How to kill tree roots naturally


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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folk remedies from the root without uprooting, how to destroy and how to remove it with saltpeter, how to kill it chemically

The formation of stumps and roots in the garden is due to the fact that the trees naturally die off. And it’s good when there is one inconspicuous stump on the site, which does not particularly disturb the aesthetics of the site. But when there are several of them, the gardener begins to think about how to get rid of the problem. And to do this today is quite real quickly and efficiently. There are many effective methods that everyone can use.

Contents

  • 1 Damage from tree roots in the plot
  • 2 Ways to remove roots - how to quickly remove and remove
    • 2.1 Chemical uprooting method - using saltpeter
    • 2.2 How to dig and uproot stumps and roots 23.08 9008 destroy by crushing stumps
    • 2.4 Using salt to get rid of roots
    • 2.5 Uprooting with urea

Harm from tree roots in plot

very often people want to fill their garden with new trees. But here they have such an obstacle in their way as old stumps. Another need to clean the stump is due to the fact that the tree is in disrepair. In addition to this, the stump is a real obstacle to creating a landscape composition. All of these situations require the immediate removal of the stump from the garden. You may also be interested in learning how to get rid of the onion fly in the garden.

On the video - damage from stumps and roots on the site:

Ways to remove roots - how to quickly remove and remove them

Today, you can remove the roots left after a tree by chemical, mechanical methods.

Chemical method of uprooting - using saltpeter

This method can be classified as universal. It is very often used by gardeners when dealing with stumps on their site. The essence of the method is that wood residues must be burned, but only before that they are impregnated with a strong oxidizing agent - nitrate. You can also use saltpeter when destroying gout in a summer cottage.

Thanks to this unique tool, it is possible to burn the stump, and this can be done not only with the above-ground part, but with the roots. Before carrying out the manipulation, it is necessary to perform a number of preparatory measures:

  1. Drill as large a hole as possible in the tree, using the thickest possible drills. Such actions should be carried out at the end of summer or at the beginning of autumn.
  2. Insert saltpeter into the hole made up to the top . For these purposes, you can use both potassium and sodium composition. After that, pour saltpeter with water. This will allow for better impregnation of the wood.
  3. Cover the top of the hole with pre-prepared wooden plugs. You can also use plastic wrap, which is tied tightly around the tree trunk.

Every gardener has encountered such a problem on his site as a dandelion, but this information will help you understand how to get rid of dandelions on your site.

On the video - removal of roots with saltpeter:

Leave the prepared stump in this form until next summer. Over the entire period of time, its root system will feed on saltpeter and dry out. It is necessary to make a fire near the stump. It should burn until the complete destruction of the remnants of the tree.

You may also find it useful to know how to deal with field bindweed in your garden.

When the top cut of the stump is centered on the same level as the ground, additional holes should be made in it. Pour kerosene or gasoline there.

Ignite this combustible mixture so that combustion is maintained throughout the volume. As soon as the roots are completely burned out, the place where the stump grew is dug up and covered with soil.

How to dig up and uproot stumps and roots

This method is labor intensive. It is realistic to perform it only under the condition of a shallow location of the roots and the average size of the trunk itself. To perform this operation, you need:

  1. Make trench near the stump. Its depth will be 1 m.
  2. Using a bayonet type shovel and an ax, all side branches of the root system must be removed.
  3. With the help of a crowbar, which must be brought under the stump, it is loosened from one side to the other.
  4. In addition, it is necessary to constantly trim the exposed lower processes of the root system with a shovel.
  5. Once the root branches have been removed, the remains of the stem are free and removed from the hole.

It is also worth learning more about how to get rid of hops on the site, and what are the most effective means.

On the video - digging and uprooting:

Even on the plot, uprooting can be done using special equipment. When the trunk diameter is less than 30 cm, then a rope must be used to remove it. Pick it up by the stump and use a tractor to create traction. Using this method, cutting down the tree is carried out very high - at least 1 m above ground level. This will firmly fix the cable to the bottom of the stump.

If the equipment cannot reach the stump, then you can use a mini-tractor or a winch. But then chopping needs to be done with larger lateral processes. Do this to a depth of 30 cm. And the most successful option would be to dig near the trunk to a level of 0.5 m. Another problem in the garden is maple, and what chemicals can be used to get rid of it are indicated here.

How to remove and destroy by crushing stumps

To remove a stump, you need to use special devices with which you can crush wood. Most often involve forest cutters. With the help of such a cutter, it is possible to grind wood to a depth of 30 cm in one go.

The main disadvantage of this method is the high cost of the device. In addition, it is not advisable to buy cutters and a tool for single stump removal. It may also be useful for you to learn how to get rid of thistle on the site forever, and for this you should follow the link.

In the video - the use of special equipment:

Using salt to get rid of the roots

This is another option for chemical removal of stumps on the site. The fact is that salt is the simplest catalyst for the process. And it is worth using table salt.

Make a recess in the stump 8 cm deep and 10-15 mm in diameter. The more holes there are, the better. Pour salt into the holes made, and crush the earth on top. The result of such processing will be the complete destruction of the remains of the tree. But it will be possible to observe it only in a year. A very interesting issue is the fight against wood lice in the garden plot, but how all the work to destroy it is carried out is described in the article at the link.

Uprooting with urea

This method is identical to where saltpeter or salt had to be used. To begin with, make holes in the stump with drills. Send urea into the resulting recesses. Pour water over the top, and then wrap the stump with polyethylene. After 1-2 years, it will be possible to remove the remains of a decayed stump, and scatter fertile soil in this place.

To fit 1 kg of urea, approximately 30 holes will need to be made. At the same time, their diameter should be about 1 cm, and the depth should be 30 cm. The consumption of urea for the removal of a medium-sized stump is carried out by analogy with saltpeter. And here's how to get nettles out of the area, and what chemicals should be used. this information will help you understand.

The advantages of this method include:

  • minimum physical work;
  • soil is not saturated with nitrates;
  • complete removal of the stump, so that the site can be used for further development, making a flower bed or garden.

This method has its drawbacks:

  • long period of stump destruction;
  • need to buy additional materials;
  • high chemical consumption.

It is worth clicking on the link and learning how to get rid of burdock on the site, and what means to do it the fastest.

Removing stumps on your property is not easy. This is a rather painstaking task, but nevertheless it is carried out. In addition, each gardener will be able to determine for himself the appropriate option, taking into account the size of the stump and his capabilities. If you have nowhere to hurry, then you should use chemical methods. If the removal of stumps is an urgent matter, then you will have to spend money on the purchase of special equipment or tools.

Destruction of the roots of trees and bushes: the best means and methods

Renovation of the garden is invariably accompanied by cutting down old trees and planting new ones. But after that, one problem appears: stumps remain in place of the removed plants, which not only spoil the appearance of the garden, but also reduce the potential area for new plantings.

This article will describe the main ways to destroy the roots and stumps of trees, and step-by-step instructions for mechanical and chemical removal of wood residues will help clear the garden of old stumps.

Contents:

  1. Why tree roots need to be removed
  2. Preparation for destruction of tree roots
  3. Methods for removing tree roots
    1. Mechanical uprooting
    2. Chemical removal of tree roots
  4. How to remove roots yourself
    1. Safety when removing roots and stumps

Why tree roots need to be removed

Removing an old stump has not only aesthetic but also practical value. As a rule, they appear on the site after the old tree has already been cut down and disposed of. Just removing a tree from the site is easy, while removing its overgrown roots and large stump is much more difficult. Many people use the old proven mechanical uprooting, but there are a variety of chemicals on the modern horticultural market that make this process much easier.

See also: Do-it-yourself drip irrigation

If the root and part of the trunk do not bother you, you can turn it into a kind of garden decoration by planting flowers inside it or decorating it in any other way you like. However, there are times when destruction is not just a whim, but a necessity. This happens if the tree was cut down due to illness. If even a small part of it is left in the ground, it can become a source of infection for the rest of the trees in the garden. In addition, the remains of an old plant occupy a usable area, because in their place you can plant a young tree or shrub, which will bring a crop in the future.

Preparing to destroy the roots of trees

Before you start removing the roots, you should decide on the method you will use for this. Wood residues can be destroyed mechanically or chemically.

If you prefer to manually uproot part of the trunk, you will need a saw, a shovel and an axe. In this case, you will first have to dig a hole around the stump, chop or file its roots and gradually, piece by piece, remove the wood from the soil.

Note: The mechanical method is considered obsolete not only because of the high labor costs, but also because some large specimens are difficult to manually remove, and the remains can only be uprooted from the soil with the help of machinery.

The chemical method is considered more modern. The remains of wood are simply treated with a special preparation that accelerates the process of fiber destruction. As a result, in a short time, the remains of the trunk begin to crumble, and you just have to remove it.

Figure 1. Preparatory work

Depending on the chosen method, you will need some preparation (Figure 1). With mechanical removal, you need to dig a hole around the trunk in advance and prepare all the necessary tools, and in some cases, rent special equipment. If you opted for the chemical method, you will need to buy special treatment products, as well as prepare a spray gun and protective clothing.

Methods for removing tree roots

As mentioned above, roots and stumps can be destroyed mechanically and chemically. Since they are fundamentally different from each other, we will look at the features, advantages and disadvantages of each of them in more detail so that you can choose the right one for yourself.

Mechanical uprooting

This method is considered the oldest, since the process uses tools with which the roots are filed, and the stump is simply uprooted from the ground. A more modern mechanical method involves the involvement of heavy equipment (excavators, bulldozers or special pullers), but, unfortunately, not everyone can pay for the rental of such equipment. In addition, it is far from always possible for heavy equipment to enter the site.

Figure 2. Mechanical uprooting

If you don't want or can't use heavy equipment, you can also remove the stump manually. This will require some preparation. First, the remains of the plant must be freed from the surrounding earth by digging the soil with a shovel. Secondly, you need to prepare in advance the equipment with which the trunk will be removed from the ground (Figure 2).

Mechanical uprooting is carried out as follows:

  1. After the stump is freed from the soil, it must be tied with a cable attached to the winch. It is better to fasten the cable immediately under the saw cut so that it acts as a lever when tipping over. The winch can be tied to a regular car.
  2. If it is not possible to use a winch, the frame can be removed by cutting off the remains of the roots with an ax or cutting down with a saw.
  3. Once the trunk is free of lateral roots, it can be easily swung and removed.

This method is the cheapest, and with some effort, a large root can be uprooted in a day. However, this method is accompanied by significant labor costs. In addition, if you plan to carry out construction on this site, a mechanical removal method will not work for you, as the remnants of the roots may remain in the ground.

Chemical removal of tree roots

Chemical stump removal is simpler and more modern, although it has certain peculiarities. As a rule, saltpeter is used to destroy wood residues - a chemical with a powerful oxidizing effect, which quickly destroys not only the aerial part, but also the roots (Figure 3).

Removal of roots with saltpeter is carried out as follows:

  1. At the end of summer or beginning of autumn, several holes are drilled in the trunk. For this purpose, it is better to use the thickest drills so that the diameter of the holes is large.
  2. Potassium or sodium nitrate is poured into the holes obtained and poured with plenty of water. The liquid will dissolve the chemical and it will penetrate the wood fibers faster.
  3. The top of the trunk should be covered with pieces of wood or covered with foil, tightly tied to the trunk. This will prevent chemical vapors from escaping, and the destruction process will be more active.

The stump prepared in this way should be left until next summer. During this time, saltpeter will saturate not only the trunk, but also the roots. After that, you need to either pour a small amount of kerosene on the remains of the tree, or light a fire around the stump. The tree will begin to smolder, and all you have to do is remove its remains and dig up the site.

Note: It is important to consider that this method is not suitable for areas with peaty soil, since the roots soaked with saltpeter after ignition can cause a fire in the deep layers of the soil.

This method is good because it requires minimal physical effort, and all the remains of the tree will be completely removed. An exception can only be thick and deep-lying roots, but they will be destroyed so much that they will not be able to give young shoots.

Figure 3. Chemical destruction with saltpeter

But when using saltpeter, it should be borne in mind that in large quantities it negatively affects the fertility of the soil, so it will not be possible to grow fruit and vegetable crops in this area for several years.

How to remove the roots yourself

Another easy way to remove roots and stumps with your own hands is with the use of urea. This method is also considered chemical, but its advantage is that even large stumps can be removed quickly and with minimal labor.

Preparation of the barrel for removal is similar to the saltpeter method: large holes are drilled in the barrel, into which urea (urea) is poured. Each hole is filled with water, and the saw cut is tightly covered with a film. After 1-2 years, both the trunk and the roots remaining in the soil will completely rot and turn into fertile soil (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Chemical uprooting with urea

The main advantage of this method is considered to be low labor costs. But it should also be borne in mind that when using urea to remove stumps, all wood is destroyed: not only the trunk, but also the roots that go deep into the soil. In addition, after such treatment, the soil is not polluted with chemicals, remains fertile and suitable for growing other crops. Of the shortcomings, only a long period of stump removal can be distinguished: it can take 1-2 years to destroy large specimens, but if you want to maintain high soil quality and not make serious physical effort, this method will be the most suitable.

Safety when removing roots and stumps

When using any chemicals to destroy tree residue, safety rules must be strictly followed. First of all, for processing, you need to wear gloves and a protective suit. This requirement applies not only to saltpeter, but also to safer urea, which should also not be touched with bare hands.


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