Video: How to Cut Down a Tree
How to remove a tree stump
Drill holes in the stump
Cut off as much of the top of the stump as possible. Using a 1-in. spade bit with a spade bit extension, drill 1-in. holes around the perimeter of the stump about 12 in. deep and 3 to 4 in. back from the edge. Drill more holes 3 to 4 in. down from the rim at a 45-degree angle to connect with the other holes. They'll provide vent holes for burning or help the rotting process.
Pour stump remover in the holes
Pour 3 to 4 oz. of stump remover chemical into each of the holes and fill them with water. The process takes four to six weeks.
You can remove a stump by renting a power stump grinder, but another way is to buy a can of stump remover (available at most garden or home centers). Most brands are made of powdered potassium nitrate, which speeds up the rotting process. You simply pour the granules into drilled holes and fill the holes with water. The stump will become pretty spongy after four to six weeks. Keep kids and pets away. Then you can break out the rotten wood with an ax.
For a completely labor-free removal, the manufacturers of stump remover suggest burning out what's left of the stump by pouring kerosene or fuel oil (never gasoline) into the holes. Wait until the liquid completely penetrates the wood (this could take a few weeks). Then drop a match into the holes to start the burning process. The stump will smolder for days, eventually leaving a charcoal-filled hole. It's dangerous having a giant, smoldering ember in your yard, so some precautions are in order. Envelop the stump in chicken wire, remove all leaves from the vicinity before ignition and keep an eye on it!
We suggest the ax method for finishing the job. Stump removers work only on seasoned (older) stumps that have been dead for a year or so, not freshly cut tree stumps.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- 12 in. bit extension
- Corded drill
- Extension cord
- Safety glasses
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- Stump remover