How to destroy a tree stump


How To Kill a Tree Stump (2022 Guide)

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From home remedies to professional solutions, here’s everything you need to know about getting rid of a tree stump in your yard.

Reviews by This Old House Reviews Team 10/05/2022 2:05 pm

Cutting down trees in your yard is a great way to improve the natural lighting for other plants and make way for new trees to grow. If you’ve removed a tree in your yard, you know how pesky its leftover stump can be.

While you could leave it alone, it could start to grow, sprouting annoying shoots from its roots, or it may take years to naturally rot and decompose. Try the following techniques to kill the tree stump and remove it from your yard or find a tree removal expert to take care of it for you.

Home Remedies for Tree Stump Removal

Here are a few ways you can get rid of a tree stump before getting your hands dirty with physical removal.

Epsom Salt

This is a common DIY method for killing tree trunks, as it accelerates the decomposition process to 6–12 months, as opposed to three to seven years for natural rotting. Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulfur, which are beneficial to plants but deadly in large quantities. Overdosing the stump with Epsom salt pulls the moisture out of it, killing it and accelerating the decaying process.

Here’s how to use Epsom salt to kill a tree stump:

  1. Drill deep holes in the stump about an inch wide with a power drill and a wide drill bit.
  2. Sprinkle the stump with water after covering the top of the stump with Epsom salt.
  3. Cover the stump with a tarp to keep the rain from washing away the substance.
  4. Repeat this process every few weeks to ensure its success.

If this process is successful, the stump will die within two to three months and be close to full decay after a year. This is a great solution for homeowners who want a slower, natural approach to killing their tree stump.

Rock Salt

Similar to Epsom salt, rock salt can help kill and decay a stump with minimal effort. Here’s how to kill a tree stump with rock salt:

  1. Drill holes into the stump.
  2. Pack the holes with rock salt.
  3. After all of the holes are packed and the stump is covered in salt, pour soil and mulch over the stump.
  4. Then, pour water over the mulch—this will dissolve the salt, help the roots absorb the solution, and pack the soil.

Keep watering the stump every few days for one to two months to keep the stump moist with the saltwater solution, promoting absorption and the growth of fungi that can accelerate the stump’s decomposition. You can also add a potassium nitrate fertilizer to further support the growing fungi.

Plastic Bag or Tarp

Perhaps the easiest method to kill a tree stump is forcing darkness on it. Without sunlight, the tree stump will die, accelerating the decomposition process. Rotting should start to take place in two to three months.

Here’s how to kill a tree stump with a plastic bag or tarp:

  1. Similar to other methods, cut the stump as close to the roots as possible with a chainsaw, hatchet, or handsaw.
  2. Cover the stump with a black trash bag.
  3. Weigh the bag down with heavy rocks or bricks. For a smaller stump, use a dark-colored bucket or container to cover the stump.

This technique requires little to no effort, but it can be slower compared with the physical removal methods.

Boiling Water

You don’t need to purchase any substance or solution to try this remedy—all you need is hot water.

  1. Expose as much of the stump’s root structure as possible.
  2. Drill holes into the roots and on top of the stump—this will help the scalding water reach as much of the root system as possible and kill the roots with heat.
  3. Once all the roots are exposed, pour boiling water over them. The heat from the water will shock the root system, severely damaging it and killing it.

Once the stump and roots are dead, the natural decomposition process can begin.

Techniques To Physically Remove a Tree Stump

If you have the time and resources to use physical methods to kill and remove your tree stump, consider the following techniques. Compared to home remedies, they are much quicker but take a bit more effort, tools, and money to perform.

Use Fire To Kill a Tree Stump

Use some kindling or kerosene to burn the stump so that it doesn’t protrude from the ground. This method will kill the tree, but it won’t completely get rid of the tree roots and stump. Keep in mind that this may not be an option if you live in an area with a dry climate that’s prone to wildfires. Check with your local fire department to see if burning a tree stump falls in line with the local fire code.

Once you have approval to burn your tree stump, there are a few ways you can move forward. You can drill holes into the trunk, pour kerosene into each hole, light scrap wood on the surface of the stump, and carefully monitor the wood as it burns. This method is slower, but it burns the wood from deeper within the stump.

You can also cut criss-cross lines in the wood that are about five to six inches deep with a chainsaw, then simply light some kindling on top and monitor the stump until it’s burned down below ground level.

Dig the Tree Stump Out of the Ground

Digging out a tree stump is one way to remove it from your yard, but it can require time-consuming work that can be potentially destructive to your yard or garden. This method allows you to remove as many tree roots as possible and ensure that the stump doesn’t continue to grow. To save time and effort, consider hiring a professional with digging equipment to handle the job.

Here’s how to dig a tree stump out of the ground:

  1. Dig around the stump, exposing as many roots as possible.
  2. Use a chainsaw, hatchet, or handsaw to cut the larger roots. As you continue digging, you may find smaller roots that can be cut with clippers or loppers.
  3. Once you’ve cut all of the roots around the stump, lift and remove the stump from the ground.
  4. Fill the hole with dirt and cover it with topsoil or mulch.

Note: This process can take multiple hours of labor, depending on the size of the tree stump and the root structure.

Free Quote: Get your free quote on professional stump removal today

Grinding the Tree Stump

This is the quickest method for killing and removing tree stumps. It involves hiring a tree removal specialist or renting a stump grinder machine to break apart the wood in the trunk and tree roots. Typical prices for this job are around $100–$400. Stump grinder machine rental costs typically fall between $80 and $150 for a four-hour window.

To grind a tree stump, start by trimming the stump with a chainsaw, digging around it and removing any rocks. Then, use the machine’s cutter blade to chip away at the wood and cut any roots that are connected to the stump. This process can take anywhere from two to six hours depending on the size of the stump. Once you’re finished, spread dirt in and over the hole, adding topsoil or mulch if desired.

What To Avoid When Killing Tree Stumps

Here are a few factors to consider when removing or killing tree stumps to ensure safety and effectiveness:

  • Bleach—Bleach can be used to kill a stump when poured over it in high quantities, but we recommend avoiding this method since it can be detrimental to the surrounding plants. It would be much healthier for the environment of your yard to use a more natural method like Epsom salt, as this can be beneficial to plants and soil.
  • Diesel fuel—Avoid using diesel fuel or gasoline to burn tree trunks, since these solutions don’t offer a slow, effective burn needed to properly break down the wood. Diesel fuel and gasoline can also be toxic for the surrounding plants in your yard. Instead, we suggest using minimal amounts of kerosene and kindling wood for your stump fires.
  • Potential dangers—Even if your city allows for burning a stump, monitor and maintain the fire until it’s finished burning to keep it from spreading beyond the controlled area. You should also take safety precautions when using tree removal equipment, such as a chainsaw or stump grinder, and wear the proper protective gear.
  • Proximity to other plants—If your stump is located near plants that you wish to protect, be careful when adding chemicals to the stump and keep them off any surrounding plants. For example, even though the magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt can be good for plants, too much of it can dry them out.

The Bottom Line

If you’re trying to remove a tree stump from your yard, try one of the above methods. While we recommend the DIY techniques if you’re not in a hurry, renting a machine or hiring a professional to help grind the stump is the fastest solution.

Free Quote: Get your free quote on professional stump removal today

Enter your ZIP code into the tool below to find tree removal experts in your area that can help you get rid of your pesky stump.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How to Kill Tree Stumps Permanently (Even the Ones that Won't Die)

Photo: istockphoto.com

Removing a tree from your yard can be a tricky and expensive process, but it’s especially frustrating when you still wind up stuck with a stubborn stump. Sometimes, when its vast root system continues to send up leafy shoots, the stump will continue to grow rather than decompose long after the tree is cut down. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques you can use to rid your yard of an annoyingly persistent tree stump.

Keep reading to find a solution that’s suitable for your situation.

Physical Tree Stump Removal Techniques

If you need the stump gone as soon as possible, you could make quick work of it by digging, grinding, or burning it out. Physical removal methods come with their own sets of challenges. Let’s take a closer look at each of these methods to learn why they may or may not be right for you.

Dig the Tree Stump Out

For smaller stumps, up to about 12 inches in diameter, digging out the stump could be the most practical solution. Digging only requires basic hand tools, rather than renting or hiring a large, expensive machine. This is a labor-intensive approach, but very much doable with the right tools.

To dig out the stump you’ll need a sturdy spade, mattock, and digging iron. A narrow spade with a mid-length handle, like the Fiskars 46-inch Transplanting Spade, digs deeply and maneuvers easily around the dense root ball. The mattock, chops through roots like an axe, and loosens compacted soils easily. Use the digging iron to dig into deep or narrow spaces, and to pry up stubborn roots.

Photo: istockphoto.com

To remove a tree stump by digging, begin by loosening the soil around it with the mattock. Clear away the loose soil with the spade. As roots are exposed, chop through them with the mattock. Continue working downward and inward from all sides toward the taproot beneath the stump. Use the digging iron to loosen soil beneath the stump or to pry the stump sideways for additional working space. When the taproot is exposed, use the sharp edge of the mattock to chop through it. Remove the stump, with its root ball and any large roots.

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Burn the Tree Stump

If the stump has dried thoroughly, burning it out could be a workable solution. This method may be more time consuming than digging, and does not thoroughly remove the roots below soil level, but it may provide satisfactory results with somewhat less physical exertion. Consult your local fire department for any information about burning advisories in your area before attempting this solution.

Before lighting the fire, clear the area of flammable materials and trip hazards within at least a 20 foot radius of the stump. Also, extend a connected, pressurized garden hose to the area to quickly extinguish any flames that ignite outside the area of the burning stump. Finally, plan to attend the fire the entire time that it is burning. It could take a day or longer, depending on the size, type of wood, moisture content, weather conditions, and many other variables.

Now the hard part. Setting a stump on fire is not as easy as it sounds. Dousing it with flammable liquid is not a great idea. It’s dangerous and really not that effective. The liquid tends to burn off without actually igniting the stump. Instead, build a fire over the exposed top of the stump and keep it burning. To accelerate the process, improve airflow by digging soil away from the base of the stump. Fire needs oxygen, so the more exposure it has, the faster it will burn.

RELATED: 5 Things to Do with Tree Stumps

Photo: istockphoto.com

Grind the Tree Stump Down

Grinding removes the stump in as little as 15 minutes, but it could take 2 hours or more. You could hire out the work, but it’s not a difficult DIY project. Stump removal machines are available at The Home Depot Rental, Sunbelt Rentals, United Rentals, or your local equipment rental company. If you do it yourself, be sure to wear the proper protective gear including safety glasses and hearing protection when using a stump grinder.

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The process of stump grinding can be dangerous to the operator and bystanders. The machine grinds to a depth of about 8 inches, throwing the debris into a nearby pile. Some dangers of using a stump grinder include flying wood chips or rocks, and possibly cutting utility lines.

Use the Call Before You Dig hotline, 8-1-1, at least two weeks before your planned work day. All of the underground gas, electricity, water, and communication line locations will be flagged so that you can avoid them. Keep the work area clear of bystanders while you work.

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Home Remedies to Kill a Tree Stump

If time is on your side, you could simply kill the stump to keep it from resprouting. Soon, the natural processes of decay will take over to weaken the wood, allowing you to remove it more easily. If the long, slow approach works for you, consider employing one of these easy, inexpensive home remedies for how to kill a tree stump using materials you may already have on hand.

Epsom Salt Formula for Stump Removal

Photo: istockphoto.com

Fortunately, there’s a favorite bath-time essential that moonlights as an easy stump removal solution: Epsom salt. Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is a naturally occurring compound of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen which are necessary plant food elements. But in a high concentration it draws the moisture out of the stump, killing it within a month or so.

Start the Epsom salt method by drilling 1/4-inch holes, about 3 inches from the outside of the stump. Drill into the stump as deeply as possible, spacing the holes about 1 inch apart. When you have drilled as many holes into the stump as possible, fill them with Epsom salt and then add enough water to saturate the minerals without spillage. Then sprinkle Epsom salt around the entire base. Finish by covering the stump with a tarp to prevent rainwater from washing any of your secret ingredient out of the holes. Although it could take up to a month or more, the solution will eventually cut off the moisture supply to the roots, allowing you to pry up the tree stump and get rid of it for good.

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Don’t have any Epsom salts laying around the house? No trouble, you can find it on Amazon. Once equipped, you can easily—and naturally—remove the stump eyesore from your yard.

Saltwater Solution to Kill a Tree Stump

Rock salt is another multi-use product that could help eradicate unwanted stumps, but caution is warranted. Like Epsom salt, it kills by drawing out the stump’s life-sustaining moisture. Although rock salt is a naturally occurring substance that takes about the same amount of time to kill a stump as Epsom salt, it is less desirable.

Rock salt, or sodium chloride, contains the elements sodium and chlorine. These elements not only kill tree stumps, but also have an adverse effect on desirable plants. If the salt concentration in the soil is too high, sodium and chlorine displace phosphorus and potassium that the plants need, causing deficiencies and death. Note other home remedies that use saltwater to kill poison ivy and other hard-to-kill weeds.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Forced Darkness to Starve a Tree Stump

If you’re going for a natural, additive-free approach to stump elimination, try this. Trees, and the suckers that grow from their stumps, need light to photosynthesize, so why not turn out the lights? To starve a tree with darkness, you’ll need a large tarp or sheet of black plastic, and a large volume of organic waste, such as wood chips, fallen leaves, or grass clippings.

First, cut the tree as close to the ground as possible. Then cover the stump and as much of the exposed roots as possible with the tarp. Finally, pile the organic waste over the tarp, at least 12 inches thick. Suckers may develop from the exposed portion of the root zone, but the stump will slowly weaken and die.

Chemicals That Kill Tree Roots

Most chemicals come with the warning, “use only as directed.” We agree with that point. Although there are a vast array of chemicals that could effectively kill stumps, possibly as well as Epsom salt, many of them cause collateral damage to adjacent plants, animals, or people. What’s the point when there are safer alternatives that are more effective? With that in mind, read on to learn about several well-known examples.

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Tree Stump Remover

Many of the chemical products designed to remove stumps, like Spectracide Stump Remover, are made with potassium nitrate. This compound contains potassium, nitrogen, and oxygen that reduce the natural decay time from years to as little as 4 to 6 weeks. It is safe for the environment, and is the fastest product on the market.

Stump removers are most effective when used on aged, dead stumps. If you are dealing with a freshly cut tree, start with a stump killer such as Ferti Lome Stump Killer. Most of these products incorporate systemic insecticides like triclopyr to kill the roots and eliminate regrowth of suckers. Apply the chemical to the top of the stump within minutes of making the fresh cut, so the product is quickly absorbed into the remaining stem and roots.

Photo: amazon.com

DON’T Use Bleach

Bleach is not sold as an herbicide and should not be used on plants. The dangers outweigh the marginal benefits. As outlined earlier in the rock salt segment, chlorine is indeed a naturally occurring element, but it poses problems to desirable plants when it is concentrated in the soil. The truth is that applying the high concentration needed to kill a tree stump would potentially expose adjacent grass, shrubs, and perennials to toxic levels of chlorine, and significantly raises soil pH. Instead, save your bleach for more appropriate uses.

DON’T Use Motor Oil

There is no good reason to use motor oil to kill tree stumps instead of one of the aforementioned products. Plus, a quart of motor oil costs about the same as the Spectracide Stump Killer, which is a tested and proven product for exactly this purpose. It is less messy to use and works fast.

DON’T Use Diesel

Diesel is popular among stump burners because it does not blow up like gasoline. However, as noted in that section, adding flammable liquid to the process won’t provide the long, steady burn required to eliminate the stump. As a chemical stump killer, it would likely have an effect as well. But if you have to purchase a special can and a quantity of diesel fuel but don’t have another use for diesel fuel, wouldn’t it make sense to use Spectracide Stump Killer or Epsom salt?

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RELATED: The Best (and Weirdest) Things You Can Do with a Tree Stump

FAQ About How to Kill a Tree Stump

Does tree stump remover kill grass?

Tree stump remover granules, those made of potassium nitrate, specifically for the purpose of killing stumps, do not kill grass. In fact, they are made of compounds that break down into usable plant nutrients.

What can you put on a tree stump to make it rot?

Fungi are the most effective organisms for breaking down wood fiber, so you could plug mushroom spawn into the stump. An old method of hastening stump decomposition is to cut grooves into the stump, pile soil on top, and cover the stump with a tarp to promote microbe growth.

Will bleach kill a tree stump?

photo: fotosearch.com

No studies have shown that bleach is an effective tree stump killer.

What’s the best thing to kill tree stumps?

The best thing to kill a tree stump is a systemic stump killer herbicide, such as triclopyr, applied directly to the fresh cut on the stump.

How long does it take for Epsom salt to kill a tree stump?

Following the directions outlined above, it takes 8 to 10 weeks for the stump to die using the Epsom salt method.

Final Thoughts

Left to rot naturally, a large tree stump may take decades to die and decompose. In the meantime it may cause a variety of difficulties, from unsightly suckering to trip hazards to sinkholes and more. To get rid of the problem, you have three sound and effective choices. For complete removal, when every large root must go, grab your tools and dig the stump out. Stump grinding is an easy, fast solution for large stumps, but the lower portion of the tap root will be left behind to rot naturally.

Chemical methods for how to kill a tree stump cost less and require less time and effort. But take care to avoid unproven and unnecessarily risky home chemical treatments. Choose Epsom salts to kill suckering tree stumps, and make later removal easier. If removal is necessary but not urgent, apply stump remover granules to hasten the decay process of already-dead stumps. These products will make slow-but-easy work of that hard project you’ve been dreading.

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an overview of the ways in which you can burn a stump in the ground, safety

Uprooting is a complex and difficult process that requires either serious efforts by one or more people, or special equipment equipped to perform this work.

Therefore, instead of uprooting, they often resort to burning the stump.

This method of removal requires significantly less effort , and in some cases is the only way to properly remove the stump, but must be used with care. After all, burning stumps is subject to some federal laws, the violation of which will lead to serious problems.

Contents

  • When can stumps be burned?
  • What laws govern stump burning?
  • Types of burning
    • Surface
    • Full
    • Chemical
  • Safety
  • Other methods of disposal
  • Withdrawal of

Bacterial infections that affect the roots and trunks of trees cannot be destroyed by uprooting, because even a small piece of root left in the ground contains these bacteria.

In addition, pathogens are found in the surrounding soil , so even complete removal of the root system does not make the soil safe for trees.

When the groundwater rises, caused by rain or other factors, some of the bacteria gets into them and can infect nearby plants.

To avoid this, it is necessary to destroy the infection located in the roots and soil, for which the soil is treated with aseptic substances or heated to a temperature that leads to the death of bacteria.

Aseptic treatment is not always effective, especially on clay soils, due to poor water permeability, so burning is a more reliable way to destroy the stump.

Stumps are also burned if it is impossible to remove the butt and roots by other means. This is especially true in cases where cutting and uprooting do not lead to the death of the root system and after some time new shoots appear from the roots remaining in the ground, and treatment with herbicides that kill the plant is unacceptable for some reason.

What laws govern stump burning?

Even in cases where the stump is located on a privately owned site, when burning it , the following laws and regulations must be taken into account Federal Law - citizens of the Russian Federation have the right to a favorable natural environment and clean air.

  • Article 8.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation - if the burning of a stump is carried out in violation of established norms and rules, then a fine is imposed for this.
  • Clause 218 of the Fire Regulations of the Russian Federation - open fire can only be used in accordance with certain requirements, most of which are set out in this document.
  • Order of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of January 26, 2016 N 26 - describes the procedure and rules for the use of open fire, including security measures.
  • The main problem with burning stumps is not related to the ban on making fires, but to the need to observe safety .

    Safety is reduced to as follows :

    1. Height of the fire rampart (the rules refer to digging a pit for burning garbage, but since the stump cannot be lowered, it is necessary to enclose it with a fire ditch) 30 or more, see
    2. Minimum distance to any buildings 50 m, to deciduous forest 30 m, to coniferous 100 m.
    3. An area with a radius of 10 m around the stump must be cleared of dry grass and any branches, and the perimeter of the circle should be dug up or sprinkled with non-combustible substances.
    4. Keep fire fighting equipment, ie water, sand and fire extinguishers, at hand.

    Although it is not legally required to warn neighbors about starting a fire, we recommend that you do so so that they do not open windows or doors when the stump is burning and do not experience discomfort due to smoke.

    In addition, we recommend that visit the nearest department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and notify them of the time of burning the stump. The employee of the Ministry of Emergency Situations will be able to check the correctness of the preparatory measures and give permission to make a fire.

    In case of obtaining official permission, you will not be able to present claims to the controlling organizations .

    Types of burning

    There are three main ways of burning stumps, which differ in purpose and execution:

    • surface;
    • complete;
    • chemical.

    We will analyze each of the methods in detail.

    Surface

    Stump is covered with firewood and deadwood for it , then set on fire. As a result, only the above-ground part and a little of the underground part are burned.

    This method of burning is not suitable for bacterial control and sprout control from root residues. The main condition for the complete combustion of the stump is the use of firewood, the diameter of which is not inferior to the diameter of the stump near the ground.

    Active burning time 2-5 hours, then another 5-10 hours there is a risk of ignition from burning coals.

    Full

    To burn the stump in the ground around it dig a hole to release 's roots, which are then chopped off and used as fuel. For complete combustion of such a stump, it is necessary, together with the roots, to put firewood into the pit, the size of which is not less than the size of the stump in the lowest part.

    The burning time is the same as the previous burning method, and the fire hazard from coals lasts 10-15 hours.

    Chemical

    This method allows you to burn even deep roots without digging them up. For this in the stump lay saltpeter or urea and leave for 1-2 years so that the reagent soaks the wood.

    You will find the method of impregnation and the amount of reagents in this article. After impregnation, the stump is set on fire with a small amount of kindling. Burning time is 30-90 minutes, after the end of burning there is no danger of fire, because the wood burns completely, leaving no coals.

    Safety

    Here is a list of rules that are not written in the documents, but there are 9 of them0007 violation often leads to fires and injuries :

    1. Do not use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start fires, if you accidentally splash clothing and start a fire, serious burns may result.
    2. Do not light a fire in windy weather. The stronger the wind, the higher the flame from burning wood, and the sparks fly noticeably farther. In addition, in windy weather it is easier for a spark or flying coal to ignite combustible materials than in calm weather.
    3. Do not leave burning wood unattended, if something goes wrong and security measures fail to stop the spread of fire, then you must immediately start extinguishing it, and if the fire is too strong, call the fire department.
    4. When watching burning wood, always stand to windward (so that the wind blows away from you towards the fire) so as not to inhale the smoke. This is especially important in chemical combustion because the smoke from saltpeter-soaked wood is more corrosive than from ordinary wood.

    Other methods of removal

    If for some reason it is impossible to burn the stump, then use one of these methods :

    1. Uproot the stump manually, we told you how to do it here.
    2. Contact an uprooting company. There you will be offered various techniques for doing the job, as well as different ways to remove the stump.

    More details about the methods of mechanical uprooting, as well as the equipment necessary for this, we told here.

    Detailed information about the cost of work and addresses of enterprises in large cities can be found here.

    Conclusion

    Burning is one of the ways to get rid of stumps left after felling or felling trees. Its main advantage is that no special tools or complicated technique is required to burn .

    After reading the article, you learned:

    • when you can burn stumps;
    • how to do it correctly;
    • what security measures need to be observed.

    methods of chemical removal of trees and stumps using saltpeter, urea and other reagents

    Chemical removal of stumps (butt and rhizomes) is based on the processes that occur in wood under the influence of various reagents.

    Exposure to the right reagent not only kills all wood, including even roots that are not too large, but also destroys all pathogens of trunk and roots.

    Each of the ways has one or another negative effect on the soil , so the method of chemical action must be chosen taking into account this effect in order to minimize harm to the subsequent use of this piece of land.

    Unfortunately, chemical attack cannot destroy the stump and root system, which is why dead wood will need to be burned or uprooted.

    Therefore, chemical action is most often used in the fight against pathogens and in cases where it is necessary not only to pull out the butt with roots, but also to prevent the germination of the remnants of the root system.

    For more information on how to remove stumps from trees in various ways, including uprooting and burning, see here.

    Contents

    • When is such tree stump removal justified?
    • Popular drugs and their uses
      • Saltpeter and urea
      • Copper or iron sulfate
      • Table salt
    • When is the best time to treat?
    • Safety measures
    • Related videos
    • Conclusion

    When is such tree stump removal justified?

    As a result of removing wood with chemicals without uprooting , aggressive substances enter the soil, which negatively affect many plants.

    Some of these substances can be neutralized in various ways, making the soil suitable for planting, but if construction is planned on the cleared area, then these substances will not affect the properties of the soil in any way.

    Therefore, it is worth using chemical destruction and removal of stumps only if the side effects will not affect the further use of the land in any way or they can be neutralized.

    The most effective chemical uprooting in relation to trees growing wild and located next to buildings . Many wild-growing breeds are distinguished by survivability, therefore, even after mechanical removal of most of the root, shoots are released and continue to grow.

    Using the right preparations, you can completely stop their growth and destroy most of the root system, after which the site can be used in any way.

    Chemical uprooting is also the most effective in relation to the root system of diseased trees. The thing is that pathogens infect groundwater, which can lead to an epidemic among other plants.

    Mechanical or manual uprooting does not remove all roots , and it is not always possible to burn out the remains, so the only reliable way to deal with such diseases is to chemically destroy the roots. Learn more about how to remove stumps and roots chemically.

    Popular drugs and their uses

    Here is a list of the most popular reagents that are used to destroy tree stumps and root systems:

    • saltpeter and urea;
    • copper or iron sulfate;
    • table salt.

    Saltpeter and urea

    These reagents (potassium and ammonium nitrate, as well as urea) are used where it is possible to burn the stump after processing.

    After all, they do not destroy the wood, but sharply increase its combustibility , because of which even the roots flare up from a small fire.

    For their application, holes are drilled with a diameter of 10-50 mm, the location of the holes depends on the method of removal of the tree.

    On sawn stumps they drill vertically, evenly distributing holes along the cut, on broken ones they drill a trunk, placing holes around the entire perimeter.

    Hole spacing 5-10 cm . If the barrel is drilled from the outside, then the drill is directed at an angle of 20–40 degrees so that the reagent does not spill out.

    Any kind of saltpeter or urea is poured into the prepared holes (no need to mix them together) to the top, then a little water is poured in order for the granules to settle, and the holes are closed with a wooden, clay or plasticine stopper.

    A wooden cork is made from a thick branch with a knife so that it enters the hole by 1-2 mm with a noticeable effort. Then her is inserted into the hole filled with reagent and hammered with a hammer so that it sinks 1-2 cm. The protruding remains of branches are not cut off so as not to loosen the cork.

    Clay plug can be made from clay or surface soil by crushing the soil and adding a little water.

    The amount of water is determined empirically - after thorough mixing, the clay should have a consistency similar to a very thick dough or not very hard plasticine.

    The clay is put into the hole until it is full and compacted with a finger, gradually adding more. Plasticine cork is also made, only plasticine is used instead of clay.

    After 1–2 years, the roots are dug up and a small fire is laid around the trunk .

    If you do not know how to dig in the roots, we recommend reading the article Manual uprooting.

    Then the fire is lit and the fire from the burning stump does not spread to neighboring trees, buildings or grass.

    While the stump impregnated with reagents “ripens”, the soil around it is filled with nitrogen-containing substances , so it is advisable to plant any fruit plants at a distance of 4–5 meters from it. This distance is enough for the amount of nitrates to drop to a safe level.

    After burning the stump, the hole is covered with old and new soil, then inedible plants are planted that produce a large amount of green mass. In autumn, all the greenery collected from the plant must be burned in order to completely utilize the nitrogenous compounds unsuitable for plants and people.

    Next year the site is ready to accept any plants. If construction work is planned at this place, then you can start them immediately after the pit cools down.

    This method is ineffective against diseases of plants with a widely branched root system , because the reagents will not damage pathogens located significantly below the combustion zone. In addition, it cannot be used on peaty soils, because a burning stump will set fire to peat, and an underground fire will start, which is very difficult to extinguish.

    Copper or iron sulfate

    Both substances are very toxic and kill any bacteria living in the wood, so they are used to disinfect the roots of diseased trees. Preparations are applied in the same way as saltpeter, only holes are made with a diameter of 5–8 mm and a depth of 5–10 cm. After the wood dies, the roots must be dug up and uprooted in any way or, overlaid with firewood, burned.

    These reagents must not be used near metal pipes as they will drastically increase all corrosion processes.

    In addition, within a radius of 3–5 meters, the content of these substances will increase, which will negatively affect the vital activity of microorganisms involved in soil restoration, so any plants will grow poorly there for several years .

    If the roots were not removed, but burned, then this period will increase to tens of years. If the roots are uprooted, then in 2–3 years the level of these substances will decrease, after which the soil will gradually recover.

    Table salt

    This reagent completely kills the roots and any microorganisms that live in them in 1-2 months. They are introduced in the same way as both types of vitriol.

    If the area around the tree is to be used as a road or a concrete pad, the stump and roots can be burned after dying. In all other cases, they must be uprooted, otherwise an excess of salt will make the soil barren for decades, and any iron product will quickly rust.

    When is the best time to treat?

    If there is rot in a broken tree, or the roots are affected by some disease, then vitriol or salt can be applied at any time of the year , because the fight against the disease and the prevention of an epidemic of trees comes first.

    If there is no urgency, then it is advisable to apply all types of reagents after the end of the autumn rainy season , 1-3 weeks before the onset of frost.

    During this time, the reagents will penetrate below the soil level and will impregnate the wood even during frost. In addition, the lack of rain will not wash out the reagent and reduce its effectiveness.

    Safety Precautions

    Ammonium and potassium nitrates are explosive combustible substances, so they must be used with extreme caution.

    Do not smoke while handling. 1-3 months after laying saltpeter in the wood, active processes occur associated with the release of combustible gases, so you can not smoke or make a fire near the stump treated with these reagents.

    Copper and iron sulphate in a dry state are safe for human skin, but when working with them, you must use a respirator, goggles and gloves.

    After adding water, vitriol crystals will quickly turn into a toxic liquid that can burn the skin. Especially dangerous is the ingress of crystals and drops on the mucous parts of the body.

    Salt is safe when dry and takes a long time to dissolve in water. No safety precautions are required when working with coarse salt , but goggles must be used when working with fine salt, as an unexpected gust of wind can blow it into the eye.

    To reduce the risk of fire during the burning of the stump and roots, a circular earthen mound ≥50 cm high should be built around the pit. Burning wood should not be left unattended, because it can shoot fairly large sparks that fly 5–10 meters and only go out after a few minutes.

    In addition, should always have a fire extinguisher on hand and, preferably, a hose connected to the water supply - this will help to extinguish a fire starting far from the stump.

    Do not stand on the lee side of burning wood, because it, impregnated with saltpeter or urea, releases toxic substances when burned.


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