3 Ways To Remove Unwanted Tree Stumps

by Grace Motley

If a tree stump is not removed after felling, then problems may arise with suckering, which is when new shoots arise from the trunk and roots. Removing a tree stump can be a real pain, but it'll make life a lot easier once it is out of the way. Here are 3 ways to remove unwanted tree stumps.


It takes a strong type of herbicide to completely kill off a tree stump and its roots. Fortunately, there are a few herbicides strong enough to get the job done available for home use. When picking an herbicide, find one that contains glyphosate. Glyphosate is absorbed into plants and is translocated throughout it. This means the herbicide will soak into the entire stump, killing it from the inside.

To use an herbicide to kill a tree stump, follow these steps:

  1. Wear safety gear before using any chemicals. Safety gear includes goggles, gloves, and a face mask if necessary.

  2. Drill several holes into the top of the tree stump using an electric drill. Make them at least 3-inches deep.

  3. Drill holes into the side of the stump at a 45-degree angle. Make these at least 3-inches deep as well.

  4. Pour the herbicide into the holes.

  5. The process of decaying the stump will take several weeks to complete, and several applications of herbicide will be necessary during the process.

  6. Remove decaying parts of the stump as they begin to fall off over the next several days or weeks.

Dig It Out

To remove a tree stump by digging it out, follow these steps:

  1. Dig around the stump. You should dig in about a 4-foot radius around the tree.

  2. Cut any roots that get in the way. Use a saw or axe to cut out larger roots if necessary.

  3. Dig down until you can see under the tree.

  4. Use a winch with a rope or chain to pull the tree out. Smaller trees may be able to be lifted and removed by hand, but most trees are too heavy.

Stump Grinder

Stump grinders are machines that literally eat-up tree stumps. They grind stumps down 6 to 12-inches below surface level. Stump grinders are available for rent, and are most cost-effective if you have multiple stumps to remove. You can also hire a tree service that will operate the machinery for you if are uncomfortable doing it yourself.

Tree stumps can be unsightly to look at, and they can be frustrating to deal with when they constantly sprout shoots. Getting rid of them may seem like a tough endeavor, but it will be worth it in the end.