Remove a Tree Stump Yourself with This Common Household Product

Updated: Jun. 02, 2023

How to remove a tree stump with Epsom salt.

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You’ve just cut down a tree and there’s a stump. Now what? Well, you could hire a tree removal company to grind the tree stump to smithereens (often costing more than $100). Or you could rent a grinder and do it yourself. Here’s how to grind a tree stump yourself. Some people cut the tree stump as close to the ground as possible and cover with soil. Others use it as a pedestal for garden art. See 11 ideas for decorating your tree stump.

The problem is, your tree stump is the remnant of a pesky tree—the kind that continues to send up sucker shoots long after the tree has been cut down. Think honeylocust, silver maple or tree of heaven. So covering with soil or using it as a pedestal are out. Your best option may be as close as your bathroom!

Epsom salt, which is the common name for magnesium sulfate, is often used in bath and foot soaks to treat dry skin and relieve sore muscles and small wounds. It’s also used in the garden, adding important nutrients to the soil. Epsom salt has another use: it can draw moisture out of a tree’s stump and roots and keep the remnants from resprouting. Here’s how to use it:

  1. DRILL multiple holes in the tree stump, spaced about an inch apart. Drill as deep as you can, making sure holes are at least 3/4 inch in diameter.
  2. POUR dry Epsom salt into each hole and spread some around the base of the tree stump, as well.
  3. SPRAY with water to saturate the Epsom salt but not to the point where the solution is running out of the holes.
  4. COVER with a waterproof tarp so rain doesn’t wash the Epsom salt away. Over the next few months, the Epsom salt will draw water from the tree stump and roots and prevent resprouting. After that, it’s up to you whether to chip away at the tree stump, cover with soil or use as a pedestal. Find out whether you can use Epsom salt in a hot tub.

Another option for stump removal is to use a root killing product. Learn how to remove a tree stump yourself with this method here.

Check out these 49 colorful plants to brighten up your landscape.

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