5 Ways To Get Rid Of Tree Stump And Roots From Your Lawn

Getting rid of a big tree that’s hoarding all the sunlight in your yard is already a difficult task. However, soon after doing so, you have to contend with its unsightly stump, which requires more effort and time to eliminate the tree’s body. 

But never fear! This article discusses several ways you can get rid of that annoying tree stump and branched-out roots. 

Hire The Pros

Perhaps the easiest, most convenient way to remove tree stumps and roots from your yard without lifting a finger is to hire experts.

Generally, professional tree service & stump removal services cost between USD$100 to USD$500 per stump removed, depending on varying factors such as the size of the stump. 

It may seem quite expensive, but it’s more effective, cost and effort-wise. Removing tree stumps yourself is difficult, especially for large tree stumps ones with extensive root systems.

However, professional stump services will have the right equipment and tools to get the job done correctly and safely. It’s also a lot cheaper and less risky than renting tree grinders and trying to remove them yourself. 

Grinding Tree Stumps

This is the quickest DIY method for removing tree stumps. Most tree removal services also use this method for removing stumps and roots. 

You can rent a stump grinder machine at home improvement stores and centers. They usually cost about USD$90 to USD$440 per day, depending on where you get them from. Most local home improvement stores have different rates if you rent the equipment for a few hours or for days or weeks. 

This machine can perform stump grinding and their root systems down to at least one inch into the ground, which is usually enough to destroy and remove the whole stump.

To grind the tree stump, you need to trim the stump with a chainsaw first. Then, dig around it and remove any rocks or hard debris.

Operate the machine and chip away at the wood and cut down the roots that are connected to the stump. Grinding a tree stump can take anywhere from two to six hours depending on the size of the stump. 

Dig It Out

If you don’t have the budget to hire an expert or rent a stump grinder, you can do a tree stump removal with lots of elbow grease. 

Digging out the tree stump is the traditional way of removing the tree stump, which can be time-consuming. However, it allows you to remove as many tree roots as you can, ensuring that they won’t continue to grow or limit other plants’ growth. 

Using a shovel or mattock, you simply need to dig next to the stump and expose the roots underneath before cutting them.

Depending on the root size, you can use a root saw or loppers to cut them into pieces. It’s also possible to cut them using an ax. However, it can be dangerous if it strikes a rock. 

Make sure to cut them into manageable pieces so you can pull them out of the ground. Keep cutting and pulling until you’ve removed all major roots and anything that’s left of the tree.

Once all or most of the roots are removed, you can easily dislodge the stump using a shovel. 

Burn It Down

A less laborious option is to burn down the roots. This method kills the tree; however, it won’t completely get rid of the stump and roots.

This approach isn’t suitable if you live in an area that’s prone to wildfires.

Also, make sure to check with your local fire department to see if you’re allowed to burn a tree stump. 

If stump burning is possible, there are a few ways to move forward. First, you can drill several holes into the trunk and pour fuel into each hole. Then, add some scrap wood to the surface and light it up.

Carefully monitor the burning wood to ensure that it won’t get out of control. This method may be slower, but it can deeply burn the stump.

Another option is to cut crisscross lines about five to six inches deep into the wood with a chainsaw. Lay out some wood on top and on the side of the stump and light it up. This will take a few hours, so keep the fire burning by adding more wood until the stump is burned below ground level. 

Make It Rot

For the least labor-intensive option of removing a tree stump, you simply need to make the stump rot so it’s easier to chop and remove.

However, it also takes the longest to kill and remove the stump and its roots, taking several weeks to months to soften the wood for removal.

The good news is that a rotting stump also makes a great compost material for your garden. 

How to speed up the decomposition of wood:

Use Chemical Stump Removers

Most chemicals are in powdered form that you can sprinkle or dilute with water to use in and on the stump. The chemical speeds up the decomposition process and softens the wood over time.

Tree stump removal chemicals include sulfuric acid, potassium nitrate, and nitric acid. Using a chemical stump remover but must be handled carefully and according to label instructions by those with experience.

Using the potassium nitrate, which is also known as saltpeter, fill each hole in the stump once you’ve made all of your holes. Fill the holes with boiling water to dissolve the saltpeter.

You should now leave the liquid on the stump for several weeks in order to penetrate through the stump.

Safety Note: Keep pets and children away from the stump to avoid the risk of contact and ingestion of the chemicals. 

Epsom Or Rock Salt

For a safer alternative, Epsom or rock salt can also help speed up the rotting of wood. Salt accelerates the decomposition process to six to twelve months instead of the three to seven years it should’ve taken for the stum to rot naturally. 

Salt contains minerals such as sulfur and magnesium that can be beneficial to plants but deadly if used in large quantities.

Overdosing a tree stump with salt can pull the moisture out, killing it and encouraging faster rotting.

Cover The Stump

Plants need sunlight to survive. So, by covering the tree stump in darkness and encouraging abundant moisture for fungi to grow, it will die and rot within two to three months. 

For both the chemical and salt option, it’s best to create a deep hole in the stump using a drill. The holes should be large enough for you to be able to pour in the chemical or salt.

Once the wood has softened and decomposed, you can easily chop it up with a hatchet and remove the debris. 

Can Tree Stumps Grow Back?

Occasionally, stumps, both those that are on the ground and those that have been removed by a crane, can regenerate. It is common for a deciduous tree that has been cut to sprout branches from the stump or roots in more than one place.

A tree has the capacity to grow from a stump and be a full-grown tree. It is possible because the roots are still present. If there are enough nutrients in the roots then the tree may start with sprouts sticking to the ground. Gradually, tree trunks will start to recover.


Cutting down trees in your yard can make way for new trees to grow and improve the natural lighting for other plants. However, removing a tree means dealing with the annoying leftover stump.

Consider the following techniques above to finally get rid of tree stumps and roots and have a clean-looking yard and lawn.