionals if there are no other options left. Good luck.

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Oliver Wright

I hope you enjoy reading some of the content and ideas from this site, I tend to share articles and product reviews on a daily basis, so be rest assured… you won’t run out of things to read!

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