Tree stumps are often the perfect resting place for rodents and pests, and can become tripping hazards unless you remove them. There are a number of ways to remove tree stumps, but unless you hire a qualified arborist to do the job, you may be left with ongoing structural problems in your garden.
How to do it
Dig it out
- Using a shovel, dig next to the stump and expose the roots. Continue digging until you’ve exposed all of the largest roots around the tree.
- Cut the roots into pieces and pull what you can out of the ground.
- Use a hoe to pull up the remaining roots completely out of the ground. You may need to cut the roots into more pieces as you go — this will make it easier to pull them out of the ground.
- After you’ve removed all (or most) of the roots, you can use a shovel to easily remove the stump.
What to do with the leftover roots and stump? You can chop it up, use it as firewood, or add it to your compost heap.
Burn it away
Before you choose this option, you’ll need to check if it’s legal to burn your stump. Your area may fall under restrictions for open fires, especially during Australian summers.
- Build a wood fire on top of the stump. Surround the stump with wood, as well, so it remains at the centre of the fire.
- It will take a few hours to burn the stump completely. You’ll need to keep adding firewood so that the fire burns hot enough.
- Once the fire burns down, shovel the ash out of the hole.
- Fill in the hole with sawdust or dirt.
This is a cheaper way to get rid of your stump, but it’s not the most environmentally friendly.
- Drill holes around the top of the stump.
- Apply the stump remover to each of the holes.
- Keep an eye on the stump. It should begin to rot within a few weeks. When it’s soft enough to easily remove, then move on to the next step.
- Using an axe or a shovel, chop it up. Remove pieces as you go, and keep them in a pile nearby to burn.
- Build a fire over the remaining wood and let it burn all the way down.
- Remove whatever is left of the stump and its roots.
Important note: Stump removing chemicals are dangerous to children and pets. You’ll need to cover the stump over, or create a barrier so it’s not easily accessible.
DIY versus hiring a professional
While tree removal can be easy, removing the stump yourself presents a lot of challenges. If you don’t do it right, the stump can cause ongoing problems for you. As you can see from the above steps, it’s a process, and one that takes muscle power, sweat, and a few weeks to complete.
When you hire a professional stump removalist, they’ll do all the hard work for you. They’ll have their own stump grinding machine which enables them to go below the surface of the ground and chip away at the roots with ease.
You don’t have to get rid of your stump, however! You can always turn it into a garden feature by turning it into a flower planter or a stool.