How to remove a tree stump fast

How to Rot a Tree Stump Quickly | 7 Steps for Rotting A Tree Stump in Oregon | Urban Forest Pro TOP arborists near you

After you’ve had a tree removed you’re left with a typically unsightly reminder, the stump. Tree stumps are an eyesore, a tripping hazard, and they can attract unwanted pests like termites or even fungi and bacteria. If left to simply decay and rot away on its own, without any sort of treatment, a stump can take up to ten years to disappear. When it comes to rotting a tree stump in Oregon, the rate of decay depends on many different factors such as species of tree, size of the tree, and the climate and weather conditions. 

At Urban Forest Pro, your leading Oregon arborist, we do stump grinding in the Portland and surrounding area, although due to demand we do have to limit our grinding services and can only offer it to current tree service clients and not as a standalone service. 

To remove a tree stump you can try to tackle the job yourself, although stump grinders are quite heavy and can be difficult to use at times. So how do you get rid of a tree stump then? What is the best way? Well, the answer is in the original suggestion of letting it rot away, but doing so quickly.

How Do You Rot a Tree Stump Fast?

The fastest way to remove a tree stump without using a grinder is the chemical method. By applying chemicals to holes drilled into the stump, you speed up the natural decay process and the remaining tree fibers and roots will break down more quickly. It is considered one of the best ways to remove a tree stump from your yard. To use this method you would want to employ the following steps.

Steps to Rotting a Tree Stump From A Leading Arborist
  1. Begin on a dry day or after a number of dry days if possible. This way the tree stump will be looking for liquid and nutrients and will soak up the chemicals faster. 
  2. If you are capable, use a chainsaw to cut the remaining part of the tree as close to the ground as possible. By doing this the chemicals will have less material to eat through. Chainsaws can be dangerous though, so make sure you always use caution, wear steel-toed boots and eye protection. 
  3. Once the tree stump is as close to the ground as you can comfortably get it to go, drill a number of holes into the top of the stump and along the sides in a downward direction. The bigger the drill bit the better, and each of the holes should be a few inches deep. 
  4. After drilling the holes into the stump, you will apply the chemicals that will break down the remaining wood. Oregon does have strict legal restrictions about the kind of chemicals you can purchase for this sort of project. Ideally, you would want a commercial fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, since it will give you the fastest results, but cow manure is also effective. Another more natural alternative is Epsom salt. It is also a cost-effective solution as a 19lbs page starts at $10. It has similar dissolving properties to nitrogen but is a more organic approach. When you have chosen the chemical you will use, pack the holes with as much of it as you can.  
  5. Then soak the ground around the stump and wet the top and sides of the stump. After the stump is wet, cover it with a plastic tarp to trap the moisture around the stump. Moisture is ultimately what will help the chemicals break down the wood particles faster. 
  6. The next step is to apply mulch over the top of the plastic tarp. Organic mulch, like hay or tree bark, is best for this task as it will retain more moisture and help to keep the tarp in place. 
  7. You can use rocks and stones to weigh down the tarp further to help keep it in place, although this step is considered optional. 

Once you have completed all of these steps, you are officially rotting a tree stump. This process is a speeding up of nature, and we all know that nature can take its time, so you should expect that it will take some time to work. How can you speed up the stump rot process even more? You can repeat the rotting steps periodically if you notice the mulch has grown dry.

What Our Clients Have to Say

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July 25, 2019
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Looking To Remove a Tree Stump Quickly?

Ultimately, the quickest way to remove your tree stump and return your yard to a flat surface is the method of stump grinding. Although our grinding services are limited, if you are in need of a tree removal service in the Portland, OR area, or if you are looking to get some stumps removed don’t hesitate to contact the tree experts at Urban Forest Pro today. The best-certified arborist in Oregon.

5 Ways to Remove a Tree Stump

You eliminated the tree that just didn’t work in your yard, but now you have the stump to contend with. Surprisingly, removing it is no easy task.  In fact, it’s left you, well — stumped. But never fear! Here are 5 ways to remove a tree stump.

  • No. 1: Use Chemicals
  • No. 2: Remove Stump Manually
  • No. 3: Burn the Stump
  • No. 4: Use a Stump Grinder
  • No. 5: Call in the Pros
  • Best Way to Remove a Tree Stump
  • FAQ About Tree Stump Removal

No. 1: Use Chemicals

Using chemicals to remove a tree stump is the least labor-intensive way to get rid of it. However, this process does take time, especially if the size of the stump is large.

In some cases, it could take up to a year for the stump removal process to be complete because you are literally rotting the pesky stump. But the good news is that this method is inexpensive if you already have a chainsaw and drill.

The materials you need to purchase will cost you less than $20. Here are our five picks for stump removal chemicals.

To get your tree stump out this way, you’ll need the following:

  • A chainsaw and a drill
  • Potassium nitrate
  • Plastic tarp
  • Garden mulch
  • An ax

How to Remove a Tree Stump Using Chemicals

Once you’ve got your materials, you can begin. But remember, when you use a chemical stump remover, be patient as it will take at least four weeks in most cases to see results. If you are looking for a way to rot a tree stump fast, this is it. Normally, it takes three to seven years for a stump to rot.

Step 1: Using your chainsaw, take off as much of the stump that’s above ground level as possible. Be sure to have protective safety gear on such as safety goggles and steel toe boots.

Step 2: Next, it’s time to drill holes through what is left of the tree stump. Space the holes closely together and use the largest drill bit that you can. Go as deep and wide as you can with these holes.

Step 3: Fill the holes using water first, then add the potassium nitrate. You could also use another type of fertilizer high in nitrogen, or even stump remover granules designed for this process.

Step 4: Soak the ground all around the tree stump with water to get it nice and saturated, then cover the area with a plastic tarp. The tarp will help to keep moisture in and accelerate the rotting process.

Step 5: Cover the tarp with mulch, preferably an organic variety, and water again to help retain moisture and soak the area.

Step 6: Check on the progress periodically and add more water and nitrogen to your tree stump, then recover with mulch and more water.

Step 7:  After four to six weeks have passed, your tree stump should become spongy. If so, you can use an ax to speed up the process and remove portions of the tree stump. If enough of it comes loose, you can cover what remains with dirt, and create a flower bed or even plant grass seed. If the stump is still firm, repeat the process.

If you discover that the old tree stump hasn’t progressed as far as you’d like, you can always move on to the burn method listed below.

Or, if you want to avoid harsh chemicals, fuel oil, or anything else that’s not natural, you could use the Epsom salt method. Follow the steps above but switch out Epsom salt for the potassium nitrate.

No. 2: Remove Stump Manually

If you don’t want to use chemical stump removal or wait too long to get rid of the tree stump, it may be possible to remove it manually. Again, it’s not expensive to do it this way if you already have the tools. It may take around three to 12 hours to finish the project, but once you are done, that stump will be history.

The tools that you need to gather or purchase include:

  • Digging bar ($30 to $50).
  • Bow saw ($10 to $30).
  • Ax ($30 to $40).
  • Mattock ($15 to $50).

Be sure to wear safety gear such as work gloves and steel toe boots for this project.

How to Manually Remove a Tree Stump

Manually removing a stump is definitely more labor-intensive, but it will get the job done fast. This method is best used on small to medium-sized tree trunks. If your stump is larger, then you’ll probably need a stump grinder, which we will talk about later.

Step 1: Use the broad end of the mattock to dig around the stump and loosen the dirt.

Step 2: Remove the loosened dirt with a shovel so that you see the tree roots.

Step 3: With your mattock (or a small bow) sever the tree roots from your tree trunk.

Step 4: Continue to dig and chop until you reach the taproot and clear an area around it.

Step 5: Using an ax or bow saw, cut through the taproot.

Once you’ve cut through the taproot, you can wiggle the tree stump around and pull it out of the topsoil. This process will take hours, but when it’s over, your tree stump will be gone.

Another strategy for removing a tree stump manually is to use a wedge, which this video illustrates.


3: Burn the Stump

Another do-it-yourself option is the burn method. This may be used alone or in conjunction with one of the two stump removal methods listed above. The supplies you’ll need to burn your stump include:

  • A tree stump removal product such as Stump Out (which you can find on Amazon).
  • Kerosene or fuel oil.
  • Power drill.

How to Burn a Tree Stump

Burning the stump may seem daunting, but as long as safety measures are followed, this is an effective method to remove a tree stump. Carefully follow the instructions:

Step 1:  Drill holes in the stump and sprinkle your powdered tree stump removal product inside. This will help to make the wood porous.

Step 2:  Pour kerosene or fuel oil into the holes. Soak the tree stump completely, allowing the porous wood to absorb the fuel.

Step 3: Ignite the tree stump and let it burn. Watch it closely and make sure that the flame smolders. Once it is just about finished, you can cover it with topsoil to help put out any remnants of the fire.

This is a fast method for removal, but if you live in a neighborhood, you may want to check first that it’s acceptable to use kerosene on your tree stump.

No. 4: Use a Stump Grinder

If you are dealing with a larger stump, or have multiple old tree stumps to remove, renting a stump grinder may be your best DIY bet. Stump grinders that are available at your local home improvement store generally cost between $100 and $200 to rent. You’ll also need a few extra tools including:

  • Shovel.
  • Mattock.
  • Rake.
  • Chainsaw.

How to Remove a Tree Stump With a Stump Grinder

Stump grinders are large machines that can weigh around 1,000 pounds. So before you rent one, make sure you have a vehicle that can transport it to and from your home, or that the rental company can deliver it and take it away.

Step 1: Clear dirt, debris, and rocks away from the tree stump using your mattock or shovel.

Step 2: Using your chainsaw, cut as much of the stump as possible. Ground-level is ideal.

Step 3: Place the stump grinder wheel a few inches above the stump and turn it on.

Step 4: Lower it about 3 inches and move it from side to side using its lever.

Step 5: Grind it down about 4 inches using the grinder wheel and repeat until the entire perimeter of the stump is 4 inches below the ground.

Step 6: Fill the hole with the wood chips which are the remnants of your stump then cover with topsoil and/or grass.

While this is a home improvement project that you can do yourself, be sure to do your research before you begin. These machines can be a challenge to operate and you will need the proper safety gear and attire.

No. 5: Call in the Pros

If waiting weeks, working on it for hours, lighting fires, or operating heavy equipment don’t appeal to you, you can always hire a local tree care professional. If you’re already getting a tree cut down, ask that company to remove the trunk. They will charge you an additional fee, but you may be able to negotiate a favorable rate since you are already working with them.

It generally costs between $175 and $516 per stump for removal. To get a good estimate, measure the diameter of the stump and multiply this by $2 to $5. The average cost for professional removal is $326.

Stump grinding costs from $158 to $450 depending on the size of the stump. The average cost of stump grinding is $313.

Advice from a Pro

Since the cost to rent a stump grinder ranges from $200 to $400, you could actually come out ahead by hiring a service instead. Gerald Williams, owner of C-Trees & More in Houston, Texas said that in many cases the stump grinders available for rent at places like Home Depot are not big enough for most jobs.

“I’ve seen people rent these machines and try to do it themselves,” he said. “They get worked to death trying to remove the stump with one of these small grinders, and then they still end up calling a professional in to do the job.”

He said that you can rent a stronger, professional-grade stump grinder, but warns that these can cost around $400 or more.  Additionally, he said that the commercial-grade grinders require skill to operate as well as the proper equipment to haul them.

The Bottom Line: By calling a professional, you’ll not only avoid hauling heavy equipment, but you’ll also avoid safety glasses, sawdust, and the local fire department.

How to Choose the Best Way to Remove a Tree Stump

There are several aspects to consider when choosing how to remove a tree stump. Does it have a deep root system? Is the stump small, medium, or large? Large tree stumps may not come out as easily as smaller stumps with some of these methods.

And why do you want to get rid of it? Is it an eyesore that you are ready to eliminate, or are you willing to wait? Once you have the details and reasoning behind the stump removal, you’re ready to choose your tree stump killer. 

  • Best ways to remove a small stump: Chemicals, remove manually, or burn
  • Best ways to remove a medium stump: You could use any of these five methods, depending on the size, age of the stump, and root system. Probably wouldn’t need to call in a pro, unless you prefer for someone else to do the work.
  • Best ways to remove a large stump: Call in the pros for the fastest results. Chemicals or burning may also work, depending on the size, age of the stump, and root system. 
  • Cheapest ways to remove a stump: Remove the stump manually, or burn the stump. Compared to renting heavy equipment or hiring a pro, using chemicals is also inexpensive.
  • Fastest ways to remove a stump: Remove the stump manually or call in the pros

FAQ About Tree Stump Removal

How Far Down Should a Stump be Ground?

Generally, tree stumps are ground from between 4 inches to 6 inches below the surface. This length is ideal because it’s deep enough for the lawn to regrow over the remaining stump and roots. Further grinding can be done, but it can be challenging for a DIYer and cost more if you hire a professional.

Can I Leave a Tree Stump in the Ground?

If you leave a tree stump and its roots in the ground, it’ll decay. Sometimes it can take up to a decade for the decay process to start, but it will eventually start. In the meantime, it’ll be vulnerable to organisms, fungi, diseases, and pests like termites and other wood-destroying insects.

Can you Remove a Tree Stump with Epsom Salt?

Yes. It is a long, drawn-out process, but you can use Epson salt to remove a tree stump. You can either drill a few holes on the top of the stump, dump in the salt, and then add enough water to moisten the salt. The other option is to make a 2:1 water: salt solution and dump it on the stump, then cover it with a tarp, and repeat the process a week later. Both methods will slowly draw the moisture out of the stump and kill it. Chip away at the dead pieces as they form until, eventually, the stump shrinks enough to pull out of the ground.

If I Grind the Stump, What will Happen to the Roots?

Eventually, they’ll decay and break down, returning to the environment. Because the roots are below ground, they don’t cause the same issues as leaving the tree stump. However, if you’re concerned, you can use most the same methods to remove the roots as you would the stump.

If I use a Herbicide, How Long will it Take to Work?

It depends on a few factors. How new is the stump? How big is the stump? What product did you use? On average, results should appear in 6 to 8 weeks. However, it may take several months for the stump to decompose.

No Longer Stumped

If you’ve got an annoying stump in your yard that you are ready to remove, you have options. This final stage of tree care really depends on how quickly you want the stump removed, how much work you are willing to put into it, and of course, how much you want to spend to remove it.

If you’re ready to take action, contact a local tree care professional to remove the stump and take this chore off your lawn care to-do list.

* LawnStarter participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. LawnStarter may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

LawnStarter writer Nicki DeStasi updated this article.

Main photo credit: Shutterstock

Jennifer Lester

Jennifer Lester is a freelance writer and social media strategist who covers a variety of home and garden topics. She’s a graduate of Texas A&M University and the proud mom of three boys. In her spare time, she volunteers in her community and her children’s schools.

Posts by Jennifer Lester

7 ways to remove the stump without uprooting. Photo, video

Sometimes you have to part with the trees on the site. There are enough reasons for this, maybe it got too big or stopped bearing fruit and got sick. Removing a tree from a site can be time-consuming and sometimes costly. But the most unpleasant thing is when, after cutting down a tree, your work has stalled on a stubborn stump. And all thoughts are only about how to remove this stupid stump!

The most interesting thing is that the extensive root system of the stump continues to give young shoots, and the stump itself continues to grow and not rot. And continues to live for a long time after the tree has been cut down. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to rid your yard of an annoyingly stubborn stump. So, how do you remove a stump without uprooting?

  • DO NOT use diesel fuel
  • Frequently asked questions about how to kill the stump
    • Does the stump remover kill the grass?
    • What can be put on a stump to make it rot?
    • Will bleach kill the stump?
    • What is the best way to kill stumps?
    • How long does Epsom salt take to kill a stump?
  • Conclusion
  • Physical Stump Removal

    If you need to remove the stump as soon as possible, you can deal with it quickly by digging, crushing or burning. Physical removal methods come with some problems. Let's take a closer look at each of these methods to find out if they are right for you or not.

    Digging out the stump

    For small stumps, up to about 30 cm in diameter, digging out may be the most practical solution. Digging requires only basic hand tools, not special equipment or renting a large and expensive machine. This is a time-consuming process, but it can be done with the right tools.

    To dig a stump, you will need a sturdy shovel, a hoe and a metal bar. A narrow shovel with a medium-length handle that digs deep and easily maneuvers around a dense root base. The hoe cuts roots like an ax and easily loosens compacted soil. Use a twig to dig deep or narrow places and pull out stubborn roots.

    To remove a stump, start by loosening the soil around it with a hoe. Clear loose soil with a shovel. When the roots are exposed, cut through them with a hoe or an axe. Continue working down and in from all sides to the main root under the stump. Use a twig to loosen the soil underneath the stump or pry the side of the stump for extra work space. When the taproot is exposed, use the sharp edge of a hoe to pierce it. Remove the stump with the root ball and any large roots.

    Burn the stump

    If the stump is completely dry, it can be burned out. This method may take longer than digging and does not completely remove roots below soil level, but may give satisfactory results with slightly less physical effort.

    Before starting a fire, clear the area of ​​flammable materials and dig up the ground within a radius of at least 5 meters from the stump. Also, run a garden hose connected to the water to quickly extinguish any flames that ignite outside the area of ​​the burning stump. Finally, schedule time to be near the stump at all times while it burns. This can take quite a long time, depending on the size, type of wood, moisture content, weather conditions, and many other variables.

    Now the hard part. Setting fire to a stump is not as easy as it seems. Dousing it with flammable liquid is not a good idea. It's dangerous and really not that effective. The liquid tends to burn without actually igniting the stump. Instead, build a fire at the top of the stump and keep it burning. To speed up the process, improve airflow by digging up the soil at the base of the stump. Fire needs oxygen, so the more it is exposed to it, the faster it will burn.

    Grind the stump

    Grind the stump can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours or more. You can hire someone to do this job, but it's an easy process to do on your own. Stump removal machines are available from equipment rental companies. If you are doing this yourself, be sure to wear appropriate safety gear when using the stump grinder, including safety goggles and hearing protection.

    The process of crushing stumps can be hazardous to the operator and bystanders. The machine grinds to a depth of about 20 cm, throwing debris to the sides. The risks of using a stump grinder are associated with wood chips or stones flying in all directions.

    Communications may be cut off. Before grinding the stump, find out if you have any communications - electricity, water or communication lines - so that you can avoid damaging them. Keep bystanders (and pets too) away from the work area while working.

    Stump Destroyer at Home

    If you have enough time, you can use household tools to destroy the stump. The natural processes of decay will weaken the wood, allowing you to remove it more easily. If the long and slow method suits you, consider using one of these simple and inexpensive home remedies that you may already have on hand.

    Epsom salt

    An excellent option, he was awarded a separate article. Luckily, there is a favorite bath product that doubles as a simple stump remover: Epsom salts. Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate is a naturally occurring compound of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen, which are essential plant nutrients. But in high concentration, it draws moisture out of the stump, killing it within a month or more.

    Start the destruction of the stump by drilling holes with a diameter of 80 to 130 mm, about 8 cm from the edge of the stump. Try to make them as deep as possible, spaced about 2-3 cm apart. When you have made enough (the more the better) holes in the stump, cover them with Epsom salts and add water. But not too much. It is needed only in order to soak the stump with a solution without spilling it out. Then sprinkle the entire top of the stump with Epsom salt. Then cover the stump with a thick film or tarp. Then rainwater will not wash the secret ingredient out of the holes. This process can take about a month or more, the solution will eventually cut off the moisture supply to the roots and they will dry out, allowing you to easily uproot the stump and get rid of it forever.

    Rock Salt

    Rock salt is another versatile product that can help get rid of unwanted stumps, but caution is warranted here. Like Epsom salt, it kills by drawing vital moisture from the stump. Although rock salt is a natural substance that takes about the same time to break down as Epsom salt, it is less desirable.

    Rock salt or sodium chloride contains the elements sodium and chlorine. These elements not only kill stumps, but also have an adverse effect on useful plants. If the salt concentration in the soil is too high, sodium and chloride replace the phosphorus and potassium needed by plants, causing deficiency and plant death. Look out for other home remedies that use salt water to kill poison ivy and other hard-to-kill weeds.

    Light starvation

    If you want a natural, additive-free approach to stump removal, try this option. Trees and shoots that grow on stumps need light for photosynthesis, so why not turn it off? To blackout a tree, you'll need a large tarp or sheet of black plastic and a large amount 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 many exposed roots as possible with a tarp. Finally, pile the organic waste on top of a tarp at least 30 cm thick. Shoots may develop from the exposed part of the root zone, but the stump will slowly weaken and die. The option is not fast, but covered and forgotten. After 3-5 months, the stump can be removed with a shovel.


    Most chemicals are labeled "Use only as directed". We agree with this. Although there are a huge number of chemicals that can effectively destroy stumps, perhaps in the same way as Epsom salts. Many of them cause collateral damage to nearby plants, animals, or people. What is the point when there are better and safer alternatives? With that in mind, read on for a few well-known examples.

    Stump Remover

    Many chemical products designed to remove stumps are made with potassium nitrate. This compound contains potassium, nitrogen and oxygen, which reduce the time of natural decay from several years to 4-6 weeks. This is environmentally friendly and is a fairly quick method.

    Removers are most effective when used on old, dead stumps. If you are dealing with a freshly cut tree, start with a stump killer based on products containing systemic insecticides such as triclopyr to kill roots and prevent shoot regrowth. Apply the chemical to the top of the stump within a few minutes of making a fresh cut so that the product quickly soaks into the remaining stump and roots. If the stump was cut off not so long ago, but not 10 minutes ago, then you can drill holes as in the version with salt.

    DO NOT use bleach

    Bleach is not sold as a herbicide and should not be used on plants. The dangers outweigh the minor benefits. As noted earlier in the rock salt segment, chlorine is indeed a naturally occurring element, but it creates problems for desired plants when concentrated in the soil. The truth is that applying the high concentration needed to kill a stump can expose adjacent grass, shrubs, and perennials to toxic levels of chlorine and greatly increase soil pH. Instead, save the bleach for more appropriate uses.

    DO NOT use motor oil

    There is no good reason to use motor stump oil instead of one of the above products. Plus, a liter of motor oil costs about the same as a stump killer, which is a tried and tested product for just that purpose.

    DO NOT use diesel fuel

    Diesel is popular as a stump burning base because it does not explode like gasoline. However, as noted, the addition of a flammable liquid to the process will not provide the sustained, sustained combustion required to eliminate the stump. As a chemical stump killer, it will likely have an effect too. But judge for yourself, you need to buy a canister and some diesel fuel. Perhaps instead it makes sense to purchase specialized solutions or Epsom salts?

    Frequently asked questions about how to kill the stump

    Does the stump remover kill the grass?

    Stump remover pellets, made from potassium nitrate, specifically designed to kill stumps, will not kill grass. In fact, they are made up of compounds that break down into plant-friendly nutrients.

    What can be put on a stump to make it rot?

    Mushrooms are the most efficient organisms for breaking down wood fiber, so you can plant fungal spores in a stump. An old method of speeding up the decomposition of a stump is to cut grooves in the stump, sprinkle earth on top, and cover the stump with a tarp to promote microbial growth.

    Will bleach kill the stump?

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

    What is the best way to kill stumps?

    The best stump killer is a systemic stump killer herbicide, such as triclopyr, applied directly to the fresh cut of the stump.

    How long does Epsom salt take to kill a stump?

    The Epsom Salt Method requires 8 to 10 weeks to kill the stump as directed above.


    If left to rot naturally, a large stump can take decades to die and decompose. Meanwhile, it can cause many difficulties, from unsightly appearance to walking obstacle hazards and more. To get rid of the problem, you have several reasonable and effective options. For complete removal, when all the big roots should be gone, grab your tools and dig out the stump. Shredding stumps is a quick and easy solution for large stumps, but the bottom of the taproot will be left to rot naturally.

    Chemical stump removal is cheaper and requires less time and effort. But be careful to avoid unproven and unnecessarily risky household chemicals. Choose Epsom salts to kill stumps in the bud and make later removal easier. If removal is necessary but not urgent, apply stump remover pellets to speed up the process of breaking down already dead stumps. These products work slowly, but greatly facilitate the laborious process of destroying stumps on the site.

    What means do you use? Share names and experiences in the comments! If you liked the article, share it with your friends on social networks!

    Stock images from Depositphotos were used in this article.

    Balashov Daniil. Freelance writer

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

    Chemical removal of stumps (butt and rhizome) 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.

    At the same time, each of the methods 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, due to which 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, you will find here.


    • 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 Precautions
    • Related Videos
    • Conclusion

    When is 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, chemical destruction and removal of stumps should be used only if the side effects do not affect the further use of the land in any way or can be neutralized.

    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.

    With 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 off the remains, so the only reliable way to combat such diseases is chemical destruction of 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 , which is why 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 it 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 consistency of the clay should be 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 plant diseases 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 kind of disease, then you can add vitriol or salt 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 the 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 , however goggles must be used when working with fine salt as unexpected gusts 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.

    In addition, it is desirable to obtain permission from the nearest department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations to burn stumps, because otherwise they can issue a large fine. You will find more information on this subject in this article (Incineration).

    Do not use other chemical agents, especially those based on glyphosate (Roundup, Typhoon, Santi).

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