Stump Removal: Tips, Techniques and Methods on How to Remove a Tree Stump Yourself


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Removing trees from your property may seem like a tough task ahead, but the process is not all that complicated when you think about how stump removal is done. There’s a lot more action involved in removing a stump, so many companies will charge extra if you want them to remove both the tree and the stump. There are some people who will choose to leave the stump in the yard because it takes a lot of extra work to get it removed. However, the process of stump removal is not an impossible task. If you know the right strategies and steps to take, the process of removing a stump becomes easy. The following information will provide guidelines on how to remove a stump successfully.

Why Stump Removal is Necessary

chopoc.com stump removalSo, you had the tree removed only to leave an unsightly stump behind? Here are a few reasons why you should get rid of that stump left behind:

• Unpleasant to See – The sight of stumps in your yard makes it look like you have humps in your landscape. If it stays in the yard for a long time, weeds and other growths start forming on them, making them even more of an eyesore.
• Reduce Yard Space – A stump takes away from having a nice, smooth clear yard.
• They can be Hazardous – It’s easy to avoid falling over or stumping your toe on a stump you can see, but for those that are not so easy to see (like those covered with grass, the encounter can be quite painful.

Assessing a Tree Stump

The method used to remove the stump may depend upon the level of difficulty it may take to remove it. So, review all methods of removing stumps to decide which method will work best for the type of stump you need removing. Some types of trees are easier to handle than others for stump removal. For example, pine trees are easier to remove than most trees because of their lightweight roots.

The size and age of the tree can also play a factor in the ease of which its stump can be removed. Most people will agree that the older the tree is, the easier it is to remove its stump. Also, the method used may be determined by how many stumps you need removed at one time. Therefore, carefully review the following information to determine which removal method works for your situation.

Do-it-Yourself Stump Removal Via Grinding

If it’s more problems than it’s worth trying to remove the stump(s), then you can rent a grinder to get rid of the stump(s). Since these machines are often heavy-weight machines weighing almost 1000 pounds and only cost between $100 to $200 to rent per day, it may be better on your pocketbook to do it yourself instead of paying someone else to do it.

You will also need other tools like a rake, chainsaw, shovel (or mattock).

1. You will need a mattock (or a shovel) to remove rocks and other debris surrounding the stump.
2. Try to make the stump level with the ground by removing as much of the stump as you can with the chainsaw.
3. Raise the grinder wheel with the hydraulic lever a few inches above the stump. Turn the grinder on and lower it 3 inches inside the stump. Now use the hydraulic lever to move the grinder from side to side while it is grinding.
4. When you have ground about 4 inches, push the grinder further into the stump to grind some more, moving it from side to side as before. You will continue doing this until the whole stump is a minimum of 4 inches below ground.

Note: Never grind a stump without having on protective eye wear because debris from the stump will be all over the place while grinding. First timers using a grinder would be wise to have a representative at the rental store demonstrate the safest way to handle the equipment before getting it home.

If you only have one or two stumps to deal with, then your best bet is to go with a company that offers daily rental rates between $100 to $200. Some of these companies will also provide services to pick up and remove the stump debris when you rent a grinder from them.

DIY Method #1: How to Remove a Stump by Hand

Very small tree stumps can be removed by hand. It’s also easier to remove a tree by hand that’s diseased or very old. If you’re going to remove the stump by hand, consider the following guidelines:
You will need the following tools to manually remove a stump: liming saw (or chain saw), ax, shovel, pick mattock, digging bar, a piece of chain and a four-wheel-drive truck.

The steps to removing a stump by hand are as follows:

1. The liming saw (or chainsaw) will be used to cut off branches near the trunk.
2. Take off the top part of the trunk but leave some so you can have leverage for removing the remaining portion.
3. The pick mattock, shovel and digging bar will be used to expose the stump’s roots.
4. Wash the dirt from the stump with a high-powered water hose (or power washer) to expose more roots.
5. Take the ax to chop the roots. Cut the major roots with an ax.
6. Give the trunk a push. If you see more roots, chop those also. Repeat this process of pushing and pulling on the trunk until you can uproot the entire trunk.
7. For more stubborn trunks that still won’t come out after chopping through all the main roots, attach the chain to the truck and the trunk to remove it that way.
8. If using the truck, you might want to reverse to wiggle the trunk some and then pull forward until the trunk comes up completely.

DIY Method #2: Using Chemicals to Remove Stumps

For those who prefer not to do it by hand, there is always the option of using chemicals to remove a stump. For this process, you will need a chainsaw, drill, ac, potassium nitrate. For the alternate option, you will need kerosene (or fuel oil).

These are the steps for removing a stump chemically:

1. Use the chainsaw to get rid of most of the stump.
2. Then drill 1-inch holes around the edges of the stump. Then aim about 3 or 4 inches away from the edge and drill more holes. Make sure all holes range from 8-12 inches deep. The size of the stump will determine how deep the holes are.
3. Make 45-degree angles with the holes already drilled in the stump by putting holes on the sides of the stump.
4. Fill each hole with as much potassium nitrate as you can get into them.
5. Then add water to the holes.
6. Between a month and a month and a half later, the stump should feel spongy.
7. The stump can now be chopped up with an ax.

Alternate option:

1. Instead of using potassium nitrate, drill the holes as before and pour kerosene or fuel oil onto the stump and let stand for a week.
2. Set the stump on fire and allow it to burn until it’s all consumed.

DIY Method #3: Burning a Tree Stump

This method saves both energy and money. You will need a drill and potassium nitrate.
1. Make a hole 8 to 10 inches deep in the middle of the stump.
2. Remove all wood chips and dust out the hole.
3. Drill more holes within one inch of each other.
4. Pour potassium nitrate into the holes.
5. Pour hot water into the holes to dissolve all the potassium nitrate.
6. Cover the top of the stump with scrap wood.
7. Set the stump on fire by lighting the wood scraps.
8. After the stump has burned, you can use a shovel to remove any leftover roots are stump parts.
9. Cover the hole left from the removed stump with dirt.

DIY Method #4: Removing a Tree Stump Via Rotting a Tree Stump

The process for rotting a tree stump is similar to burning it. In this process, you will use a high-nitrogen substance to rot the stump.

1. Make 10-inch drill holes into the stump.
2. Pour the high-nitrogen product into the holes.
3. Fill the holes with water.
4. Remove the pieces that have started becoming soft until all pieces have been removed. Use a shovel to get rid of any leftover roots and stump pieces.
5. Cover the hole left from the removed stump with dirt.

How to Dispose of Your Removed Stumps

Big stumps and other landscape garbage may not be collected by your city. Therefore, make sure you get in touch with the appropriate department within your city and find out if they will pick up removed stumps. If not, find out if there are alternatives to removing the stump—like recycling centers or other companies that will haul the stump away.

In the case of having multiple stumps, it may be best to chip those up with a wood chipper and recycle the chips. Please note that not all areas will allow you to burn tree stumps. If your area allows it, use plenty of scrap wood and anticipate it taking a long time for larger stumps.

If you plan on using a professional to remove your stumps, invest in a company that also offers services to haul the stump away. Find out what fees are involved if the hauling service is not already included in the stump removal price.

Making the Most of Your New Yard Space

All holes left behind by tree stumps should be filled with dirt and later covered with grass seed and mulch hay. Keep the area well-watered, and check the growth rate of the grass often. Once the grass has taken root and covers the spot, you can now incorporate this spot into your existing landscape.

Before embarking on a stump removal journey, you will need to plan out your strategy: the removal goal (one or many stumps at one time?), the price you are willing to pay to get it done, the type and condition of the trees involved and the amount of time you desire to devote to the project. If you don’t want to spend money on tools, then hire a stump removing service instead. Either way, make sure your method of removal accomplishes what you intended.