The majority of tree stumps, especially larger ones, will need removing by professional tree surgeons. Our Slaneys Tree Surgeons have all the necessary equipment to completely remove a stump, which often require the use of stump grinders.

There are however some circumstances when you can remove a tree stump yourself, we cover some of the best ways to combat tree stump removal below.

Digging up the stump.

Digging up the stump with a spade can work on smaller stumps, but it will still take a bit of time and require a fair bit of effort. This method is not recommended for anyone with back problems, but can be carried out following these steps:

  1. Dig a circle around the roots. To begin with you’ll want to dig a large circle around the stump, exposing as many of the roots as you can. You need to dig deep in order to uncover the largest roots – at which point you’ll get an idea as to whether this method will work, or if you’ll need to try something else.
  2. Cut up the roots. Once you’ve exposed the roots you’ll want to cut them up in order to completely pull them out of the ground. A strong pair of secateurs should do the job, but you may require something more powerful. An axe can be used but you’ll need to take extra care and you must ensure you have removed all of the roots as you go.
  3. Remove the stump. Once you’ve removed all of the roots pulling the stump out of the ground should be relatively easily. If you find you’re using too much force, or it’s trickier to remove than you thought, there may still be root systems holding it in place. You can also use a shovel to dig up the remaining stump, which will reduce the amount of force you need to put in.

Using a chemical stump remover.

Chemicals can be used to remove stumps, however it is still recommended that you have it professional removed by a tree surgeon, as chemicals can be hazardous and can damage the surrounding area.

Some of the chemicals you can use include:

To remove the tree stump using chemicals follow the below steps:

  1. Make holes in the top of the stump. Use a drill to add large holes all over the top of the stump, covering the edges, as well as the middle evenly.
  2. Add the chemical. Pour the chemical you’re using in to the holes you’ve created, checking the products details to see how it should be used – some will require diluting first. Make sure all animals and children are kept away from the stump once the chemical has been applied. 
  3. Wait until the stump starts to rot. Within a few weeks your stump should start rot away – keep a close eye on the stump throughout the whole process, adding more chemicals if necessary.
  4. Remove the stump. Once the stump is soft enough, chop up the stump using an axe and dig up any remains, including all of the roots, with a spade.

Burning the stump.

Burning the stump can work if you aren’t able to remove it by force, however it’s generally not recommended for various reasons, such as it being dangerous and potentially destroying wildlife.

Due to the wet weather in England there is also no guarantee it will work, due to the amount of moisture in the stump, however if you want to give it a go you can follow the steps below:

  1. Build a wood fire around the stump, ensuring it is large enough to cover the whole base.
  2. Keeping adding wood. The fire will need to continue burning for at least a few hours to completely burn down the stump, so keep an eye on it and continue adding wood whenever necessary. For larger stumps this could take a lot longer, so make sure you have plenty of fire wood.
  3. Remove all the remains. Once you’re sure you have burned all of the stump, remove any remains of it, as well as its root system below ground. Double check that the fire is completely out and the ground is cool before doing this.