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What Kills Tree Stumps?

Unsightly tree stump in your front yard have you stumped? Trying to get rid of the eyesore and wondering what kills tree stumps? Then you’ve come to the right place. Mr. Tree specializes in residential and commercial tree service. We’ll help you get rid of those pesky tree stumps and spruce up your yard in the process.

Dig It Out

If you haven’t tried it already, you may be able to root out the problem simply by digging the tree stump out. If the tree stump is smaller in size, you should be able to do this with some fairly basic tools you already have lying around.

First, grab a shovel or spade to dig out the soil around the tree stump and roots. Once the roots are exposed, cut them out using an axe, saw, mattock, or other preferred chopping tool. Once most of the roots have been removed, you should be able to loosen the stump enough to pull it out from the ground.

Once you’ve removed the stump, fill the hole with topsoil or loam. Pack down the soil so it is level with the ground around it. You can then add grass seed if you want to encourage grass growth over the area.

Keep in mind that digging out a tree stump can be a demanding and time-intensive process that doesn’t always work for larger tree stumps. Read on to learn more about other ways to remove tree stumps from your yard.

Grind It Down

For larger tree stumps, you may need to bring in a stump grinder. A stump grinder can make fairly quick work of most tree stumps, but it could take up to a couple of hours to grind down larger ones. You can rent stump grinders from most home improvement stores or rental equipment companies.

Remember to plan ahead, though. Call 8-1-1 a couple of weeks before you plan to grind the tree stump down so they can make you aware of any underground utility lines in the area.

Keep in mind that whenever you’re working with large machinery, you should always take the proper precautions. Be sure to wear safety gear, such as gloves, safety glasses, and adequate hearing protection to muffle the noise of the machine. Pay close attention to the instructions for operating the stump grinder and be sure to keep pets and kids away from the yard while you work.

Once you’re ready to get started, you’ll place the grinder over the tree stump and use it according to the operating instructions to grind down both the stump and roots. Once you’re done grinding the stump down, be sure to use the grinder around the stump to remove any of the remaining roots as well.

Once you’re finished, grab a shovel to dig it all up. Cover the hole with topsoil, pack it down, and add grass seed if you’d like to encourage grass growth in the area.

If you have concerns about renting or operating a stump grinder yourself, consider contacting a professional tree removal service. They can take care of the stump grinding and even remove the debris for you.

Burn It

Burning the tree stump is another option, but keep in mind that it’s also one of the most dangerous, so you’ll have to exercise extreme caution if you’re going to go this route. If you do decide to proceed with burning the tree stump, contact your local fire department to check for any burning advisories. Burning may be prohibited under certain weather conditions, such as drought.

If burning is permitted, make sure you clear the surrounding area of any flammable materials and that you have a garden hose nearby to extinguish the fire quickly. Also, keep in mind that a fire should never be left unattended.

Once you have taken all safety precautions, dig around the tree stump to remove soil and improve airflow. This will help the fire burn more quickly. Then use rocks or bricks to build a ring around the tree stump. Once you’re done, build a fire on top of the stump with logs and firewood and carefully light it to begin the burning process. Once the stump is burned out, cover the hole with topsoil and add grass seed if you wish to promote grass growth in the area.

Treat It

You can also use chemical solutions to kill the tree stump. One option is to purchase a tree stump remover product, but you may already have something lying around the house that can do the trick as well. Epsom salt, for instance, is an inexpensive chemical compound made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Epsom salt kills tree stumps by drawing out moisture, causing them to slowly decay. If you’d like to give it a try, there are a couple of ways to apply Epsom salt to your tree stump.

The first option involves drilling holes in the stump that are at least eight inches deep and a quarter-inch in diameter. You should drill the holes throughout the stump, making sure to space them a few inches apart. Once you’re finished drilling, fill the holes with Epsom salt and slowly pour water over the holes until the salt is moist. Be sure to avoid pouring so much water into the holes that the Epsom salt overflows. Cover with a tarp to prevent rainwater from seeping in and repeat the process weekly until the stump begins to decay.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid drilling holes in the stump, you can create a solution by mixing two gallons of water with one gallon of Epsom salt. Simply pour the entire solution over the tree stump and around the roots. Once again, cover with a tarp and repeat the process weekly until the stump is weakened to the point that it can be removed easily.
In addition to preventing rainwater from seeping in, tarps can further weaken stumps by depriving them of light. Since plants need energy from sunlight for photosynthesis, keeping the stump covered will speed up the treatment process.

Learn More

For more tips and tricks or for a little extra help with your tree service needs, give the team at Mr. Tree a call. Whether it’s figuring out what kills tree stumps or something else, we’re here to make things easier for you.