How To Remove A Tree Stump Without Digging

An unsightly tree stump poking out of the ground can throw off the whole visual of your garden and outdoor spaces. You may be wondering how to remove a stump without digging. We have thoroughly reviewed the available information on this topic and have some answers.

The most common way of removing a tree stump is grinding, but renting a grinder can be expensive and labor-intensive. The following are some other popular ways to remove a tree stump without digging.

  • Use Epsom salt to kill a tree stump
  • Dissolve a stump using chemicals
  • Use copper spikes to poison a tree stump
  • Burn out a tree stump
  • Hide a tree stump

It can be challenging to figure out how to get a tree stump out of your yard without disturbing the soil around it. We'll break down each method. Keep reading as we review whether you should call a professional or remove the stump yourself.

How Do Professionals Remove Tree Stumps

Old tree stump in the summer park

The preferred way to remove tree stumps is grinding. A grinder is a push machine equipped with disks that have grooves and teeth that eat away at the stump.

They come in different capacities and specifications, so you would want to consult your local professional if you plan to rent one to do the job yourself.

Most professionals do not recommend grinding stumps yourself unless you are used to operating this type of machinery. Tree stump removal companies specialize in quickly assessing the situation and developing plans to suit your specific needs.

How Messy Is Stump Grinding?

Experts state that it can be a messy process to remove a tree stump. The resulting wood chips are then swept into the hole and covered by dirt. Large tree stumps will leave enough wood chips to use as mulch in other parts of the yard or garden.

How Long Does It Take To Grind A Tree Stump

If you plan to do it as a DIY project, getting good results could take a day or two if you are not familiar with the process. A tree stump removal company may take an hour to as many as five hours, depending on the size of the stump and ease of access to it.

How Much Does It Cost To Grind A Tree Stump

Pedestal from a tree stump on a blurred forest, How To Remove A Tree Stump Without Digging

Costs will always fluctuate and depend on your area. Renting the equipment may cost anywhere from $75 to around $600, depending on if it's by the day or by the hour.

Professionals will charge by the diameter, by the stump, or for large projects, by the hour. You could expect to pay at least $100 for the trip. Most companies charge by the stump, with common pricing being $100 to $200 for the first stump, then charging a fee for each stump after.

Get a few quotes before deciding on a company and understand their pricing structure, as they can differ widely.

Can You Remove A Tree Stump By Yourself?

Tree stump in the forest

There are several ways that you can remove a stump without grinding and without employing a professional. These methods involve some waiting, and most are not immediate removal methods.

Use Epson Salt To Kill A Tree Stump

If you were to leave a tree stump to rot in its own time, it could take as long as seven years to break down naturally. Epson salt is a popular substance to use to speed this process along.

Drill holes in the tree stump and pour the Epsom salt covering the top of the stump, making sure the salt goes down the holes. The holes should be broad and at least an inch deep. Cover the stump with a tarp or another protective covering. 

How Long Does It Take Epsom Salt To Dissolve A Tree Stump?

Repeat the application process every few weeks, and you will start to see decay in a few months. The tree stump may be completely decomposed in under a year. 

Click here to see Epsom salt for lawn care on Amazon.

Dissolve A Stump Using Chemicals

There are commercial products available for removing stumps. They work quicker than natural minerals like rock and Epsom salt and are more cost-effective than other methods. Bonide makes a stump and vine remover that can be poured on stumps to cause them to rot quickly.

Users were generally happy with the results. One user stated they surrounded the stump with a bin after cutting it down in sections to keep the chemical on the stump and keep it from spreading to other plants.

The time it takes to dissolve a stump this way will differ depending on how large the stump is and how often you reapply the chemical.

Click here to see stump remover on Amazon.

Use Copper Spikes To Poison A Tree Stump

Copper spikes or nails are often drilled into exposed tree stumps. The idea is that they interfere with the stump's ability to heal by exposure to the copper over a long period. This has been shown to encourage rot and stop regrowth over time.

Click here to see copper nails for removing tree stumps on Amazon.

Burn Out A Tree Stump

Stump on green grass in the garden

Other than grinding, the fastest way of removing a tree stump may be to burn it out. This process needs to be closely monitored.

Exercise extra caution when using this method, as the roots can catch fire and cause nearby fires. Always consult your city and county ordinances for burning laws to see if you can use fire to clear natural debris in your area.

There are differing opinions about the best practices when burning a stump, but the basic steps are the same. You'll want to clear the area around the stump and make it as inflammable as possible. Some experts recommend surrounding the stump with a metal burning bin that has had its bottom cut out.

Drill holes around the stump, covering the surface with holes as well. Pour a flammable material into the holes and on the stump. Kerosene or potassium nitrate is commonly used.

Pour hot water in after a potassium nitrate application to ensure that the stump is saturated. Charcoal and dry kindling can also be used as fire starters.

How To Safely Burn A Tree Stump

Once you have prepared the stump for burning, double-check the surrounding area for flammable products. We recommend spraying water around the area to dilute and remove any combustible material running into surrounding grasses. Some homeowners dig a shallow trench around the stump to retard fire spread.

Drop matches into the holes or use a fire lighter to set fire to kindling on top of the stump. Depending on the size, the stump may take a few hours to a day or more to burn.

Though some burning instructions state to leave the fire burning overnight, we don't recommend this in all situations.

If you live in a wooded area and cannot surround the area with sand and nonflammable debris, do not leave the fire burning overnight. Put it out and cover it to remove oxygen, beginning the fire again in the morning.

Once the stump has completely burned, remove any grass or natural debris and put it in a fire-safe container. Put the ash in the burn hole and then cover it with soil.

For more on filling a tree stump hole, read our article "How To Fill A Hole From Tree Stump?".

How To Hide A Tree Stump

Tree stump used as a decorative flower pot

After researching and seeing the costs and time involved with removing a tree stump, some gardeners decide to use the tree stump as part of their landscape. The possibilities are limited only by imagination.

Some have made birdbaths and fairy gardens or have painted over them with a weather-resistant gloss and created a floral display around the stump.

A popular way to utilize a large tree stump in a garden or front yard is to turn it into a table or a bench. Large stumps are also used as planters to plant a beautiful display. The following video shows how you can hide a tree stump.

See our article "6 Plants You Can Plant Over A Tree Stump" for more ideas.

In Closing

Now that you know how to remove a tree stump without digging and even some fun ways to decorate it if you decide to keep it, choose a method that works best for you.

Whether you get professional assistance or decide to do it yourself, you are armed with enough information to make removing the tree stump from your yard as simple as possible.

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  1. Remember, always prioritize safety when attempting to remove a tree stump. Wear protective gear, follow instructions carefully, and consult local regulations before using any chemicals or fire.

  2. Remember to exercise caution and prioritize safety when attempting any stump removal method. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it’s advisable to consult a professional tree removal service to ensure the safe and efficient removal of the tree stump.

  3. It’s important to note that removing a tree stump without digging can be a time-consuming process, and it may not be effective for larger or deeply rooted stumps. In such cases, consulting a professional tree removal service is recommended.

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