12 Ways To Remove A Tree Stump By Hand

You can save money and time by removing a single tree stump. You don’t need a stump grinder or a tractor to remove a tree stump. Here are 12 techniques to remove a tree stump using gear you already own.

Begin digging around the trunk to reveal the main roots, then remove the stump with a shovel. Hand, reciprocating, or chainsaws can be used to cut the stump’s main roots. Using a tow strap and a car, remove the tree stump.

A digging bar can be used to break out smaller stumps. A handyman jack is also an excellent option. Remove the stump by filling the hole with Earth. To get 12 more ideas, please continue reading.

Recommendation Tools

  • Sawing with a chisel
  • Saw with a revolving blade
  • Chainsaw
  • Towing rope
  • Digging through the sand
  • Jack of all trades
  • Sledgehammer
  • Shovel

Remove A Tree Stump By Hand The Easiest Way

Why go through the trouble of removing the tree stump a few feet below the ground? Historically, this was done solely to prepare the field for plowing. I guess that you’re not going to be plowing anytime soon.

Tilling or plowing isn’t an option if the tree stump is located in a flower bed or garden area. According to the most recent findings, it’s harmful to the health of your soil. It is common for a tree removal company to grind out a stump to a depth of merely a few inches.

What’s the point of removing a tree stump that far down? This is unnecessary. If the stump is below the soil’s surface, that’s all you need. I removed one of my tree stumps in approximately 20 minutes by pulling it out by the roots. The following is a step-by-step account of how I accomplished this.

1. Get rid of the soil and grass surrounding the stump.

Because my tree stump was in my yard, I cut a 2-foot-diameter circle around it and removed the sod. It took me only a few inches to get down to the bottom of the hole.

2. Remove the stump by chopping it up.

The stump was cut down to roughly 3 inches below the level of my lawn with a cordless reciprocating saw. Chainsaws and hand saws can also be used. Chainsaws require a deeper hole, so plan accordingly. Chains that come into contact with dirt or rocks will quickly get dull.

It’s best to use a reciprocating saw with a blade specifically designed for cutting wood rather than one of the shorter ones. I worked my way around the stump, removing all of it.

In the end, I had no choice but to resort to sledgehammering the stump to the ground. When I left the stump a little taller, I could break it off with more ease.

3. Replace the dirt or grass with a new layer of dirt or mulch.

Once the sod had been replaced, and the stump had been covered with a little earth and some sod I had pulled up from another part of my yard, I was done. Sod farms can provide you with a small piece of scrap, or you can plant a small amount of seed in the ground.

Alternatively, you may simply leave it to the grass to take care of it. When it does, the stump will be completely covered

That concludes our discussion. It’s a cinch to get started. A few inches of the stump can be seen beneath the soil’s surface, but over time, fungus in the soil will break down the stump’s remaining parts, releasing its nutrients to the nearby grass.

4. The stump can be reused.

I’ve experimented with hugelkultur beds in my yard. Plants grow on top of piles of wood buried in the ground. The roots of your plants get all the food and water they need from the buried wood, which functions as a sponge.

The stump beneath your grass should do the same. Just bury the stump and fill it in with soil and plants.

The Traditional Method

Here’s how to do it the old-fashioned way if you don’t like the idea of an easy activity taking up all of your Saturday.


Excavate beneath the stump with a shovel to reveal its deeper roots. A pick or digging bar may also be necessary, depending on the soil type. Dig down and out as necessary to get to all the roots.


The roots can be cut with a reciprocating saw, a hand saw, or an ax if you prefer the old-fashioned method. But be careful not to hit any rocks with your chainsaw.

The roots you just removed may be hiding more, so keep digging if you need to find more. Only remove the stump’s roots as much as is necessary to remove it from the ground.


To get the stump out, you may either dig it out with a digging bar or use a long 2×4 as leverage, or you can simply drive over it.

When I was a youngster, I recall using our suburban to clear a large area of overgrown bushes. It was a success. Slowly advance with a tow strap or chain. Rocking the stump out with the gas can even be done by putting more pressure on it.

I’ve seen folks use a handyman or a big vehicle jack to get the stump out. Below, I’ll go into more depth about that.

As soon as your stump has been removed, pat yourself on the back. You’re done once you’ve replaced all the dirt and added a little more to level out your soil.

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Stump Rotation

In the absence of a time crunch, the stump can be allowed to decompose. A stump can be rotted in a variety of ways. I’ve tried a handful of these, and they didn’t work out for me. Another option has a better chance of success. Depending on the approach, a stump will take several months to at least a year to decay.

How to Naturally Rot a Stump

This is the most efficient method I’ve come across for decomposing a stump. It’s a cinch to do. Just cover the stump with a layer of compost. Decomposition of the stump will be aided by a fungus found in compost. It will still take at least a year.

The Earth does it this way, so I’m confident it will work for you. Also, I’ve seen folks place a black plastic pail on top of the stump. This seems unnecessary to me. Make sure to cover it with compost, and you may want to add some pet waste as time goes on.

The breakdown of a stump is likely to be slowed down by any of the other procedures listed below that kill the fungi.

The Use of Epson Salt to Destroy Stumps

The Chinese Elm tree growing up my fence prompted me to give this a whirl, expecting that it would kill and rot the stump. Drilling the holes, filling them with Epsom salt, and covering them with a tarp were all actions I followed after seeing a few YouTube videos.

A fresh branch had sprouted from beneath my cover the next year after completely forgetting about it. I tried to chip away at the stump with an ax, but it was still incredibly difficult. There is some doubt in my mind that utilizing salt or Epsom salt will cause decay in a tree stump.

The majority of the videos I saw never included a follow-up video showing how the stump looked a year later. Likely, it wasn’t successful for them. In the end, the tree’s development slowed to a significant extent.

Perhaps a large amount of salt will kill and break down the organism? My grapevine depends on it. Thus that’s not an option for me.

It’s Potassium Nitrate That Gets The Stump Out

In many ways, potassium nitrate resembles salt. Jerky manufacturers use it as a preservative. Thank goodness we’ve all eaten the stump-killer! Blondie Stump Out and Spectracide Stump Remover are two popular brand names.

However, after reading the directions, I doubted whether or not it would work. Instead, I got my kids, and we constructed some sugar rockets. A claim made by the manufacturer is that the product quickens decomposition. In other words, instead of rotting your stump for ten years, it should just take five… joking! Let me get off my high horse now.

Drill holes around the stump and fill them with Stump out or Stump Remover to rot the stump with potassium Nitrate. Although I searched for a video of someone doing this, I could not locate any. Most likely as a result of the fact that it is ineffective.

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Using Bleach to Remove Stumps

Because the fungus is what breakdown stumps and bleach kills fungi, I don’t think this method will work either.

I’ve seen that bleach has been used on stumps to construct some interesting bleached stump tables. It does little more than turn the wood white. Check read my article on bleaching a tree stump for more information.

Dissolving A Tree Stump With Muriatic Acid is a Simple Process.

Because of its high toxicity, I strongly advise against using muriatic acid. Human tissue can be corroded by both the mist and the solution, which can cause permanent harm to the lungs, eyes, skin, and intestines.

If it’s likely to disintegrate your stump, steer clear of this item. Keep an eye on your lungs while you’re at it, though. The fact that napalm would disintegrate your stump is irrelevant; you should not use it.

A Fertilizer High in Nitrogen for Stump Removal

It has been claimed that applying heavy nitrogen fertilizer to a stump accelerates rot. I’ve read that it could take another 3 to 5 years. Because nitrogen fertilizer kills fungi, I believe it will slow down the breakdown process.

Stump-Burning, or

By hand, you can remove a stump with this method. In addition, if you live in a densely populated area, you may find it difficult or impossible to burn your stump in a large, smokey fire. Obtaining information from your local fire department is the best way to find out. Using fire to remove a stump is an effective method.

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Barrel for the Explosion

A smart approach to get rid of a stump is to use a 55-gallon metal drum. It’s as simple as removing the bottom and placing it on the stump.

Afterward, you can add charcoal or a large amount of wood and begin to burn. The charcoal you make will suffice if your stump doesn’t burn entirely.

In this case, all you have to do is chip away at the surface with a chisel. Make sure to leave the stump’s charcoal behind. Put it in the ground and pound it to a pulp.

With it, your grass and plants will thrive for the next thousand years, as it is the best fertilizer. If you don’t trust me, just search biochar.

Candles from Sweden

What a terrific idea! All you have to do is cut a hashtag pattern into the surface of your stump with a chainsaw. Then, if the wood is dry, set it ablaze and let it burn for a few hours to finish it off.

A buddy who requested only one log brought this to my attention. To explain why he needed only one wood, he explained making Swedish candles. While ice fishing, he told me that it’s how he copes with the cold.

Leaving it to burn on the ice next to you is all it takes, and it will burn for hours on end. That’s when I realized this would be perfect for getting rid of a tree stump.

A Rapid-Fire Stove

This is yet another innovative method for manually removing a tree stump. Make a hole in the middle of the stump using a drill. After that, drill a series of holes that lead back to the stump’s central hole. Let it burn in kerosene for a while.

To my surprise, this worked like a charm on YouTube, so I decided to try it myself. It didn’t function the same for me for some reason. It had a hard time staying lit. But I’m going to give it another go. Aside from that, we had a great time at the annual family hot dog barbecue

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A fire Ring

Surely you’ve figured it out already. Your stump can be used as an outdoor fireplace by placing pebbles around it and lighting it up whenever you wish to make s’mores or roast marshmallows.

It will eventually be reduced to ashes. After that, you can recover it with dirt or simply leave your fire pit in place.

Without a grinder or tractor, you may now easily remove a stump by hand. Stump removal can be a difficult task, so best of luck.

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