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How to Remove a Tree Stump

Old stumps scattered across the landscape of your garden can make it look messy and unkempt. This is made even worse when the eventual weeds and other plants start growing on them, especially if they get entirely camouflaged making them tripping hazards. Nothing is worse than stubbing your toe or falling over an old tree stump. Most people want the widest, clearest gardens possible, and stumps will get in the way.

When cutting down a tree whether you've done it yourself or paid a professional tree surgeon, the stump will still be left firmly in the ground. You can pay someone to remove the stump for you, but this wont necessarily be included in the price of chopping down the tree, it will be an additional expense. If you do decide to go it alone, what you need now is to decide what strategy you'll use for removing the stumps. Some stumps are easier to remove than others and therefore different techniques can be applied depending on the size and age of the stump.

Chemical Process

chemical tree stump removal

Many people hear of the term "chemical process" and immediately recoil. Nobody wants to damage their garden and the idea of putting chemicals into the ground, however this method is essentially just a way to accelerate the natural processes that would eventually break down the stump anyway. But because nature takes so long to do this, providing the stump with unnatural quantities of nitrogen and water allow the rotting process to be sped up, providing an almost natural, labour free tree stump removal.

  1. First, using your chain saw, cut the stump down as close to the ground as it will go, ensuring that the chainsaw's teeth don't hit the ground as this will dull your chain.
  2. The next step is to use your drill to make several holes a few inches deep into the stump in numerous places. The wider and deeper the holes are, the better and faster the chemical process will take.
  3. Then fill the holes first with water, then follow this with a fertiliser high in nitrogen. For instance, you could use chicken coop manure as this is very high in nitrogen, and easily accessible. However if you prefer to use a commercial fertiliser, you should be sure that the first number of the fertiliser's NPK is the highest (for instance, a straight nitrogen fertiliser would be 45-0-0).
  4. Cover the ground surrounding the tree stump in water and fertiliser also. Next enclose the stump with a plastic tarp to help retain moisture in and around the stump. Applying an organic mulch over the plastic tarp, and watering it thoroughly, will help weigh it down and keep the stump hidden.
  5. To speed up the rotting process you can also periodically remove the tarp and soak the stump and the ground around it in water and if you still have that nitrogen fertiliser add more of it.

What you'll need

Wood Auger Drill Bit

wood auger drill bit

58cc Petrol Chainsaw

58cc petrol chainsaw

Brushless Combi Drill

brushless combi drill

Manual Process

manual tree stump removal

For smaller or medium sized tree stumps then the manual process may be the better option, especially if you're looking for a quicker removal. There a few tools that can be used to manually take out the tree stump but the most commonly used are a mattock, a shovel (or garden spade), and a jab saw. This process is undoubtedly much more work than the chemical process, however it can be done with the tree stump fully removed with in a day. Remember - do not cut the stump down to ground level if you're removing it manually.

  1. Firstly using the mattocks broad end, dig around the tree stump. Once you have loosened the dirt use your garden spade to shovel it out of the way. Keep in mind, the bigger the stump, the more soil you'll be moving. This is necessary to gain access to all those roots that need cutting, so you may want to have a wheel barrow on hand for temporary storage.
  2. Use the other end of the mattock to start chopping your way through some of the smaller of the tree roots.
  3. Dig and chop your way under the root ball to the taproot. For all but the smallest of trees, taproots will be imposing enough to require cutting with your jab saw. For better results try to clean any excess dirt off the taproot with a wet rag before cutting.

Ox Tools Trade Jab Saw - 6.5" 

Ox pro jab saw

The Ox Trade Jab Saw - 6.5" / 165mm & Holster Pack includes a jab saw that features a hardened and tempered steel blade for increased life. The blade has 8 teeth per inch which is ideal for wood, plastic and drywall. The jab saw has a non-slip ergonomic handle,The jab saw is supplied with a holster for safe storage when not using the saw and for ease of transportation.

Obviously, the manual approach involves a lot of digging, sawing, and chopping. Not everyone is physically capable of doing this kind of work.

Still Need help?

still need help

Our in house experts are always on hand for buying advice and to provide bespoke care, regardless of the application.

Call SGS on 01332 576 850 or fill out our contact form today.

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